Meet Our Leaders

Alison Cookson - (Interim) Chief Executive Officer

Alison has been the Headteacher of four primary schools in different regions of the country, all in a variety of contexts. Alison led Marlborough Road Primary School from Special Measures to Good with Outstanding Features. Recently, Alison has worked for a term as Acting Principal of the Albion Academy, transferring primary leadership and management experience into the secondary sector.

Dave Tyrrell - (Interim) Chief Financial Officer


Judith Richens - Principal, Marlborough Academy

Judith was awarded the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2012. Prior to taking up the role of Principal, she worked at Marlborough Road Academy as the Vice Principal for 9 years, helping to steer the school from Special Measures towards its current status of 'good’ with outstanding leadership and management. Before joining the staff at Marlborough Road, Judith taught across both key stages one and two in a Manchester primary school, where she was a member of the senior leadership team, phase leader, TLR holder for raising standards through creativity and lead literacy teacher for the Local Authority. Judith completed her PGCE in 1995 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jane Garner - Principal, Dukesgate Academy

Jane Garner was appointed Principal at Dukesgate when it first converted to an academy in September 2012. Since then, she has successfully led the academy through a process of transformation to become the highly successful and popular primary school it is today.

Born and educated in the north west, after a successful career as a midwife and having raised her own family, Jane returned to higher education, obtaining a first class bachelor's degree in education from Manchester Metropolitan University with specialisms in music and mathematics. Since then, she has taught in a number of contextually very different schools, but always focusing on the pursuit of excellence, aspiration and opportunity for all children. Jane is married to a local church leader, enjoys reading, knitting and walking her border collie in her spare time.

Frank McCarron - Executive Principal /  Ms T. Holdsworth - Principal, Irlam & Cadishead College



Karl Mackey - Principal, Albion Academy

Having graduated from the University of Manchester Karl began teaching science in North Manchester in 1997. He became one of the first Advanced Skills Teachers in 2002 and led the improvement of teaching and learning in several schools. As a school leader Karl has demonstrated significant and sustainable impact and improvement first as a subject leader then as Assistant Head, Deputy Head and Principal in a number of schools in Greater Manchester. Recognised by Ofsted and HMI, Karl was invited to join the DfE's Talented Leaders programme in 2016 which aims to place exceptional head teachers into the most challenging schools.