Directors

The Directors of Weaver Trust are responsible for the strategic development and oversight of each of the academies in the Trust.

The Board of Trustees/Directors key focus:

  • Governance of each Academy
  • School Improvement
  • Drawing up and implementation of Trust Policies
  • Compliance with DfE Regulations, Statutory Compliance/Financial Regulations
  • Performance Management of Executive Head and Heads of School
  • To appoint or reappoint the auditors of the Trust
  • Process of sponsoring additional schools
  • Fulfilling all statutory responsibilities as Directors/Trustees

Mr Michael Jackson – Chair of Board

As a primary school headteacher for 24 years from 1985 – 2009, Michael led two different schools – both large primary schools, one of which had two special needs/inclusion units.

One of which was part of Cheshire’s small group of ‘Vanguard Schools’ that took on board Local Management of Schools (LMS) a year early.

In 1999 he was seconded by the LA to successfully lead a school out of Special Measures – he was at the school for four terms.

Following this Michael was seconded by the LA to be the primary representative on a small team preparing for Warrington’s move to Unitary Authority Status and advising councillors on educational issues. He was also the Inaugural Chair of Warrington Association of Primary Headteachers and a Member of Warrington’s Schools Forum.

As Extended Schools Adviser for Warrington, Mike was part of a team overseeing the introduction of the extended schools programme.

His training as an Investment In Excellence (IIE) trainer allowed Mike to deliver this programme to a number of teachers, senior management teams and groups of headteachers.

Since Retirement in 2009 Mike has been a governor of two primary schools; worked as an educational consultant delivering CPD to Heads and teachers; and is currently a director of a small company that is presently producing a termly educational magazine for parents.

Craig Ridge – Finance Director

Craig has over 25 years’ experience in finance across a number of sectors. For the last three years he has been the CFO of HECSU, a charity, and Graduate Prospects its trading company. Craig is on the HECSU/GP board, and a member of the executive team, tasked with delivering the charity’s vision to advance graduate careers research, knowledge and services for the higher education sector. The charity’s trading subsidiary generates income from advertising and degree verifications, and is tasked with delivering the charity’s objectives.Craig has recently started to consult with a small number of small local businesses on a pro bono basis to ‘give something back’ and joined the Weaver Trust in Jan 2019.

Annette Williams – CEO

Annette has been teaching for 22 years, and has taught across seven schools.

During this time, Annette has worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher, supporting teachers in both Warrington and Cheshire LEA, to drive up standards, including a secondment, working as part of the leadership team to successfully lead a school out of Special Measures in just four terms.

During her headship, Annette has been seconded to two schools in difficulty – one being a School Causing Concern and one requiring improvement. She has accurately identified areas to drive up standards, thus securing school improvement.


As a Local Leader of Education, Annette supports schools with a range of issues to raise standards.

Member and HR Director – Dr Di Wright

Dr Diane Wright is Associate Dean (International) and Head of the Department of Management, at the Faculty of Business and Law, Manchester Metropolitan University. As Associate Dean, she determines the direction of internationalisation across the entire faculty, establishing academic and commercial partnerships, and international student recruitment in accordance with the University’s strategic objectives. As Head of Department, she is responsible for the management, academic leadership, and strategic direction for the Department across learning and teaching, research and commercial activity. The Management Department is home to almost 3,500 students and 65 members of staff.

Diane is a member of the MMU governing body and a trustee of The Joshua Tree, a charity that supports the families of children with life threatening illnesses in Northwich, Cheshire. She is on the Board of the South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, chairing their Policy and PR panel and for over five years, up until the end of 2015, was a Corporation member of South Cheshire College chairing the Management and Performance Committee.

She shifted direction into higher education some years ago having spent over 20 years in senior marketing roles, as Marketing Manager of a large FMCG organisation and Marketing Director of a new media/communications company. She also ran her own business for seven years.

Diane’s PhD focuses on female entrepreneurship and the facilitating nature of Higher Education in supporting female business owners. She also has research interests in Marketing (specifically Relationship Marketing), and enterprise in general. She was responsible for the launch of MizBiz, a programme that supported over 400 women in start-up enterprises, operating from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Michael Field – Director

Michael has been local governor providing both pastoral and strategic support to primary schools for 16 years.  Michael became an LA Governor in 2007 and served staff, pupils and community in that capacity. He has a wide range of experience and knowledge relating to the ethos and strategic direction of school having been a major influence in making decisions to improve the school environment, buildings, curriculum development and the recent expansion to include Nursery provision.

Ian Burnett – Director

Ian has a wealth of experience in the commercial field having owned and run his own business for 12 years. Then, following the sale of that business, he became Sales and Marketing Director for a major motor finance/leasing company, this being a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group. His experience encompasses being the managing partner of a typical SME business in the north Cheshire area through to being a national board member of Lloyds TSB Autolease, this diversity of commercial experience has been invaluable since taking an early retirement package and undertaking various consultancy roles for several small and mid-sized companies who have sought to grow and improve their businesses.

Within these various consultancy roles Ian has been tasked with streamlining CRM processes and procedures, rebuilding sales teams, developing and delivering customers service and sales training courses. Working with and developing people has always been a strong part of all of Ian’s roles, his energy and commitment to his role a major factor in many of these businesses requesting his input into future projects on a regular basis.


At present Ian has a part time consultancy role with Clear Vehicle Data who are the sales arm of International Decision Systems (IDS) suppliers of data into the motor and finance industry. In his spare time Ian is a passionate (if not very talented) sports enthusiast playing golf and watching football and rugby avidly. He has played an active role in not only coaching both junior school football teams and local youth football clubs where he also took responsibility for fundraising and recruitment.

Whilst not an educationalist, Ian’s people skills and experience in both the SME and corporate business world has provided a breadth of commercial knowledge that he is keen to utilise in what he perceives as being a new and challenging environment.

Mr Mark Francis – Director

Mark has worked with leading technology and EdTech brands to deliver significant growth, productivity and scalability. He is an advocate of lifelong learning that seeks to enhance social inclusion and stimulates personal development and self-sustainability.

His focus has been to assist high-growth technology software and service companies, by working with owners and private equity investors to plan and deliver tangible growth.

A Durham Business School graduate, holding an MBA and MA in Business Research. He has a true passion for business improvement, strategy and innovation. With access to an extensive network of leading industry experts, investors, business associations and business-led research institutions Mark brings true independent judgement and impartiality to bear on issues of strategy, risk, performance and resources.


Mark is also an MBA international student mentor and trusted business advisor; well placed to offer strategic guidance and deliver against business growth plans.

With an entrepreneurial spirit and renowned zest for ‘making a difference’ he finds time to mentor start-up ventures and assist companies with Non-Executive Director support.

Mrs Julie Haydon – Director

Julie has worked in the field of HR for around 25 years, with over 12 years at a senior level and has managed teams responsible for HR, learning & development, safeguarding, compliance and equality. As a proactive human resources executive, she has a successful track record in strategy, operations and analytics within private, public and not for profit sectors.

Julie is passionate about all things people, striving to empower and inspire individuals towards finding new ways of working, and ensuring consistently high-quality services. She has delivered a significant number of initiatives to maximise workforce efficiency and staff experiences around human resources, organisational change, employee engagement, health and wellbeing, equality and safeguarding.


In 2007, Julie became a Fellow of the CIPD and shortly afterwards, gained an MSc in Human Resources and Development. Julie is also qualified with the British Psychological Society, and is a licensed practitioner for several profiling tools, including ‘Insights Discovery’ and the ‘Liberating Leadership’ programme.  More recently, Julie became a qualified personal and business coach, seeing first-hand the benefits that coaching can bring.