The Central Team

Darren Holmes

Chief Executive Officer

Darren leads the development of the Enquire Learning Trust. In this capacity works with leaders, teachers, local governors and other professionals to enhance leadership, develop teaching and learning, facilitate improvement, foster transformation and generate quality outcomes for young people. Developing effective approaches to collaboration lies at the heart of Darren’s leadership and the work of the Trust. Darren is an experienced leader, coach and facilitator. His specialism is in developing practice, provision and opportunity through reflection on action, enquiry based learning and powerful communities of practice. He has written on a range of leadership issues for journals and national publications and has presented at national and international research conventions. He is an experienced designer of professional development and has a passion for unlocking the potential of others. Darren has made a key contribution to work at regional and national level through the National College, DfE and TDA. His previous experience includes more than 20 years as a teacher, school leader and senior local authority officer. He has worked as a researcher and facilitator for the National College. Together with Ronnie Woods he co-created Enquire in 2006. Darren is a Yorkshire emigre living in the North East. He is married to Suzanne and they have three fantastic children who provide a crucial perspective on learning. In his spare time he reads widely, tends a wildlife garden, walks a dog, plays football and picks a mean guitar!

Paul Kennedy

Director of Business Development and Operations

Paul currently lives in Wakefield and prior to joining the Trust in 2013 worked for a number of years within the local government finance sector. As a Principal Officer, he lead the finance team of a council department and provided advice and support on the financial arrangements for European funded revenue and capital projects across Barnsley and Wakefield. For 14 years Paul was employed as a Business Director, part of the senior leadership team of a large secondary school in Barnsley. During this tenure he initiated and implemented numerous school based business developments, attracted revenue and capital grant funding for the development of a number of small, medium and large scale projects, and had strategic responsibility for all school based support, resources and delegated functions. In his current role, Paul is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of all Trust business and operations.

Liz Thompson

Director of Governance and Development

Liz Thompson graduated from Huddersfield university in 2010 with a BA Hons degree in Business Management and Administration. She went on to do a 1 year project around Safe guarding of children with special educational needs. Following the project she did 2 years in administration before joining the Enquire Learning Trust as the Academies Development Officer.

Brett Webster

Director of Information Technology

Brett has over 20 years experience working in an ICT environment, the majority of which have been education based. Prior to joining ELT, Brett worked as the Strategic ICT Manager for Kingstone School, and then Horizon Community College when the BSF scheme merged two large secondary schools back in 2012. Brett’s role is to ensure that all our academies have the same level of ICT provision and that every student gets the same opportunities of an information technology nature. He leads across the Trust to support and guide our schools in their use of ICT and associated systems. He works closely with schools to align their needs with the Trust vision, procuring hardware and software at both school and Trust wide levels. Brett will also develop central systems within the Trust itself to ensure that we have the correct platforms and systems in place to provide a high level of support to all our academies.

Lauren Pilgrim

Director of People

Lauren began her career within Local Government spending over seven years working in various departments with NE Lincolnshire Council. Her chosen career path in HR commenced in 2012, moving from NE Lincolnshire Council to the Trust in November 2014. She has completed an MSc in Human Resource Management. Lauren is responsible for all areas of Human Resources and Personnel matters across the Trust, as well as overseeing the Payroll team, and works closely with our leadership groups to provide a dedicated framework of support to the central trust and academies. Lauren is also responsible for risk and reputation management across the organisation.

Jodie Osbourne

Director of Finance (CFO)

Jodie Younger joined the Enquire Learning Trust in November 2014 as trust accountant. In September 2017 she took on the role as Chief Finance Officer. She is responsible for the financial management and sustainability of the Trust and working alongside the Trust Finance Manager and Academy Business Managers to ensure a comprehensive and effective financial support service is in place across the Trust. Jodie is a qualified chartered accountant and prior to joining the trust worked in private practice for nearly 15 years.

Rebecca Clayton

Director of Improvement and Performance

Appointed to her first headship in 2009 to a socially deprived school in challenging circumstances, Rebecca led the academy to outstanding in 2016. Shaped by this, Rebecca still retains her passion for enabling all children to flourish in an environment of outstanding practice. Rebecca’s leadership career has spanned over 20 years in schools with a variety of challenging contexts. Rebecca’s vision is that leadership and collaboration is at the heart of making schools extraordinary places to learn. Her school improvement role is to work alongside principals to develop depth of leadership within each academy and offers coaching and challenging support to leaders in designing effective whole school provision. Rebecca also supports curriculum leaders in designing progressive and coherent curriculum plans so that pupils develop a wealth of connected knowledge and skills that prepares them for the next stage of education. She is passionate about maths and data and as part of her role, she analyses ELT performance and supports leaders developing robust systems for gap analysis.

Jaimie Holbrook

Director of Improvement and Effectiveness

Jaimie is a former executive principal who now provides professional development and school improvement support for the Enquire academies. Developing effective pedagogies, designing engaging curriculum approaches and building leadership capacity is central to Jaimie’s work. In addition to leading a successful school, Jaimie has worked in a range of schools in different contexts supporting leadership and improvement for the local authority. He designs and delivers a range of professional development opportunities and draws upon the expertise across the Trust to broker collaborative support. Jaimie has a strong understanding of the requirements of the Ofsted framework and he supports the academies within the Trust to prepare for inspection

Jamie McGuire

Estates Manager

Jamie has a background in process operations, working in both local and multinational companies since leaving school. This gave him experience and an interest in health and safety, particularly with regard to plant, equipment and buildings. He soon became involved in Health & Safety and then gained further qualifications in this field. Jamie began my work in education as a primary school site manager and then became the Trust’s Interim Health & Safety Officer. Responsible for the sites and premises infrastructure, buildings condition, facilities management, health and safety, estates maintenance, utilities, project and contract management and developing the Trust’s capital programme priorities.

Simon Thompson

Payroll Manager

Simon has worked within Payroll for over 30 years. He began his career processing the payroll for a large retail company in Leeds, before doing the same within the Print and Engineering sector. Simon joined the Trust in April 2015 and his main role within the Trust is to ensure all our employees are paid accurately and on time and offer guidance and expertise on any payroll and pension related issues. He has a Diploma in Payroll Management.

Holly Robinson

Payroll Officer

Holly joined the Trust in June 2017 after completing sixth form. She worked as an apprentice providing administrative support to the central team. Holly completed her apprenticeship in 2018 and moved on to work within our Payroll department. Outside of work I enjoy travelling to new places and going to concerts and festivals. I have a whippet called Charlie that I like to take out on plenty of long walks.

Lynsey Freear

Finance Manager

Lynsey Freear started her career in private practice before moving into industry, spending several years within the refining and manufacturing sectors whilst studying to become a qualified management accountant (CIMA qualified). Lynsey joined the Enquire Learning Trust in September 2017 as Responsible Officer. In March 2020 she took on the role of Trust Finance Manager, working alongside the Director of Finance and Academy Business Managers, to provide effective financial support.

Alison Semley

Data and Intelligence Officer

Alison has just over 20 years experience working in the education sector. The first 2 years working as IT Learner Support Officer for Barnsley College and the next 9 years teaching ICT at a Barnsley primary School. Before joining the trust in May 2018 she worked for Barnsley Council managing the Sims Support Team which included supporting the Trust from its infancy. Working closely with Rebecca Clayton, the biggest challenge has been to create, develop and implement an assessment tracking and analysis system across the Trust. In her spare time Alison enjoys all sports specifically netball, running, cycling and long country works with her family and their dog.

Sara Gartshore

Office Manager

Sara has worked in various administrative roles across the Financial Sector and Local Government. These range from mortgage processing, call centre coaching, Customer Services and Learning & Development to Children’s Homes and Short Break Services administration and Child Safeguarding. In 2015, she completed her Level 3 Diploma and Certificate in Business & Administration. Sara also plays in a brass band!

Kerrie Birch

HR Officer

Kerrie joined the Enquire Learning Trust in June 2019 as a Business Admin Apprentice. Since qualifying she is now working with the HR department. Kerrie is qualified in CIPD Level 3 Human Resource Practice and is working towards her Level 7 degree.

Matthew Rowlay

Estates Assistant

Matthew has recently joined the Trust having previously worked for over 10 years managing draught beer installations for the brewing industry. Outside of work he enjoys going to music gigs and festivals as well as being a keen sports fan.

Michael Marsh

Catering Operations Manager

Michael has been working in the catering sector all his working life, from running large events to working in the catering education sector which he began over 8 years ago, looking after both primary and secondary schools. Michael’s role within the trust is to oversee the day-to-day operation of school catering and supports the teams on site when required. Michael is also looking at the way the catering provision can be improved across our schools to make sure the children are getting a healthy, balanced menu whilst in school, by using healthy free-range products and red tractor meat. Michael currently lives near Manchester but is originally from the North East, he loves mountain biking in his spare time.

Tracey Seddon

Catering Area Manager (West)

Tracey has been in Catering all her working life, starting off in hotels in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She moved to Manchester at the age of 19 to further her hotel career. Tracey started in schools 7 years ago and has been Catering Manager at Godley Primary Academy for 5 of those years. She is a Mum of two football crazy boys aged 15 and 10 (and a football crazy husband) so her weekends are mostly spent on the sideline watching them both in all types of weather. Tracey enjoys socialising, swimming and on very rare occasions pampering herself!

Alison Earnshaw-Akers

Catering Area Manager (North)

Alison currently has 18 years Catering experience within the primary and secondary education setting. She has qualified up to a Level 4 Diploma in Hospitality and Management. On a day-to-day basis Alison supports the teams across her 10 schools within the North East. Alison Has a genuine passion for locally sourced produce to create nutritionally balanced wholesome food. She loves being creative with recipes and themed menus. Outside of work she enjoys music and dancing, taking long walks with her dog, and loves to cook for her family and friends.

Angie Gilby

Catering Area Manager (East)

Angie started in catering at the age of 16 in her first job as silver service waitress at the Beacholme, Grimsby, holding banquets for up to 600 people. Angie gained City and Guilds General Catering qualifications leading to her qualifying as a chef. Angie has worked in various roles over the years working in hotels, restaurants, care homes. These have included Carvery Chef, supervisor, Head Chef and Kitchen Manager. Starting to work for the Trust in August 2020, Angie started as a Kitchen Manager, thoroughly enjoyed working with the children, being responsible for cooking a tasty, healthy lunch, making sure they are ready for an afternoon of learning. Achieving promotion in November 2021, Angie became Area Support Manager within The Trust – finding her dream job, overseeing the running of kitchens and teams in the 11 schools in the East hub. Working for the children has become a passion of Angie’s where she enjoys working to the best of her abilities and continuing to improve and grow the service to give them the best dining experience the Trust can offer.

Rachel Cooper

Vulnerable Pupils Lead

Rachel has had a career in Education spanning over 15 years. Her journey started within Further Education in which she supported and then taught aspiring beauty therapists. Rachel returned to study and graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2017 with a First Class Honours Degree in Education and Professional Development in which she focused her study in relation to safeguarding practice and policy. Rachel initially joined the trust in one of our Tameside Primary Schools in January 2017 and has worked as part of The Central Team since January 2022. Rachel works together with leaders, teachers and support staff to provide a strong culture of safeguarding across our academies and is a strong advocate for pupil voice. Rachel also works to support academy leaders in improving attendance and supporting children at risk of exclusion. As part of her role, Rachel also works in collaboration with the SEND team. On her days off, Rachel likes to bake, (whilst singing away to her favourite singer – Olly Murs!) and loves to spend time out and about with her husband Christian and their family, which includes their pet Pug, Milo, who is very spoilt and very cute.

Chloe Armitage

Admin Assistant

Chloe joined the Enquire Learning Trust in August 2022 as an admin assistant. Before joining us she previously worked in the banking sector for a few years. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends and long walks with her dog and her own mini family.

Helen Stuart

Finance Officer

Helen joined the Trust Central Team in September 2022, after spending 6 years as an Academy Business Manager for two Trust academies in the North East. As Finance Officer, Helen is responsible for the day to day support of the Academy Business Managers and works closely with the Director of Finance and the Finance Manager to provide management information to the Trust’s central team. Prior to working in the education sector Helen spent over 10 years in property and estate management.

Leah Collins

HR Manager

Leah joined ELT as HR Manager in Autumn 2023 bringing over 10 years of HR experience with her. She began her HR career in further education with a focus on staff development before moving on to a higher education setting at a University, working in a number of operational roles throughout her time there. She is excited about joining the primary education sector and embracing a new approach to HR in the process. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends, travelling to sunny locations and attending live music events.

Delyth Linacre

School Improvement Officer - Early Years

Delyth was previously Principal at one of the Trust's schools, Easterside, in Middlesbrough, where she led the school for nine years, through two successful Ofsted inspections. Her current role allows her to work alongside Principals and leaders, to support academy improvement, through focused, challenge and support. Part of her role also includes the leading of Early Years across the trust. Early Years education is a passion of hers and stems from many years as an early years teacher and leader in school, where she also carried out school improvement activities for the local authority and Sure Start, working across local schools and private settings. As Principal, getting it right for the very youngest pupils has been essential to ensuring children get the very best start to their education and in fostering an early love of learning. Delyth is delighted to have joined the central team, and hopes her passions and knowledge for early years, play and outdoor learning, will now benefit pupils across the wider Trust.

Paula Anderson

SEND Officer

Paula qualified with BA(Hons) in Primary Education and began her teaching career in 1999. Her first posts were as a mainstream teacher in inner city Manchester schools, and she became a lead teacher for Manchester LA with a particular focus on modelling for and coaching colleagues new to teaching working within diverse classroom environments. In 2003 she became a SENCo alongside her teaching role and this is when she began furthering her knowledge and skills in Special Educational Needs and leadership. In 2007 she joined Tameside LA as she became the Inclusion Manager and Teacher with responsibility for a Resource Provision with a mainstream school and in 2014, she was then appointed to a similar role within Oakfield Primary Academy and began to facilitate some SEND outreach work to support local schools. Paula has a range of skills to enable her to plan, teach and assess children with a complexity of need and a passion for supporting colleagues to develop their practice in this area.