Executive Officers

Mike Cladingbowl

Chief Executive Officer

Mike Cladingbowl is one of the most senior education leaders in England. He began teaching in 1987 after studying at Lancaster and Liverpool universities. After success as a secondary school headteacher, in Crewe, he was appointed as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of schools, children's services and skills in 2002. He specialized initially in school improvement and then on the inspection of public services more generally. He led Ofsted’s work across all remits in the North of England before leading programmes of inspection reform. During his career, he has worked with most senior figures in education, including successive Secretaries of State’. His senior executive leadership roles for Ofsted included being National Director, Schools. He has led Knutsford multi-academy trust since 2015. He is married with two children who attend their local high school.

David Twambley

Chief Operations Officer

David Twambley currently leads central operations at Congleton Multi-Academy Trust, in a role encompassing Finance, Human Resources, governance and compliance. A chartered accountant by profession, prior to joining Cmat in 2018 David worked as a senior manager in professional services firms in London and Manchester, supporting academies and educational charities with all aspects of finance and compliance. Originally from Cheshire, David spent 10 years in the South East, studying at History Oxford and post-graduate work at UCL before working in London. He returned to the area following his marriage in 2017.


Phil Bland


Phil Bland spent much of his career in the utility industry. His last post, before retiring, was Strategy and Planning Director for the Wastewater business within United Utilities. He has worked in Europe, the USA and the Middle and Far East. Phil has been a trustee of several charities and is currently a trustee of Everybody Sports and Recreation. He is chair of Hope Through Action, a charity based in both the UK and South Africa, committed to changing the lives of young people through sport and education. Phil has a particular interest in strategy development, charity governance and risk management. In 2006 he was appointed an MBE in recognition of his services to the water industry.

Peter Bowers


Peter Bowers is the Managing Director of Berisfords Ribbons. He is a supporter of the local community and is also a Director of East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce.

Vic Croxson


Vic Croxson is a retired educator actively engaged in a number of mainly voluntary, charitable roles. These include: Member, Trustee & Chair of Cmat (Congleton Multi Academy Trust); Trustee & Vice Chair of The Farmer’s Club Charitable Trust and Chair of Organic Farmers & Growers Certification Committee. Other interests include: gardening; traveling and family activities. Career history has included periods employed as: a Lecturer in Agriculture and Residential Warden; Head of Agriculture, Vice Principal & Farm Manager; and finally Principal and Chief Executive at Reaseheath College, Cheshire. Post ‘retirement’: Self employed consultant and Chief Executive of Landex - The National Association of Land-based Colleges and Governor & Vice Chair of Walford & North Shropshire College Corporation.

Richard Hinkley


Richard Hinkley is a retired senior manager from ICL/Fujitsu, a major international ICT and Computer manufacturing company.

Steven Hodgkinson


Steven Hodgkinson is a retired Bank Manager. He served as a Governor at Sandbach School for 30 years. He is a leader of the New Life Church and a founder member.

Piers Martin


Piers Martin is a performance specialist working across sport, business and academia. He is the Managing Director of the Podium Performance Group, a people development consultancy that helps individuals, teams and organisations. He is a consultant to the Premier League, where he is the programme lead for the Elite Academy Manager Leadership Programme. For over 20 years, Piers has led and advised a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports, supported businesses from small start-ups to larger, established companies and coached individuals. Piers is Chair of UK Deaf Sport, a Director/Trustee on several Boards, performance advisor to various performance programmes and a member of the Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators for Sports Resolutions UK. He has an MBA from Manchester University, is undertaking a Doctorate in Sport and Exercise and is a speaker and lecturer in a range of institutions.

Wendy Stratford


Wendy Stratford is a retired management consultant who specialised in IT and outsourcing. Her three children all attended the school, and Wendy was the Treasurer of the PTA for a number of years. Wendy was a magistrate based in Macclesfield for 8 years until 2015, sitting in adult and family courts. As a grandmother of 3 girls who are all at primary schools on the south coast, Wendy continues to be very interested in education, particularly in such a rapidly changing environment. As a Member she is keen to help the trust continue to develop and add real value through education and achieving potential.

David Watson


David Watson ran his own business, employing in excess of 100 people. Since retiring he has been involved with the Chamber of Commerce.


David Wootton

Chair of Trustees

David Wootton has over forty years experience in the field of Education David has had a varied career in a variety of settings across the UK. He has been Chief Executive of one of the highest performing Academy Groups in the country, Executive Principal within a Trust, Academy Principal, Headteacher and started his career as a Music Teacher in inner city Salford. David was also an Adviser to the Department for Education (working on Academy Improvement and Free Schools), served on Ministerial Working Groups and Advisory Panels, gave evidence to the Education Select Committee and was a member of the ESFA Board. He was also Chair of the Independent Academies Association and a long standing member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leadership and Governance. He has intervened in governance roles at a number of schools and trusts at the request of the DfE and Ministers. David is presently a consultant adviser working across the educational landscape with a focus on governance, strategy and leadership, with a number of trusts, schools, academies and chairing and speaking at events and conferences.

Andrew Pear

Vice Chair of Trustees

Andrew (Andy) Pear is a Cheshire based entrepreneur, running businesses in the Hospitality, Property and Medical Manufacturing sectors, in the UK and China. He has a broad business involvement, specialising in marketing and finance, he gained an MBA in 2001. Andy has extensive experience with acquisitions and mergers. Andy’s journey with school governance began as a parent governor over twenty years ago. He has been involved with CMAT since its formation, holding numerous roles, mainly focusing in the areas of Governance, Recruitment, Finance and Safeguarding. Andy also holds board positions with Ruby’s Trust, a children’s charity providing support to families of children with challenging needs; The William Dean Countryside and Wildlife Trust, and East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce. He is also heavily involved with The British Healthcare Trades Association and the British Standards Institute.

Bob Armstrong

Member and Trustee

Bob Armstrong has been a trustee for many years. He was originally asked to join the governors because of his very senior roles in industry and his background in human resources. He has been Chair of Trustees and is currently vice-chair. Elsewhere, Bob is Chair of the Trustee Boards and Investment Committees of large pension schemes and is a non-executive director of Southern Water. He received the OBE for services to the water industry in 2006. Bob is also a Member of the trust.

Dr Martin Ashcroft


Dr Martin Ashcroft is Managing Director of Tata Chemicals Europe. He was appointed on 1 April 2010 having been Operations Director since 1 January 2007.Holding a Chemistry degree from Oxford University and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Manchester University, he held several technical and operating roles in Brunner Mond between 1994 and 2007 including Site Director of the company’s Netherlands site for two years. In January 2011 Martin led the company in completing the successful £93m acquisition of British Salt and then followed up in April 2011 by heading the re-branding of the enlarged company as Tata Chemicals Europe at the same time as each of the Tata Chemicals overseas entities. He is an Executive Board member of Tata Chemicals Europe Group Limited and several subsidiary companies. He is a member of the Tata Global Chemicals Board (GCB) and where he leads on Tata Chemicals’ interests in Europe. Until March 2017 he was a member of the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board and is a current council member of the Chemical Industries Association. In 2016, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC). With a keen interest in rugby, he was a fully qualified referee until 2005 operating at a professional level. He is qualified to Grade 8 standard on violin, piano and organ and plays regularly at choral services and occasional recitals.

Sharon Dempsey


Sharon Dempsey has over 40 years’ experience in leading IT and business transformations and has managed her own consultancy company for nearly 30 years. Sharon is expert on IT, Finance and Data and has used those skills to help MATs introduce GDPR and to enhance their Financial controls. After graduation with a BSc (hons) in Applied Mathematics and Computer Studies, Sharon taught in Camden Town for 3 years before moving to a role in IT with ICL in Kidsgrove. Throughout Sharon’s career, she has mentored many colleagues. Being instrumental in the progress and success of organisations is something she takes great pride in. Sharon is an Ambassador for Limelight in Old Trafford having taken a key role on the Management Committee to launch the £20m flagship Community hub. From that she was asked to mentor a Social Enterprise and has helped them be successful in receiving grants that have been used to deliver successful community BAME projects. Sharon is married with 2 children, and enjoys travel, cinema, theatre, sudoku, crosswords and is re-learning dressmaking.

Dr Adam Greenstein


Dr Adam Greenstein is Senior Clinical Lecture in Medicine at the University of Manchester. He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and his current role at the university is funded the British Heart Foundation (as Adam is a BHG intermediate Clinical Research Fellow). Adam is passionate about giving students the opportunity to study medicine and sciences at top Russell Group Universities. As a dual qualified graduate, (PhD and medical degree) Adam is keen that all children reach their full and academic potential. Adam interviews for medical school and supervises his own PhD students in science. He is also consultant physician at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where he has spent the last few months working in COVID-19 wards.

Robin McCluney


Robin McCluney became a parent governor for Egerton primary School in 2013 and later became the Chair of Finance. He became a trustee at when Egerton joined the Trust. He has a keen interest in community issues and helped to establish the Netherward Community Group during the development of the Cheshire East local plan. Robin has worked in IT for the last 20 years and is currently a senior IT consultant. As part of that role he travels frequently, working with a wide range of private and public sector organisations. He hopes that this career experience can provide valuable input into the future development of the Trust. Robin is married with 2 children who currently attend Egerton Primary School.

Jane Millward


Jane Millward is Chief Executive Officer of E-ACT multi-academy trust. Jane joined E-ACT as a regional education director in E-ACT as a regional education director in September 2016 before being appointed national director of education in February 2017. Prior to E-ACT she served as a senior Ofsted HMI for six years inspecting and working with a wide-range of schools across the primary, secondary and independent sectors. Jane has extensive experience of curricula development, quality assurance, headship and senior management in schools and at local authority level.

Dianne Sinclair


Dianne Sinclair is a retired management training consultant working in both private and public sectors, a former Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioner. Through her twenty-year voluntary involvement with the RAF Air Cadets she worked with 12 to 21 year olds, particularly focusing on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, for which she was an expedition leader and assessor up to Gold level, and with adult staff as a trainer in expedition leadership. She has lived in the Congleton area for the last thirty years and continues to be actively involved with several local charities.

Claire Thompson


Claire’s Thompson’s passion is education and she has spent all her working life in the sector. After teaching business studies and IT for a number of years she joined AQA Education, the largest A level and GCSE awarding body in the UK, where she is currently Director of Operations. Claire’s responsibilities include: leading, motivating and inspiring the operations teams (330 permanent and over 1000 seasonal) in planning and executing each examination series and enabling the delivery of accurate and secure results for 10 million assessments every summer; prioritisation of activities required to deliver the annual plan and objectives of the Operations Group; exceptional customer service across all aspects of delivery; robust governance and management of risks and issues; effective operational implementation of strategic technology programmes. Claire is very people focussed and has strong track record of driving culture change, performance improvement and building teams’ capability to deliver better customer outcomes.