MAT Structure

Our Members

The Members of the Multi Academy Trust are the conscience of the organisation. They appoint the board of directors and ensure that the aims of the trust are upheld. They include:

  • The Diocesan Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Rt Revd Martin Seeley
  • The Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education, The Rt Revd Dr Mike Harrison
  • Mr Neil Watts BA (Hons)  MA (Cantab)  PGCE
  • Professor Helen Langton RGN; RSCN; RCNT; RNT; BA(Hons); MSc

Our Board of Directors

We bring together a core group of people with a proven track record of school improvement and experience that is relevant to making the trust a success. They are responsible for its strategic direction and are accountable for the academies to the Secretary of State and therefore determine the level of delegation to local governing bodies so that these can be as effective as possible.

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Jane Sheat


After studying Modern Languages at university, Jane moved to Suffolk. She worked in HR in local government for more than 20 years, mostly working directly with schools as Senior HR Manager. Jane joined the Diocese as Diocesan Director of Education (DDE) in 2010 and established the Diocesan MAT in 2015, becoming its first CEO. Jane leads a small diocesan team which supports 87 church schools to live out their Christian vision, and a MAT team which supports our 21 MAT schools with school improvement, finance, buildings and governance. She enjoys working with headteachers and governors to ensure that pupils can live life in all its fulness (John 10:10) and works closely with other DDEs nationally and regionally. Jane loves supporting schools to be even more effective in providing high quality education within a Christian ethos. Jane is also Chair of Governors at Northgate High School in Ipswich.

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Tom Brooke


The Board of MAT Directors is chaired by Tom Brooke.  Tom sits as a Tribunal Judge in the Social Entitlement Chamber and is a Schools Adjudicator dealing with issues relating to school admission arrangements and statutory proposals

From 2003 to 2012 Tom was Head of Law for The Learning Trust, the not-for-profit company which took over all of Hackney’s education functions and led the transformation of education standards in the Borough.

From 1990 - 2003 he was Principal Solicitor for education and employment for Wandsworth Council and Chair of Governors at a primary school in Hackney from 2000 to 2003. Tom has been an LA governor, additional governor and Chair of an Interim Executive Board at several schools in Suffolk.


Alister Gourlay


Alister held Headships in Church schools for 30 years until 2008, leading a school rated as Outstanding, in both its OfSted and SIAMS inspections, in the year he retired.

In semi-retirement Alister took up the post of Deputy Diocesan Director of Education until August 2017, in which his experience was shared across all Church schools in the Diocese, to assist Governors in the appointment of new Headteachers and to support schools pre and post OfSTED and SIAMS.  Alister played a key role in co-ordinating Aided Schools and Academy admission policies and appeals, working also at a regional and national level with particular reference to Admissions, Succession Planning and Governance.

Alister remains an active member of the Diocesan MAT Board of Directors.

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Andrew Blit


Andrew has a wealth of experience in accounting and finance.  He left the private sector in 2008 to join Suffolk County Council’s Customer Services Direct Team; initially as a Finance Business Partner, before becoming Project Accountant for the Children and Young People’s service, followed by Schools Finance Specialist.

In January 2011, Andrew joined the newly opened Suffolk One Sixth Form College and was involved in the creation of strategic financial plans, setting budgets at both college and faculty level and the creation of the financial framework to ensure outstanding student success.

Andrew joined King Edward VI CEVC Upper School as School Business Manager in 2015 and alongside budgetary control and planning, and the management of HR, Facilities, ICT, administration and finance, he also worked with Senior Leaders, the Local Authority and Contractors to deliver buildings and premises adaptions necessary for expansion owing to the Schools Organisation Review.  He similarly worked with senior leaders to deliver staffing for the Review.

In addition, Andrew was a member of the Working Party which developed a  proposal for the new sixth Form provision, in partnership with Suffolk Academy Trust and also a member of the school Working Party to explore the development of a new Multi-Academy Trust.

In his retirement we are delighted that Andrew has joined the MAT Board of Directors and when not involved in finance and education he is heavily involved with Sudbury Rowing Club having taken, at various times, the roles of Captain, Coach and Chair.

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Stephen Cole MA; MA (Ed)


Stephen’s career in teaching and education spans nearly 40 years in both the independent and maintained sector, 20 of which were as Headmaster of Woodbridge School.  Alongside this role, Stephen was and continues to be, a Reporting (lead) Inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate, serving for a time as interim chief inspector and chief executive.  He has led over 100 inspections across England, China, south America, Europe and the Caribbean, and trained the government inspectorate in Brunei.

He has been an active member of a lengthy list of organisations; including as Chairman of the Independent Schools Exam Board Mathematics and Science Committee from 1999 to 2005 and Chairman of the ISCis National Committee from 2004 to 2006. He is a governor of a local prep school.  Before joining the MAT, Stephen was a trustee of three Suffolk Free Schools, and is a member of the Ministerial Development Review Group for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

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Sarah Rees


After completing a music degree at Cardiff University and a PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, Sarah taught in a number of Suffolk primary schools before headship at Great Barton CofE Primary from 2004-17. From 2009, the school was consistently graded Outstanding in both its Ofsted and SIAMS inspections. After retiring from Headship in 2017, Sarah continued in a part-time capacity as CEO of Thedwastre Education Trust, a small local MAT set up to support school improvement in local primary schools in the Thurston area, retiring fully in August 2018. 

Sarah has significant experience of change management, having taken a leading role in the move from three-tier to two-tier education in the Thurston area, and through forming a small MAT. As an Local Leader of Education and a member of the leadership group for a local Teaching School Alliance, she has had significant experience of supporting school improvement and staff training. She has also been seconded to work for the LA on short-term projects linked to school-to-school support and systems management. 

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Karen Williams


Karen is a fully qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountant who completed her accounting degree at the University of Liverpool. Karen has over 30 years of post-qualification experience in a wide-ranging practice, commercial and education sector background. Karen started work at the University of Suffolk in 2007 and became the Director of Finance and Planning before promotion to CFO at the University from March 2014 - December 2018. Karen also held a key role in the governance of the University.

Karen has experience of senior leadership at an institutional level as well as many years’ experience of departmental management and has also recently taken on a trustee/director role with a local charity.         

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The Revd Sally Letman


Sally has 30 years’ experience in the education sector, both private and independent. She began her teaching career in Handsworth, Birmingham before relocating to Suffolk. She was Assistant Head at Ipswich High School for Girls, focusing on Pastoral Care, PHSE and Safeguarding until 2016. She worked for Schools Choice as a School and Governor Safeguarding trainer.

In 2020 Sally was Ordained Deacon and became a Priest in 2021. She is Curate in Charge in Capel St Mary and the Wenhams where she is supported by two wonderful congregations. She is Governor at Capel St Mary Church of England primary school.

Sally has a Border Terrier called Buzz Lightyear who keeps her fit!

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