Uppingham Community College Academy Trust and Governing Body

The broad object of the Academy Trust is to advance education for the public benefit by establishing, maintaining, managing and developing a school which offers a broad and balanced curriculum. The Academy Trust is also bound to comply with the Companies Act 2006 in the pursuit of this object.

This means, as a College and Specialist Technology Academy, we have greater freedom, scope, and flexibility to deliver the very best education and development that we can for our students and are accountable for doing so within a legal framework.

The statutory requirements and obligations of the Academy Trust are set out in the ‘Model Funding Agreement’ and the ‘Memorandum of Association’ as agreed between the College and the Secretary of State for Education.

The role of the Governing Body is to support, challenge and be a ‘critical friend’ in relation to the work and future development of the College and the wider community. Good governance requires involvement in strategy and policy development; ensures sound personnel and financial management; measures performance and supports the pursuit of challenging medium and short term goals.

The work of the Governing Body is facilitated through Full Governor Meetings, various Committees, plus Special Area and Curriculum Links. Governors are also involved in other day to day activities in support of the Principal and Staff as required.

Each Governor is entitled to be a Member and Director of the Academy Trust, although this is not a requirement. All current UCC Governors have opted to do so.

The Governing Body comprises around 20 Governors, including the Principal as an Ex-Officio Governor. Broadly, 50% are elected (7 Parent Governors and 3 Staff Governors) and 50% are appointed (maximum of 12).

With the exception of the Principal, being a Governor is a voluntary role. We are extremely fortunate to have a very committed Governing Body made up of individuals with varied backgrounds and a valuable mix of experiences and skills as summarised below:

Ex-Officio Governor 

& Principal


Mr Ben Solly


From 29.8.2017





I joined UCC in August 2017 as Principal. I have been a teacher since 2004, initially teaching PE in the Black Country as an Advanced Skills Teacher, before moving across to Leicestershire in 2010 to take up a senior leadership position in Melton Mowbray. I secured my first headship at Lutterworth College in 2014 and led the school through an age range change conversion to become an 11-18 all through school. I have been a member of the editorial board of the weekly educational publication Sec Ed since 2012 and I also occasionally contribute articles and opinions through this online magazine. I am currently Chair of the Rutland Music Education Hub and the Leicestershire and Rutland Headteachers PE Steering Group. I am also a Governor of Harington School, the Sixth Form Free School that UCC is co-sponsoring.

Elected Parent Governors




Ms Emma Cohen


Term of office:

23.3.2016 - 23.3.2020

I am a parent governor and have been a parent at UCC since 2015. My family and I have lived in Uppingham since 2011.  I have been a solicitor for over 20 years working mainly in private practice but also in the voluntary sector and I have taught law at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.  I have previously been a governor at a primary school in London and a trustee at my children's pre-school when we lived in Northamptonshire where we successfully fundraised for a new building.  I have a particular interest in foreign languages (my under-graduate degree was in Spanish and Portuguese) and the performing arts. I am link governor for Modern Foreign Languages and Student Voice. In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, swimming, seeing live music and theatre and spending time with family and friends.



Mr Stephen W Kirk


Term of office:

13.3.2018 - 12.3.2022

I have been a parent governor for approximately 3 years. I have been living in Burton Overy for 30 years with my wife of 20 years Julie, and our daughter Evee. I was educated at the city of Leicester Boys Grammar School, and have worked in banking and financial services since 1974. I was a financial adviser to GPs and Hospital Doctors before spinal cord surgery in December 2005. I returned to work 10 months later, but retired from work on the grounds of ill health in 2010. I was the Leicestershire County men's foil champion at 17, and still am secretary and treasurer of a Sunday football club, who play in the Alliance Football League, for which I am Vice Chairman. 

Dr Miriam Stoate


Term of office:

13.3.2018 - 12.3.2022


I am a parent governor. I live with my family in East Leicestershire, having grown up in Rutland and attended UCC. I was a primary school governor, taught English in Thailand and trained as a secondary school Geography teacher. I am link governor for Science and have an interdisciplinary PhD with a focus on Environmental Management, Economics and Decision Making. I have university level teaching and research experience, including from universities in Canada and Thailand. I co-run a farm, with an emphasis on environmental management, sustainability, on-farm research and renewable energy and am also involved with various community organisations.


I enjoy reading, gardening, cooking, cycling, swimming, theatre, singing, spending time with friends and train travel adventures with my family.

Mrs Joanne Armstrong

Term of office:

23.3.2016 - 23.3.2020


More information to follow...


Elected Staff Governors



Mr Stephen Berridge

(Support Staff Governor)

Term of office:

25.5.2011 - 30.9.2019

As a Staff Governor I represent the non-teaching staff and have done so for over 16 years. I am currently employed in the role of Site Manager, a job that has seen me involved in lots of exciting developments in my 27 years service here at the college and I look forward to continuing to contribute in both of these roles over the coming years.

Mrs Kirsty Rodgers

(Staff Governor)

Term of office:

1.11.2014 - 31.10.2018





Mr Laurence Redmond

(Staff Governor)

Term of office:

11.10.2017 - 11.10.2021

I have worked at Uppingham Community College since 2002 and in that time I have been a teacher and Head of Department (Humanities); and parent to three children who have all been educated here. My experience as a parent, teacher and local resident give me a good knowledge of the school, the surrounding area and the issues faced in our context and in the broader educational landscape. Communication is paramount to being an effective governor. I believe that I see decisions through the eyes of the staff and can understand strategic decisions from a teacher’s perspective.

Appointed Governors







Mr Geoff Thompson

Term of office:

1.4.2011 - 23.6.2019

I  have been Chair of the Governing Body since 2012 and am involved in all the committees. I was originally a parent governor at UCC before becoming the Chair. I am also a Founder Governor and Chair of the Scrutiny Committee at Harington School.

We live in Uppingham and the whole family are involved in local community activities. I enjoy walking, cycling, travelling, skiing, sailing and singing.


Skills and qualifications:

I have worked for the London Stock Exchange for 2 years and a large international bank for 38 years in a wide variety of roles (including Finance, Marketing, Sales, Strategy, IT Development, Relationship Management, Risk Management and General Management), including five years in Canada and Switzerland before returning to the UK in 2011. I am a Freeman of the City of London, a Liveryman of the Information Technologists Company, and have B.Sc(Hons), ACIB and CIMA Cert.BA qualifications.





Mr Nick Clarke


Term of office:

11.9.2018 - 10.9.2022

I am a communications professional running my own consultancy business.  I work with a diverse group of third sector, church and private clients, offering services including: communications and crisis media management; communications training; video and audio production; and graphic design and layout.  Prior to establishing the consultancy in 2013, I spent twelve years working both nationally and at county level for the Church of England on external and internal communications.  Before the turn of the millennium, I spent twenty years working in professional radio in a variety of roles including News Editor and Senior Producer, as well as ten years behind the microphone broadcasting on daily shows.


I grew up in Leicester, was educated at a local grammar school, graduated from the city’s university and began my career with the BBC in the city.  Currently my hobbies include running, baking bread and trying to learn Spanish. I am churchwarden at Uppingham Parish Church and am married to Liz, who is Chair of Governors at Uppingham C of E Primary school.



Mr Nick Davenport

Term of office:

5.12.2017 - 4.12.2021

My wife and I have lived in Rutland since 1981 where our daughters attended local schools. I was a secondary school teacher for 25 years becoming head of department and a member of the senior leadership team. I then left teaching to become a partner in a business consultancy specialising in learning and development within organisations working across all sectors. I retired in 2015 but continue to support school leaders on key issues affecting their schools and I hope to bring these insights to UCC. I enjoy all sports, especially golf and rugby as well as taking time out to travel. I have a BA degree in history and an MA in the history of education.



Mr Mike Deely

Term of office: 

3.1.2013 - 1.1.2021

I live in Great Easton with my wife Sharon and three children; Caitriona, William and George. I am an Accountant/Company Director by Profession and run two businesses in Kettering; KLM Taxis and Headlands Garage. Outside of work I have a keen interest in athletics, rugby and coach at Market Harborough RFC.

Dr Sarah Furness


Term of office:

5.12.2017 - 4.12.2021

I am High Sheriff of Rutland, an honorary appointment by Her Majesty the Queen to represent her in the county of Rutland. The role is to encourage and celebrate charitable work and work for the public good.

I am a member of the Steering Committee for Women in Philanthropy, an organisation which provides financial and logistical support to small, worthwhile, local charities. I am also Trustee for two local charities: The Sustainable Land Trust & Rutland Grants.

I taught philosophy whilst studying for PhD and established Leicester University medical ethics course.




Miss Margaret Jennings

Term of office:

25.5.2011 - 23.6.2019

I have been associated with the College since 1966, firstly as Deputy Principal and then as a Governor. Since becoming a Governor I have been interested in community projects, one of which led to the founding of Upp-Starts, and adult education. I am active on several Governor Committees, a member of the Upp-Starts Management Group and link governor for Humanities.



Mrs Lizzie Souter

Term of  office:

21.4.2017 - 20.4.2021

More information to follow...




Mrs Morag Topham


Term of office:

7.12.2011 - 23.6.2019

I live with my family in Manton having moved to Rutland in 2009. I have been an Appointed Governor at UCC since December 2011 and I was previously involved in governance from 2003 -2009 prior to moving here. School governance has been a way to remain involved in my children’s education as they have grown up.  I have developed relationships with like-minded people who share a passion for ensuring UCC continues to provide quality teaching and learning in a safe and happy environment for all the students. 

I completed 30 years Police Service and following retirement from the police, I am now an Education Welfare Officer.  During my time with the police force, I gained extensive experience of Child Protection along with other specialist areas of policing. 

I am the Vice Chair of Governors and the link Governor for Drama, PDBW and Child Protection and I work closely with the SEN and Inclusion team. I am also involved with the Resources and Education Sub-Committees. 

I have a BA (Hons) Degree in English Literature and Language and I enjoy live music, reading, art and travelling when I can.

Mr Robert Wills

Term of office:

1.1.2013 - 1.1.2021











Mr John Woodhead

Term of office:

1.9.2015 - 31.8.2019

Chair of the Education Committee.

My wife and I live locally and we have two grown up children who both attended Uppingham Community College. Now retired, we both worked in teaching for many years and, for the last twenty years of my career, I was headteacher of a secondary school in a neighbouring local authority. I currently serve on the Rutland Schools Forum, which advises the County Council on matters of school finance. My interests include choral singing and watching football, and my wife and I enjoy foreign travel and walking holidays.


Attendance records

2017 - 2018 FGB

2017 - 2018 Committees