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ACES Academies Trust

Our People


The Board of Trustees 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 Trustees of a charity (the Trust), the Trustees 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 TRUSTEES

Brian Message - Chair of the board OF TRUSTEES 

Brian has significant leadership experience in setting up and running organisations from inception, navigating various rounds of fundraising to ultimate sale, including the businesses of Stephen Webster and Fine Burger. 

Due to his financial background, he has and has had operational oversight over the financial wellbeing of many of the operations where he is/was a director.

Through his work within the music business Brian has significant experience of ‘change management’ with a reputation for being at its vanguard.  As chairman of the MMF, he led an organisation of over 500 managers through a seismic technological revolution.

Very much a people person, Brian is known for being able to construct and motivate teams and drive innovation, especially when it comes to new technology and new working practices.  He is passionate about using his skills in helping education to evolve and to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Gary Weston - TRUSTEE 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. 


James is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Academies Enterprise Trust.

He led a complete review of budget process so that it was completely focused on teaching and learning whilst also regionalising back office operations and pooling DfE grant income. This resulted in an extra 9% of E-ACT's income being invested in teaching and learning rather than back office overhead.

James has designed and led the projects undertaken to successfully bring an academy trust out of an Education Funding Agency Financial Notice to Improve within 12 months.

Successfully led the financial and legal due diligence of twelve acquisitions of Independent schools from other charities, a publicly listed company and from administrators.

Successfully renegotiated a £50 million group banking facility in 2009. Saving an estimated £1.7 million through negotiation of the terms.

Reinvigorated a disengaged accounts department to become the business partners for each school's principal.

Worked closely with the CEO to develop business strategy and increase the Group from a small company turning over £60million to one turning over £325million whilst also widening margins.

Specialties: developing corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, corporate turn around, team building, developing corporate departments, bank relationships and raising finance, plain talking, purchasing.


Rebecca is local to the current MAT schools and has children attending Brampton primary and Hinchingbrooke.  

She is a solicitor, specialising in employment law, at a local firm Leeds Day LLP, having also practised in London and Manchester earlier in her career.
Before returning to law at Leeds Day after a career break, she worked as an HR advisor in the education sector with EPM for 3 years.

Rebecca has historic commercial experience as an in-house lawyer at MyTravel Plc (Airtours) and previous trustee/ charity experience at her daughter’s playgroup.

CHRIS MEDDLE - trustee and educational expertise 

Chris has worked in and with schools for forty years. 

Since moving to Cambridgeshire from Kent in 1988 where he was a Head of Humanities, he has gained significant leadership experience as a Head of Department and CPD co-ordinator in a large Cambridge secondary school, as the Deputy Head of a Cambridgeshire Village College and the Principal of a Cambridge Community College. 

For the last 15 years Chris has worked for Cambridgeshire County Council as an Education and now Senior Leadership Adviser. 

He has considerable experience of supporting schools to solve a wide range of problems, including a significant county leadership role during the COVID 19 crisis.

Chris’ main area of focus in recent years has been leading on safer recruitment and safeguarding reviews. He has delivered senior leadership training in both the secondary and primary sectors and supported a wide range of academies and maintained governing bodies and Chairs in Cambridgeshire and surrounding counties.


Raj Joshi is a barrister based in London. 

On completing his degree and having been called to the bar in London at the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, Raj began work in the public sector moving from being a district prosecutor to policy and being responsible, for example, for the joint training of 120,000 police officers. He rose through the ranks to become Head of the European and International Division at the UK’s foremost prosecution authority where he dealt with complex issues as far-ranging as terrorism following 9/11, money laundering and human trafficking.  Raj was promoted to become the Director of Legal Practice and Quality Assurance based in London.

 After 20 years of public service, he became an adjudicator for the Solicitors Regulation Authority considering corporate governance and regulatory cases. Raj has spent several years working at the top 10 sets of Criminal and Civil Law Chambers in London dealing with cases of serious violence, sexual abuse involving vulnerable victims, fraud and proceeds of crime and Court of Appeal matters.  Raj is currently instructed in a £100m+ case of malicious prosecution.

 In terms of significant contributions towards social responsibility, Raj had a significant role in the formulation of policy, planning and resource impacts by liaising with internal and external stakeholders for the 2012 Olympic Games. 

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.