Trustee Directors

The role of the Trustee Directors

The Trust is a charitable company and so Trustees are both charity Trustees (within the terms of section 177(1) of the Charities Act 2011) and company Directors.  As Trustees are bound by both charity and company law, the terms 'Trustees' and 'Directors' are often used interchangeably.

The Trustee Directors are accountable to the Secretary of State and the Trust Members for the operational performance of the Trust. They are responsible for the general control and management of the administration of the Trust, and in accordance with the provisions set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association and its funding agreement, are legally responsible and accountable for all statutory functions, for the performance of the the Trust, and must approve a written scheme of delegation of financial powers that maintains robust internal control arrangements. The Trustee Directors have the right to review and adapt the governance structure at any time, which includes removing delegation for committees.

In addition they must carry out the three core governance functions:

  1. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  2. Hold the executive to account for the educational performance of the Trust and their pupils, and the performance management of staff
  3. Oversee the financial performance of the Trust and make sure its money is well spent


Register of Interests

The  Register of Interests for Members and Trustee Directors can be found here.

Please see individual academy websites for the Register of Interests of local committee members.



The Board of Trustee Directors is chaired by Mr James Friend who can be contacted here. 

Felicity Mackrory is Head of Governance and provides guidance and support to the Trust Board and who can be contacted here.

The Company Secretary for the Trust Board is Felicity Mackrory, who can be contacted here.


Trust Board Committees

The Trustee Directors may establish committees to carry out some of their governance functions which may include making decisions, although any decisions made will be deemed decisions of the Trust Board.  They are the only people who can form committees. The membership and responsibilities of board committees are set out in the committee's terms of reference, which can be found in our governance handbook.

Currently the committees comprise:

1. Education - monitoring the effectiveness of educational provision in the Trust. The committee Chair is Mrs Claire-Louise West.

2. Resources - monitoring how effectively resources including finance and buildings are used to support the Trust’s work. The committee Chair is Revd James Hanson.

3. People, Appointments and Remuneration - monitoring the effectiveness of resources including people and pay. This committee is chaired by Mrs Yvonne McLeod.

4. Risk and Audit - monitoring the effectiveness of the Trust's approach to risk management and preparation for the annual auditing process. This committee is chaired by Mr John Simcox.

5. Local Committees 


Meet the Trustee Directors

The Trustee Directors are appointed by the Members, hold their term of office for 4 years, unless otherwise stated and may be re-appointed by Members.

Mr James Friend

Appointed: 12th October 2022. Chair of the Trust Board.

James Friend is an executive leader in the NHS with a track record of success in delivery and strategic transformations, innovation and improvement. With previous experience in UK and International Financial Services and in leadership roles at a number of NHS Acute trusts and service commissioning organisations in London and the South East of England, James is currently the NHS England – London Region Director of Digital Strategy championing the use of digital tools and data at scale to simplify clinical workflows, align capacity with demand and accelerate patient treatment. Away from the NHS James has deep political experience both through Local Authority leadership and undertaking a national role, with a personal interest in resident wellbeing and environmental use of resources. Living in the Surrey Hills, James is Churchwarden at St John the Evangelist Church Wotton, a trustee of a number of local charities and has previously led Governing Bodies and a Local Committee within the Good Shepherd Trust.


Mrs Yvonne McLeod

Appointed: 16th January 2018. Re-appointed 4th December 2019. Re-appointed 4th December 2023. Co-Vice Chair of the Board (Governance), Chair of People, Appointments & Remuneration Committee and member of the Education and Risk & Audit Committees.  Director with responsibility for Governance.

Having completed a BEd (Hons), Yvonne worked in distribution and logistics management and latterly in change management. Yvonne became a governor when her children started school and became an Additional Skills Governor (ASG) for Surrey County Council, supporting many schools for eighteen years and then became a Local Leader of Governance (LLG) from September 2020 . Yvonne has led and developed governance in challenging circumstances and has helped governance committees to develop a strategic understanding of their role in school improvement which leads to a positive impact on the future life chances for every child. In 2013 Yvonne became a National Leader of Governance (NLG), was reappointed in October 2021 and has used her skills to support schools beyond Surrey. Yvonne continues to share her governance expertise across maintained schools and academies.


Revd James Hanson

Appointed: 12th October 2022.  Chair of Resources Committee and member of the People, Appointments & Remuneration Committee.  

James is a lifelong lover of education, having completed Masters degrees in Mathematics, Zoology, Education and Christian Leadership during his career. He is currently loving being the Curate of the parish of Alfold and Loxwood, having recently been called to full-time parish ministry. For most of his previous career, he has been a teacher; initially in secondary schools and more recently as founding Head and then Headmaster of an independent prep school. In recent years, he set up a small consultancy practice, advising schools on well-being, Safeguarding, boarding and auditing school ethos and culture, which has taken him to work with school leaders across 4 different continents. James is a local leader of governance for the Surrey Alliance for Excellence (SAFE), and been a governor of 3 different schools in Surrey; Vice-chair and Chair of Resources committees. He has served on national boards including the Institute for Mathematics, the Boarding schools' association and most recently has been elected as a member of the Diocesan Board of Education in Guildford. 


Mrs Mary Lewis

Appointed: 12th October 2022.  Member of the Education and People, Appointments & Remuneration Committees.  Director with responsibility for Safeguarding.

 Mary has recently retired from the role of Statutory Lead Member for Children on Surrey County Council’s Cabinet. She previously held the Education portfolio.  For over twenty years, Mary was a teacher of English and History at secondary level, both in Surrey and overseas. She held various positions of responsibility in the pastoral sphere and in the Sixth Form.  Prior to teaching, Mary was a marketing manager in the Arts and FMCG sectors.  Mary is married with three grown up children. She is a member of the congregation at St Mary’s Stoke d’Abernon and proud to be a church guide in Surrey’s oldest church.  


Mr John Simcox

Appointed: 12th October 2022.  Chair of the Risk & Audit Committee and member of the Resources Committee.

John has spent most of his career working in the technology sector. Initially he worked as software engineer before moving into sales and marketing roles. In 1991, John became a Management Consultant providing advice and assistance, primarily to IT and Telecom vendors on understanding the market, the opportunity it presents and how to exploit that opportunity. In addition, John has also provided consulting services to Local and Central Government as well as the European Commission and market due diligence to the private equity and venture capital sectors. In 2022 John became a freelance consultant working with a number of clients in the technology sector.  

John has a Combined Honours degree in Macromolecular Chemistry and Industrial Studies and is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.


Mrs Claire-Louise West

Appointed: 27th September 2023. Chair of the Education Committee and member of the Resources Committee.  Director with responsibility for Quality Teaching and Metrics.

Claire-Louise brings extensive experience of strategic leadership and school improvement from her work as a Regional Education Director for GLF schools and a Local Leader of Education.  


Mr Edmond McCudden

Appointed: 10th October 2023. Member of the Risk and Audit and Resources Committees.  Director with responsibility for Infrastructure and Health & Safety.

Edmond is a Chartered Engineer and Builder and after 35 years, has recently taken early retirement from Kier PLC where he was Regional Preconstruction Manager, specialising in healthcare and education.  He is also Chair of Governors at Springhallow SEN school in West London, having been a Governor for the past 8 years and brings a wealth of experience in construction and education to the GST.  Most notably, over the past 4 years he was responsible for the preconstruction delivery of £230m worth of projects for Frimley NHS Foundation, Master Planning for Northwick Park Hospital and Ealing Hospital and various other health care projects in the South of England.  He was also responsible for the delivery of £150 m worth of schools’ projects for LB of Harrow from single classroom extensions to a new £43m secondary school and two new secondary schools for the Dioecies of London at the Twyford Academy Trust.  Edmond is a committed Christian and has recently undertaken the Alpha course for the second time.  He is also a father and grandfather spending lots of time with his family and helping to teach his grandsons rugby.


Resignations in the last 12 months

Revd Derek John Holbird - Appointed 8th April 2020. Resigned from post on 7th April 2024

Ms Alison Louise Pollock - Appointed 6th May 2019. Resigned from post on 22nd January 2024

Mr Stuart Zissman - Appointed 1st September 2023. Resigned from post on 28th November 2023.

Mrs Katharine Crouch - Appointed: 1st April 2019. Term of office ended on 31st August 2023





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