Our members

At The Samara Trust, our members have wide ranging experience, including school improvement, finance and health and safety. Many of our members bring with them significant education experience and/or experience pertinent to our Trust, such as with our Diocesan members. Please also view our trustees page for further information.

Nicholas Gill BSc CEng MIET SIIRSM

Nick has over 35 years’ experience in the utility sector with a diverse insight gained across technical environments, working at all levels up to board level. Building on this experience, he then provided consultancy through his own company. As a chartered electrical engineer, risk manager and head of health and safety, Nick has held a wide variety of roles in the areas of engineering, training, health and wellbeing, safety, and risk management. He has sat on various national forums and chaired key committees, working with industry leaders, trade unions and key regulators.

Chris Penn. The Diocesan Board of Education, acting corporately by hand of its Director

Chris is the director of education for the Diocese of Chester.  He leads the education department which supports the 116 Church of England schools across the Chester Diocese.  Chris has been involved in primary education for over 20 years in a range of teaching and advisory roles, including as headteacher of a Church of England Primary School for a 10 year period. Over time, Chris has developed a depth of knowledge, skills and experience and has worked in a range of social contexts as an effective and influential leader of education.

Andrew Bent

Andrew is an asset manager working for United Utilities, focusing on risk management and project sponsorship, with significant experience in finance management and business analytics. In terms of governance, Andrew is chair of the board of trustees for the Omega Multi-Academy Trust in Warrington, Cheshire and was appointed a national leader of governance (NLG) in February 2016. Andrew is vice-chair of governors at Great Sankey Primary School, Warrington, and previously chair of governors.

Ian Wilson MA PhD DIC FRSC

George Bulman, CEO.

Ian is the headteacher at Bishops’ Blue Coat High School and is the chair of trustees. He is committed to improving education and welfare for all students, not only as a diocesan headteacher but during twenty years of governance as part of four boards spanning primary, secondary, academy and multi-trust. Ian fully understands the importance of accountability, using data and expertise to identify trends and support improvement. Throughout his career he has demonstrated a commitment to ethical behaviour, independence of thought and sound judgement across the range of academy responsibilities; employees, procurement, estates, compliance, equality and the best educational opportunities for the whole child.

George is an education specialist with over twenty years’ experience in education advisory work in both mainstream and specialised schools. Most recently, George provided educational consultancy for schools, trusts and new school proposer groups, including working as a specialist for New Schools Network, working alongside over 25 trusts in their development and preparation for inspection. George provided the founding leadership and development of New Islington Free School in Manchester which achieved an ‘Outstanding’ grade on its very first OFSTED inspection, and is included on the Department for Education’s Register of External Expertise, undertaking quality and compliance inspection/advisory visits, reporting to the DfE and identifying targets for improvement.