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ACES Academies Trust


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.

Cliff Fluet - TRUSTEE 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 - 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. 

IAN PHILLIPS - TRUSTEE AND local and central government experience

Ian works across Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council in a senior system leadership role, with public and voluntary sector organisations across the county.  He works with a range of public sector services to transform and improve outcomes for communities.  

Ian has a passion for supporting local schools and working with senior leaders to improve education.  He has been  a school governor at a Godmanchester Community Academy for 6 years, and chair of governors for the last 2 years.  In addition, Ian is a non executive director of Orchard Learning Trust.


Daniel's background is in independent and international education. He worked for North London Collegiate School for many years, rising to Deputy Head at the London school before then setting up and going out to run, as Principal, their 'branch' school in Dubai. As Deputy Head of NLCS in the UK, Daniel was responsible (among other things) for Marketing and Development, for Professional Development and for the quality of provision at their first overseas branch school, in South Korea.  

Daniel is currently CEO of RSAcademics International, a consultancy supporting international schools across a number of different services, including whole-school and group strategy, executive search, marketing and development, internationalisation and school review/quality assurance. He has been a governor of a UK state Primary school, and is married: with twelve-year-old twin boys


Claire is an experienced innovation and management consultant.  Based in Cambridge, she works internationally, helping businesses tackle growth challenges.

Ex Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge University, Claire works with innovation businesses, private clients and venture capital; to develop approaches to growth.  Projects to $4Bn.

An experienced C suite coach, with 20+ years Board level experience,  Claire works with senior teams to develop solutions for innovation, market, finance, people and growth stretch challenges.

Claire is a Durham MBA , Fellow of the Chartered institute of Marketing, Chartered Company Secretary, Fellow of the RSA, Associate Member of the IET and Poverty Cure partner. 

Claire sponsors the Durham University MBS Innovation Award; targeting innovation led solutions to sustainable development problems and earlier this year mentored for the Paris HEC Innovation Hackathon (Covid-19).


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. 


Jeff is a Corporate Governance professional and currently works for Southern Housing Group. His background is diverse, spanning from employment in retail marketing, business support in Local Authority, HR and Finance in the NHS to working in Company Secretariat departments in private, listed and non-profit organisations.

Academically, Jeff majored in International Business Strategy at undergraduate level and is a double Master, having achieved a MSc in Strategy, Change and Leadership at the University of Bristol and subsequently an ICSA accredited MSc in Corporate Governance and Leadership at the University of Northampton. Jeff values education and has lectured on a part-time basis as Associate Lecturer to College and postgraduate students.  

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.