People are important. Education is first and foremost about relationships. So, we want our schools to be seen not as institutions which we attend, but as communities to which we belong.

We want everyone in our school communities to enjoy learning. Yes, of course we expect everyone to work as hard as they can, but the real truth about education is that it is also about finding your own voice, enjoyment and challenge, exploration and adventure, and making friends for life.

We want to make our schools places that are:

  • not just about acquiring information, but about achieving transformation
  • not just about getting qualifications, but about growing qualities of character
  • not just about preparation to become a tax payer, but about participation in life

Life to the full!

Leadership Team

As Mercian Leader, we meet once a fortnight to discuss strategy, monitor progress and share best practice. Members of the team bring to the table not only a wealth of experience and expertise, but also great energy and enthusiasm.

Discussions can be lively. Mercian Leaders are creative partners, not clones. We have differences of opinion. An idea that works well in one context may be unsuitable in another. But as we discuss the best way forward for Mercian schools, we have this in common: we want to make our schools places that are not just about acquiring information, but about achieving transformation.

We also know that we carry a big responsibility to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. We are committed to training programmes that recognise and nurture fresh talent, giving our colleagues the opportunity to carry on learning and developing themselves.

Tim Swain


Tim Swain is the CEO for the Trust and is enjoying the challenge of working in partnership with all the schools after more than 30 years at QM. (He deserves a break!) Outside work Tim enjoys cycling up mountains – excellent training for launching the Mercian.

Phil Lines

Finance Officer

Phil Lines is the Chief Finance Officer designate of the MAT. He holds the purse strings for The Mercian and is working hard to keep us all afloat financially. Outside work, Phil has recently found a new enthusiasm for amateur dramatics.

Alison Bruton

School Improvement

Alison Bruton is Headteacher of QMHS. As an NLE and LA Advisor, she has plenty of experience working with partners on school improvement and is geared up to take on a similar role for the MAT. She is a Star Trek fan and also a keen football supporter. Her team plays at the Molineux!

David Mountey

Initial Teacher Training and Professional Development

David Mountney retired as Head of Aldridge School last summer, shortly after leading the team through a successful Ofsted inspection. He is staying with the Mercian in a part time consultancy capacity, focusing mainly on CPD and developing links with local universities.

Ray Beech

Primary Links

Ray Beech is Principal of Shire Oak Academy. As founder of the Shire Oak Primary Partnership, he has taken on a role for the MAT engaging with Primary schools interested in joining The Mercian. Born and bred in the town, Ray is a keen sportsman and supports Walsall FC.

Richard Langton

ASCL Council

Richard Langton is Head of School at QMGS. He is a member of the ASCL National Council and has worked there for the curriculum, qualifications, professional and research committee. He loves travel and has led expeditions to India, Chile and Tanzania. He is a strong advocate for those who suffer from problems of mental health.

Ian Bryant

School evaluation, data and Ofsted

Ian Bryant was appointed as the new Head of Aldridge School in September 2017. Before then, he was Head at Kingsmead in Staffs, taking the school through two Ofsted inspections where they were rated good. He hopes to go one better at Aldridge!

Dan Parkes

Director of School Development - New Schools

Dan Parkes is the founding Principal of Walsall Studio School and is well known for his innovative and pioneering approach to improving education provision for all. In the team he takes particular responsibility for partnerships and new schools. He is currently overseeing work on the new Ladder School which we hope will be joining the MAT family of schools in September 2018.

Lois Kelly

Director of School Improvement

Lois is an experienced senior leader who has a successful back ground in both curriculum and pastoral leadership. Her role in the MAT is to work with leaders across the schools on self-evaluation and quality assurance. In addition, she is a practising Ofsted inspector.


The Trustees are the Directors of the Multi Academy. They have a collectively responsibility to:

  • Ensure compliance with charity and company law
  • Determine, alongside the Executive Team, the strategic priorities of the MAT
  • Determine and review Trust-wide policies
  • Ensure financial probity
  • Determine the funding model across the Trust and set the budgets for individual Academies
  • Review and challenge progress of the trust against its agreed objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Appoint staff at Senior Leadership Level

The Board of Trustees is responsible for all the Academies in the MAT. It exercises its role by delegating some functions to the Local Governing Body (LGB) of each academy through an agreed Scheme of Delegation.

There will be eleven Trustees. Eight have been so far been appointed and there are currently three vacancies.

Philip Sturrock (MBE)


Philip Sturrock was Chair of Governors at QMGS, but has stepped down in order to take on Chairmanship of the Mercian Trust. He is a Council Member of University College London.

Will Hodson

Vice chair

Will Hodson is Vice Chair of the MAT and Chair of Aldridge School Local Governing Body (LGB). He is Operations Director of Pertemps Recruitment Co.

Jane Bonner


Jane Bonner was, until very recently, Head of Service - Education Standards and Improvement For Children's Services, Education. She has experience as an Ofsted Inspector.

Melanie Crooks

Chair of Finance Committee

Melanie Crooks is Director of Finance for the Church of England Birmingham Diocese. She has experience in setting up and running the Diocesan MAT.

Kevin Davis


Kevin Davis is CEO of the Vine Trust Group (VTG) and Chair of Walsall Studio School LGB. The VTG founded the Studio School and has secured approval for an Alternative Provision Free School.

Mark Harland


Mark Harland is a Director of Form, a company specialising in leadership development and growth consultancy. He has experience working with high growth SMEs as well as international brands

Rebecca Hearsey


Rebecca Hearsey is Chair of Queen Mary’s High School LGB. She is a solicitor who specialises in personal injury cases and works for Irwin Mitchell in Birmingham.

Kevin Hubery


Kevin Hubery is Chair of Shire Oak Academy LGB. He is Head of Strategic Policy and Leadership Support for Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe.


The Custodians of the Trust are officially known as the Members. They function in much the same way as shareholders of a company. Membership is shared by the Queen Mary’s Foundation and the Vine Trust Group, Walsall. The Queen Mary’s Foundation is a Corporate Member and appoints two further Members. The Vine Trust Group is a Corporate Member and appoints one further Member.

Together, they are responsible for:

  • Appointing (and removing) the Trustees
  • Holding the Executive Team to account for the successful operation of the Trust
  • Amending the Articles of Association
  • Winding up the Trust
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John Punch

Queen Mary’s Foundation

John Punch is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is the Director and Proprietor of a local building and surveying company and has wide experience in the education sector.

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Vivian Fairbank

Queen Mary’s Foundation

Vivian Fairbank is a former Chair of Governors and Chair of the Investment Committee of the Queen Mary’s Foundation. She is an advocate for gender equality and is Secretary of the local branch of Soroptimist International. She is also Vice Chair of the local National Trust Association.

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John Vallance

Queen Mary’s Foundation

John Vallance is a retired teacher. He is interested in local history and maintains the Archive Collection for one of the Trust schools. His work with young people includes a role as Group Bosun for a local branch of the Sea Scouts. He is also a Royal Yachting Association Instructor.

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Brian Powell

Vine Trust Group

Brian Powell has experience as a Sales and Marketing Director. He also works in the Voluntary Sector in a number of roles: he is Chair of Governors at a local Special School and a Trustee of a Women’s Sanctuary, Global Outreach. He is Chair of Bentley beginnings Family centre.

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David Lomax

Vine Trust Group

David Lomax is a former Assistant Headteacher with experience in Safeguarding, Pupil Premium and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). He has served as a Governor and has been involved in setting up Free Schools.