Eden Academy Trust

Meet the Members

Mr Peter Ingham ( Member and Chair of Trust)


Whilst also being a member, I sit as the Chair of Trustees for the Multi Academy Trust  that oversees the governance of Eskdale, Jesmond Gardens, Bluebell Meadow and Stranton Academies. It is the job of the trustees to ensure schools within the MAT fulfil their duty to educate our children in a safe, efficient and effective environment and to set a vision with our Schools to provide the very best learning experiences for our students.

We are a trust absolutely committed to developing the ‘whole child’ and to helping pupils develop the highest of ambitions. We aim to deliver the finest learning environment for all children, and seek to provide inspirational experiences to help our pupils achieve their potential. However academic success is only half the story: our schools are all high performing, but throughout them there is an ethos of care for the students that is greater than academic achievement. We are an inclusive trust, filled with staff that seek what is good for all pupils, with a clear commitment to the pastoral needs and wellbeing of every child.


Mr Peter Hart

I've been involved with Stranton Primary School since 2004; starting as a youth and children's worker for a local church, before becoming a School Governor and then transferred to the Trust board in 2013, then spending 5 years as the Founding Chair of the Trust. I now work at the University of Leeds as a research fellow, with an interest in character education and reading interventions. 


Mr Martyn Gordon

I've have worked with Leaders from the Eden Academy Trust since 2014. After admiring the superb work that has gone on in all of the Eden Schools, I was honoured to become a governor at Jesmond Gardens in 2015 and subsequently a Trust Board Member in 2022. In addition, I have been a Headteacher at the Horizon School since 2019, recently leading the school through a very successful Ofsted Inspection. From September, I will take up a new role as Executive Principal, in the Northern Leaders Trust.

Working with the Eden Academy Trust is incredibly fulfilling, due to leaders determination to make a difference to all young people.


Mr Michael Sumpter

As an ex Stranton School pupil and somebody who cares passionately  about Hartlepoool and this ward in particular, I am delighted and proud to be a member of this Trust who always goes above and beyond for our children, families and wider community.

With my background in industry and business I bring a wealth of experience and in-sight to help support and challenge the senior leaders of this Trust to do their very best for the pupils - something I know they do every single day.


Dr Shirley Ann Paul

PhD, MSc, MA (Hons) Psychology

Shirley is a Research Psychologist at the University of Leeds where she specializes in the design, delivery, and evaluation of educational interventions. She currently works on the Narnian Virtues Character Education English Curriculum project which is designed to foster character development in 11 – 14 year olds. Her main research passion is in developing and evaluating methods for improving children’s reading skills. In 2013 – 2015 she worked on the Reading for Comprehension (REACH) project at Leeds, a Randomised Controlled Trial, designed to evaluate the effectiveness of two reading interventions developed for secondary school children with weak reading skills.


Before moving to Leeds Shirley worked at The University of Edinburgh, first as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and then as Undergraduate Teaching Coordinator in Psychology. Shirley obtained her Psychology degrees from The University of Dundee and is also a certified PRINCE 2 Project Manager, and a qualified Reiki practitioner. She is a Trustee of Eden Academy and is dedicated to developing evidence-based methods for improving educational outcomes in children and reducing attainment gaps.


Members Business Interest Forms 2022/23


Role of the Members

Members play a limited but crucial role in safeguarding academy trust governance. While they must ensure they do not stray into undertaking the Academy Trustees' role, they should assure themselves that the governance of the trust is effective, that Academy Trustees are acting in accordance with the trust’s charitable object(s) and that they, the Members, use their powers to step in if governance is failing.


Academy trusts are founded by Members, who may then appoint additional Members to join them. The first Members are the signatories to the memorandum of association which is drawn up when the academy trust is first established. These first Members agree the academy trust’s first articles of association, which include the academy trust’s charitable purpose. Members should not be involved in the day-to-day business of the academy trust and must ensure they do not assume the powers of the Academy Trustees. However, they do have an important role in an academy trust, based on a number of key powers set out in the department’s model articles of association and in company law. Members should make sure they are familiar with their own articles of association and funding agreement.


Members help to ensure that Academy Trustees are exercising effective governance by utilising a range of powers as et out in the scheme of delegation below.


The academy trust must have at least three Members, although the department’s strong preference is for academy trusts to have at least five Members. Members can be individual people or corporate bodies. Employees of the academy trust must not be Members.


As the responsibility to conduct the academy trust’s business sits with the Academy Trustees, it is important Members do not overstep their powers or undermine the trust boards’ discretion when exercising its responsibilities. One way in which some academy trusts decide to keep Members informed and engaged is for one or more Members to also serve as an Academy Trustee on the trust board, which at Eden Academy Trust is the Chair of the Academy Trustees.


When operating as an Academy Trustee such Members have no greater power than other Academy Trustees, and should remain conscious of the corporate nature of the trust board’s identity and decision making and not seek to dominate the trust board because they are also Members. It remains the department’s strong preference however that at least the majority of Members should remain independent from the trust board.