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ACES Academies Trust


The Board of Directors is the accountable body of the Trust, and is responsible for the conduct and standards of all the academies within it.  The Board must fulfil the following three core governance functions, as described in the DfE Governance Handbook (January 2017).

  1. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  2. Hold the Chief Executive Officer to account for the educational performance of the academies and their students, and the performance management of staff.
  3. Oversee the financial performance of the Trust and make sure its money is well spent.

As Directors of a charity (the Trust), the Directors have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and in the best interests of the Trust.  This duty includes a responsibility to:

  • ensure compliance with any legal obligations;
  • report on the Trust’s activities (the Trust must prepare accounts in accordance with the Statement of Recommended Practice for Charities, the so called “Charity SORP” and any reporting requirements of the Education Funding Agency);
  • fulfil the charitable objects of the Trust in accordance with the Articles of Association;
  • act in a way which is compliant with the rules of the Trust contained in the Articles of Association;
  • act with integrity avoiding personal conflicts of interest and the misuse of charity funds or assets;
  • act prudently in the financial management of the Trust, avoiding any undue risk to assets, funds or reputation;
  • exercise reasonable care and skill, using personal knowledge and experience to ensure the Trust is well run and efficient;
  • act responsibly, seeking advice from others, including professional advisers, where appropriate.

The Board of Directors

Bev curtis - Director and Chairman of the HR committee 

Bev was one of the two founder directors of Education Personnel Management Ltd. which was formed in April 1993. Prior to being a director of EPM he was Assistant Director Personnel (Education) for Cambridgeshire County Council from 1988 to 1993. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has an MA in Employment Strategy.

Bev retired in September 2014 after a working career of 48 years in education. On retiring he became vice chair of Hinchingbrooke Academy in Cambridgeshire where he had been a student in the old Huntingdon Grammar School. He is now a founder Director of ACES Academies Trust and chairs the HR committee.

Paul Fenney - Director and Chairman of the Finance committee

Paul is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and has worked in finance and systems in a number of Blue Chip companies. He was latterly Chief Financial Officer of the Laurel Pub Company and before that was Finance Director of The Pub Company @Whitbread and Finance & Systems Director of Thresher.

He has also worked as an interim Finance Director at the Whitbread Restaurant Group. He has led a number of change programmes and run workshops in change management and leadership. Until recently he was chairman of Hinchingbrooke Academy Governors. He is a director of the Laurel Pension Trustee Company Ltd., and is a Director/Trustee of a number of local and international charities.

Robin Gildersleeve - Director and Chairman of the Standards and Innovations committee

Robin has extensive and successful school experience, including substantive, interim and associate headteacher posts.

Following three headships, including a school in very challenging circumstances, Robin joined Tribal Children’s Services to become Director of the nationally acclaimed Pupils’ Champions programme, and was later promoted to the post of Director, School Improvement. The school improvement team worked alongside hundreds of staff and pupils in 'Keys to Success' schools identified for the London and Greater Manchester Challenge programmes, and also schools in Bristol, Cardiff, Mansfield, Nottingham city and Sheffield.

It was during this time at Tribal that he started to work with schools on their visioning for new build academies. He also project managed the conversion of five schools to academy status.

Robin is now an independent school improvement specialist and continues to provide hands-on support and challenge to school staff, pupils and governors. He is, currently, the chair of governors for the Springwell Lincoln Academy, having chaired the IEB for the predecessor Lincolnshire Teaching and Learning Centre. Until recently, he was the chair of governors for a secondary special school in challenging circumstances and steered the school through a successful consultation process over federating with an outstanding special primary school. Before that, Robin was an IEB chair of a primary school and a secondary school in special measures, and converting to academy status.

He carried out the role of education adviser for a group of secondary schools and academies in Lincolnshire as part of the CfBT (now called the Education Development Trust) School Improvement contract. He is also the school improvement adviser for three secondary schools in Cambridgeshire, including two who are developing a strong, school improvement collaborative relationship.

Over the last two years he has been actively engaged in the recruitment process for five secondary headteacher posts. Throughout, he has acted as the independent educational adviser on many Headteacher Performance Reviews, primary and secondary). Additionally, Robin is now an accredited Safer Recruitment Trainer and also carries out safeguarding reviews. He has also acted as a Governor Development Programme trainer for Peterborough Council (e.g. Headteacher Performance Reviews) and has been engaged as an independent investigator.

Cliff Fluet - Director and legal expert

Cliff joined Lewis Silkin LLP as a Partner in April 2006 after over a decade as in-house counsel in the music and broadcast industry. Heading the Media & Entertainment group within the firm’s Media, Brands & Technology team, he now acts for some of the world’s largest names in mobile, brands, recorded music, mobile, live music, radio, audio-visual production and online. He also specialises in working with clients whom are embracing content-based entertainment for the first time such as FMCG and lifestyle brand owners, advertising agencies, digital agencies, investment funds and financial institutions. He has a passion for working on innovative new business models, advertiser-funded programming and in the monetisation of format rights.

The Media & Entertainment Group is ranked in the “Legal 500” and “Chambers” and Cliff is ranked as a ‘leading individual’ in both directories. He is also a director of "Eleven", a business advisory company working with disruptive business models in the world of Digital Media, Film and Sport.

Gary Weston - Director and business expert

Managing Director of Top Hex Ltd – an electronic design and manufacturing company in Hinchingbrooke Business Park. He started the company 15 years ago with a Co-Director and, despite the chaotic economic conditions, the company continues to grow progressively. As a local employer, Gary often interviews young people and he feels a great responsibility that all schools should set their children on a positive learning adventure.

Gary became an unpaid Director of the Hinchingbrooke Business Park with the aim of making a positive contribution to the local community. He has experience of putting large contracts out to tender, working with stakeholders and providing value for money for shareholders. 

Vacancy - Audit and Risk Expertise

Accordion content

Andrew Goulding - CEO 

The Trust has appointed Andrew Goulding B.Sc; NPQH, NLE as CEO and Accounting officer. He has 20 years of successful headship experience and is an NLE (National Leader of Education).

Andrew was educated at De Aston Grammar School in Lincolnshire and gained a B.Sc in Mathematics and a PGCE. He entered teaching in 1982 and has gained experience in a wide range of schools including a large multi-ethnic community school, a grant-maintained school and a single sex school. He was in the first cohort to introduce the National Curriculum for Mathematics in the 1990s and in the first cohort for NPQH in 1998.

Taking up headship in 1999, Andrew completed 14 successful years at The Bishop’s Stortford High School, a school of 1150 students, admitting boys in years 7 – 11 and with a large mixed Sixth form. Under his leadership the school gained an outstanding judgement from Ofsted and became one of the first 100 Teaching Schools in the country.  He has been a trainer for LLEs and is himself a National Leader of Education, having worked with the National College to devise national R&D networks and contributing to the redesigning of the NPQH.

Since September 2012 he has led one of the largest secondary academies in Cambridgeshire as Principal of Hinchingbrooke school.