Governing Board

RET Governance Arrangements

The governance structure for Ridgeway Education Trust supports the Trust’s vision of providing outstanding all-through education for children and young people from 4 to 19 and is based around these principles:

  • Recognising the individuality, character and culture of each school
  • Connecting to the local community
  • Supporting students through curricula developed for each school, suitable to their needs.

The RET Board is accountable to the Secretary of State for all schools within the multi-academy trust (MAT) and is responsible for compliance with government and Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) requirements, company law and charity law. Our governance structure allows for delegation of certain decisions to the most appropriate body, as outlined in our Articles of Association and Scheme of Delegation.

All actions of, and decisions taken by, levels of governance within the MAT undertake to further the principles, vision and values of the Trust. Those involved with RET governance must conduct themselves in line with the vision and values of the Trust and in accordance with the seven principles of public life.


Roles and responsibilities

The Academies Financial Handbook sets out the roles and responsibilities of Members, Trustees, the Accounting Officer and the Chief Financial Officer.

In summary:

  • Trust Members are akin to shareholders and have ultimate control over the direction of the Trust. They ensure the charitable company achieves its objectives, sign off the annual report and accounts and appoint some of the Trustees (Directors).
  • The Department for Education has a preference for the majority of Members to be independent of the Board of Trustees as they wish to see a significant degree of separation between the members and the Board of Trustees.

Trustees (Directors) are responsible for the three core functions of governance:

  1. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  2. Hold the executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff;
  3. Oversee and ensure effective financial performance.

The Chair of Trustees is responsible for ensuring the effective functioning of the Board and setting professional standards of governance. The Board has four committees: Audit; Finance & General Purposes; Sixth Form; and Pay.

The Accounting Officer is our Chief Executive Officer and Executive Headteacher. Accounting Officer responsibilities include personal responsibility to Parliament, and to the Education and Skills Funding Agency's (ESFA) accounting officer, for the financial resources under the Trust’s control.

The Chief Financial Officer is appointed by the Trust Board and has delegated responsibility for the Trust’s detailed financial procedures.

Further information on academy trust governance structures and roles can be found here.

Ridgeway Education Trust Trustees

Paul allen

Paul Allen

Paul has a first-class degree from Cambridge University and is a Chartered Surveyor and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers. He is a partner at Bidwells in Oxford and has 26 years’ experience in rural property. He is also involved in managing his family farm in Sutton Courtenay. As Head of Private Estates for Bidwells, Paul is responsible for managing estates in Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Derbyshire. The role varies from providing a complete management service to offering professional support to the estate office team. Previously the Chair of the Drayton and District Farming Club, Paul is currently their treasurer. A former governor of Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School, he was also a member of their Resources Committee and Performance & Standards Committee.

Rita atkinson

Rita Atkinson (Diocesan Representative)

Rita did her doctorate in experimental physics and prior to retirement in 2019, worked on Safety and Risk Assessment in the Nuclear sector. She is a Diocesan-appointed Governor at Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School, where she is also currently Chair of Governors, Link Governor for Staff Wellbeing and for Whole-school Key Priority Improvement Themes. She uses her skills and experience from her professional background as a scientist, as well as her role as a trustee of The Abingdon DAMASCUS Youth Project, to ensure children and young people feel supported within the community and in their learning and development. She was awarded an MBE for voluntary services to young people and to the people of Sutton Courtenay in 2004.

Christopher campbell

Christopher Campbell

Chris’s expertise lies in business leadership and strategy, IT Management, HR and B2B contracting.

Line managing professional services staff and with significant budgetary responsibility, Chris is also a Data Protection Officer with full knowledge of GDPR and is an experienced Governor of primary schools and a secondary school.  

Ruth elliot

Ruth Elliot (2nd Vice Chair)

Ruth is Finance and Commercial Director at UK Research and Innovation, managing an annual budget of just over £7bn. After training as an accountant with Deloitte, she worked at the National Audit Office and held a variety of finance roles in central government organisations. Through these roles she has gained experience of leading and motivating large teams, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of finance services in a number of organisations, as well as implementing new systems and improving financial control.

Ruth chairs the Audit Committee of the Ridgeway Education Trust and is Chair of Governors at Didcot Girls’ School. She also chairs the finance and audit committee of a local charity.

Marcus gover

Marcus Gover (Chair)

Marcus is Chief Executive of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in the UK, a registered charity working with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in which resources are used sustainably. Its experts generate evidence-based solutions to protect the environment, build stronger economies and support more sustainable societies. He has a degree in chemical engineering and a PhD in combustion from Imperial College, London. After an initially technical career, he studied for an Executive MBA at Cranfield School of Management before taking on more senior management roles. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a Corporate Member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts Manufactures and Commerce. Marcus served as a governor at Didcot Girls’ School from 2007 to 2017 (acting as chair from 2011). He has been chair of Ridgeway Educational Trust since it was formed in 2013.

Andrew Harrison

Andrew Harrison

Since January 2014, Andrew has been the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Light Source Ltd, the UK’s national synchrotron. With applications in virtually all fields of scientific research, Diamond plays a major role in keeping the UK at the forefront of science. With a first class degree and DPhil in Chemistry from Oxford University, Andrew has 30 years’ experience of scientific leadership, working as a Royal Society University Research Fellow, Professor of Solid State Chemistry at Edinburgh University, Founding Director of the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions and the Director General of the Institut Laue-Langevin, the European Neutron Source in Grenoble, France. In 2020, Andrew was awarded an OBE for services to Science during the Covid-19 response.

Andrew has three daughters, all of whom attend or have attended Didcot Girls’ School.

Jill judson

Jill Judson

During 37 years of secondary school experience, Jill has worked in a wide range of large and medium sized urban and suburban schools – comprehensive, selective, mixed and single sex, in single and split sites. She was a headteacher for 19 years in two very contrasting schools, each judged outstanding by Ofsted. In both headships she had successful experience of substantial school expansion and reorganisation. She is a former Ofsted inspector and since retirement from headship she has provided school improvement support working with many different schools, particularly supporting them with Ofsted preparation, with leadership and management development and with senior appointments. Until recently, she also worked with ASCL as a headship appointment consultant.

Jill is a governor of two secondary schools in addition to Didcot Girls’ School/Ridgeway Education Trust. She has also had experience of managing school improvement through membership of three Interim Executive Boards. A former governor of Oxford Brookes University and previously Vice Chair of the Oxford Playhouse Board, Jill is currently a member of the Oxfordshire Charity Mentors group supporting leadership and governance development in small and medium sized charities in the area.

Andrew kaye

Andrew Kaye (Diocesan Representative)

Andrew is an atmospheric scientist and long-time resident of Hagbourne/Didcot. He works at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory managing the ISIS and Central Laser Facilities User Office. He has been a school governor for more than twenty years, initially at Hagbourne Primary School and since 2004 at St Birinus. Both of his sons attended St Birinus and the Didcot Sixth Form College. Andrew was a Trustee of the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre for 10 years and as an adult dyslexic, he is passionate about the quality of education children receive and that it fits their needs and requirements. An active member of Saint Andrew's Hagbourne, Andrew is chair of the PCC, a member of the choir and a bell ringer. As part of the Lay ministry team, Andrew is a Lay Preacher in the Churn Benefice (Hagbourne, Blewbury, Upton, the Astons and the Mortons).

Paul shaughnessy

Paul Shaughnessy (Diocesan Representative)

Paul has been headteacher of Northbourne CE (A) Primary School, an academy within the Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust, since September 2011.  He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and an MA in Education, and has particular interests in the primary curriculum and the teaching of mathematics.  He believes firmly in the power of cross-school collaboration and partnership working. 

He works as a contracted Ofsted inspector and plays an active part in the Didcot partnership of schools, serving as a trustee of the Didcot Schools Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). 

Stephen white

Stephen White (Vice Chair)

Stephen spent his career in a variety of management and leadership roles in the civil nuclear industry. He worked at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in a wide range of roles, becoming Director for Strategy and Authority Secretary. From 2003 to 2005 he was responsible for restructuring the Atomic Energy Authority following the adoption of a new national strategy for nuclear decommissioning. He became chairman of two site decommissioning companies and helped set up a nuclear services business which was sold to Babcock International, with whom he finished his career as Director of Nuclear Decommissioning. He was awarded the OBE in 2009 for services to the nuclear industry. Stephen chairs the Trust Finance & General Purposes Committee which scrutinises the finances of schools within the Trust and oversees the provision of key premises, IT and health and safety matters. The Committee has overseen substantial change and savings programmes in support functions.

He is a Trustee of the Blewbury Players and the Tony Loy Trust, which supports young people in sports and the arts.

RW photo

Rachael Warwick (Accounting Officer, CEO and Executive Headteacher)

Rachael has a degree in English Literature from Oxford University and, passionate about comprehensive education, she has worked for 25 years in eight schools in a range of urban, rural, mixed and single sex contexts.

With a range of extensive and successful school improvement experience, as Headeacher of Didcot Girls’ School from 2010, Rachael led the school from Ofsted RI on arrival to Good in 2012 and Outstanding in 2015. As Executive Headteacher, Rachael worked closely with the Head at St Birinus to ensure the school retained its Ofsted Good judgement in February 2020.

A National Leader in Education (NLE), Rachael provides school support and leadership mentoring through the Didcot Girls’ School Teaching School. She is the Immediate President 2020-21 of ASCL (Association of School & College Leaders), the trade union and professional association for over nineteen thousand school and college leaders across the UK.

Ridgeway Education Trust Members

Trust Members

Appointed

Ian Barnes

June 2012

Philip Davies

June 2012

Marcus Gover

June 2012

Stephen White

September 2015

Oxford Diocese (represented by Gordon Joyner)

April 2019

Historic (left in the last year)

Appointment Dates

Not applicable

 

 

Ridgeway Education Trust Trustees

Trustees 

Appointment Type

Appointment Dates

Committees

Paul Allen

Member-appointed

21/01/2019 – 20/01/2023

Finance & General Purposes

Rita Atkinson

Diocesan-appointed

01/04/2019 – 31/03/2023

Audit

Christopher Campbell

Trustee-appointed

12/06/2020 – 11/06/2024

Finance & General Purposes

Ruth Elliot (2nd Vice Chair)

Trustee-appointed

26/02/2019 – 25/02/2023

Finance & General Purposes (Attendee – no voting rights); Audit (Chair)

Marcus Gover (Chair)

Academy Director

31/10/2019 – 30/10/2023

 

Andrew Harrison

Trustee-appointed

30/10/2019 – 29/10/2023

 

Jill Judson

Member-appointed

12/06/2020 – 11/06/2024

Audit

Andrew Kaye

Diocesan-appointed

01/04/2019 – 31/03/2023

Finance & General Purposes

Paul Shaughnessy

Diocesan-appointed

01/04/2019 – 31/03/2023

 

Rachael Warwick

CEO

 

Finance & General Purposes; Audit (Associate Member)

Stephen White (Vice Chair)

Trustee-appointed

02/07/2017 – 01/07/2021

Finance & General Purposes (Chair)

Historic (left in the last year)

Appointment Type

Appointment Dates

Committees

Richard Hadland

Parent Trustee-appointed

04/09/2015 – 03/09/2019

Audit

Local Governing Bodies

In multi-academy trusts, the Board of Trustees is legally accountable for the decisions made in all its schools. The Board can delegate decisions to committees, and some of these are the Local Governing Bodies of each school.

Please click on the links below to find out more about our Local Governing Bodies:

Didcot Girls’ School

St Birinus School

Sutton Courtenay CofE Primary School

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