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 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


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 Trustee of Harington School, the Sixth Form Free School that UCC is co-sponsoring.

Elected Parent Governors


Ms Emma Cohen

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. In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, swimming, seeing live music and theatre and spending time with family and friends.



Mr Mike Deely


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.


Mr Stephen W Kirk

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, who is in year 10. 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 GP's 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. 


Mr Geoff Thompson

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 moving to associate governor status. 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.

Miriam Stoate

More information to follow...


Joanne Armstrong

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Elected Staff Governors



Mr Stephen Berridge

(Support Staff Governor)

As a Staff Governor I represent the non-teaching staff and have done so for over 14 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 25 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)



Mr Laurence Redmond

(Staff Governor)



Appointed Governors



Miss Margaret Jennings

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.




Mr Rob Sawyer

I have been a Governor since 2004, including seven years as Chair of the Governing Body from 2006 – 2012. I am actively involved in the work of both the Finance & Premises and the Personnel Committees. In 2013 I also took on the role of Chair of the Strategic Fundraising Committee which primarily involves leading the effort to raise the funds necessary to deliver the College’s ‘2020 Vision’ priority projects. Before ‘retiring’ I spent 30 years in business.



Mrs Morag Topham

I live with my family in Manton having moved to Rutland in 2009. I have been a Parent 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 have been a police officer for almost 30 years and have extensive experience of Child Protection along with other specialist areas of policing. I am the link Governor for Drama, PSHE and Child Protection and I work closely with the SEN and Inclusion team. I am also involved with the Personnel 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









Mr John Woodhead

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.


Sarah Furness

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Nick Davenport 

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Lizzie Souter

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