Academy Council & Register of Business Interests

As a member of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) the structure of the Academy Council and its responsibilities are set out in the FCAT Scheme of Delegation.

The Academy Council plays a vital role in the governance and accountability of Blackpool Aspire Academy; its responsibilities include:

  • Support the vision and direction of FCAT
  • Set and review the vision and direction for Blackpool Aspire Academy within the framework of FCAT’s vision
  • Approval of Blackpool Aspire Academy budget
  • Oversee financial monitoring of Blackpool Aspire Academy
  • Hold the Blackpool Aspire Academy Principal to account for standards and report annually to the Directors
  • Act as a critical friend to Blackpool Aspire Academy Principal
  • Approval of capital programmes before submission to the Board of Directors

The Academy Council is not responsible for the operational and day to day management of Blackpool Aspire Academy, this is the remit of the Principal who reports to the Chief Executive.

The Academy Council is made up of people who want to make a positive contribution to your child's education - below you will find some background information on our Academy Council members and records of all their meetings.

Chair of Academy Council

Wendy Middlemas

I came to live and work in Blackpool over 40 years ago, and taught for 20 years in secondary and special schools before transferring to local government as a Policy Officer in Lancashire County Council.

In Knowsley Borough Council, I was Children’s Services Manager and Assistant Director of Children’s Services. In 2007 I became Head of Education Services and then Head of Education in Manchester City Council, with responsibility for school improvement.

I currently work as an educational consultant in local authorities across the North of England, and I am married with four children.


Academy Council Members

Michael Carey

I was a civil servant for most of my working life and moved to the Fylde in 1974 to work on the old DHSS site at Norcross. In those days I was an internal consultant specialising in efficiency studies and was lucky enough to get a secondment to work for two years as Organisation and Methods adviser to the Solomon Islands Government. I continued my studies after that to qualify as a member of the Institute of Management Services, but as soon as I qualified I moved off that work and spent the rest of my career in general management in various parts of Northern England.

Since retiring I have been a volunteer ranger for the Lancashire Countryside Service and I also volunteer as an adviser for Age UK in Blackpool. 

Sarah Elson

I have lived in Lancashire all my life and have been a teacher for 10 years. I am a passionate middle leader at Aspire, who has a varied experience range of teaching and leading from Acting Assistant Headteacher to current Head of Dance and CPD. I have always had a passion for teaching and learning and believe the education of our children is vital. Through my work on the Academy Council I hope to support FCAT's vision and achieve Aspire's aspirations of 'Success, Nothing Less'.

Jill Gray

I am the Principal of The Blackpool Sixth Form College having been in post-16 education for over 20 years. I originally trained in hospitality management, having visions of managing hotels worldwide; however in 1994 my career took an unexpected turn when I entered the world of education initially as a teacher of tourism and hospitality before moving into middle management in 1998 and senior management in 2008. I have never looked back!

Having undertaken my post-16 education in Blackpool, I am excited to be back working in the town. I am passionate about education and aim to work in partnership with others to provide an outstanding education for the young people of Blackpool.

I have a wonderful son and a daughter and I am a very proud grandma!

Bill Greene

The most important thing about today’s education system is the young people who rely on it. I want to ensure that all the young people who go to Aspire have, and take, the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge that will enable them to make the most of their lives.

As a I am a retired IT professional, who is actively involved in the local Blackpool community, I am able to recognise what is, and what is not, effective in achieving that goal.
Bob Keen

I have lived and worked in Blackpool for 8 years out of the last 17 and am committed to being here until my son finishes Year 11 in 5 years’ time.

My background is very much in education. I have taught in Primary and Special schools in England and abroad for over 30 years including 11 years in the Philippines and 4 years in Qatar. 

On returning to Blackpool from the Middle East just over 3 years ago, I decided to retire from teaching in order to focus my time on being a good single Dad. My daughter has just completed her time at The Blackpool Sixth Form College and my son has just started in Year 7 at Aspire Academy.
Ryan Sheldon

After leaving school I gained my A-levels and a History degree and trained to become a graphic artist, remaining in the printing industry until 2008 when I joined Education Diversity for five years supporting students who were being educated online at home and across their many centres, helping young people who for one reason or another were unable to learn in a traditional school setting.

Being Senior IT Technician at Aspire and with two children who seem to be fast approaching high school age I have more than a passing interest in the education system and what I can do to positively influence it.

Carole Sweeting

I re-located to Blackpool in 1986 from Manchester and have worked for 30 years in the Civil Service, rising through the ranks to senior manager roles thanks to both hard work and returning to enhance my own education with a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration followed by completing my MBA in 1998. My daughter attended Greenlands High School and Blackpool Sixth Form and has since carved an extremely successful career in education herself which has sparked my interest in getting involved in supporting FCAT academies.

5 years ago I took a severance package from the civil service and took the very brave and scary decision to set up my own HR Consultancy business which is now going from strength to strength. I see first-hand the issues our young people face in securing good job roles when they leave education and am excited about the opportunity to help develop Aspire become the best it can be.

Clerk to the Academy Council

Kath Buddle
Governance Administrator, Fylde Coast Academy Trust

I am responsible for supporting Aspire Academy Council Governors; developing agendas, papers and minutes for Academy Council meetings and providing advice on governance matters.

I have lived in Blackpool for 35 years and, have worked as a Governance Administrator for Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT) since March 2014. Prior to that, I held a similar position within Lancashire County Council’s Governor Services.

In my current role I am lucky enough to be working with passionate people who are committed to supporting children and young people across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to achieve their goals.



Aspire Academy Council Register of Business Interests

Governors are advised to include interests of both themselves and any member of their immediate family (including partners).

Governors have read the guidelines regarding Register of Pecuniary or Business Interests and declared whether or not they have
any interests that may conflict with their duties as a Governor on Aspire Academy Council or as a Governor within Fylde Coast
Academy Trust and its other academies.

Academy Council Meetings

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 15th February, 2017

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 7th December, 2016

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 14th September, 2016

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 29th June, 2016

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 16th March, 2016

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 20th January, 2016

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 18th November, 2015

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 16th September, 2015

 Extraordinary Academy Council Meeting:  Thursday, 16th July, 2015

 Academy Council Meeting: Monday, 15th June, 2015

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 22nd April, 2015

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 11th March, 2015

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 28th January, 2015

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 26th November, 2014

 Academy Council Meeting: Wednesday, 17th September, 2014


Click here for Policies and financial information regarding FCAT

Click here for FCAT governance

Click here for Academy Council Secure Area