Governance

The Seckford Education Trust is a not-for-profit charity. We are required to have members as stated in the Companies Act 2006. The current members of the Trust are the Seckford Foundation, Mr J S Fletcher, Mr R Finbow and Mr J Wellesley Wesley (Chair of the Trust). The members agree the Trust’s Articles of Association, which include the Trust’s charitable objects and describes how the Trust will be governed.

While members hold the Trust Board to account for the effective governance of the Trust, the members themselves have a minimal role in the actual running of the Trust. It is the Trust Board, not the members, who are the organisation’s key decision makers. One of the members’ key responsibilities is the appointment of trustees.
The main documents that set out how we operate are our Articles of Association, which set our internal structure, and the Master Funding Agreement, which is the legal contract with the Secretary of State under which we run our schools. In addition, there are separate supplemental funding agreements for each individual school.
We are also governed by the Department for Education’s Academies Financial Handbook and various pieces of legislation relating to both schools and charities.


Trustees of Seckford Education Trust

Our board of trustees has a wide range of experience in the voluntary, public and private sectors in fields including education, commerce, leadership, and governance.

James Wellesley-Wesley - Chairman of Seckford Education Trust

Mr James Wellesley-Wesley

Chairman of Seckford Education Trust

“I’m proud of the contribution that the Seckford Education Trust has made to state school education in Suffolk and its particularly positive impact on Disadvantaged students”.

I’ve lived in Suffolk for over 30 years with my wife and daughters, and since 2011 I’ve been Chair of SET.  For 30 years my career was in financial services and I then moved in more entrepreneurial directions including setting up a UK wide SAP consultancy and a number of recruitment companies.

I’m proud that SET schools are embedded in their local communities and that we cater for students with the full spectrum of abilities. Our schools are relatively small and so we really can deliver on our promise to focus on ‘each and every child’.  For able students we get great academic results but we also deliver real progress for those students who are less able, including a number who have an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.


Mr Neil Alderton - Pupil Premium Trustee

Mr Neil Alderton

Pupil Premium Trustee

“The contribution of SET to enabling and broadening the opportunity of each and every young person is an inspiration to me”.

I have a first-hand appreciation for the significant difference that the Seckford Foundation makes to young people, as it was their financial support that made my attendance at Woodbridge School possible.

I went on to study Engineering at Cambridge, before joining a specialist governance advisory firm based in London, called Lintstock. I hope to bring the voice of the younger generation into the boardroom, in addition to the governance and analytical expertise that I have gained through my day job.


Mrs Laura Barlow - Staff Well-being Trustee

Mrs Laura Barlow

Staff Well-being Trustee

“I believe that an excellent education, with a strong emphasis on inclusion and pastoral care, is vital for every student to reach their full potential”.

After a degree in English at Oxford, my first job was teaching English as a Foreign Language, in Madrid.  I qualified as a chartered accountant and have over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and in senior executive roles, leading strategic transformation programmes for companies across the UK, Europe and USA, most recently in commercial banking at NatWest.  I join Barclays Bank in April 2021 to lead their work on sustainability and climate change.

I have been a trustee of a charity focused on arts, education and disability for many years, sponsored social mobility apprenticeships at NatWest and mentor students and apprentices from diverse backgrounds.   I am delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the important work of the Seckford Education Trust and also the Seckford Foundation in giving each and every child the opportunity of a first class education and helping them reach their full potential. 


Mr Graeme Bruce - Teaching & Learning Trustee

Mr Graeme Bruce

Teaching & Learning Trustee

After a career in education, teaching Years 6 to 13, I am proud to be helping the Seckford Education Trust improve opportunities and aspirations for young people in Suffolk in both primary and secondary sectors. Having studied modern languages, I am particularly interested in communication and literacy.

My final post as Director of Studies with responsibility for the curriculum, staffing and examination options at Woodbridge School, has helped me in leading the monitoring of those areas for SET. Beyond teaching, I continue to enjoy choral singing and I have returned to learning the cello, passing Grade 7 last year. It is a delight to see what our SET schools are offering by way of enrichment to their pupils; these opportunities are essential for educating the whole person, allowing pupils to develop a range of skills and experiences to enhance their lives.


Mr Jude Chin - Chair of the Finance, Audit and Resources Committee

Mr Jude Chin

Chair of the Finance, Audit and Resources Committee

As a beneficiary of a state education I have personal experience of how a good education can influence life chances. All children deserve a first class education and I am delighted that I have the opportunity to assist in the work that the Seckford Foundation does in this area. I am a scientist, with a degree in Biochemistry, followed by a 30 year career as a Chartered Accountant working mainly on large corporate transactions.

My interest in education has involved voluntary roles in head teacher mentoring, governorships of academies and currently as a Trustee of the Academies Enterprise Trust. Through my role as chair of the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT) I am a keen follower of developments in teaching best practice. I am keen to use my experience to help the Seckford Education Trust deliver outstanding outcomes for all of its beneficiaries.


Mr Will Fletcher

Behaviour Trustee

“I am passionate about the holistic development of children and young people and wholeheartedly endorse SET’s ambition to deliver the very best education to each and every pupil”.

As CEO of Lapwing Education, a specialist alternative education provider working with disadvantaged young people across East Anglia, I encourage the importance of personalising learning and harnessing young people’s strengths and interests while adapting provision to meet their individual needs and aspirations. 

I have over 10 years of secondary teaching, senior leadership and school improvement experience from a range of education settings and have been integral to the successful transformation of a number of challenging schools.  Prior to this I was a change management consultant working globally with a number of market leading clients from the high technology sector.  This gave me a breadth of transferable skills to take into my teaching (subject specialism English) and leadership roles which I embarked on when moving to Suffolk in 2009. 


Mr Richard Lane - Safeguarding Trustee

Mr Richard Lane

Safeguarding Trustee

I joined the the Seckford Education Trust in 2019 having been a school Governor at Maidstone and Causton School in Felixstowe for a number of years. When the Felixstowe schools became part of the Trust, I wanted to continue to work with them supporting children in education, particularly in relation to safeguarding.

I have lived and worked in Suffolk for over 30 years, during which time as a police officer I gained considerable experience in dealing with young people and related safeguarding issues in the county including in Ipswich, Lowestoft, and Felixstowe.  After retiring from the police after over 30 years service , I am pleased to be able to continue using this experience with the Trust.  I also assist with a local youth project, sports welfare and at senior schools in the Ipswich area.

As Safeguarding Trustee I help to ensure that we maintain the high standards of the SET regarding the safety and wellbeing of the students.  My role involves regular visits to the SET schools  and I see in practice how seriously the welfare of students, staff and parents is taken.


Mr Bill Mayne - SEND Trustee

Mr Bill Mayne

SEND Trustee

Bill Mayne was educated at Merchant Taylors School and he went on to gain a BSc (Hons) Agriculture at Wye College London University. After graduating Bill joined Pauls PLC working in malting, pet food manufacture and agricultural operations.  He subsequently led the management buyout of BOCM Pauls, the UK’s leading animal feeds business.  He retired from the company as chief executive in 2012.


Mrs Kate Measures - PHSE and Careers Trustee

Mrs Kate Measures

PHSE and Careers Trustee

As a parent trustee my aim is to represent the viewpoint of all parents to the Trust Board.  My eldest child started at SET Ixworth on its opening day as the youngest child in the school.  It was a leap of faith for us to send him to a school which didn’t even exist when we first considered it; a leap of faith which has been repaid many times over.   My younger two children are now students there. 

Having built a career in international public relations before relocating to Suffolk, I also bring a focus to the communications of the Trust, to ensure that we take into account the views and needs of all our stakeholders. 

I take a special interest in the careers offering of our schools, to ensure that each and every student has the built the knowledge and skills that they need by the time they leave us to make their way in the world, whichever path they choose to take.


Mrs Vanessa Nicholson - Pupil Premium Trustee

Mrs Vanessa Nicholson

Pupil Premium Trustee

I graduated from Reading University with a degree in Italian and subsequently qualified as a Solicitor. I practised for several years, and after having my second child I taught GCSE and A level Italian, and I also worked as a tutor for Lowestoft College and for Norfolk Adult Education service.

I have been a Trustee and Company Secretary of The Old School Henstead, a local primary school, and I was a Trustee and Company Secretary of The National Schools Symphony Orchestra for thirteen years.

I have been a Trustee of SET since 2013 with responsibility for monitoring the impact of the Pupil Premium funding.

I am a grandmother to four lovely grandchildren. I enjoy gardening, walking my very energetic black cocker spaniel, and sailing.


Previous Trustees

The Trust is very grateful to the following people who have served as Trustees on the Board in the past:

  • Dr Robert Cawley 
    Served on the Board and was Principal of the Trust: June 2012 to August 2016
  • Sam Chenery-Morris
    Served on the board May 2016 to May 2020
  • Stephen Cole
    Served on the Board May 2012 to January 2017
  • Mrs Janet Garfield
  • Served on the Board August 2019 to April 2021
  • Jill Gibbs
  • Served on the Board May 2019 to February 2021
  • Inga Grimsey
    Served on the board October 2012 to August 2020
  • Jeston Nakhorn
    Served on the Board: May 2016 to April 2017
  • Aidan McHugh
    Served on the Board: October 2012 to October 2016
  • Air Vice-Marshal Peter John Goddard (known as Sam) 
    Served on the Board: September 2012 to July 2014
  • Sarah Pastor
    Served on the Board: October 2012 to November 2015
  • Johnathan Taylor
    Served on the Board: October 2017 – May 2018
  • Graham Watson
    Served on the Board: May 2012 to September 2020
  • Simon Wood
    Served on the Board: August 2016 to August 2017

Trustees focus on three core functions of governance:

• Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
• Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of SET schools and their students and pupils, and the performance management of staff;
• Overseeing and ensuring effective financial performance.

Trustees meet as a Board of Trustees and also as a Finance, Audit & Resources Committee, Nomination & Remuneration Committee and Spotlight Committees.
All Members and Trustees complete an annual declaration of Business Interests and declare any pecuniary interests within meetings.
Our Scheme of Delegation identifies the key decision making roles for establishments within SET schools. It determines the functions undertaken by the Board of Trustees and which have been delegated to its committees, the Trust Leadership Team, and Heads of School.


The governance structure of Seckford Education Trust and its family of schools is depicted in the chart below:

Seckford Education Trust Structure

The Trust Board includes two parent directors, who have to be a parent/carer of a student at one of our schools at the time they are elected. An election is required if the number of applicants is greater than the number of vacancies.

Committees feed into the Trust Board, namely the Finance Audit and Resources Committee, Spotlight Committees and Nominations Committees.  In addition there are Local Advisory Bodies for each of the Trust’s Schools (Beccles, Ixworth, Maidstone and Causton, and Saxmundham). Click here for the terms of reference of these committees and Local Advisory Bodies.

The Chairs of the Trust Board and its Committees are as follows:

  • Chair of Trust Board – Mr J Wellesley Wesley
  • Chair of Finance Audit and Resources Committee – Mr J Chin

If you wish to contact the trustees please call 01394 615100, email enquiries@seckfordeducation.org.uk or write to Chair of Trustees, Seckford Education Trust, Marryott House, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4JJ.


Local Advisory Bodies

Seckford Education Trust has Local Advisory Bodies for all its schools. Find out more about the Local Advisory Body at each of our schools by clicking on the links below:


Articles Of Association

Memorandum Of Association

Scheme Of Delegation

Governance Statutory Information

Funding agreements:

  • Trust Master Funding Agreement – view
  • Beccles Free School’s Supplementary Funding Agreement – view
  • Ixworth Free School’s Supplementary Funding Agreement – view
  • Saxmundham Free School’s Supplementary Funding Agreement – view

We are also required to disclose information about members, trustees and local governors who have served in the last twelve months, including chairs of committees, date of appointment, term of office, who appointed them and attendance at Board and Committee meetings over the last academic year. This information can be found here.