Central Team

Our Central Team is tight and cohesive in order to effectively support and deliver on Trust priorities and accountabilities, but also to avoid an overly costly group which over-manages school leaders and hampers the funding impact on the frontline in schools.

The Central Team appreciate that their responsibility is to support and enable school leaders to bring about the best possible outcomes for all students and all their work is expected to be deployed towards that end.

The Central Team is made up of the following individuals:

Matt Allman – Chief Executive Officer

Matt has extensive experience in education having worked in education since the mid-1990s and having been on the senior leadership team in five schools across London and the Midlands. Matt has held two headships and is currently Head at The Friary School in Lichfield.

Matt played a lead role in forming the Greywood Multi-Schools Trust and his career has seen him develop high-level expertise in coaching, leadership, teaching and learning, as well as speak at a range of national conferences. Matt’s leadership style has attracted high praise from OFSTED with his two inspection  reports as Headteacher describing “the abundant energy and enthusiasm that characterises your leadership” and “rapidly created confidence in his vision”.


Karen Baker – Chief Finance Officer

Karen is employed by MLG Education Services Ltd, a specialist education finance company, and is through them our CFO.  Karen is a chartered accountant with experience in both the public and private sectors. She has worked in audit, financial reporting and treasury and also, more recently, as a School Business Manager covering finance, HR, Health & Safety and Premises.

Elsewhere, Karen is a parent governor at her local primary school where she chairs the Resources Committee and a member of the ICAEW and ISBL.


Jackie Hesselgrave – Compliance Officer

Jackie has over 24 years of experience in Human Resource roles within public and private sector organisations. Indeed, 7 years of these were with Staffordshire County Council, either supporting Education Support Services, or directly supporting primary, secondary and special schools across Staffordshire in the role of Senior HR Consultant. Her most recent experience is at Queen’s Croft High School, in the role of Business Manager. Jackie holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Development and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD. In addition she has significant experience of managing Health and Safety within social housing and school settings.


Alex White – Primary School Improvement Officer

Alex has over 15 years experience across a strIng of Staffordshire primary schools and has taught across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Her innovative approach emphasises applied learning, combined with a full appreciation of the discipline and structure of effective teaching and learning, added with the dash of fun and excitement that hooks young minds into a topic.

More recently, Alex has created a full phonics scheme and is liaising with national publishers who are keen to take her programme on.

Elsewhere, Alex is a Spanish speaker, a keen environmentalist and lives in Lichfield.


Helen Young – Secondary School Improvement Officer

Helen has taught geography in secondary schools for 25 years. Alongside this, she carries out extensive educational consultancy roles with a wide range of organisations. Helen develops innovative TV and digital content for schools through her work with BBC Bitesize, BBC Teach and CBBC. She has authored Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-Level core textbooks for the Advisory Unit and Cambridge University Press, and has developed interactive resources and online content for Pamoja, Boardworks and Doddle.

Helen advises national organisations, such as Pearson, and is an External Subject Expert for Ofqual.  She also guides and supports primary and secondary schools nationally and internationally through her website geographygeek.co.uk.

Helen has a Master’s Degree in Education, holds Chartered Geographer status and has received the prestigious Ordnance Survey Award for contributions to geography in secondary education.