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Meet our Central Executive Team

Julie Greenwood - Chief Executive Officer / Accounting Officer

Mrs Greenwood began her teaching career in Lower Gornal, Dudley in 1990. Over the next 6 years she worked in Bilston, Wolverhampton and then onto Erdington in Birmingham. Mrs Greenwood originally specialised in PE and Special Needs and in 2001 became Deputy Head Teacher at Leigh Primary School in Inner City Birmingham.


In 2006 she was appointed Head Teacher at Leigh Primary School and over the next 5 years focused on turning a satisfactory school to a ‘Good’ school in all areas, with ‘Outstanding’ for Capacity for Sustained Improvement and Leadership and Management. 


 In 2011, Mrs Greenwood became a National Leader of Education and started her journey of providing school to school support, to schools in difficulty. In 2012, jointly with the Deputy Head Teacher of Leigh Primary School, they led a Special Measures school to ‘Good’ in all areas over a 12-month period, whilst still leading Leigh.


In 2014, Leigh Multi Academy Trust was formed and as CEO, Mrs Greenwood has continued to take on a number of Interim Headships at schools either in Special Measures or Requires Improvement. The impact of this work can be clearly seen as schools that she has either led or supported have moved from Ofsted categories. Leigh Trust currently comprises of 5 large inner city primary schools. Two of these schools were previously in Special Measures but are both now ‘Good’ schools. Over the last 5 years Julie has had the opportunity to carry out the headship in 4 of the 5 schools in Leigh Trust. Her passion has been to recruit and retain high quality senior leaders. With these skilled teams Leigh Trust has been able to create bespoke school improvement packages which have led to outstanding and rapid school improvement. Mrs Greenwood is also a Member for a local Multi Academy Trust and and is a proactive member of Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) working with other Multi Academy Trusts across Birmingham. 



Rehana Yasmeen - Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Rehana was Head Teacher Leigh Primary School before becoming Deputy CEO of Leigh Trust and Executive Head Teacher. She started her teaching career as an NQT at Leigh, a mere 25 years ago, and brings with her a commitment to children's learning and well-being in schools. With over her 25 years' experience she has not only taught across both Key Stage 1 and 2 but also has a wealth of experience of providing school to school support both for leadership and teaching and learning. She has successfully led schools through numerous successful Ofsted inspections and worked closely with HMI in bringing a school out of special measures and moving it to Good in all areas within a 12-month period. She has been a school governor as well as having served on a number of Interim Executive Board's and fully appreciates the need for schools, governors, leaders and staff to be held accountable whilst having a firm commitment to every individual child. Rehana is a driven individual that thrives on a challenge and whole heartedly believes that school leadership, coaching and school to school support are the key to driving school improvement and ensuring better outcomes for all the children in our care.



Thomas Blewitt - Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Tom previously worked within the Finance sector of the Local Authority providing a professional financial service to schools across Birmingham.  Tom joined Leigh Primary in 2012 as the Schools Business Manager and is now the COO within Leigh Trust having responsibility for managing the central support services to our schools. Tom has also been recently appointed as Leigh Trust Data Protection Officer (DPO). Tom has a wealth of experience and knowledge relating to all areas of Business Management and played a pivotal role in forming Leigh Trust. Tom has professional qualifications and relevant training in all areas relating to schools Finance, Human Resources, ICT, Estates Management, back office support and Governance. He has a good understanding of the statutory requirements for Academies and Multi Academy Trust’s.  Tom has been a key member of staff in supporting and assisting the governance and leadership of the Trust in developing the Trust’s business strategies, corporate structure and more importantly, the support services for our schools. Tom was previously a school governor for all our schools and also sat on the board in an advisory capacity. He has a real passion and belief that all children deserve the right to a good or better education and has the full commitment and drive to work within our ‘TEAM’ in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for all our children within Leigh Trust.



Charlotte Nott - Executive Head Teacher

Charlotte Nott is Leigh Trust’s Curriculum Lead and also holds the position of Executive Head Teacher at both Alston and Nansen Primary Schools. Over the past five years, Charlotte has played a significant role in supporting schools in Special Measures and has helped them to overcome a wide range of barriers, ensuring that rapid improvements are made. She has considerable strengths, having a clear understanding of school data, identifying underachievement and has supported colleagues in taking swift action to improve the performance of staff and children. Prior to supporting both schools, Charlotte was the Head Teacher of Alston Primary School. She played the pivotal role in improving behaviour for learning, changing the culture of teaching and learning and improved the quality and capacity of the leadership at the school. These positive changes led to the school moving forward from Special Measures to Good. Charlotte started her career at Leigh Primary School as an NQT in 1999 and progressed to Deputy before moving onto Headship. She was previously a Maths Specialist Leader of Education and supported a number of schools across the city helping to improve standards in teaching and learning for Maths. Charlotte believes that children are at the heart of everything we do and is passionate about providing high quality education for all.



Razia Ali - Executive Head Teacher

Razia leads Safeguarding across Leigh Trust and holds the position of Executive Head Teacher at both Wyndcliffe and Marlborough Primary Schools. Razia joined Leigh Trust in September 2016 as Head Teacher of Wyndcliffe Primary School and by sharing her high expectations, developed practice and achieved a judgement of ‘Good’ with elements of ‘Outstanding’ at the Ofsted inspection in January 2018. As a result of this success she went on to open an Autism Unit, which has grown rapidly and within a short period of time is at full capacity. Razia thrives on challenges and has previously worked at two other schools judged to be Special Measures, where she worked diligently until the schools achieved the ‘Good’ outcome at the next full inspection. She has worked at five schools over the last twenty five years undertaking a range of roles. Her roles have developed over time, from starting in a school as a parent volunteer and progressing to a Dinner Supervisor, Teaching Assistant, Teacher, Phase Leader, Assistant Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Head Teacher and now is enjoying the challenge of an Executive Head Teacher. Razia’s passion is developing and challenging staff to ensure they engage and respect the needs of all the children in a safe learning environment, whilst providing them with the best opportunities. During her time at Wyndcliffe, she developed many leaders who have gone on to make a difference at other schools across the Trust. She has supported other Head Teachers as a mentor as they settle into their jobs. She is a governor at two schools, and enjoys learning from different establishments and challenging the team appropriately to ensure all the children have the best opportunities. Razia also enjoys raising money for charities and has travelled to Gambia on a number of occasions to support schools with wells. She has also helped provide children with opportunities to go to school by building schools in remote villages. More recently she raised money by doing the ‘Shine walk’ in London. Children are at the heart of her practice and working in the community reminds her of her own upbringing. She strives to be a role model for the children so they are equipped with the skills to make the choices, that will enable them to reach for the stars and beyond. She wholeheartedly believes in TEAM – ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ and wants to ensure the Leigh Trust motto is embedded in the heart of the community.



Jackie Marshall - Business Manager

Jackie has worked in the West Midlands as a School Business Manager for over ten years. She has a wealth of experience in both State Maintained Schools and Academies and has a passion for ensuring that all children have the opportunity to access the best possible education.Jackie has professional qualifications in both Finance and Business Management. She is a driven individual that thrives on challenge and ensures that school systems are streamlined and collaborative, enabling schools within the Trust to focus on the best outcomes for all of the children in our schools. Jackie is committed to ensuring that all schools within the Trust have access to her extensive expertise.




Patricia Clarke-Dixon - Business Manager

Pat recently joined Leigh Trust, working as part of the Central Team in September 2019. Pat will promote the highest standards of business ethos within the finance, facilities and personnel function. She will strategically provide the most effective use of resources to support the academies learning objectives. Pat’s role will also involve supporting Head Teachers and school based staff, ensuring Trust policies, procedures and controls are followed and deadlines are achieved. Working closely with the Chief Operating Officer, Pat will focus providing all developments of new or revised procedures, ensuring the Trust’s strategic development plan are implemented and fully embedded successfully within the schools.  Pat has extensive knowledge and experience acquired over twenty two years, working in the Education Sector. Pat’s professional qualifications compliments her experience working in all areas relating to Schools and Academies Finance. During her career she has established a solid wealth of experience, continuously providing a robust and structured workforce.  Prior to joining, Pat spent five years as a School Business Manager responsible for all operational financial controls. She has vast experience working as a Local Authority Finance Officer across Primary and Secondary Schools, Experience as a Finance Manager responsible for an eight million budget and accountable for executing and monitoring all external non-school budgets.  Pat was a member of the Senior Leadership Team, and is currently a School Governor committed to helping young people achieve their potential through the right educational provisions, assuring pupils have the very best opportunities to succeed while developing the skills to become responsible individuals.



Linda Coggan - Business Manager

Linda joined Leigh Trusts’ Central Team in April 2020.  Linda will provide strategic support to schools within the Trust in the areas Finance, Facilities and Human Resources always promoting the highest standards. Linda’s role as Business Manager provides support for Head Teachers, school based staff and Governors in ensuring that policy, procedures and deadlines are adhered to and met. Linda’s qualifications and background in Education which has spanned over 20 years, has armed her with a wealth of knowledge and understanding.  Her experience in the area of budget management both school based and as an external advisor, will compliment her role in ensuring that trust schools’ finances are monitored strategically both in year, and when planning for future years.  Her expertise in areas such as Personnel & HR, Safeguarding, Facilities Management, Project Management and Performance Management will provide professional and reassuring support for the Heads of our Trust Schools. Linda is a highly committed member of the team.  She is a strong believer that every stakeholder within a school plays a key role in ensuring that all children receive a wholesome educational experience, enabling them to achieve their best possible outcomes as individuals.



Jaz Dhillon - Leigh Trust School Improvement Leader

Jaz is the School Improvement Lead for Leigh Trust, a role she took on in April 2020. She has 24 years of varied and multi-faceted experience in Primary Education, reflecting the nature of the schools that she has worked in across inner city Birmingham, Sandwell, Dudley and Worcestershire. Her roles have ranged from teaching and leading across both Key Stages, Assistant Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher to Educational Consultant. In 2015, Jaz became an accredited SLE for School Improvement and for the next 3 years she focused on providing strategic school improvement and intensive leadership support across different schools to drive rapid progress. The experience of working with a variety of schools and staff throughout her career has provided Jaz with valuable insight into the teaching principles that foster and sustain good practice. This has been instrumental in her ability to support and develop all aspects of Teaching and Learning in each of the schools that she has worked with, and through her passion for focused coaching and mentoring she has promoted success for both pupils and staff. Her passion for developing, implementing and sustaining Quality First Teaching in schools lies at the core of her teaching practice and pedagogical principles. 



Serena Caine - Leigh Trust School Improvement Leader EYFS

Serena is the school improvement leader for EYFS at Leigh Trust. She started her career in education over twenty-five years ago, initially as a Nursery Nurse, and then later on as a class teacher, EYFS lead and for the last twelve years as an Education Advisor specialising in the EYFS.  Her teaching years provided her with extensive experience of working with children in early years, Key stage one and two. Having this breath of experience and knowledge has enabled her to appreciate the importance of transition phases between these years, as knowing the children’s next steps across the primary phase allows the EYFS to build a proper foundation of learning.  Serena believes that from children having a solid foundation provides the base for a steep education trajectory, leading to high expectations.  During her teaching phase, she also completed a Master of Arts in Education, in action research.  The knowledge and experienced gained during her studies strongly impacted on her work within school improvement and has given her the skills, knowledge, and processes necessary to conduct effective school evaluation. During Serena’s time as an advisor, her duties included CPD training, consultancy, and providing school improvement.  She is an accredited profile moderator and has been for the last nine years the EYFS profile moderation manager for the Birmingham Local authority. In addition to this she has also been privileged to work on several funded programmes, which has given her a further insight into the world of educations.  The nature of her previous role as an advisor means that she was regularly involved with a large number of stakeholders from all levels.  In turn her ability to communicate effectively during all of these activities, has greatly contributed to increasing standards of the early years in a large number of primary schools across the city. From visiting the wide variety of schools enable Serena to accurately identify the improvement priorities for a setting, and once identified, work with the leadership to develop a clear, logical, and well specified plan for improvements.  She ensures that there is a shared vision of providing the children with the highest level of education, mutual respect, and the need for robust strategic procedures, and most importantly, for the teachers to work together as a team.  Serena is extremely passionate about providing all children with quality early years education so that they can build on their strong foundations for future lifelong learning.



Charlene Bull - Leigh Trust Sports Leader

Charlene has over twenty years’ experience as a fitness professional in the leisure industry. During this time she received a certificate of attendance in teacher training from the University of Wolverhampton and graduated with a BA. Hons Degree in Sports Studies.  Charlene  joined the Leigh Trust family as a PE specialist and Forest School practitioner in 2014 whereby, she became a 'champion of sport' for delivering fun, inclusive, physical education, sport and physical activity to children within Leigh Trust and parents within the school communities. She is an experienced Forest School practitioner and has developed our school green spaces, so that our children can play freely, show care and concern for nature and learn survival bushcraft skills.  Charlene oversees the sports coaches and PE apprentices, who embed the trust ‘Sports Vision’ and deliver the curriculum. She ensures that all schools are working towards the ’Your School Games Quality Marks’ and attend positive competitions, that lead to inspiring moments. Charlene co-teaches with NQTs and provides training and professional development in PE to school teachers.   She works closely with the governors and networks with other MATs, National Governing Bodies of sport and the Youth Sports Trust.  Charlene believes that PE and sport is central to good health and wellbeing and is confident that we are driving this forward in all our Leigh schools. Charlene is committed to putting 'PE at the heart of education' to develop children's personalities, talents, and lifelong love of sport/physical activity.




Yvonne Wakefield - PA to CEO & DCEO/ Company Secretary / Clerk to Leigh Trust Board

Yvonne has taken on a multi-faceted role within Leigh Trust – she is the Company Secretary for Leigh Trust, the clerk for all Local Governing Bodies as well as the clerk for the Board of Directors of the Trust and is also the PA to the CEO/Deputy CEO of Leigh Trust. Prior to joining the educational setting Yvonne spent 10 years working for the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body set up by the Home Office to investigate possible miscarriages of Justice. During her time there, she worked on a number of high profile cases liaising with various Government agencies including the Police, Crown Prosecution Service as well as numerous Courts across the country. Yvonne joined the admin team at Leigh School in 2008 as the School Administrator and due to her highly organised, meticulous skills and her ability to take on a more demanding role she soon progressed very quickly to clerking for all the schools within Leigh Trust as well as being appointed as the Company Secretary/PA to the CEO. She ensures all minutes and relevant documents for all meetings are collated and distributed in a timely manner ensuring all governors and directors are always fully informed. As Company Secretary she has strong knowledge of MAT governance and ensures conformance to all relevant statutory and regulatory obligations.  She ensures Companies House is regularly kept up to date with new Members and Directors joining the Trust. Yvonne regularly keeps herself abreast of all new legislation and guidelines around governance within MATs and has also attended training provided through Browne Jacobson and Anthony Collins Solicitors.



Fharjana Begum - Leigh Trust Administrator

In March 2018, Fharjana started her apprenticeship in Business Administration Level 2 at Leigh Primary School. After successfully completing this course, she began her career as school Receptionist at the same setting. Motivated, friendly and professional, Fharjana has an array of skills and insights from her experience. She has worked in two busy inner-city multicultural primary schools, and has dedicated her time as a volunteer assisting a variety of people with administration. She is experienced in using a range of information management systems and has securely managed, and updated information. Fharjana has also utilised her organisational skills to bank monies and record information accordingly. She has worked with various members of the community, and has been a key member of staff responsible for the admissions of pupils liaising both with parents and school staff delivering an exceptional service. Fharjana also completed an advanced apprenticeship in Business Administration Level 3 at Leigh Primary School in 2018. 



Flavia Highfield - Clerk to the LGBs

Flavia is a retired School Business Manager with 29 years’ experience in school administration and leadership.  My SBM roles have been over a range of schools: infant, junior, primary, middle, secondary, and mainstream and a special school.  During my years in schools, I undertook various related qualifications, including the CSBM, DSBM, BA (Hons) School Business Management (First Class), School Business Director Programme, and the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leaders. 

I took (very!) early retirement in August 2020 and have, since that time, continued my association with schools by working on a self-employed basis, firstly, clerking my previous school’s GB until February 2021, and working one day per week for the Birmingham Special Schools’ Co-operative Trust as Project Lead.  Part of my role is clerking the regular HTs’ meetings and the 3 Board meetings each year.  Since leaving my SBM role, I have also assisted a primary school in drafting a couple of multi-year budgets, and an annual budget during the sickness absence of their SBM, audited staff fund accounts for a secondary school, and given ad hoc help for schools (producing staffing costings, and assisting with recruitment and HR administration).  I currently clerk 2 primary schools, one of which is VA and the other is a Special School.

I have also worked closely with the Governing Boards in all of the schools in which I have worked as an SBM, managing the documentation required for GB meetings and ensuring that policies and statutory documents were available for the GB to review and approve in a timely manner. 

Alongside my SBM role, I have clerked GBs for almost 12 years, and I successfully undertook the Clerk’s Accreditation with Merit programme, gaining the qualification in 2012. 

On a personal level, I am passionate about good governance and, in addition to my clerking roles, I have been a Governor for around 9 years (prior to this, I was a staff Governor in one of my schools) and have been Chair of the Governing Board of Rubery Nursery School for approx. 7 years, so am able to see the whole spectrum of the work of Governing Boards.  I have also completed the NGA Chairs’ Development programme.