“The Glory of God is a Human Being Fully Alive!”
The St Thomas Catholic Academies Trust is the ‘Southern MAT’ (Multi-Academy Trust) of the Diocese of Northampton. There is also a Northern MAT. Currently, there are 8 schools in our Trust, and this is set to rise rapidly in line with the diocesan vision for its Catholic Schools, which embraces them all. The Trust formed on 1st February 2020 following the merger of two existing MATs, the St Alban Catholic Academies Trust and the St Peter Catholic Academies Trust.
Catholic schools in the diocese have gathered for many years in local ‘Partnerships’. The two earlier Trusts grew out of these groups in two geographical areas:
Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis:
- Cardinal Newman Catholic School (Secondary)
- St Martin de Porres Catholic School (Primary)
- St Margaret of Scotland Catholic School (Primary)
- St Vincent’s Catholic School (Primary)
- St Mary’s Catholic School (Primary)
- St Joseph’s Catholic School (Secondary)
- St Anthony’s Catholic School (Primary)
- St Ethelbert’s Catholic School (Primary)
In addition to the 8 Trust schools, each Partnership area includes Voluntary Aided schools, which we hope to welcome into the Trust in the near future. The Catholic schools in Buckinghamshire are also preparing the ground to join.
Our Mission: “The Glory of God is a Human Being Fully Alive!”
Human flourishing and the uniqueness of every individual as a child of God is at the heart of our Catholic educational enterprise. In keeping with Catholic Social Teaching, all our schools will be held together as a family, in ‘Solidarity’, while each school, and each ‘Partnership’ area, will maintain and nourish its own individual identity, in keeping with the principle of ‘Subsidiarity’.
Our schools will be places in which every child, young person and adult is able to thrive – discerning and developing their gifts; growing closer to God as individuals; learning to be the best they can be.
They will be places where God-given talents are celebrated and where learning is seen as a joyful process – where every individual is encouraged and supported so that they can grow in wisdom and grace, knowledge and skills, and contribute to the Common Good.
Our schools will seek:
- to bring each person closer to Christ every day – through prayer and reflection
- to ensure that children, young people and adults within the school community are not only loved: they know they are loved
- to work together across the Partnership and across the Trust – to share good practice, to learn and grow together, to provide opportunities, and to support one another in developing the best possible education for the children and young people in their care
- to maintain the highest standards of performance
The Structure of the MAT:
- In our MAT, each school operates individually in its day-to-day life and has its own Local Academy Committee (formerly known as a governing body).
- Each school is also a member of a local Strategic Partnership Group, in which all the Catholic schools in the area work together with a School Improvement agenda.
- Working through and across the whole MAT structure is the professional Executive Team, who are accountable to the volunteer Board of Directors.
- Strategic Executive Leader: Joe Richardson
Joe has worked in Catholic Education for 25 years. He has extensive experience in school leadership and over 10 years of experience as Headteacher across three schools in the Diocese of Northampton, including three years as both MAT CEO and Headteacher. He was involved in the successes at St Thomas More School, Bedford, supported rapid improvement at Thomas Becket School, Northampton, and more recently maintained the very high standards achieved at Cardinal Newman School, Luton.
- Executive School Improvement Coordinator: Ciran Stapleton
As Headteacher of St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Ciran has transformed a school at serious risk of closure to one that is now an outstanding Catholic School. He repeated many of these successes through work to support Thomas Becket School, Northampton. With a determination that every child in every school should have the very best opportunities in life, Ciran lives out the vision of the Trust through his leadership and has demonstrated time and again his capacity to deliver school improvement not just through service in his own school, but more widely across our family of schools.
- Chief Finance Officer: Denise Jay
Denise has extensive experience working across both business and education. She has been instrumental in securing the financial health of schools across the Multi Academy Trust and has considerable skills in all aspects of estates and business management. Denise has overseen many significant building projects and is committed to ensuring the students in each of the schools secure the greatest benefit from every penny that is spent across our family of schools.
The Board of Directors
Directors are appointed by the Bishop of Northampton and are all practising Catholics.
Jerzy (George) Brzyski – George has worked at senior level in international companies. Set up and ran a company in Poland.
Vincent Cheshire – Accountant. Longstanding primary governor in Dunstable.
Claire Collins – Professor of Leadership at Uni of Reading / Henley Business College.
Catherine Davies – Catherine served as the Chair of the St Alban Catholic Academies Trust and has extensive experience in business
Elizabeth Duffy – Former Secondary Headteacher and Assistant Director in the Dept of Schools, Archdiocese of Westminster. Formerly Chair of St Peter Catholic Academy Trust
Brian Greene – Longstanding and very effective Chair of Governors and businessman with his own company
Maria Harty – Primary Chair of Governors and Chair of the Buckinghamshire Catholic Schools Partnership
Maria Grazia Hindmarsh – Solicitor, longstanding Governor of Catholic Schools, MAT Director experience
Jim Horsted – Significant experience and expertise in Human Resources over long career, and experience as a primary governor
Fr Kevin O’Driscoll – Longstanding Governor of Catholic Schools and MAT Director, Parish Priest at Holy Family (Slough), Dean
Declarations of business interests will be posted below and updated below as the appointment of Directors are confirmed over the course of the academic year.
Clerk to the Board of Directors: Jacky Cope
The Clerk to the Board of Directors is Mrs Jacky Cope. Jacky is a qualified accountant, has extensive experience as a Clerk to a number of schools’ LACs/governing bodies and was Clerk to the Board at the St Peter Catholic Academy Trust in Slough. She brings to her role a deep understanding of governance and finance and is ideally placed to support the board on regulatory matters. She is also Company Secretary of the Trust.