Laurence Cooper - Member & Chair of the Trust
Member & Chair of the Trust Board
I became a Governor when I saw how much the school had helped my son, my motivation is to help other sons and daughters achieve their potential and aspirations. I have helped lead the school through considerate change and I am very proud that we promote the highest standards in all areas of school life.
I am a Managing Director and I worked on rebuilding Manchester City after the IRA bombing in 1996. I joined Peel Holdings as Managing Director of the Manchester Ship Canal development in 2006 and oversaw the development of Media City in 2007. I have a daughter with special educational needs and I am committed to making sure children get the best provision possible.
I have 28 years’ experience in education, 16 years of which have been at senior leadership and consultancy level. I am an experienced Head of PE, Assistant and Vice Principal responsible for Pastoral and Inclusion and was Senior Vice Principal and Acting Principal of a start-up Academy in the centre of London.
Amanda Nicholson - CEO / Executive Principal
CEO / Executive Principal
In my role as CEO/Executive Principal I sit on the LAB as a Governor with specific responsibility for SEND. I am also the CEO of the King’s Academy Trust. I have led Oakwood Academy through academy conversion in 2012, outstanding Ofsted inspections in 2013 and 2017, opened a 6th form and lowered our age range so we can facilitate smoother transition to secondary education. I became a National Leader of Education in 2015 and Oakwood was designated a National Teaching School in 2016. We are now working hard to train the next generation of SEND teachers and undertake school to school support in a variety of settings.
My specialism is education, especially SEND, but I work across mainstream in both primary and secondary. I have led my schools through 3 outstanding Ofsted inspections and I am a trained Ofsted Inspector.
Jillian Collinson - Vice Chair of Trust Board
I have lived in Worsley for over twenty years and have four children. My working background is in human resources and administration. Prior to becoming a Councillor, I was a co-opted member of the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee. I was Vice Chair of Governors at Springwood (Special) Primary.
My specialism is safeguarding and E Safety. My school has been judged to be outstanding on three occasions. I have attended significant amounts of safeguarding training both as a Councillor and as a Vice Chair of Governors over the past 14 years. The impact is that I am well trained in all areas of safeguarding and can hold organisations to account for their provision.
I have worked for the Education Funding Agency and for the National College as a fully qualified Accountant. I am committed to the Kings Academy Trust.
My specialism is business and financial management. Because of my training I can hold other Accountants to account for financial management of the organisation.
Future Skills Manager, BBC North. I was a BBC journalist for many years working for both local and network radio. I then became a senior community journalist, working with communities across Yorkshire. After a move to work in Salford managing a school’s journalism project, I became the Community Affairs Manager for the MediaCityUK site, making the initial contacts with local groups and schools in the North West. I have worked on a variety of BBC events where I have met children and staff from Oakwood and volunteered to become a community governor for the school. I now work in an HR role which involves links with schools, colleges and universities to provide information about the routes in to the Creative and Media industries. I also deliver staff training and manage diversity events at BBC North. I have two grown up children. I wanted to be involved with The Oakwood Academy Schools Trust because I work in Salford and wanted to give something back. I chose Oakwood because I am passionate about diversity and after one visit I was hooked.
My specialism is work experience and supporting young people into employment. At the BBC I helped to lead a transformation into thinking around disability and helping people into employment with the organisation who were from low starting points.
I started my career as a teacher and went on to be head of KS3, before joining the Salford LEA School Advisory Service as Curriculum Trainer. I was then promoted to the role of a School Inspector and I also became an Ofsted Inspector. My most recent post in Children’s Services was Head of Education Services. This required me to have Line Management for a range of services and projects that worked with the most vulnerable and hard to reach pupils in the City. I have been Chair of the Canterbury Centre Management Committee for the last 6 years and I contribute to development and delivery of Whole School Safeguarding Training in Salford Schools. My specialism is safeguarding and as a Chair of Governors education.
I led The Canterbury Centre PRU from RI to Good with the help of Oakwood. The impact of this was that the pupils began to get a better education and were being safeguarded effectively.
I have worked in education for over 15 years and have the passion and drive to help to ensure that all pupils with SEND fulfil their full potential. I have worked in both Primary and Secondary Mainstream and Special Needs Sectors. I have gained valuable experience working in 2 Outstanding Special Schools during this time.
I spent 2 of my early years as an NQT teaching in a Mainstream Primary School in Salford, teaching within KS2 to Years 3 and 5. It was here that I became a lead English Teacher for the Local Authority. I then spent the rest of my teaching career working in Special Education starting at Oakwood Academy developing the Year 7 Foundation Provision, progressing to become the Academy’s Inclusion Manager & SENCO. During this time, I had the privilege of working with many local mainstream and special schools in Salford to offer opportunities for Inclusion and develop CPD opportunities for those colleagues to ensure that all pupils with SEND receive the best opportunities to succeed and thrive. Whilst at Oakwood I also had experience of working for the SSAT on Curriculum Design & Development, this involved me helping to develop SEND on a wider national scale.
I gained my NPQH Qualification in 2011 and since 2013 I have been the Deputy Head Teacher at Green Lane Special School (MLD/Complex Needs Ages 4-19) and have helped lead the school to its Outstanding OFSTED judgement in May 2015. During this time, I have held a key role working with Warrington Teaching schools and the School Improvement Alliance to offer CPD opportunities across Warrington & beyond. I have been part of a team to Lead SEND Reviews in mainstream schools with the aim to drive improvements helping all pupils with SEND to receive the best education.
I have been Head at The Canterbury Centre, Salford’s Pupil Health Referral Unit, since 2012 and have overseen lots of improvements there. The Canterbury Centre has worked very closely with Oakwood Academy to raise standards for the benefit of all who attend.
My area of expertise is mental health and emotional wellbeing. Schools have a role to play in supporting pupils to be resilient and mentally healthy; academic success correlates strongly with robust mental health and wellbeing.
I feel privileged to join Oakwood’s governing board and work as part of the Curriculum Committee. I am looking forward to ensuring that the young people attending Oakwood Academy continue to enjoy their learning and prepare effectively for life post-16.