Our trustees support the running of our linked charities – United Learning Trust, United Church Schools Trust and United Church Schools Foundation. Combining a wealth of experience from a range of sectors, they ensure that we are compliant, accountable and responsible, acting in the best interests of our pupils.
Chair of the Group Board, ULT Trustee, UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Richard is a former Chairman of Unilever U.K. and now has a portfolio of interests. In Business, he is on the Advisory Boards of Liaison Financial Services Ltd. and JustAccounts Ltd.
In the Public Sector he is Chairman of Surrey and Borders Partnership- a Foundation Trust for Mental Health. In the Not for Profit sector he is Chairman of Royal Voluntary Service . He is Chairman of British Youth Opera, and an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College Oxford.
Independently he is a trained Executive Coach and has a particular focus in working with Leaders who are transitioning to portfolio careers. He is a fellow of the R.S.A. and the I.O.D.
He is married with a grown up daughter and two grandchildren and interests include badminton, opera and coastal walks.
Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson
Chair of United Church Schools Trust, UCST Trustee
Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson is a practising doctor, a Consultant Radiologist at St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust. She directed the South West London breast screening service from 1991 to 2001, and was then Medical Director of St Georges Hospital until 2015. She is a Non Executive director at Moorfields Eye Hospital.
Ros has research interests in the optimisation of breast imaging and decision making having published over 120 papers and abstracts. She has been involved with PHE work on implementing Duty of Candour in breast screening and is chair of the adult reference group of the UK National Screening Committee.
She has a lifelong interest in education and ran the St George's National Breast Screening Training Centre and has held the Royal College of Radiologists Breast Imaging Professorship. She is Chair of Governors of Dunottar School.
Dame Reena Keeble
ULT Chair and UCST Trustee
Reena is a retired primary head teacher with 22 years’ experience. She has a proven track record in leading an outstanding school and in school to school to support, coaching future leaders, curriculum design and pedagogy. Until her retirement Reena was an NLE and her school was designated as a National Support School. Reena has successfully supported schools in weakness and acted as Executive Head teacher. Reena was awarded a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management in 2007 and DBE in 2011 for her service to education.
Reena led a review of the Artsmark resulting in a new Artsmark Award for schools on behalf of Arts Council England. Reena also led a review of Effective Primary Teaching Practice on behalf of the Teaching Schools Council.
Sir Jon Coles
Group Chief Executive, ULT Trustee
Since January 2012, Jon Coles has been Group Chief Executive of United Learning. Prior to this, he spent much of his career in the Department for Education, including four years on the Board as Director General for Schools and then Director General for Education Standards.
Previously, as Director of 14-19 Reform, he led work to raise participation post-16 and attainment at 19 and reduce NEET numbers.
As Director of London Challenge, Jon was responsible developing and implementing the strategy to improve secondary education in London, which also led to similar approaches in other parts of the country.
In his career, Jon has been responsible for various Green and White Papers and for taking the 2002 Education Act through Parliament. A qualified secondary teacher, his previous jobs included implementing the infant class size pledge and, on secondment to the Cabinet Office, developing a strategy for e-government.
Karima was appointed as a Trustee in April 2022 and serves on the Audit & Risk Committee. Karima is a corporate lawyer and was previously General Counsel of Grosvenor Group. She brings commercial, legal and risk management expertise to the Board. Karima is a Trustee of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Bournemouth University, the University of Cambridge’s Property Board and the Board of Latimer Developments Limited.
Dame Sue John
Dame Sue John was the headteacher of Lampton Academy from 1997 to 2015, one of the first TSAs in the country. The school was included in the 2010 Ofsted publication Twelve Outstanding Secondary Schools: excelling against the odds.
During the London Challenge she was the secondary director of the leadership strategy and as a National Leader of Education worked with some of London’s most challenging schools. She co -founded Challenge Partners in 2011 and is currently Executive Director.
Sue has been awarded an honorary fellowship and an honorary doctorate from the universities of Brunel and Roehampton for services to education. She has held directorships at the DFE, Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders and is currently the Chair of the South London Teaching School Hub and Charles Dickens Research School.
She has previously been a trustee at the Futures Academies Trust and the Turner Schools Trust and is currently a trustee of the Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South.
Sue is a member of the Sutton Trust EAG. She was the Chair of Trustees of the Brilliant club for 10 years and is now the Chair of the Teacher Development Trust.
Melissa is a Partner and Board Member for KPMG, one of the Big 4 accounting firms in the UK. In her board role at KPMG, Melissa has particular interest in graduate and school leaver programmes and is passionate about education and the opportunities it brings. She is a chartered tax advisor and an affiliated member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and has had a wide ranging financial career including working for Standard Chartered Bank and latterly GSK plc where she was Global Head of Tax and Acting Group Treasurer.
Melissa is also Deputy Chair of Governors at Surbiton High School in London, and has previously been a governing board member at Harris Academy, Merton.
Melissa is married with two children.
UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Ben is a Non-Executive Director of Britvic plc and St. Ives plc, is a Trustee of the Canal & River Trust and is also the Chairman of Heal's.
Formerly, Ben was the Chief Executive of Mothercare plc for nine years and the former Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Disney Store, Europe and Asia Pacific. He has also held senior management positions with WHSmith plc in the UK and the USA and with L’Oreal S.A. in France and the UK.
Ben has an MBA from INSEAD and is a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Neil MacDonald OBE
ULT Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Neil lives in Sheffield, is a graduate of Sheffield University and a qualified Chartered Accountant. After 10 years with KPMG, he spent his executive career as CFO of the international engineering businesses Firth Rixson and AES Engineering. Neil "retired" in 2006, and since then has held numerous non executive and trustee roles in the public, private and third sectors.
Currently he is a Private Sector Board Member of South Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Neil is also chair of both Sheffield Museums and St Luke's Hospice in Sheffield and a trustee of Sheffield Theatres.
Since 2017 Neil has been Chair of Governors at Sheffield Springs Academy.
Dr Rania Marandos
Dr Rania Marandos is an independent consultant working with non-profit organisations across the UK and National Director for the Foundation of Education Development. She believes in the power of young people and collaboration to achieve lasting system change.
Rania started her career at the London Probation Service and then focused on large-scale capability building programmes across industries at McKinsey & Company. As Head of Strategy at Teach First, she led on shaping the charity’s renewed vision and strategy with multi-stakeholder involvement. This resulted in the development of ambitious collective goals to address educational inequity that the Fair Education Alliance is working towards achieving.
Rania was a founding team member and later Chief Executive of Step Up To Serve, the time-limited charity that coordinated the #iwill campaign until its planned closure in March 2021. During this time, she enabled organisations from all sectors to work in partnership with young people to solve our most pressing societal challenges and shaped a lasting legacy for the charity.
Rania is a Trustee of United Learning Trust and London Bubble Theatre Company. She is a mentor to charity leaders through the Cranfield Trust. Rania has a BSc and PhD in Psychology from the University of York.
Christie Spurling MBE, FRSA
Christie is the Founder and CEO of Manchester-based youth work charity N-Gage. He has spent the last 16 years building up the charity to become a successful and respected organisation that puts the needs of young people at the heart of its work. N-Gage works in schools providing support for pupils who may be disengaged for a variety of reasons, manages a youth centre, operates a youth bus across the city and provides holiday clubs and residentials.
Christie has a particular interest in tackling exclusion in schools and how we manage experiences for those who may not be fully engaged in school life. He is regularly asked to speak about this at various events, using his own experiences as a permanently excluded pupil.
Christie was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to Children and Young People in Greater Manchester.
He is a Trustee of the Antioch Network, Manchester, is a Governor of Wellington High School, Timperley and is former Chair of the South Manchester Independent Advisory Group, Greater Manchester Police.
Christie is married with two daughters.
Part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444
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