Pennine Trust


The Trustees are responsible for the same three core governance functions performed by the governing body in a maintained school: setting the direction, holding the Chief Executive Officer to account and ensuring financial probity.

Marie Burnham

Marie Burnham is the Independent Lay Chair (Part Time) for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Joint Committee, which is made up of the 11 clinical commissioning groups and is part of the area’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.

Marie brings with her over 20 years of leadership experience ‎from health services, charitable sector, private and public including NHS executive and non-executive roles she also has a national reputation for performance and governance management both in the public and private sector. Specialising in turning around failing organisations and delivering real measurable change.

More recent roles include National Chair for NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence), where she held responsibility for safe staffing and a part-time role until 2015 as Chief Accountable Officer for the Well Women’s Centre in Wakefield.

Before taking early retirement 2 years ago Marie was a Chief Executive for many years in the Acute Hospital Sector; over that period, she also participated in a National Enquiry with the nuclear industry, examining body parts and was head hunted to lead on Swine Flu out of Manchester, and a number of meetings in London supporting COBRA.

Marie has also been a member on the University of Lancashire research committee as well as a member of Cumbria University Board.

Harry Devonport

Following a successful teaching career including a Headteacher post at a South East Manchester High School, Harry went on to lead Blackburn with Darwen’s nationally recognised Education Action Zone. Harry has since held several Chief Officer positions within the local authority, most recently as Director of Education. He led focused work on school improvement and the raising of standards, with targeted work with vulnerable and underachieving groups. Harry led the development of the Children & Young People’s Plan and the CYPP Partnership. He managed the development of performance management, quality assurance and systems to support inspection and accountability, the Department’s resourcing strategy, workforce development and its capital programme.

Harry is currently a Trustee of the Star Multi Academy Trust and is chair of their Academic Board. He is also Chair of Governors at Park High School and a governor at Blacko Primary and Laneshaw Bridge Primary schools..

Emma Gauntlett

With over 15 years of senior leadership experience in the education sector, in her current context at an outstanding state grammar school, Emma has led on school improvement, SEND, leadership of CPD, policy development, event management and strategic building development with associated fundraising. With a background in major gift fundraising at the NSPCC and The British Red Cross, she has significant experience in bid writing; knowledge which has been applied to successful ACMF applications. She has substantial experience with respect to harnessing parental, alumni and community engagement and support, for example, raising £1.3 million for a capital project.

Emma has sound knowledge of charity legislation and reporting mechanisms and is currently joint Regional Vice President of Institute of Development Professionals in Education for the North-West. Emma is a Parent Governor at Blacko Primary School.

Cath Hitchen

Following a successful teaching career in secondary schools and managing education in quality alternative education provision settings, Cath held senior officer roles within two local authorities before being appointed as a chief officer in Blackburn with Darwen with responsibility for SEND, special and alternative provision and health links. Cath moved this area from one described as ‘weak’ to an Ofsted judgement of Outstanding, one of only 8 in LAs nationally at that time. Following this success Cath was asked to work for Capita on contract to the DfE where she worked as a Senior Regional Adviser SEN. 

When national strategies ended Cath found herself in demand, working for LAs who knew her qualities and experience from her DfE work. In 2014, Cath was asked to return to work with the DfE to support LAs with the implementation of the Children and Families Act. Cath is still a Professional SEND DfEAdviser with a national remit and provides individual support for 35 local authorities.

Paul Parkin

After graduating from University he worked as a Chemical and Nuclear Design/Research Engineer for Wellman Process Engineering and UK Atomic Energy Authority for four years. In 1988 Paul joined the teaching profession and has taught in four schools. He has been a Headteacher at Park High School since January 2007. Paul was seconded to be the Executive Headteacher at Laneshaw Bridge Primary School from January 2016 to 31 December 2016. For four years he has been Chair of the Pendle Headteachers’ Forum.  

Andrew Pettinger

Andrew is a solicitor and Partner at Addleshaw Goddard LLP, one of the largest major UK law firms. Andrew has worked there since 1995, and has been a Partner since 2003.  In that time Andrew has worked on many corporate and commercial transactions, recently specialising in arrangements between the public and private sectors. His clients include central government bodies such as the Ministry of Defence, local government bodies, NHS Trusts, and companies of all types who contract with them (including Serco, Capita and Carillion). His projects include public sector outsourcings and services contracts, projects to deliver social and economic infrastructure (such as schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and street lighting), and joint ventures and partnerships of all types. In particular, Andrew was heavily involved in the government's "Building Schools for the Future" programme, leading his firm's advice on the Hull and Tameside Schemes,  and acting for several consortia in the private sector bidding such schemes nationwide.

Andrew has a longstanding connection with Laneshaw Bridge Primary School.  He was a parent governor there for around 8 years as his three children progressed through the school, with his youngest daughter Anna leaving a year ago.

He is very keen on the promotion of sport for children. For 5 years he managed a junior football team at Barrowford Celtic FC, and he remains a serving committee member and junior coach at Nelson Cricket Club, which he is very passionate about!

Paul White

Paul is the Vice-Chair of the Pennine Trust. He has over 10 years experience in marketing and owns Wise Owl Creative, an award-winning marketing Agency based in Colne and also founded the tech start up The Modern Milkman. Paul has been a published reporter, sports journalist and Editor and has worked for charities, for Parliament and has also marketed schools.

Paul is the Leader of Pendle Borough council, and has been on the Council for almost 8 years. He is also one of the leads for education and skills on the Shadow Lancashire Combined Authority. Much of his local community work in that time has been focussed on improving educational attainment.

Paul has longstanding connections to two Trust Schools; as a past pupil of Laneshaw Bridge Primary and Park High School and as a governor at both schools. He is currently the Chair of Governors at Laneshaw Bridge Primary.

Paul is also a director of Growth Lancashire, a business support and economic development company and the PEARL group of companies, which are Pendle's flagship redevelopment business.