Directors and Trustees of EFAT

You can find out more about the Essa Foundation Academies Trust and how it operates at

The Essa Foundation Trust:

​An educational charity established by the Patel family, Essa Foundation Trust is a founding member of EFAT.
Chris Read is a manager at the Institute for Teaching and Ambition School Leadership, and works on designing and delivering programmes for teachers and school leaders. Chris is the Chair of the Board.

​Nigel John Whittle is a chartered accountant. He is the finance director of two large companies and runs his own chartered accountancy practice providing services to the private sector and to public bodies, including local government. Nigel is a director/trustee of EFAT and is the Chair of Essa Primary Academy LGB. He has been a primary school governor for over 10 years.

Kate Longworth is a qualified solicitor specialising in the commercial property sector. Kate has also been a volunteer mentor for young people. She is a director/ trustee of EFAT.

Dr Mohammed Sharif Salim is a former senior manager with substantial international experience in the Chemical Industry both in the UK and the USA. Sharif has also had considerable experience working in the voluntary sector in community cohesion, equality and diversity. Sharif is a director/trustee of EFAT.

Lisa Fathers is Director of Teaching School at ‘The Alliance for Learning’, part of Bright Futures Education Trust. In addition to leading on school improvement, Lisa also has strategic responsibility for marketing and PR. Lisa is also an experienced educational coach.

Emily Reynard is the current Head of School at Manchester Enterprise Academy. Emily has previously been involved with Greater Manchester Challenge – a programme aiming to break the cycle of disadvantage and educational underachievement. Emily worked with a number of schools to significantly raise achievement at GSCE through staff development, intervention and high quality teaching. Emily believes in excellence and equity in education and is passionate about tackling social disadvantage to ensure that every child has the opportunity to be successful and lead a happy life.


Nicola Blatchly-Lewis is an experienced and passionate Early Years practitioner and has been involved in early years and primary education for the last 21 years. Nicola has also undertaken consultancy work for the London Borough of Newham and project-based work directly for the DfE.


Matthew Hackett - Matthew works for the Cohens Group and recently attained full membership of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Matthew has a keen interest in the local community and volunteers with some local groups concerned with maintaining the local area.​

​​Andrew Cooper ​is the Chief Executive Officer for EFAT


The Composition of the Board of Directors/Trustees is:

  • ​​Sponsor Directors - up to eight appointed by the Essa Foundation Trust

  • Academy Directors - up to four appointed by the Board of Directors 

  • The Chief Executive Officer/Management Team Director - ex officio 

​What are the Roles of the Members and the Board of Directors/Trustees?

> The Trust’s Members and Directors/Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the Trust is solvent, well run and meets the needs for which it has been set up.

> The Trust must comply with company and charity law and with a range of legislation including that related to equality, employment, health and safety, education, and the protection of children.

> The Trust is the employer of all staff, has responsibility for, and control of, all revenue and capital funding and is the admissions authority for all academies in the Trust.

> Members and non executive Directors/Trustees of the Board serve as volunteers and receive no payment for their work.

> The Remit and Terms of Reference for the Board of Directors and its Committees (Scheme of Delegation) can be downloaded from the webpage on Corporate Information.

> You can download copies of the agendas, reports, and minutes of meetings (except confidential items) of the Board and its Committees from the webpage on Corporate Information.

> You can download a copy of the Trust’s most recent annual report and statement of accounts from the webpage on Corporate Information.

> The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall governance of the Trust. Much of the day-to-day governance of each academy in the Trust is delegated by the Board to each Local Governing Body.

01204 333 222   /   /  Essa Academy, Lever Edge Lane, Bolton, BL3 3HH