01787 279342  |    info@stourvalley.org

Stour Valley Educational Trust

About Us


Stour Valley Educational Trust will provide a secure, stimulating and inclusive centre of academic excellence in rural education.

This will be achieved through schools in our Multi-Academy Trust that serve the communities of Clare and the surrounding villages, which retain their individual identity and champion the Trust’s values, while sharing best practice in all aspects of education.

Central to our vision is the belief in the uniqueness of every student, and that every young person has gifts to discover and share with others. It is our responsibility to nurture and develop those gifts.


Our mission is to open students’ minds to their personal potential and enable them to aspire to brighter academic, professional and vocational futures in our community and beyond. This, in turn, will lead our students to achieve economic independence with national employers or with the growing regionally based industries in Suffolk, Cambridge and Essex.

Mr Chris Hawkins - Trustee

Community Trustee. Clare resident with specialist knowledge in building maintenance programmes, refurbishment, costings and management, as a Chartered Building Surveyor at leading international real estate advisers, Savills Plc.

Declaration of Business Interests: Associate Director. Savills (UK) Ltd. 

Mr Derek Blake MBE - Member

Derek Blake is a former Bank of England senior official with extensive governance experience in the education and charity sectors. Member of Social Security and Employment Tribunals spanning a twenty five year period. Former Chairman of the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury and District CAB. Particular experience of employment and other HR issues (MSc in HR and FCIPD). Chairman, Clare Walks Group.

Declaration of business interests: Clare Liaison & Support Project - wife is Secretary and part time driver, Independent Review Panel, West Suffolk Council - Member of Panel, Suffolk Local Access Forum, Suffolk County Council - Member of Forum.

Mr Keith Haisman BEM - Member and Trustee

Chair of Trustees - Keith was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to education in the 2013 New Year Honours List. A former senior executive with a multi-national banking group. Keith’s experience spans Board-level roles in all aspects of Financial Services and Business Associations. Keith has served on the management board of a school in Germany.

Declaration of Business Interests: Abbeygate Sixth Form College - Local Governor

Mr Paul Luxon - Trustee

Community Trustee. Paul worked in the Marketing Communications sector for over 36 years and was the CEO of EWA Ltd (a subsidiary of FTSE100 company WPP Group) from 2001 to 2019. Paul has a wealth of experience in delivering customer experience improvement solutions in complex and technically challenging environments in both the public and private sectors.

Declaration of Business Interests: None

Mr Phil Stanbury-Jones - Member

Phil lives in Clare, is a parent of four school aged children and works in Cambridge as an Operations Director for a FTSE 100 high-tech company.

Declaration of Business Interests: None

Mr Richard Priestley - Trustee

Community Trustee. Originally a Teacher of Classics, Richard became a member of a working group for the Oxford Local Examination Board (OLEB) creating new GCSE courses in Classical subjects. Developing his career through Deputy and then Headship, he continued as Chief Examiner of O-level Greek for OLEB and represented the Board on the Secondary Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC). Since retiring, Richard volunteers for the National Trust at Wimpole Hall, is Secretary of the Royston and Saffron Walden National Trust Association, Director of the Museum in Saffron Walden and Vice-Chairman of the Probus Club of Audley End. Richard was also on the Stour Valley Community School start-up committee.

Declaration of Business Interests: Saffron Walden Museum Society Ltd - Secretary

Mr Richard Smith - Member

Former Chair of Governors at Stour Valley Community School – Resident of Clare, Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography and Demography and Emeritus Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, Chair of Clare Historical and Archaeological Society and The Clare Ancient House Museum.

Declaration of Business Interests: None

Mr Simon Ash - Member

Former Chief Constable of Suffolk until 2013. Served 30 years as a police officer in Kent, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. Currently an Independent Member of the Parole Board and Independent Chair of the Bishops Safeguarding Panel for Ipswich and St Edmundsbury. 

Declaration of Business Interests: None

Mrs Helena Marsh - Trustee

A school leader with 6 years of headship experience, Helena is passionate about professional learning, collaboration and growing leaders.  With a career spent working in comprehensive and community schools she is a teaching head and mum of three who is committed to life-friendly, flexible leadership and relational learning.

Helena is a member of the Heads Roundtable think tank, WomenEd co-founder and CambsEdFest co-founder.

Mrs Julia Burge - Member

Julia is a parent of a Stour Valley Community School student. She was brought up in Clare and attended the former Clare Middle School. Julia worked as a solicitor in the city, and in retail management before returning to Clare where she now works for the country park. 

Declaration of business interests: None

Mrs Rachel Kelly - Trustee

Headteacher of Stour Valley Community School. CEO of Stour Valley Educational Trust Ltd (any MAT enquiries to Rachel please, rkelly@stourvalley.org). Rachel was previously a Deputy Headteacher at Notley High School and Braintree Sixth Form in North Essex. She began her teaching career as a French teacher in 1995 in Norwich. Her career path has allowed her to develop significant expertise as a Teacher of French, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Professional Tutor for Trainee Teachers, Advanced Skills Teacher and she has a wealth of experience in a variety of roles as a Senior Leader. She is married with two teenage children. In her spare time she enjoys walking her Cocker Spaniel, Pilates and Parkrun. 

Declaration of Business Interests: None

Mrs Ruth Goodchild - Trustee

Ruth has worked for Suffolk County Council since 2008, and her current role as Business and Information Manager involves leading on HR and people processes within the Public Health Directorate, maintaining the risk register and monitoring trends and she is responsible for freedom of information requests.   During her career she has worked in management positions specialising in Admin, HR and Training.

Mrs Suzanne Goldsmith - Trustee

Community Trustee - Suzanne is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has been an auditor for more than 15 years. As a manager in an accountancy practice she works entirely in the charity and not for profit sector and has a number of Academy Trusts amongst her portfolio of clients. Suzanne lives in Clare and has two school age children.

Declaration of Business Interests: Price Bailey LLP (employee) 

Governor Information Table

Articles of Association

Master Funding Agreement

Scheme of Delegation

2018 Financial Statements

2019 Financial Statements

2020 Financial Statements

2021 Financial Statements