Kathy Griffiths, CEO
Kathy is the CEO of the Aquinas Trust and was previously the Headteacher at Bishop Justus Church of England Academy. Before founding Bishop Justus School in 2004 Kathy spent sixteen years as a teacher and senior leader in a range of London schools. During this time, Kathy developed a passion for educational change and development and is totally committed to the education of all children and young people, irrespective of their start point.
Andrew Ferguson, CFO
Andrew Ferguson is the CFO of the Aquinas Trust and qualified as an accountant and company secretary during a twenty-five-year career in industry. He moved into the education sector with one of the country’s top academy chains twelve year ago, seeing it grow from two to thirty-three schools. Andrew has extensive experience of developing financially sustainable schools through effective integrated curriculum financial planning. He developed his interest in education as a Governor of a Kent Grammar school and as Chairman of Governors, for fifteen years, of a village primary school. In challenging financial times for schools, Andrew sees his role as ensuring that students’ needs are kept at the forefront of all our business planning.
Mary Capon, Director of Communication and Compliance
Mary Capon is the Operations Director and Company Secretary for the Trust. Mary is a qualified solicitor with over 10 years’ experience of commercial work and litigation in the private legal sector. She attends all Trust Board and Committee meetings in her capacity as Company Secretary to advise on relevant legal and operational issues. Mary supports the Chief Executive Officer in implementing Trust Strategy.
- Provides legal advice to the Board, academies and the Trust in general
- Project manages new academy transfers to the Trust
- Undertakes all Company Secretarial duties in terms of the running of the Trust and Companies House returns
- Undertakes internal audits of a non-financial nature
- Project management of EFA business cases for academy expansion and changes
- Deals with admissions across the Trust
- Trust Data Protection Officer for the Trust
- Responsible for Risk and Compliance across the Trust
Janet Vick, HR Director
Ms. Janet Vick is the HR Director for the Trust. Janet is an Assoc. CIPD specialising in policy writing and implementation and has extensive experience in leading, influencing and advising staff of all levels in matters of HR. Janet has worked in the education sector for over 25 years and previously in corporate banking. She is fully committed to the Trust’s Christian ethos and has an innate sense of justice and equality for all.
- Overall responsibility for the human resource and payroll function, including safer recruitment, casework, contracts of employment, payroll and pensions
- Ensure academies within the Trust comply with employment law and on how to implement HR policies
- Understand the effects and implications of government policies and legislation for current and future initiatives and ensure that resources are organised and used appropriately
- Manage human resources, ensuring effective deployment of staff to meet the current and future needs of the Trust
- Keep up to date with developments and changes in legislation and guidance and communicate appropriate information to the Board, Headteachers, colleagues, directors and others as appropriate
- Advise on compliance with legislation and guidance including safeguarding requirements, employment law, pay and pension changes
- Assist the Trust Board, the Headteachers and senior leadership teams in formulating and establishing the policies, systems and procedures to ensure they achieve their objectives
- Provide professional leadership and management of academy support staff, to enhance their effectiveness in order to raise standards and achievement
- Improve management/employee communications, including mediating in disputes and advising line managers of procedures when dealing with grievance, capability and disciplinary issues
- Line management of the HR and Payroll function
- Day-to-day public relation issues associated to staff and the HR function
- Ensure that all aspects relating to work status and registration, immigration and sponsorship are followed including liaison with all relevant agencies
- Responsibility for the implementation and operation of all internal personnel policies, e.g. discipline, grievance, capability, redundancy, absence monitoring and equality schemes including the appeals process
Geraldine Shackleton, Primary Education Director
Mrs Geraldine Shackleton is one of Aquinas’ Primary Education Directors. She has been teaching since 2002 and has led schools in a variety of different contextual areas. Geraldine believes that the community is at the heart of every school and has worked across schools to develop community engagement to support school improvement and strengthen the community.
As a leader, Geraldine has developed curricula that embrace the local environment and enable pupils to be artistic and creative, whilst continually developing their academic prowess and improving their life chances. Geraldine has responsibility within the Trust for pupil outcomes and is currently working across the Trust to ensure all pupils have equal access to the curriculum.
As a Primary Director, Geraldine utilises her coaching skills to develop all staff to be the best they can be whilst securing outcomes for all pupils. Geraldine is passionate about improving outcomes for all pupils in the Trust and she is currently running the Aquinas Leaders in Education programme to offer support across the Trust whilst developing staff leadership opportunities.
Geraldine is happiest when in the classroom and can often be seen modelling teaching and learning from Nursery to Year 6.
Laura Pearson, Training and Development Director
Mrs. Laura Pearson is the Training and Development Director for the Aquinas Trust. She has held successful leadership roles in both primary and secondary education including Executive Headship. She has taught across the entire age-range from EYFS to Post-16, and in both inner-city and rural settings.
As a leader, Laura believes in developing the unique potential in all staff. She has a long-held commitment to teacher training and continuing professional development as a key driver for school improvement. She has worked in a number of schools in challenging contexts providing staff with the tools for change through coaching and mentoring teachers and leaders at all levels. Laura is also the Chair of Governors at a state school in Kent.