RET Executive Leaders

Central Team

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Rachael Warwick: CEO and Accounting Officer 

Rachael holds a degree in English Literature and Language from Oxford University and, following a first career in children's fiction publishing, gained a PGCE from Goldsmith's College, London University. 

Rachael worked in several schools in London, Sussex and Oxfordshire before becoming Headteacher of Didcot Girls’ School in September 2010 and Executive Headteacher of Ridgeway Education Trust in September 2015. She has spent the last twenty years as a senior leader and is a National Leader of Education who provides school improvement support for other trusts. Rachael is Past President of ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders) and an active member of ASCL Council and Executive. 

Away from work, Rachael enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage sons in their home in west Oxfordshire.

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Robert Majilton: Chief Finance Officer 

Robert qualified as an accountant in 2002, and has worked in finance and public sector senior leadership for 30 years. Robert has held many finance roles within the NHS across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. 

Prior to working at RET, he was Deputy Chief Executive for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group after establishing the groups in 2012 as Chief Finance Officer where his role was to provide strategic financial leadership to the Board and the wider organisation, before becoming Deputy Chief Executive in 2016.

Robert is a long-standing resident of Oxfordshire having been brought up in West Oxfordshire and now lives near Milton. He is married with a daughter.

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Catherine Steele: Chief Operating Officer

Catherine Steele holds a Diploma in School Business Management and has worked in numerous primary schools within Oxfordshire after re-training from her career in Pharmaceuticals.

Prior to working at RET, she was the School Business Manager at Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School and was extensively involved with the school becoming an academy and joining Ridgeway Education Trust.   Catherine has operational responsibility for IT, Premises including Health and Safety, Catering and Transport.

Catherine lives in Oxford with her two teenage boys and enjoys walking her dog by the river, appreciates all forms of live music and has recently taken up running.

Caroline Ball

Caroline Ball: Company Secretary & Governance Lead

Caroline graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a BA (Hons) in Politics and has achieved her Level 3 Certificate in the Clerking of School and Academy Governing Boards. Caroline is an experienced governance professional having clerked both local and trust boards. 

Caroline lives in South Oxfordshire with her young family and enjoys spending time walking their family dog together. 

Jane Emmott

Jane Emmott: Data & System Lead

Jane graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in molecular biology and genetics and a master's by research.  

Prior to a career in the education sector, Jane spent several years working as a research scientist at the University of Leeds. She relocated to Didcot in 2008 with her young family. Before joining the central team, she held a number of posts within the trust's schools, including Data Administrator for Didcot Sixth Form and Data and Exams Manager for Didcot Girls' School. She is passionate about her work supporting school leaders to use data effectively. 

Jane lives in Didcot with her husband and three teenagers, and is a keen gardener. 

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Donna Sampson: HR Lead

Donna has considerable experience within Human Resources gained across both private and public sectors.  She has worked in the Education sector for the last 9 years.


Her most recent role has seen her lead the HR Department of a successful secondary school.

Donna lives in Chieveley and enjoys spending time with her husband and their three  daughters.

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Fionna Blessing: PA to the CEO & Trust Administrator

Fionna is an experienced Executive Assistant who joined RET in November 2022. Prior to joining RET, Fionna spent several years as an EA within the Higher Education sector and local government. 

Fionna lives in South Oxfordshire and enjoys spending time with her family. 

Trust School Improvement Team

 
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Paul Shaughnessy: Director of Primary Education

Paul graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Degree in Psychology in 2000.  After working in marketing at the start of his career, he returned to Birmingham to complete a PGCE and began his teaching career in 2003.  He holds a Masters degree in Education from Oxford Brookes University, and has completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).​​

Following a number of years working in primary schools in Oxford, Paul moved to Northbourne CE Primary School in Didcot as Deputy Headteacher; he was appointed as Headteacher there in 2010, a post he held until August 2023.  During this time, and alongside his headship, Paul trained as an Ofsted inspector – a role he still holds – and worked as a part-time School Improvement Advisor for the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust (ODST).​​​

Paul lives in Caversham and enjoys all things food-related, reading and travel.​

Andrea Wickham

Andrea Wickham: Maths Mastery Lead

Andrea graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Durham University in 1995 and completed a PGCE at Oxford University. 

Andrea worked in several schools in Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire before becoming Maths Mastery Lead at RET in September 2019. She is a Secondary teaching for Mastery specialist and accredited Professional Development lead and also works as Assistant Maths Hub Lead at the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Maths Hub on a part-time basis.

In her RET role, Andrea leads professional development in the Maths departments at Didcot Girls' School and St Birinus School. She supports the development of maths teaching and learning at Sutton Courtenay primary school and other local partner primary schools. She works closely with maths leads and classroom teachers to improve outcomes in maths by embedding teaching approaches and curriculum changes which enable students to have a deep, secure and adaptable understanding of mathematics.  

Andrea enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters in their village home on the outskirts of Oxford. 

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Frances Ashton: Director of Secondary Education

Frances Ashton graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Literature and Language, before returning to compete her PGCE there a year later and starting her teaching career at Didcot Girls' School.

She has held a variety of roles including Advanced Learner Lead, Second in English and is currently Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning and CPD. She has also worked as a Specialist Leader of Education, and had lead a variety of CPD events.
Frances leads on secondary school improvement work in RET as well as developing KS2/3 curriculum transition and supporting work on the primary writing curriculum. 

Frances is a voracious reader and lives in a village near Didcot with her husband and two young daughters and spends as much time with them as possible.

School Leaders 

 

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Georgina Littler: Headteacher of Didcot Girls’ School

Georgina graduated with a Degree in French and German from Nottingham University in 1998 and completed a PGCE at Oxford University shortly afterwards.

Following several years teaching in Oxfordshire she worked in International schools in Egypt and in the Philippines before returning to the UK to start a family. She then worked in the Cotswolds as Assistant Headteacher before taking on the role of Deputy Headteacher in Tewkesbury. She truly loves working in education and passionately believes in its power to affect the life chances of young people for the better.

Georgina loves to travel but also enjoys spending time at home in the Cotswolds with her family and two dogs.

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William Manning: Headteacher of St Birinus School

William graduated from Kings' College London with a degree in French and Latin in 1994 and left university to pursue Arabic studies in Egypt and then work in industry before completing a PGCE with Oxford University in 1999.

William worked as a teacher of languages and a Head of Year at the Marlborough School, Woodstock and then subsequently as a Head of Year and Assistant Headteacher with pastoral responsibilities at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore. Before being appointed as Headteacher at St Birinus School, William was a Deputy Headteacher at Didcot Girls’ School.

A keen sportsman, William lives with his wife and three children in Freeland.

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Rachel Hornsey: Headteacher of Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School

Rachel holds a BA (Hons) degree in Politics from Leeds University and a Master’s degree in Education from York University.

She has thirty years’ experience working in primary schools across the country, teaching children of every age. Prior to headship, Rachel led English in three Outstanding schools and has been a Local Authority and freelance consultant in literacy and learning.

Rachel lives in East Hagbourne with her husband and two teenage daughters.

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John Myers: Headteacher of All Saints CofE Primary School

John graduated from Manchester University in 1986 with a degree in Geography and Physical Education, he then returned to Liverpool to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Christ's and Notre Dame College.

For the past 13 years he has been headteacher at All Saints Church of England (A) Primary School.  Prior to working at All Saints, he was headteacher at Holy Trinity CE (A) School in Marlow for six years.

John lives in South Oxfordshire with his family.

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Gillian Fraser: Headteacher of Long Wittenham CofE Primary School

Gillian has a BA in Development Studies and a Master in Education and Development from the University of East Anglia. She qualified as a teacher in 2007 through a work-based teacher training programme. Having worked internationally, Gillian returned to the UK and taught locally for many years.  Gillian joined Long Wittenham School in January 2021.

Gillian lives in a village near Didcot and loves gardening and spending time with her dog.

 

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James Cross: Director of Didcot Sixth Form

James Cross graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Literature and Language, before completing a PGCE at the University of Keele and teaching in the West Midlands. He returned to Oxfordshire in 2014 to work at Didcot Girls’ School, where has held a variety of roles, most recently as Head of English and Associate Senior Leader. He has also worked across a number of schools as a Specialist Leader of Education, supporting English departments with curriculum development and raising standards.

James is responsible for the Didcot Sixth Form, working across both St Birinus School and Didcot Girls' School. He lives in Didcot, though hails originally from the North, and enjoys anything that takes him to more mountainous terrain.

 

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