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.

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.

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.