Independent Committee Co-optees

Debbie Hale ACMA, CGMA

As the independent member of Star Academies’ Audit Committee, Debbie is not a Trustee but is appointed to bring an independent and objective perspective to the audit, assurance and risk management work of the Trust.

Debbie is now retired from full-time work but until June 2020 was the Deputy Director of Finance at the University of Central Lancashire and prior to this, she was the Finance Director of Training 2000, a Group Training Association in the North West of England.

Debbie is a CIMA-qualified accountant who also has senior level experience of the retail, construction, pharmaceutical and leisure sectors. Debbie has also undertaken the role of Governor at a local school, including serving as the Chair of their Finance Committee and since retiring has recently been providing a part-time finance consultancy service in the education sector.

Cath Hitchen

As the Committee Co-optee of the Academic Board, Cath is not a Trustee, but is appointed to bring an objective perspective to the quality of teaching and learning within the Trust.

Cath worked for the Department for Education from 2009 to 2011 as a SEND Professional Adviser within National Strategies. For the last seven years, she has worked as the SEND Professional Adviser for the North West and North East of England. Prior to working for the Department for Education, Cath worked initially as a teacher and then later as a local authority officer, completing this part of her career as Assistant Director for Blackburn with Darwen.

Building on the experience of designing and delivering high-quality services for children with additional needs, Cath is ideally placed to offer a support and challenge role.

Mohammad Sheraz Akhtar FCCA

As the Committee Co-optee of the Policy & Resources Committee, Sheraz is not a Trustee, but is appointed to bring an objective perspective to the strategic financial management of Star Academies.

Sheraz is a Principal Accountant for a London Council. Prior to this, Sheraz worked for Star Academies from 2013 to 2019 as the Financial Controller and had the responsibility of the Chief Finance Officer. Sheraz is also a Governor at one of the schools within Star Academies.

Sheraz is an ACCA-qualified Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant. He has over 13 years of education finance experience, spanning from early years, right through to FE colleges and in various sectors due to the numerous roles he has held working for a local authority and for Star Academies. During his 6 years within Star Academies, he developed a deep insight of the finances from a grass root level.


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