Sean Westaway

Sean has been a School Governor since 2004 and a Chair of Governors since 2006, first in a VC CE Primary School but is now the current Chair of the Infinity Academies Trust, a 7 school Majority Church of England Primary MAT based in Lincolnshire.

​Designated as a National Leader of Governance between 2015 and 2021, Sean was trained to carry out External Reviews of Governance (ERG). He received extremely positive feedback from the LA (Lincolnshire) and his support work was highlighted in Ofsted reports and featured in articles produced by KYRA Teaching School and Forum Strategy both focussing on rapid school improvement and his role in achieving this.

​Sean has completed numerous governor Training courses including NLG Masterclasses and has worked with all of what were the Lincolnshire Teaching Schools to improve governance for all partner Schools and Trusts.

Sean has Chaired Independent Complaints Panels and has worked with MAT boards and Maintained School boards to improve all apsect of their governance, through Reviews of Governance, mentoring of Chairs or Full Governing Bodies and periods acting as an Associate Governor to model good governance.

​Sean is very passionate about governance in Lincolnshire, especially Boston and East Lindsey as traditionally these areas have not been well supported.  He also provides free training to new governors and update training to existing governors through governor forums which are run 3 times per year. This enables him to reach the maximum number of governors he can, to provide them with much needed advice, guidance and support.

​Sean operates predominately in the Primary phase of education and will provide virtual support in any area and is willing to travel for face to face support when time and distance allows.. As well as providing advice and support to Governors, Sean works full time in the aviation Industry leading a team of Senior Safety Consultants and is a qualified and registered ISO standard auditor.

Sean can be contacted via Purple Governance or by emailing

Fiona Stagg

Fiona (Fee) Stagg is a NLG based in North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. She is an experienced Governance Professional having worked in a medium sized Multi Academy Trust in the role of Head of Governance and Policy and is now self employed. Fee is author of a number of governance and clerking blogs; some of which have been featured in national education press.

She is also a Chair of Trustees and has experience of chairing, and clerking in a variety of settings including IEB. Fee was short listed in the NGA Outstanding Clerk awards in 2017 and has subsequently been invited to talk at a number of governance conferences on clerking.

Fee also undertakes External Reviews of Governance and delivers a range of governor development sessions including academy governance, effective practice and clerking.

By background Fee is a Chartered Town Planner and has experience in strategic planning, bidding and in business planning and action planning for voluntary sector groups.

She  can be contacted via Purple Governance or on : Fee tweets as @dogpaws23

Duncan Haworth MBE

Image previewDuncan has a wealth of experience as a school governor, which lead to him becoming an “original” National Leader of Governance (NLG) in 2013. Having also received formal NCSL training on carrying out External Reviews of Governance, Duncan has worked locally and nationally completing External Reviews of Governance, always looking to positively help local governance so that the education of all pupils in the school is enhanced. These External Reviews have included not only maintained schools but also schools within Multi-academy Trusts (MATs). Duncan is always keen to encourage “conversations” with governing boards to help them inform their future development needs and continuing professional development.

As an experienced NLG Duncan has supported and mentored Chairs of Governors, helping new inexperienced Chairs through that crucial first 12 months of being a Chair. He has also helped resolve concerns within more mature governing boards especially when there are issues which interface with senior leaders of schools.

Duncan is based in Cheshire West being chair of an outstanding 420 pupil maintained primary school, a governor at a large 1750 pupil secondary converter Academy, vice chair at a maintained secondary special school on the Wirral for pupils with behaviour / SEMH issues and a governor at a 350-pupil primary school in Wales He is also a member at two MATs. Duncan also has a fairly unique different perspective in that he is a trained, registered lay inspector of schools in Wales, having been involved in over 100 school inspections since September 2010.

He is a current Board Trustee of the National Governance Association (NGA), having previously been Chair and Honorary Treasurer of the Association. As a Board Trustee of NGA and a previous officer of the Association he has been privileged to be involved in governance at a national level. Duncan was delighted to receive an MBE in the Queen’s Honours list in January 2016 for services to education, which he feels very honoured to have been nominated for.

Duncan sits on and frequently chairs school admission appeals along with sitting on Exclusion Independent Review Panels, having received annual training, over the last 10 years, to carry out these important and difficult appeal processes. Over the last three years Duncan has seen a significant increase of being called upon to act as an independent investigation officer for school complaints where his overall experience and capability makes him the ideal candidate. Duncan has over the past twelve months sat on complaint panels for academy schools where there is a need for an independent panel member, grievance panels and disciplinary panels up to and including dismissal of headteachers

Another aspect of Duncan’s vast experience is working within Interim Executive Boards (IEB). In this situation the level of support to the school is both high and intense, the IEB having replaced the governing board of the school. He has undertaken IEBs in two schools both with significant safeguarding and staffing issues. In both cases the successful appointment finished with the schools being deemed “good” at subsequent Ofsted inspections.

Ariana Yakas MBE

Ariana Yakas is a NLG based in Manchester. She is a Chair of a three school (primary) Multi Academy Trust with recent experience of chairing an Interim Executive Board.  Ariana has been a governor for over 15 years, having helped a number of governing bodies improve and develop. She has been trained and carried out External Reviews of Governance across the Greater Manchester area.  She has also held sessions in helping Governing Bodies get from Good to Outstanding.  Ariana sits on the Manchester Schools Alliance Board helping to develop good governance across the city.

Ariana works on a part time basis as an associate lecturer in Business Management, Strategy and Project Management and Risk.  She has Professional Indemnity Insurance, Public Liability Insurance and is DBS checked.

Ariana can be contacted via Purple Governance or on

Martin Matthews

Martin was a valued colleague and friend who has sadly passed away. Our thoughts are with his family. His expertise is sadly missed by many in the governance community.

Lynn Nicholls

Lynn is an Educational consultant based in the North West and focused on secondary school improvement and in particular raising achievement for disadvantaged students. Lynn works for a very successful teaching school delivering a range of leadership training courses to support continuous improvement. She undertakes pupil premium reviews and has a significant record of accomplishment in ‘closing the gap’ for disadvantaged students.

Lynn is a director of a large multi academy trust in the North West consisting of a full range of schools, primary, secondary and post 16 as well as a special school. She chairs the NW1 Maths Hub, which brings together maths specialists from universities, schools and colleges to develop strong practice in maths teaching methodology for sustained improvement. Lynn is also a governor of a very large college in the North West, which is itself working in partnership with another College supporting improvement across the sector.

Lynn was the Head teacher of Sale High School from September 2009 to August 2017. She served previously as a deputy Head teacher in two schools, one in Salford, which she helped to move out of special Measures and one in Warrington, an 11-18 setting that moved to Good.

Sale High School improved from special measures to Good with outstanding areas in June 2015 under Lynn’s leadership. The school had suffered from a dramatically falling roll and a poor reputation within the local and wider community. The school is vibrant community where high expectations support students to aspire. It is now a school of choice for local parents and is currently over-subscribed.

Lynn can be contacted via Purple Governance or via

Anne-Marie Winter

Anne-Marie is an educational consultant based in the North West who has a wide range of education and strategic leadership experience and is the founder and Director of ESN, (Education Solutions North). Anne-Marie has, in effect, sat on ‘both side of the table’ having worked at a senior level within the Education and Skills Funding Agency as a Project Director, in a local authority as a School Improvement Advisor, and been part of the senior leadership team within a Further Education College and a Multi Academy Trust.

She is acutely aware of, and able to operate and communicate within politically sensitive environments and has extensive experience of developing productive relationships with stakeholders to engage, motivate and coach those involved to find solutions to complex, challenging and exciting initiatives.

Anne-Marie has a deep understanding of working in an environment of uncertainty and continual change and has demonstrated an ability to effectively deal with existing or potential conflict at an individual, team or strategic level.

She is currently registered as one of the approved Level 4 Project Planners with the Government Project Delivery Profession team.

She has skills and experience and can offer expertise in the following areas:

* Writing strategic MAT performance reports for local and national stakeholders including Trust Board members, Department for Education, Ministers and Regional School Commissioners

* Writing bids to successfully access central government funding, with previous successful bids amounting to over £2 million

* Reviewing and assessing, previously as part of an Education Funding Agency team, Free School, and University Technical College applications from sponsors, all of which have successfully opened schools

* Writing bids to expand existing or developing MAT provision, with previous bids amounting to supporting growth by a third of the original MAT size.

* Project management of capital project teams, previously as an Education Funding Agency Project Director for 15 projects, each with an individual project value of between £7m and £10m

* Implementing high quality and compliant MAT governance structures which help ensure accountability and communication from school to Board level and back

* Guidance on the implementation of strategic and operational MAT practices and procedure for example; GDPR, school policies, Freedom of Information requests, Subject Access requests for personal data and public consultations

Anne-Marie has an MBA in Education Administration, holds an enhanced DBS and personal indemnity insurance.

She can be contacted either through Purple Governance or through