Meet the Board of Trustees

Rob Foreman - Chair

Rob Foreman was elected Chair of the Pontefract Education Trust in September 2014. being an original founder of the Trust in 2011, Rob has worked in Education in the Wakefield District for over 30 years and more recently was a successful Headteacher at Carleton Community High School for 12 years.
Since retiring, Rob has worked in a part-time capacity for the Pontefract Academies Trust and believes passionately in schools within Pontefract working in collaboration and raising standards across the town. In addition to being Chair of the PET, Rob is also a Governor at NEW college and DeLacy Primary School.
In his spare time, Rob likes to spend time with his wife and family on the East Coast and is a budding Seafaring Skipper.        


Janet Sumpter - Vice-Chair

Janet Sumpter has been a Governor at Badsworth C of E (VC) Junior and Infant School over a long period of time, serving both as Community Governor and Chair, and more recently as a Co-opted Governor. Janet is also a valued member of the Resources Committee at Badsworth Primary School. Janet is also a Co-opted Governor on Saint Giles C of E Academy, and a communicant member of Saint Giles Church in Pontefract.
Previously, Janet has served as a Councillor on Badsworth Parish Council, having been the Chair for a number of years. She is also a retired magistrate, serving in both Criminal and Family Courts at Pontefract Magistrates Court.
As recently elected Vice Chair of the Pontefract Education Trust Board, Janet is committed to the continuing collaboration of all of the schools in the Pontefract area. Janet is an excellent representative for the Church schools with a passion for ensuring the longevity of the PET. With a commitment to ensuring opportunities for all and access to education, Janet takes a hands-on approach to all our PET projects, offering support whenever required.     


Mike Farrell - Director

Mike Farrell retired nine years ago from the construction industry when he worked on industrial, commercial and education projects in London and Dubai as a tradesman initially and then as a contracts manager.

Mike has two girls and spent some time as governor when they attended Pontefract Girls High school. For the past six years, he has been involved with the Rookeries J & I school as part of the IEB Governors, supporting the school through both its turbulent and exciting times. He was appointed the chair of Governors three years ago and continues to act as an active member on the interview panel in the recruitment of staff, as well as attending regular Governor training to support this role.

Mike has been involved in the PET right from its conception in 2011 and strongly believes in ensuring all children should get the very best in educational opportunities. "Collaboration and communication is the key to ensuring that the children in Pontefract have the best access to education possible and I will continue to support the PET to help achieve this".        


David Bowen - Director

David is the Chair of Governors at Cobblers Lane Primary School. He has been a Governor at the school since January 2013 and was previously a member of the IEB (Interim Executive Board) at the school, having been appointed to the IEB by Wakefield Local Authority in January 2011.

David's professional background is in Education. For many years, he was Head of School and Governor Services for Wakefield Local Authority before retiring in November 2010. He is now a Director of a small local firm providing consultancy and training in school leadership and governance. Although he does not live in the Pontefract area, David knows the schools well from his work for the local authority and is committed to promoting partnership and collaboration between the town's schools and their partners in the area, for the benefit of the children and young people of Pontefract.         

Trish Hollies 

WEA Education Organiser, 

Schools and Parenting Coordinator,

 Yorkshire and Humber Region



Trish grew up on a council estate on the outskirts of Leeds in the late 50s and sixties was selected for a place at the local grammar school where she decided teaching was to be her career.  

After qualifying as a teacher she worked in a secondary school, later in primary and finally a nursery school, where at this point she starting working with families. 





A move into ‘Family Learning’ subsequently followed and worked for a number of providers who created and developed courses to help parents support their child’s learning, improve their own skills, develop their confidence and enable them to have more of a say in local community matters. 











Trish later moved into her current role in Adult Education becoming an Area Education Organiser for the WEA.  During the time her boys entered secondary school she was asked to become a school governor and left in 1999.  Before long she was invited back and also became a governor at a local primary school. During this time Trish has taken on a range of roles usually in relation to special needs, safeguarding and inclusion as well chair of governors.



“My heart lies with working with parents, seeing the impact learning has on families, seeing a parent lead by example, the child celebrating their parent’s success and, in turn, raising aspirations for their family and future.”

Trish feels proud and privileged to be part of that and to continue work as Governor of Delacy Primary school and a member of the PET.  

Jayne Robinson

BA (Hons) Applied Social Studies

CQSW – Social Work Qualification

PGDip in Child Protection

DMS – Leadership and Management

Jayne has 28 years in experience in children and families social work, working across the whole range of children’s services. She has worked as a residential worker and social work practitioner and also in more specialist child protection posts. Jayne has managed all aspects of children’s services from residential services to family support services in Doncaster, Wakefield and York, with positions in middle and senior management in the latter two areas.

As Service Manager for Child Protection, she has been a member of the Wakefield and District Children’s Safeguarding Board for eight years, working closely with all other agencies such as education, health, the police and voluntary agencies. She has been a member of a number of boards related to her post, including school governor representation at a school for children with behavioural needs.

For the past 10 years, Jayne has worked as child protection advisor to England Squash, as well as her more current work as a consultant in independent social work, dealing mainly with children who are ‘looked after’ and chairing Child Protection conferences. 

Jayne is a Director of Pontefract Squash & Leisure Club, a qualified Level 2 squash coach and a child protection advisor to the Club. Jayne works closely with the head coach to provide a programme of coaching to children of all ages and standards, from beginners to international junior players. More recently, Jayne has worked with the Pontefract Sports and Education Foundation to develop and provide squash programmes to local schools, including some of the schools within the Pontefract Education Trust. 



Jo Simister 

As a member of Wakefield College’s Principalship, Jo sits on the Board as a PET Partner.  Currently employed as Assistant Principal at Wakefield College, Jo has worked in education for over twenty years in a variety of roles in secondary schools;  school improvement, school inspection and for the last eleven years, in Further Education leadership.

Jo grew up in Leeds and received a First Class Honours Degree and, subsequently, a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Leeds.  She has spent her career to date working in West Yorkshire, (in all five authorities!) and is passionate about raising the aspirations of local young people and supporting them to achieve that which they may never have thought possible.

Helen Ferguson

Helen Ferguson is the head teacher of Pinderfields Hospital Pupil Referral Unit. This educational provision was established in 1948 to meet the educational needs of children in hospital, in addition to this, children and young people with a medical need are now educated in a range of settings, including the home. Further information about this provision can be found on their website.

Prior to her headship, her career has included: deputy headteacher  of a special school, early years curriculum development teacher for Wakefield Local Authority, mainstream nursery teacher and teacher in a school for children with physical difficulties. She believes that all children and young people are entitled to high quality, uninterrupted education giving them the opportunity to achieve and experience success.

She greatly believes that professionals, parents and families should work in partnership to meet the holistic needs of children with particular reference to vulnerable young people. She is committed to Pontefract communities being included and informed about educational   provision and support for families with a child with a medical need. In addition to her working life she enjoys time with her family, keeping fit, socialising with friends and anything related to ‘art deco’.

Simon Willis

Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at the University of York.

Simon was born and educated in the South of England and studied Modern Languages, Linguistics and Music at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.  

After starting his career in university administration at the University of Buckingham, he moved to York in 1988 to take up the post of Director of Admissions.  

Simon’s team at York is responsible for outreach to prospective students in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world as well as for admissions to the University. A special team focuses on widening participation, encouraging admissions to the University from disadvantaged applicant groups. 



Simon is married with three grown-up children and lives near York where he walks an energetic dog, keeps an allotment and maintains his rusty skills as an oboe player.