Members’ and Directors’ Roles and Responsibilities

Members’ Board

Members have oversight of the governance arrangements of the trust and have the power to amend the articles and appoint trustees and remove trustees. They use these powers to ensure effective governance of the trust.

Jill Fury

Member

Responsibilities: Educational Improvement Oversight.

Jill has considerable experience in all aspects of Education and Learning. She taught English in the secondary sector, with subsequent roles as Head of Year, Head of Department and Assistant Headteacher. Jill joined Stoke-on-Trent Local Authority in 2001 as English Adviser and Lead for the National Literacy Strategy across all sectors, with additional roles as School Improvement Partner and Ofsted Inspector. She became an independent Education Consultant, working across Primary, Secondary and Further Education in 2012 before becoming Education Director with the Trust in 2015 until retirement in 2017.

Rob Knight

Member

Responsibilities: Leadership and Management Oversight.

Rob is currently also a Trustee of St Bart’s MAT which has 19 schools across four local authorities and chair its Audit and Risk committee. He is also the Chair of LGC of a Federation of an infant and junior school and also of a primary school. He is self-employed part time as a coach for school leaders. Rob has previously been a director of The Societas Trust and was chair of one of its school’s Governing Board.  He was also the Headteacher of a secondary school for 13 years and in senior leadership roles for a further 11 years.

Ray Palin

Member

Responsibilities: Legal and Compliance Oversight.

Ray worked as a real estate lawyer in the legal profession for over 40 years. Ray continues to work with a law firm on matters relating to compliance but has since 2010 worked with an academy conversion specialist based in the North West as a project lead assisting schools to set up Academy Trusts working closely with the schools in understanding the procedures. Ray is on the Board of Members for a number of Trusts as a guardian and adviser to the Board of Directors.  Ray was part of the school Governance for many years before recently retiring.

Guy Weir

Member/ Non Exec Director/ Chair Directors’ Board/ Chair Resources Committee

Responsibilities: Finance and Risk.

Guy is a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant and is a Director of a firm of accountants in Newcastle under Lyme. He has over 25 years of experience in the profession and has a substantial client base across multiple sectors.He is married to Gill, a primary school teacher and has 2 children and a dog. Prior to becoming a Member of the Societas Trust he was a Governor at a local primary school for many years, and has been involved with Societas since its original inception in 2015. He is incredibly proud to have been appointed the Chair of the Trust. With his professional background, he understands the importance of working within the constraints of legislation and is passionate about empowering all members of a team to fulfil their full potential. He looks forward to continuing to assist and support the Societas Trust through it next phase of growth.

 

Directors’ Board (Trust Board)

Directors (“Trustees”) have responsibility for directing the trust’s affairs, and for ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the trust’s charitable outcomes. The DfE requires trustees to fulfil the three core functions of all governing boards, as set out in the Governance handbook: setting direction of the trust, holding the CEO to account for the Trust’s educational performance, and overseeing the financial performance of the Trust.

Christopher Austin

Non Exec Director

Responsibilities: Marketing; Public and Media Relations

Chris joined Societas as a Director in 2018. His specialisms include marketing and communications, business management and health and safety. He has governance experience in both maintained and academy settings, and is a Trustee for a local charity.  

Professionally, Chris worked for Stoke-on-Trent City Council until 2016, and was responsible for the city’s major events programme, as well as a number of key leisure and events venues. After leaving local government, he became a Director of Edenfield Solutions Limited, a company providing training and consultancy solutions to clients in various sectors throughout the UK. Chris is also a guest lecturer, having delivered to undergraduate and post-graduate students on behalf of Staffordshire University, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Chris is a graduate of both Staffordshire and Manchester Metropolitan Universities, having completed an undergraduate degree (first class) in Business Management in 2010, and an MSc (with distinction) in International Events Management in 2013. He is currently studying for an MBA in Strategic Leadership. Chris has also been trained by both the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), and is a certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Practitioner and Coach.

Carol Dudson

Non Exec Director/ Vice Chair Directors’ Board

Responsibilities: Human Resources and Stakeholder Wellbeing.

Carol’s career to date has revolved around roles involving Employee Engagement and Organisational Development, and has worked as a consultant in the field since April 2013 with People Matter Associates. Before this, Carol worked as an Investors in People Specialist Assessor between 1996 and 2013; and as an Assessor and Internal Verifier between 1993 and 1996. She also has a breadth of experience in a broad range of public, private and charity/voluntary sector organisations.  Carol’s qualifications include: INLPTA Diploma in the Art and Science of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP); IIP Assessor since 1993 and Internal Verifier for IIP Standards; ISO9000 Internal Auditor; Qualified Leadership & Management Assessor; Approved Assessor for Health & Well-being; First Assessor in WM to complete Gold Assessment; Qualified Primary Teacher; training/development in Work Life Balance and Health & Well-being; Master’s in Business Administration; and Effective Manager Programme. Throughout her career right up until the present day, Carol works hard to link the various benefits of engaging with the principles of Investors in People and other organisational development strategies to realise organisational goals/challenges. She has also played a pivotal role serving as a Director of the Trust since its inception in 2015.

Mary Hughes

Non Exec Director/ Chair Education Committee

Responsibilities: School Leadership; Educational Improvement; Early Years.

Mary has taught across all primary age ranges (2- 11) and has been involved in education for over 35 years. She has held a range of senior management roles, including deputy headship and headship. After leaving headship she has worked as a School Improvement Partner, Early Years Consultant and school advisor. She has carried out this work nationally and internationally. Mary spent 12 years with Ofsted as a team and lead inspector. She also carried out similar work with the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Mary worked for 2 years as the Education Director for the Societas Trust and then joined their Directors’ Board in 2019.

Gillian (Jill) Jenkins

Non Exec Director

Responsibilities: Inclusion.

Jill is currently retired. From 1987 – 2021 she was a member of Summerbank Primary School’s Governing Board, occupying the positions of both Chair and the Vice Chair, a Parent and a Co-opted Governor.  During this time, Jill was also involved with staff recruitment, curriculum development, finance, the introduction of SATs, the National Curriculum, and conversion to an Academy Trust. From 2003-2012, Jill worked at Cloughall Technology School, originally employed as a Pastoral Support worker, working alongside the Head of Year. As part of this role, she liaised frequently with EWOs, CAMHS, Bereavement Counsellors, community policing and external educational agencies. Later, she also became the school’s exams officer and chief exam invigilator.  Following a restructuring exercise, Jill returned as a member of the finance office. Jill has also been a member of the Girls’ Brigade for 33 years, both as a girl and an officer. During this time, she worked and supported girls aged 5-21, working on physical activities, educational projects, spiritual learning and community projects. All of the above has given Jill a deep understanding of the importance of education, both formal and informal.  She has seen education from all angles, and her variety of jobs within a school, and voluntary positions within the community, have given Jill a wealth of knowledge that benefits both the Trust and the communities it serves.

Jon Lovatt

Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer/ Accounting Officer

Responsibilities: Leadership and Management of the Trust; Standards; Safeguarding; Business Operations.

Jon has almost 40 years working in the Education Sector. He has supported senior leaders and governors with strategic resource planning nationally, working for both the public and private sectors since 1991. Jon achieved the certificate and diploma in Business Administration in 2000 and 2001 respectively.  Also part MBA in 2003. He helped to found The Societas Trust in 2014 and was appointed CEO Designate in September 2015, which was confirmed on incorporation in February 2016. Jon has been a governor at a number of schools for over 20 years, and is a founding member of a trust in Enfield.

Roger Machin

Non Exec Director

Responsibilities: Effective Governance; Health and Safety.

Roger left school after completing his ‘A’ levels and then worked for one year in insurance before becoming a photographic equipment electronic engineer for the next forty-six years until his retirement in 2018. Roger has also held voluntary positions in the local cricket as a club secretary and league secretary for the past forty-six years. He has 28 years’ experience of school governance including 12 years as Chair of his Local Governing Body. During his time as a governor, Roger has attended many governor training sessions and refresher courses, including the N.C.T.L’s Chairs of Governors Leadership Programme.

Paula Pattison

Non Exec Director/ Chair Oaklands Nursery School

Responsibilities: Safeguarding.

Paula is a Director of The Societas Trust, Chair of Governors at Oaklands Nursery School, which is an associate member setting of the Trust, and a parent with first-hand experience having had children at both Oaklands Nursery and Ellison Primary Academy. She lives locally and since 2016 has worked as a mini bus driver at Newcastle under Lyme School, after retiring from thirty years’ service with Staffordshire Police serving the communities of Stoke on Trent and North Staffordshire. Paula has extensive demographic knowledge and considerable experience in Child Protection and Safeguarding, skills which relate well to her role as both chair of Oaklands and a director of the Trust.  She is committed to supporting the Nursery School, a fabulous community resource that has benefitted greatly from being an associate member of the Trust in recent years, and which both governing boards wish to preserve for future generations.

Guy Weir

Member/ Non Exec Director/ Chair Directors’ Board/ Chair Resources Committee

Responsibilities: Finance and Risk.

Guy is a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant and is a Director of a firm of accountants in Newcastle under Lyme. He has over 25 years of experience in the profession and has a substantial client base across multiple sectors.He is married to Gill, a primary school teacher and has 2 children and a dog. Prior to becoming a Member of the Societas Trust he was a Governor at a local primary school for many years, and has been involved with Societas since its original inception in 2015. He is incredibly proud to have been appointed the Chair of the Trust. With his professional background, he understands the importance of working within the constraints of legislation and is passionate about empowering all members of a team to fulfil their full potential. He looks forward to continuing to assist and support the Societas Trust through it next phase of growth.