Multi Academy Trust Board for Southport Learning Trust

Stuart Bellerby, BSc (Eng), PGCE, PGDip, MBA 

Co-opted trustee 

Roles on the board: 

  • Chair of the board 

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Education and School Improvement 
  • Governance  
  • Commercial in the public sector and finance. 

I have spent my professional career working and in and with schools and local government and it is this experience, and the competencies gained, that I bring to the Board. Having spent the early part of my career teaching mathematics in secondary schools, I moved across to local government 20 years ago. I have had a variety of roles in school improvement including mathematics and ICT adviser roles, and then onto senior secondary school improvement adviser overseeing high schools in a Northwest Local Authority.  

More recently I have taken up roles in local government leading and coordinating school traded services, and developing and implementing the council’s commercial strategy. 

I have overseen school governance services at local government level, and have led training on governance matters. I have found my knowledge and experience of school governance useful during my time as a governor at Greenbank High School and then as one of the founding trustees of Southport Learning Trust. I have held roles as a governor at other local schools and academies over the last 20 years. 

In my spare time I enjoy music, especially live events, and also enjoy participating and watching sports. 


Claire Buck  

Chair of Governors, Greenbank High School  


Roles on the board:  

  • Vice-chair of the resources committee 

I am a senior lecturer at Edgehill University, for primary English and early years foundation stage.   My research has included using reading groups to encourage reading for pleasure, and the use of technology to assist in the same field.    


I am passionate about reading, and the access that this provides to the whole curriculum.  My work has me exploring many aspects, such as motivation for reading, successful boy readers, early reading and writing development, and child development.  


Prior to joining Edgehill, I was a primary school teacher.  Alongside my role at Chair of Governors at Greenbank, I have gained a wide experience of education across all ages.  

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to serve on both the Greenbank and the Southport Learning Trust boards, and proud to be supporting so many of our children and young people to be successful. 


Craig Clifford 

Parent trustee 

Roles on the board: 

  • Chair risk and audit committee 


Rich Cottier BA (Hons) 

Co-opted trustee 

Roles on the board: 

  • Vice-chair risk and audit committee 
  • Link trustee for SEND  

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Governance 
  • Strategy 
  • Finance 
  • Marketing 

Initially gaining business experience in an accountancy practice, followed by a career in financial services, I have for the last 25 years worked for an IT services organisation. Most recently I have managed, within a Transformation Programme Management Office, multimillion-pound investments from conception to delivery. 

For the Trust this means I can effectively challenge the leadership team and provide direction and vision where appropriate. I am good with both detail and the bigger picture, and understand governance frameworks well. As an excellent senior level communicator, I can break down complex subjects into simple concepts. 

I am determined to do all I can to support the Trust’s provision of excellence, both educational and vocational. 

Over the last few years, I have raised funds for a Liverpool-based brain injuries foundation trust charity, with a series of activities, most recently with the ROC triathlon (2020). 


Geoff Howe 

Chair of Governors, Maghull High School 

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Educational expertise 
  • Management and governance experience 
  • Strategic planning and implementation 

I have been the chair of governors at Maghull for over ten years, and have a wealth of experience in education having taught for over 30 years and finished my career as a primary Headteacher. 

I have been a resident of Maghull since 1977 and was a Parish Councillor for 20 years, twice serving as the Maghull Town Mayor. I was a Sefton Borough Councillor for over ten years, and a representative on the children’s services and safeguarding scrutiny committee. I also represented Sefton on the Merseyside Police Authority, serving as the Chair of the Professional Standards Committee. 

Over the past three years Maghull High School has changed great deal. The school management team has been strengthened, and we have successfully recruited new governors to support our leadership. And we have a wonderful new building, of which we are all very proud.  

We Joined the Southport Learning Trust in November 2020, and have benefited greatly from being a member of trust. In particular, the trust has helped us to improve the quality of education for our students. 

I have been a trustee for a year now, and believe that my knowledge and expertise has transferred well into this role. 


Philip Power, BEng (Hons) Combined Engineering 

Chair of Governors, Kew Woods Primary 

Roles on the board: 

  • Link trustee for disadvantaged children 

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Collaborator 
  • People orientated 
  • Passion for education 

I have been chair of governors at Kew Woods Primary School for eight years and a trustee at Southport Learning Trust for three years. Outside of education, my current role is with Homes England, “the government’s housing accelerator.” Previously, I have owned an engineering business, worked in education looking after assets and facilities, and spent several years as a retail manager.  

Throughout my career, I have championed the need for collaboration and the importance of a work culture that makes people feel involved and respected. These are the skills and passions that I bring to Kew Woods, Southport Learning Trust, and the golden thread of all I do. 

My passion is to help young people achieve their potential through education and ensuring children have the best opportunities to succeed whilst growing into responsible and caring individuals. 

In my spare time, you will find me treading the boards at the Little Theatre in Southport. I am the Chair of BOS Musical Theatre Company. We have been established for 60 years and we stage two fantastic musicals a year. 


Catherine Rae, BA (Hons), QTS, NPQSL 

Teacher of English and Lead for Staff and Student Development at Stanley High School.  

Staff trustee 

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Educational knowledge and expertise 
  • Experience supporting trainees and early career teachers 

I feel it is a privilege to be a Staff trustee on the Southport Learning Trust Board. I have been a Teacher of English at Stanley High School since September 2012 and Head of Year for five years. In September 2021 I took on the role of Lead for Staff and Student Development providing me with an exciting opportunity to embed a vibrant programme of student leadership at Stanley High School and support Early Career Teachers and trainee teachers develop their practice. These diverse roles provide me with a broad experience of school life and allow me to bring that experience and knowledge to the Trust board. Being a staff trustee enables me share how being part of the Southport Learning Trust impacts on the teaching and learning within the classroom and the wider life of school, promoting positive outcomes for all stakeholders.  

It has been a pleasure to see Stanley grow from strength to strength in recent years and develop strong links with the other schools in the Trust. As a member of staff, I can see the benefits of collaborating with other schools in the Trust and sharing examples of best practice. 

I am passionate about teaching and ensuring all students reach their full potential. It is my strong held belief that quality first teaching, along with exceptionally high standards for all students is key in achieving the highest outcomes. My educational philosophy is that every child should have equally high expectations placed on them, thus enabling them to have the best possible life chances and successful future, regardless of their starting point.  

I have a genuine desire to work with young people and I strive to make a difference to the lives of the students in our schools. 


Ian Raikes BA (Hons), PGCE, NPQH, NPQEL 

Chief Executive Officer 

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Educational leadership. 
  • Governance  

I was a Head teacher for 10 years with the school I led being consistently in the top 20% of schools nationally. I led the creation of the Multi Academy Trust in 2017 and in turn the sponsorship of a secondary school which moved from Inadequate to Good in 2020. I have an excellent knowledge of the local community we serve and sit on various strategic boards such as Southport Town Deal Board, Liverpool City Region Careers Hub, Sefton and Knowsley Sky Music Hub, Sefton Safeguarding Children’s Partnership and Chair the Southport Learning Partnership. 

I am passionate about the difference groups of schools working together in communities of school improvement can have on improving the life chances of the children we serve. I am dedicated to the growth of our Trust in the locality to support schools to grow, collaborate and achieve economies of scale.  

I have a love of sport, especially rugby, cricket, football and tennis, the environment as a Geographer, and the Arts. This translates into my vision for the wider curriculum for children. I am happily married with four children and fully aware of the demands of raising children as they grow through the different stages from nursery to higher education and the support they need. 


Anna Smith 

Executive Director, Southport Learning Trust 

The key skills I bring to the board are: 

  • Business, financial management 
  • Estates management 
  • Academy conversion and project management 
  • Strategic implementation 
  • Systems development and implementation 
  • Compliance and governance. 

I have extensive experience in senior management levels in both the private sector and over 20 years in education. My role of Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of Southport Learning Trust since 2017 has been an exciting and challenging role, with the addition of four schools to the Trust. The successful conversion and expansion of our family of schools gives our organisation a depth and breadth of experience. 

My knowledge of business, academy conversion, legal issues and compliance is ever expanding with the continual changes facing the education sector. The challenges facing our growing family of schools continue to be met with optimism and the exploration of new and exciting opportunities to enhance the life experience of our pupils, staff, and stakeholders. Over the past 5 years our incredible success in gaining DFE Capital Funding bids have improved the facilities in our schools.  

As the Chief Financial Officer for the Southport Learning Trust and a holder of a public office, I am passionate about being the values of selflessness, integrity, honesty, objectivity, accountability, openness, and leadership. 

On a personal note, prior to working in Education in the UK, I lived in Australia and worked for a large disability services organisation as Manager of Corporate Services. I enjoy travel, cooking, reading, and gardening. 


Ruth Williams, BSc (Hons), MBA 

Chair of Governors, Stanley High School 

Roles on the board: 

  • Vice-chair of the board 
  • Chair of the resources committee 
  • Link trustee for safeguarding 

Key competences I bring to the board: 

  • Business and finance. 
  • Strategy implementation. 
  • Governance. 

I gained these skills as a senior manager in an international corporation. I held a variety of roles beyond running the business, including managing global programs aimed at driving efficiency and improvements, working on turnarounds, and supporting acquisitions and mergers.  

The value of a strategic framework was apparent, not only to guide direction, but also to help with the necessity of reacting to short-term pressures without compromising the wider plan. Strong governance ensured the delivery of the required outcomes.  

I find my knowledge and experience transfers well into the role of chair of governors at Stanley High School, and to my role as a trustee of the Southport Learning Trust.  

I mentor chairs of governors in other schools, and I work closely with Sefton Governor Services, including developing and delivering training for governors. I also mentor managers outside of education, which helps to keep the overarching drivers of success in other sectors visible to me. 

When I am just having fun at home, I will often be gardening or making quilts. 


NameCategoryDate AppointedAppointed byTerm of Office
Dr Richard HadjiMAT Member16th January 2015Original Member from conversion to Academy and a MATn/a
Mrs Michelle DowMAT Member13th June 2017Original Member from conversion to Academy and a MATn/a
Ms Kate WebbMAT Member31st October 2011Original Member from conversion to Academy and a MATn/a


NameGovernor Type Term FromTerm ToRolesEmail
Mr Stuart Bellerby Co-opted Trustee 23 Jun 2021 22 Jun 2025 Elected Chair of Trust Board on 22.09.2021
Mr Robin Buchanan BrownCompany SecretaryN/A N/A Company Secretary
Mrs Claire Buck Trustee 17 Oct 2018 16 Oct 2022 Chair of Governors GHS
Mr Craig Clifford Parent Trustee05 Jun 2019 4 Jun 2023
Mr Richard Cottier Co-opted Trustee23 Jun 2021 22 Jun 2025
Mrs Michelle Dow MemberN/A N/A
Ms Anja Gouldbourne ClerkN/A N/A Governance
Dr Richard Hadji MemberN/A N/A
Mr Geoff Howe Trustee01 Nov 2020 31 Oct 2024 Maghull High School Chair of
Mr Mark Melia Staff Trustee05 Jun 2019 4 Jun 2023
Mr Phil Power Trustee01 Apr 2019 31 Mar 2023 Kew Woods Chair of
Mrs Cathy Rae Staff Trustee05 Jun 2019 4 Jun 2023
Mr Ian Raikes CEO and TrusteeN/A N/A Executive
Mrs Anna Smith Trustee13 Sep 2021 12 Sep 2025 Executive Business and Finance
Ms Kate Webb Member N/A N/A
Ms Ruth Williams Trustee08 Sep 2021 7 Sep 2025 Stanley High School Chair of Governor


Trust Board - Statistics MeetingFull MAT BoardFull MAT BoardFull MAT BoardTrust Board MeetingStrategy DayMAT Board - FullSLT Trust Board MeetingRisk Review MeetingFull MAT BoardFull MAT Board
GovernorGovernor Type09 Sep 202030 Sep 202021 Oct 202009 Dec 202008 Feb 202125 Feb 202124 Mar 202112 May 202109 Jun 202123 Jun 202114 Jul 2021
Mr Stuart Bellerby Co-opted Trustee Y NS Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y
Mr Robin Buchanan Brown Company Secretary Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Mrs Claire Buck Trustee Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Mr Craig Clifford Parent Director Y N Y Y Y Y NS Y Y Y Y
Mr Richard Cottier Co-opted Trustee Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ms Anja Gouldbourne Clerk Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Dr Richard Hadji Member Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y
Mr Geoff Howe Trustee Y Y Y Y N Y Y
Mr Mark Melia Staff Director Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y
Mr Phil Power Trustee Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y NS
Mrs Cathy Rae Staff Director N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Mr Ian Raikes CEO and Trustee Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Mrs Anna Smith Trustee Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ms Ruth Williams Trustee Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y


NameRemoval ReasonGovernor TypeLeaving Date
Dr Richard HadjiChange of CircumstancesCo-Opted Trustee20 Oct 2021
Mrs Sarah JacksonNo longer eligible for the position.Parent Trustee22 Sep 2020


Name of GovernorDeclared Interest
Mr Richard CottierEmployed by BT
Mr Stuart BellerbySenior Manager (School Traded Services) at Wirral Council. Vice Chair at Birkdale High School.
Mrs Claire BuckEmployed by Edge Hill University. Member of the Sefton Children’s University Board (representing EHU).
Mr Ian RaikesBoard Member of Elevate EBP Limited, Member of Governing Body for Sky Music Hub, Headteacher Board Member for Liverpool City Region Careers Hub, Lead Deliverer for the Alliance of Leading and Learning (Marches Academy Trust) and Member of Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Ms Ruth WilliamsMember of Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board, Member of Sefton Corporate Parenting Board and Chair of Sefton Governors Association.
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