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  • Luminate Education Group’s
    Executive Leadership Team

    Steering the group to achieve its ambitions.

  • Luminate Education Group’s
    Executive Leadership Team

    Steering the group to achieve its ambitions.

Meet Luminate Education Group’s Executive Leadership Team

Our Executive Leadership Team steers the group to achieve its ambitions, strategically guiding specialist teams across different service areas and curriculum. The senior seven use their expertise to support our member organisations, create change and improvements, and make things happen.

Executive Leadership Team

Andrew
Whitaker

Deputy CEO - Teaching & Learning

Andrew takes executive leadership responsibility for the teaching and learning strategy at Luminate Education Group, alongside his pole position as chief executive of the White Rose Academies Trust (appointed 2016).

Born, raised and educated in Leeds, Andrew has worked most of his professional life in the education sector, including leadership roles at Leeds Beckett University, the University of Leeds, vice principal of the largest 3-18 special school in the UK, and headteacher of Todmorden High School.

Andrew’s leadership of schools has been nationally recognised. In 2018, he was awarded a lifetime Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

“Developing others is my purpose. Serving our students and witnessing their success stories is what drives me to do better every day.”

When he’s not at work, you’ll find this Liverpool FC fanatic reading a book or working out in the gym.

Ann-Marie
Spry

Vice Principal - Adults

Ann-Marie has worked in the education sector for over 35 years, with executive leadership roles at Thomas Danby College, Leeds City College and now Luminate.

Ann-Marie’s current remit for Luminate covers adult education and STEM, as well as executive leadership of Harrogate College. She has led adult education across the organisation through several Ofsted inspections, with ‘Good’ outcomes.

She has particular interest in all aspects of inclusion, widening participation and social mobility for all ages and at all levels, based on an underlying belief that education changes lives and is vital for social change and breaking the cycle of poverty.

“I have met some wonderful, skilled people through my work at Luminate, bringing teams together and creating a vision to change the education landscape in the Leeds City Region. Our daily work impacts on students and changes their lives, enabling them to succeed and make steps to achieving their potential.”

In her spare time, Ann-Marie loves travelling to historic places, gardening, going to the theatre and mooching around art galleries, as well as making cross-stitch pictures.

Bill
Jones

Deputy CEO

Bill has worked in the education sector for almost three decades, holding senior positions at Sheffield College, Rotherham College of Arts and Technology and Burton & South Derbyshire College.

Outside his deputy CEO role at Luminate, which he has held since 2015, he is executive principal at Leeds City College, where he spearheads all aspects of provision and performance. His lead role at Luminate encompasses stakeholder engagement, environmental sustainability, equality, diversity & inclusion, and safeguarding.

“I’m privileged to be able to contribute to the life-changing success of thousands of students, who are able to progress and reach their potential as a result of their course or programme.”

Hobbyist Bill has run at least 5km every day in 2021. A fan of live music and theatre, he also spends his down time in his allotment (but admits it doesn’t produce many vegetables).

Colin
Booth OBE

Group CEO

Colin was appointed Group CEO of Luminate Education Group in 2019, following a four-year tenure as chief executive and principal of Leeds City College (2015-19), where he led the milestone completions of the Printworks and Quarry Hill campuses.

Before his move to Leeds, Colin was principal at Barnsley College and vice principal at Newcastle College.

Colin has worked in the education sector for over 35 years, with a background in Skills for Life and provision for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. He was also a part-time inspector for Ofsted and the adult learning inspectorate for nine years.

Colin received an OBE for services to further education in the Queen’s 2015 New Year Honours list.

“I enjoy opening up opportunities for students and staff and watching them progress. It’s fantastic to see the impact we have on the communities we work with.”

Outside of work, Colin is a keen rugby union fan and beekeeper.

David
Warren

Group Vice Principal - Development

David was appointed to the Luminate leadership team in 2020, following 18 years at Leeds Conservatoire where he was chief operating officer.

His remit at the group covers marketing, student recruitment, innovation, events, fundraising and property development, with particular interests and skills in branding and market positioning, new product development and estate development.

David has been pivotal in creating new teaching and learning facilities at the Conservatoire, including the venue performance space and library. This continues with new buildings in the pipeline for Luminate Education Group members.

“I love working with creative people, securing funding and grants that enhance our students’ experience, and seeing our students succeed.”

When he’s not pushing boundaries at Luminate, David is a massive racquets sports fan, mainly playing in local leagues, and has a keen eye for interior design.

Gemma
Simmons-Blench

Deputy CEO - Quality & Curriculum

Gemma’s 20+ year experience across secondary, further and higher education secured her an executive leadership role at Luminate, where she drives teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare outcomes for our students, pupils and apprentices across the group. Gemma is also vice principal for curriculum at Leeds City College.

A key aspect of her role is to ensure that the group as a whole is meeting the needs of learners and employers through the curriculum we serve.

“I love turning data into information to improve the student experience. I’m endlessly curious about what and how we deliver learning, and the impact that this has on our students and communities.”

To counterbalance Gemma’s love of cake, she loves to run, row and practise Pilates, as well as travelling and spending time with family.

  • Andrew
    Whitaker

    Deputy CEO – Teaching & Learning

    Andrew takes executive leadership responsibility for the teaching and learning strategy at Luminate Education Group, alongside his pole position as chief executive of the White Rose Academies Trust (appointed 2016).

    Born, raised and educated in Leeds, Andrew has worked most of his professional life in the education sector, including leadership roles at Leeds Beckett University, the University of Leeds, vice principal of the largest 3-18 special school in the UK, and headteacher of Todmorden High School.

    Andrew’s leadership of schools has been nationally recognised. In 2018, he was awarded a lifetime Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

    “Developing others is my purpose. Serving our students and witnessing their success stories is what drives me to do better every day.”

    When he’s not at work, you’ll find this Liverpool FC fanatic reading a book or working out in the gym.

  • Ann-Marie
    Spry

    Vice Principal – Adults

    Ann-Marie has worked in the education sector for over 35 years, with executive leadership roles at Thomas Danby College, Leeds City College and now Luminate.

    Ann-Marie’s current remit for Luminate covers adult education and STEM, as well as executive leadership of Harrogate College. She has led adult education across the organisation through several Ofsted inspections, with ‘Good’ outcomes.

    She has particular interest in all aspects of inclusion, widening participation and social mobility for all ages and at all levels, based on an underlying belief that education changes lives and is vital for social change and breaking the cycle of poverty.

    “I have met some wonderful, skilled people through my work at Luminate, bringing teams together and creating a vision to change the education landscape in the Leeds City Region. Our daily work impacts on students and changes their lives, enabling them to succeed and make steps to achieving their potential.”

    In her spare time, Ann-Marie loves travelling to historic places, gardening, going to the theatre and mooching around art galleries, as well as making cross-stitch pictures.

  • Bill
    Jones

    Deputy CEO

    Bill has worked in the education sector for almost three decades, holding senior positions at Sheffield College, Rotherham College of Arts and Technology and Burton & South Derbyshire College.

    Outside his deputy CEO role at Luminate, which he has held since 2015, he is executive principal at Leeds City College, where he spearheads all aspects of provision and performance. His lead role at Luminate encompasses stakeholder engagement, environmental sustainability, equality, diversity & inclusion, and safeguarding.

    “I’m privileged to be able to contribute to the life-changing success of thousands of students, who are able to progress and reach their potential as a result of their course or programme.”

    Hobbyist Bill has run at least 5km every day in 2021. A fan of live music and theatre, he also spends his down time in his allotment (but admits it doesn’t produce many vegetables).

  • Colin
    Booth OBE

    Group CEO

    Colin was appointed Group CEO of Luminate Education Group in 2019, following a four-year tenure as chief executive and principal of Leeds City College (2015-19), where he led the milestone completions of the Printworks and Quarry Hill campuses.

    Before his move to Leeds, Colin was principal at Barnsley College and vice principal at Newcastle College.

    Colin has worked in the education sector for over 35 years, with a background in Skills for Life and provision for students with disabilities or learning difficulties. He was also a part-time inspector for Ofsted and the adult learning inspectorate for nine years.

    Colin received an OBE for services to further education in the Queen’s 2015 New Year Honours list.

    “I enjoy opening up opportunities for students and staff and watching them progress. It’s fantastic to see the impact we have on the communities we work with.”

    Outside of work, Colin is a keen rugby union fan and beekeeper.

  • David
    Warren

    Group Vice Principal – Development

    David was appointed to the Luminate leadership team in 2020, following 18 years at Leeds Conservatoire where he was chief operating officer.

    His remit at the group covers marketing, student recruitment, innovation, events, fundraising and property development, with particular interests and skills in branding and market positioning, new product development and estate development.

    David has been pivotal in creating new teaching and learning facilities at the Conservatoire, including the venue performance space and library. This continues with new buildings in the pipeline for Luminate Education Group members.

    “I love working with creative people, securing funding and grants that enhance our students’ experience, and seeing our students succeed.”

    When he’s not pushing boundaries at Luminate, David is a massive racquets sports fan, mainly playing in local leagues, and has a keen eye for interior design.

  • Gemma
    Simmons-Blench

    Deputy CEO – Quality & Curriculum

    Gemma’s 20+ year experience across secondary, further and higher education secured her an executive leadership role at Luminate, where she drives teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare outcomes for our students, pupils and apprentices across the group. Gemma is also vice principal for curriculum at Leeds City College.

    A key aspect of her role is to ensure that the group as a whole is meeting the needs of learners and employers through the curriculum we serve.

    “I love turning data into information to improve the student experience. I’m endlessly curious about what and how we deliver learning, and the impact that this has on our students and communities.”

    To counterbalance Gemma’s love of cake, she loves to run, row and practise Pilates, as well as travelling and spending time with family.

Staff
Development

Our people are our most crucial asset.
As a major employer in the Leeds City Region, we are committed to lifelong learning and development, and we give every employee the chance to develop their career in full and feel happy in their roles.

The result is a highly motivated workforce, where every team member believes in what they are doing and delivers the best possible outcomes to our pupils, students and apprentices.

A culture that cuts through Luminate Education Group

We are a culturally driven, freethinking organisation, striving every day to break down barriers and provide a supportive, open environment for our staff, students, pupils and apprentices. Our culture is one that embraces integrity, creativity and innovation.

Become a Member

Our people are everything

Our culture is hardwired through everyone we work with, including our students, pupils and apprentices, and will continue to develop through our individual personalities and passions. Being part of Leeds City Region means our people are ambitious, just like our cities and towns.

We treat people well, with a vison to become an employer of choice. We pride ourselves on the highest standards when it comes to quality education and learning, as well as pastoral care. That’s because we know that without the best people, we can’t be the best education group.

People
centric

We put the spotlight on bespoke work needs, implement considerate work streams, and emphasise ongoing professional development to ensure our people feel cared for and valued. Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are also embedded into our ongoing development programmes, in addition to an annual groupwide training day and discussions dedicated to EDI.

Develop in a way
that suits you

We feel strongly that if we empower our people, listen empathetically, give more room for autonomy in professional learning and facilitate training experiences which suit individuals in a better way, that they will be more engaged, inspired and creative – which in turn, has a hugely positive effect on our students and their experiences with us.

A roadmap
from day one

The Luminate Group training provision is designed to support all staff in every part of their career journey with us. We stick to a general framework of 10 per cent formal training, 20 per cent social learning and 70 per cent practical application. It starts from day one with an in-depth induction programme, and follows through to skills development, professional qualifications, leadership, coaching and mentoring, job shadowing, Quality Teaching and Learning Assessment and industrial updating.

Learning
on demand

Modern workplaces require modern learning. Our personalised Learning On Demand online platform is like the Netflix of learning – you can engage with it anytime, anywhere, exactly as you need it. We don’t have an authoritarian view towards training in classrooms. Instead, we offer open, agile environments where you can meet people, network, and connect with a sense of fun. Learning shouldn’t be arduous.

Building
leadership

We want to understand our workforce in greater detail and build leadership within. We are invested in optimising not only the learning experiences of our students, pupils and apprentices, but those of all colleagues, with a keen eye on career visions and aspirations. There are leadership programmes for senior leaders and middle leaders within the group, as well as people management essentials training for everyone.

Be part of our team

View Luminate Education Group’s current vacancies on the Careers page.

Careers
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