Nigel Robson

WELL Board Chair

Nigel is a former lawyer in an international law firm, and his positions included International Head of Engineering and Construction, Global Head of Energy, and Managing Partner. He was an accredited Mediator, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has been a trustee and Chair of many organisations, bringing legal support, governance expertise, financial awareness, HR and educational experience.

As Chair of the Chamber of Commerce in the North East he focussed upon the issue of historic underperformance of many of the regions then LEA schools. In addition to the issue of social injustice, he believes that education is one of the keys to breaking the cycle of social and economic deprivation. In 2003 he first joined the Board of an Academy in the North East. His involvement grew as he became Chair of a small Multi Academy Trust. He then joined the Board of United Learning Trust in 2010, and was elected Chair. During this time the Trust grew from 16 Academies to over 60. The Trust concentrated upon taking over failing schools in areas suffering from the greatest disadvantage. After completing his terms in 2019, he continues as Chair of challenging secondary academies in the North, including Cumbria. He is a Member of the Good Shepherd MAT (Diocese of Carlisle) and of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation MAT. He is a trustee of St John’s College and Cranmer Hall, Durham University, of Emmanuel Theological College, and of the Churches Trust for Cumbria.

He was appointed in 2019 to the Board as Chair of the Western Excellence in Learning and Leadership (WELL) in Cumbria. The reason for accepting enthusiastically the role was that the objectives of the WELL project fit exactly his belief that with the right training, understanding, support and funding there is no reason why students in the North, and other marginalised areas of England, cannot achieve the same, or better, outcomes as elsewhere. He was particularly attracted to the project, first, because the programmes and strands of investment are evidence led, and aim to provide a legacy of sustained improvement, and secondly the clear  commitment of the Sponsors.

Nigel first bought a holiday cottage in Cumbria in 1985, and has lived full time in the Eden Valley since 2007. He is married to Elizabeth, with five children, very many grand-children, and his interests are fell walking, mountain biking, (watching) rugby, and almost all things Italian.

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