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Our People

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Experienced and Valued

At Vantage Academy Trust, we put people at the heart of what we do and are incredibly proud of the work of our outstanding practitioners working both within school environments and as part of the Trust central team.

The central team is a hub of expertise, supporting schools across the Trust. The central staff consists of our school improvement, finance, HR, estates and communications teams, who work to provide our schools with specialist advice and are answerable to our board of Trustee at termly meetings.

Our ten school Principals are a group of outstanding leaders, based as heads of school in each of our primary and secondary schools, some of whom take executive leadership responsibility over more than one site. Our Principals meet on a regular basis with our School Improvement Directors to share ideas and disseminate best practise across the Trust.

Jill Albertina

Jill Albertina

CEO, Vantage Academy Trust

Jill is a highly experienced leader of people within the education sector. She has worked for two decades in our Vantage school communities, most recently as a highly successful Assistant Executive Director for Education at Knowsley Council, and formerly as Headteacher of Stockbridge Village and Mosscroft Primary Schools. Her schools were recognised by the National College as leadership development schools, by the DfE for pupil progress, and other Local Authorities as models of good practice.

Lead Officers

Liz has over 23 years of primary teaching experience and is passionate about making a difference to the lives of the children in her care. Liz was the driving force in overhauling the curriculum provision whilst at SS Simon and Jude, which, under her leadership, moved from special measures to outstanding. Liz provides specialist support to many schools across the North West. She sits on the Education Strategic Advisory Board for Fieldwork Education, and is an IPC accreditor, inspecting schools across the international circuit. As the Trust Education Director, she provides support and challenge to leadership teams in driving forward learning and teaching.

Liz Peacock

Deputy CEO (Education)

Rhian has over 17 years experience teaching across the Primary phase, and 6 years experience as a Principal in Manchester schools. As an LLE, Rhian has had experience in supporting schools in need, working in education settings across the North. Rhian is a Pupil Premium Reviewer and specialises in Safeguarding and Child Protection. Throughout her career, Rhian has continued to work in areas of significant need, determined to make a positive impact on the lives of the pupils in her care. As Executive Principal and Education Director, Rhian provides support and challenge to schools in the Manchester area as well as serving as the Principal of the Free School in Gorton.

Rhian Williams

Deputy Director for Education

Phil is a successful leader of education who has demonstrated his ability to guide improvements in culture and achievement across a number of schools. He has excellent managerial and commercial skills learned from running a thriving manufacturing business, coupled with analysis skills gained at an international blue chip company.

Phil has worked on a number of executive and non executive boards in both education and wider public life advising on the areas of finance, HR and building and estates.

Phil Deakin

Deputy CEO (Operations)

Kerry was a police officer in GMP before her career change to business and finance. She then worked in in the private sector for 10 years, before joining SS Simon and Jude Primary, in 2006. Starting as finance officer, she progressed to School Business Manager, following the completion of the NASBM qualifications: CSBM, DSBM and ADSBM, she has also completed her CIPFA Level 7 in Academy Finance and Governance and is now the Chief Finance Officer, working across all schools within the Trust. Kerry is an SLE in SBM and is able to support schools with all aspects of school business management.

Kerry Stanford

Chief Finance Officer

Terence started his working life in logistics, then moved into manufacturing and site management of factories. The past 27 years in the industry have allowed him to understand, learn and gain experience in new builds, compliance and health & Safety. 

Terence says that ‘I do not want to change the world – but the future environment our Vantage children learn in.’

Terence Johnson

Estates Manager

Elaine has 26 years of primary teaching experience and is an outstanding practitioner. As a special educational needs co-ordinator she is passionate about improving life chances for children with additional needs. Within her SLE and Trust SENCO roles, Elaine has supported a range of schools across the North West to improve outcomes for pupils with SEND and bring about sustainable improvements.  

Elaine Davies


Lesley has worked in finance and HR for 24 years, within the local authority, and then as school secretary at St Barnabas Primary School. Lesley shortly excelled into the school administrator role, then on to the Business Manager position, when the school academised in 2012. She was able to draw on her previous experience in supporting the Headteacher with the business element of managing a school.

As HR manager for the Trust, Lesley has completed a variety of courses to maintain an evolving knowledge-base, including the CIPD HR associate course.

Lesley Tait

HR Manager

Dave is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is a leader with extensive experience of advising on and managing people related matters in schools and academy trusts.  He recognises the complex nature of issues school leaders are faced with and his solution focused approach supports employees and brings positive outcomes.  His career in the main has been in Local Government where he was recognised as being a specialist in the Education sector.  He places great importance on developing links between Human Resources and School Improvement and has a track record of successfully supporting schools on their improvement journey.

Dave also recognises the need to support Trustees and Local Advisory Board members in dispensing their duties and has a track record of supporting governors through complex people management issues. As part of his continued professional development, he has provided support to academy trusts across the country and developed strong links with key stakeholders in the Education sector.   He adopts a calm approach and places a great emphasis on supporting staff with their own development

David Norton

Director of People & Governance

School Principals

Helen Plant

Principal, St Hilda's

Linda Lord

Principal, Knowsley Lane

Katie Jones

Principal, SS Simon and Jude

Michael Connolly

Principal, St James

Dani Tedford

Principal, Flixton Girls

Emily Kirk

Principal, St Barnabas


Principal Gorton Primary

Gill Mangnall

Principal, St Augustine's

Wendy Budsworth

Principal, St Paul's

Emma Riley

Principal, Willow Tree