Meet our Directors

Alan Egdell Director
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Alan Egdell

Director

Alan retired in 2014 after a 40 year career in primary education the last thirty two of which were in the Catholic sector as a Deputy then a Headteacher. Alan led St. Bernadette’s, Wallsend, to numerous ‘outstanding’ inspection outcomes in both OFSTED and Diocesan inspections. Alan also supported other schools as a National Leader of Education where they were due inspection or required additional support. Alan support at St. Cuthbert’s North Shields resulted in a 7 year executive headship, which supported the school to move from an expected inadequate to Good with many outstanding features.

Alan also was also seconded by the LA as a Primary Advisor for the local authority where the main aspects of the role were in primary assessment at Baseline, KS1 and KS2, Primary NQTs and senior management succession planning as supporting with Headteacher appointments. In this role Alan worked across Gateshead, Newcastle and South Tyneside.

Alan also worked as an OFSTED Inspector and School Improvement Partner and lead ITT at St. Bernadette’s, was the Northern representative on the SCITT National Panel and also a founder member of NASBIT, a consortium that championed school centred ITT. Under Alans leadership St Bernadette’s became a lead school for the Carmel College ITT programme that encompassed many Diocesan schools. Alan has continued to work for Carmel since his retirement and is a Liaison Tutor working in a number of schools within BWCET, a role which he loves.

As a parishioner of St. Patrick’s , Alan was a Governor at local schools including St. Patrick’s, St. Alban’s and St. Oswald’s , and served as Chair at St Alban’s.

Fr Colm Hayden Foundation Director
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Fr Colm Hayden

Foundation Director

Ian Mearns
Ian Mearns MP Non-Foundation Director
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Ian Mearns MP

Non-Foundation Director

Ian is a member of parliament for Gateshead and a member of the parliamentary education Select Committee. He was first elected in the 2010 general election. He was educated the St Mary’s Primary school in Forest Hall and St Mary’s Technical School in Newcastle before commencing his employment with Northern Gas in 1974. Ian was the chair of the Campaign for the for a North East Assembly and was a member of the North East Constitutional Convention Steering Group.  Ian chaired the Scrutiny and Policy Development Board for the North East assembly for three years. His skills lie in strategy, governance, HR, business, finance, policy, and regional development. Ian has also held a number of governance posts and currently serves as Chair of Governors at Kelvin Grove Primary School in Gateshead.

Michelle Harrison
Michelle Harrison Non-Foundation Director
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Michelle Harrison

Non-Foundation Director

Michelle is the Head of North Region, Academies and Maintained Schools Directorate – North, Lancashire and West Yorkshire for the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) which is part of the Department for Education. Michelle has invaluable skills in the leadership, management and operations of the academy sector including strategic governance, academy business, finance, policy, academy development and the education sector. Michelle is also Vice Chair of Governors White Mere Community Primary School in Gateshead

Claire Reid Foundation Director
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Claire Reid

Foundation Director

Claire has served as a governor at St Thomas More Catholic School, Blaydon, and St Joseph’s Highfield. She is a qualified chartered accountant and has experience of governance within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle in both primary and secondary sectors.  Her responsibilities include financial management and control. Claire has skills in finance, strategy, vision, risk management, budget planning and setting, regulatory and audit skills, procurement, and business continuity planning.

Angela Boyle
Angela Boyle Foundation Director
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Angela Boyle

Foundation Director

Angela is a retired primary school Headteacher from within the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. She has extensive experience of leadership within the primary sector giving her great empathy understanding and the necessary insight for the Board. Angela was also able to bring her knowledge of Diocesan ethos and requirements to assist the Board in their decision making. Her particular skills lie within Catholic education, governance, leadership, project management, communication and change management.

Christopher Coxon Foundation Director and Vice Chair of the Trust Board
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Christopher Coxon

Foundation Director and Vice Chair of the Trust Board

Chris is a retired BT business leader. He has had two main employers, the British Coal Corporation and British Telecom prior to his retirement in 2017.

Chris has a secure understanding of the distinctive nature and purpose of Catholic education and has been successful in numerous and varied leadership and management posts.  His business experience is invaluable to his role in governance. His governance skills include Catholic education, governance, leadership, project management, communication, change management, HR, and finance.  

Peter Cantwell
Peter Cantwell Foundation Director
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Peter Cantwell

Foundation Director

Peter is an associate solicitor at Womble Bond Dickinson, and he works primarily within the firm’s education team. He advises governing bodies, academies, multi academy trusts, diocesan bodies, religious orders, local authorities, and the Department for Education. Following his Catholic education at St Joseph’s Primary School and St Robert of Newminster School and Sixth Form College, Peter went on obtain a First Class honours degree in mathematics and physics at Durham University. His governance skills include his legal specialism, business, policy, governance, and diocesan bodies.

Cllr Martin Gannon
Cllr Martin Gannon Foundation Director and Chair of the Trust Board
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Cllr Martin Gannon

Foundation Director and Chair of the Trust Board

Martin was elected as a member of Gateshead Council in 1984 and served in various roles including Deputy Leader for six years, before being elected as Leader of the Council in May 2016. Prior to this, Martin worked for the GMB Trade Union for 23 years undertaking a number of roles including Regional Officer, Head of Research, Health and Safety, and Media and Communications.

Current responsibilities and employment include;

  • Leader of Gateshead Council
  • Chair of Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust
  • Non-Executive Director, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust Board
  • Director of Newcastle International Airport Local Authority Holding Company Limited
  • Director of the Association of North East Councils Limited
  • Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee
  • Board Member of the North East Combined Authority
  • Board Member of the North East LEP

The skills Martin brings to the Board include strategy, governance, HR, business, finance, policy and regional development. 

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