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Meet our Trustees

The board of Trustees provide strategic direction collective leadership, accountability, scrutiny and quality assurance to ensure that Sapphire is acting in the best interest of the organisation and its beneficiaries. Their role is to carry out ‘due diligence’, making sure that they follow all the requirements of law and regulation.

They are a group of individuals who work in the field of SEND and alternative provision and offer valuable experience and expertise. Their business acumen and creative inspiration adds value, ensuring greater opportunity and transparency for the beneficiaries who engage with the service.

Meet the Trustees: Meet the Team
Paul photo.jpg

Paul Hodgkinson

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Lead for Governance and Finance

Quote from Paul:

“I have spent the whole of my career in special education and have seen the value that high quality provision has on lives. I worry that there are gaps in local provision but feel that Sapphire helps to fill a gap. This is hugely important for the young adults who attend the organisation.  On my visits I have already observed that Sapphire is a fantastic new resource which is led and delivered by a team of Special Needs experts. Sapphire has a very specific core purpose which is need in Bolton. The ‘offer’ is extremely important for the young adults who attend and there is evidence that it impacts on their lives.” 


Paul was born, raised, educated and has worked in Bolton all his life. He is very interested in the community and services that are available for Bolton residents.

Paul has 16 years leadership experience in Special Education and is involved in several National SEN Policy Networks. He is passionate about Governance and recognises the value of strong leadership.

He started his career working at Youth Challenge Pupil Referral Unit in Bolton and held numerous positions there. He started as a volunteer Mentor before becoming a class teacher and eventually the Head Teacher in 2003.Under his leadership, Youth Challenge was twice judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted.

In 2010 he successfully achieved the position as Manager of the Bolton Pupil Referral Service and supervised the federation of all the PRUs across Bolton.

Four years later, in 2014 he also became the Interim Executive Headteacher of Lever Park School when the school was placed into special measures.

He worked with the staff team on a Rapid Improvement Plan which eventually resulted in the school moving out of special measures in 2016. This resulted in Paul taking up the position of the Executive Principal of the Bolton Impact Trust. This is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), which comprises the Alternative Provision (AP) and Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) offer across Bolton.

Paul has advised the Department for Education, various Local Authorities and schools locally, regionally and nationally on leadership, Behaviour Management strategies, Alternative Provision and Governance. He has spoken at Conferences and has recently been asked to Co-chair the SEND & AP Council on behalf of the Foundation for Education Development (FED).

In his role as Chair, Paul has a vast amount of experience that he feels can support the development of Sapphire. In particular his knowledge of Governance is extensive, and he is committed to ensuring that the accountability, transparency, leadership and quality are achieved to the highest standard.

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