Councillor Brian Rigby MBE

Councillor Brian Rigby MBE


Councillor Brian Rigby MBE NLG

Chairman of The Trust Board

Brian Rigby has been a leading figure in the many successes at Ashton-on-Mersey School, where he has been the Chairman of Governors since 1990. Brian has helped steer the school through a period of continued improvement which has seen pupils  achieve record GCSE results year on year and the school become Trafford’s largest secondary school in response to parental demand.

The school governors have achieved seven outstanding OFSTED reports under Brian’s leadership plus five Investors in People and many other kite marks.

Parents as well as local people have acknowledged on many occasions that Brian has made a huge positive difference to the lives of many young people by his total commitment to improving opportunities for pupils

It was Brian’s shared vision along with Headteacher Tarun Kapur to establish The West Trafford Learning Partnership (WTLP) a hard Federation between Ashton-on-Mersey and Broadoak  Schools as they were confident that the robust and talented senior management team with the support of dedicated Governors at Ashton-on-Mersey School could make a real difference to children’s lives by giving Partington pupils new and exciting opportunities.   His belief was realised when five years after the federation Broadoak School was recognised as being an Outstanding School by Ofsted.

In 2012 The WTLP became an Academy Trust. The “Dean Trust” was named after Brian in recognition of his outstanding service to education and both schools. The Trust immediately sponsored Forest Gate Primary School in which rapidly became the most improved primary school in the North West.

Brian’s work was recognised in 2005 when he received the MBE for his outstanding work in education and in 2013 he became a National Leader in Governance having already advised several Governing Bodies throughout the North West.

Brian became a Councillor on Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council in 1994 where he has held several chairmanships. He is currently the Chairman of the Council’s Employment Committee, Chairman of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Committee’ Audit and Standards Committee and Vice Chairman of North West Employers Organisation.


Paul Edwards Solicitor, Darbys Solicitors

Paul Edwards, In-House Solicitor at Green Thumb Limited, Director of PJE Consultancy


Paul Edwards

Vice Chair, In-House Solicitor at Green Thumb Limited, Director of PJE Consultancy

Paul is a practising solicitor specialising in Employment Law working as Head of HR at Green Thumb Limited.

He is also a director of his own law consultancy firm and regularly advises educational establishments including Schools, Colleges and Academies on all employment related matters.

Paul has also advised on contentious and non-contentious pupil and parent matters such as parental complaints, data protection, freedom of information act requests, child protection and safeguarding, abuse claims, Equality Act obligations, Disclosure and Barring Service requirements, parent contract and breach of contract (independent schools).

Paul’s main interest is rugby and he has played semi-professional rugby for Sale Sharks 2nd and U21 teams, Waterloo FC, Manchester Rugby Club, Altrincham Kersal and Cheshire, winning the County Championship Shield at Twickenham. Paul is also a keen golfer.


Mr Tarun Kapur CBE, Chief Executive and Academy Principal

Mr Tarun Kapur CBE, Chief Executive and Academy Principal


Tarun Kapur CBE, NLE, BSc(Hons), MEd

Chief Executive Officer & Academy Principal, The Dean Trust
National Leader of Education

Executive Principal 
Secondary Headteacher of the Year 2007

Tarun was appointed as the first NLE in the North West and since 2005 has led on many significant school to school support commissions with considerable success. Prior to becoming a Headteacher Tarun worked in a brand new school in Warrington moving to deputy head as he helped to shape the school from inception to ‘outstanding’.

Whilst working as Headteacher at Ashton on Mersey School, Tarun supported the development of the National College and spent some time in New Zealand researching leadership and training. He has also worked as an advisor to the DfE, notably being a member of the Steer Committee, developing the behaviour and attendance strategy. He presented to the Prime Minister on the same.

As an NLE Tarun has had a significant influence on a number of (secondary and primary) schools always securing better outcomes for children. He was a key driver in the early Beacon School movement that led to Ashton on Mersey forming a hard federation with Broadoak School. Tarun led Parrs Wood High School in Manchester out of Special Measures and has since carried out further commissions to either support or to sponsor schools. Soon after he formed the Dean Trust (MAT) following a request from the DfE.

Most recently Tarun led on the sponsorship of two poorly performing schools (secondary and primary). Both have achieved record examination results and increased attendance leading to an increase in the school rolls. He leads several teams of people within the Dean Trust from the executive team to commissioning teams with the sole aim of transforming the lives of children.

Tarun has developed a wide network of connections from the world of business and education to help to support his own organisation, but as importantly many other schools and academies. As Chairman of the FA and Premier League facilities panel Tarun helps to distribute £30m each year to schools and clubs across the country and has developed a key insight into the workings across local authorities. He is also a Director of the Manchester United Foundation and the Trafford Community Leisure Trust, both organisations dedicated to community provision in sport, education and employability.

Tarun is regularly approached to speak on the work of The Dean Trust, most recently to the Head teacher’s and senior LA officials in Bridlington and at the Academies show. This year, Tarun was nominated as one of 250 of the most influential people in Greater Manchester.


John Shiels CEO, Manchester United Foundation

John Shiels CEO, Manchester United Foundation


John Shiels

CEO, Manchester United Foundation

John Shiels has been the Chief Executive of the Manchester United Foundation since January 2008. In his role, he has created the Foundation’s strategy to use the power of the Manchester United brand and the appeal of football to change the lives of young people in Manchester, the UK and around the world.

Passionate about Education and the development of children and young people, John a trained teacher, with a Masters in Educational Management, uses his position to leverage collaborative working amongst multi agencies to ensure that the young people of Greater Manchester receive opportunities which usually they wouldn’t receive.

A student of leadership, he has had the opportunity to transfer much of his knowledge (gained form working with and learning from some of the best sports and commercial leaders in the world) into the programmes that Manchester United Foundation now deliver.

Forever learning, forever looking at creative and innovative approaches to engage and enhance delivery into the young people he connects with John enjoys and embraces the opportunity to continue his passion with the work of The Dean Trust where he sits as a Trustee.


Liz McQue, Chief Executive, North West Employers

Liz McQue, Chief Executive, North West Employers


Liz McQue

Chief Executive, North West Employers

Liz’s current post is Chief Executive of North West Employers; the main focus of her work is representing the interests of the local authorities in the region as employers and working with partners to improve outcomes for the people of the North West. North West Employers exists to help organisations deliver better outcomes with and for local people and to make connections across the public sector to enhance collaboration.

Much of Liz’s time is spent working with groups facilitating large events involving different partners and smaller team events for senior managers and elected members. She has worked on European projects with senior leaders and politicians from different countries including Denmark, Greece and Ukraine. Her key interest is in organisational change and the role of leaders in shaping cultures where people thrive and focus on improving performance at a personal, systems and organisational level.

Liz chairs a number of North West wide groups and has several external roles including: Board Member of the North West NHS Leadership Academy, Member of the North West Chief Executives Leadership Commission and Member of the NJC working group on Public Health Workforce.

She has led several cross sector development initiatives including the development of the North West’s first Public Sector Chief Executives’ Coaching Programme and has played a leading role in developing a North West sector led improvement approach. Liz has facilitated on several national leadership development programmes including the Women’s Leadership Programme and the LGA’s Leadership Academy for senior politicians.


Dave Palmer, Retired Former Managing Director

Dave Palmer, Retired Former Managing Director


Dave Palmer

Retired Former Managing Director

Dave Palmer –  Dave is a former chartered insurance practitioner and was the Managing Director of an Insurance Brokerage firm. Now retired, Dave is an active volunteer currently supporting the British Red Cross Destitution Project as a caseworker for serving refugees in Greater Manchester.

An active school governor Dave has been a member of the governing body at Ashton on Mersey School on and off since 1993.  Following his early retirement in 2005 he spent a number of years volunteering with the Voluntary Service Overseas, advising non governmental organisations on various matters including organisation and business skills.

A father of three, keen footballer and golfer, Dave is also a committee member of Maine Road FC.




Damian McGann, Managing Director – Asset, Invoice and Transactional Banking

Damian McGann,Managing Director – Asset, Invoice and Transactional Banking


Damian McGann ACIB

Managing Director – Asset, Invoice and Transactional Banking

Previously holding senior positions in 3 international banks, Damian joined Santander in 2010 to head up the UK business development team responsible for designing and implementing the banks growth strategy. Subsequently he was promoted to the role of Managing Director – North of England SME business.

In his current role he has national responsibility for the bank’s asset, invoice and transactional banking arms. Damian has been involved in designing and executing many large scale transformational change programmes and is experienced in running scale national and multi-site operations. Damian has recently completed the director’s module at Cranfield Business School and the non-executive director course at the IOD. He also sits on the CBI North West Regional Council.

Passionate about education and trying to make a difference in the communities in which we live and do business Damian is thrilled to be appointed as trustee.

He is married to Louise and has two children Lucas and Lauren-rae.