RET Executive Leaders

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Rachael Warwick: CEO, Accounting Officer and Executive Headteacher

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 seventeen years as a senior leader and is a National Leader in Education (NLE). Rachael is this year's Immediate Past President of ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders).

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

Laura waller

Laura Waller: Director of Finance and Chief Finance Officer 

Laura qualified as an accountant in 2003 with a top 10 accountancy firm, and has worked in finance for over 20 years. She is currently working towards a Level 5 Diploma for School Business Leaders.

Prior to working at RET, she was the Head of Finance & CFO at another Oxfordshire Trust for several years. She has significant experience in management accounting, charities and auditing. She has also previously worked in higher education as a Lecturer, and delivered courses for AAT and Sage packages. Laura has operational and strategic responsibility for all finances for RET.

Laura lives in Oxfordshire with her husband, three children and dog. She enjoys spending her time gardening, cooking and painting.

Ben hegedus

Ben Hegedus: Director of HR and Operations

Ben qualified as a solicitor in 2003. He practised as a solicitor specialising in employment law, both in-house at the University of Oxford and in private practice as part of the firm’s corporate and commercial team, for over ten years. Ben attained CIPD Chartered Membership in 2020. 

Prior to working at RET, Ben was Director of HR & Compliance at another Oxfordshire Trust where he worked for five years. He has extensive experience in legal compliance, human resources and overseeing operational matters in an educational setting. Ben heads up operational matters for RET and its schools.  

Ben lives in Oxford and is a keen cyclist.   

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Catherine Steele: Operational Services Lead

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.

Sophy parkin haig

Sophy Parkin-Haig: Company Secretary

Sophy holds a BA (Hons) degree in History from the University of Warwick and has worked in education, training and project management for the past 20 years.

She joined Ridgeway Education Trust in 2018, having previously worked for a leading UK awarding body and in schools in Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire. She achieved the Certificate of Clerking of School and Governing Boards offered by the National Governance Association and accredited by The Chartered Governance Institute in December 2020.

Sophy has two daughters, and enjoys country walks with the family whippet.

Georgina littler

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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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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