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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 non-staff Governor is entitled to be a Member and Director of the Academy Trust, although this is not a requirement. All current UCC non-staff 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

29.08.2017 - current

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, the Leicestershire and Rutland Headteachers PE Steering Group and Headteacher representative of the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Local Children's Safeguarding Board. I am also a Governor of Harington School, the Sixth Form Free School that UCC is co-sponsoring.

Elected Parent Governors

Dr Miriam Stoate

Term of office:

13.03.2018 - 12.03.2022

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.

Elected Staff Governors

Mrs Kirsty Rodgers

(Staff Governor)

Term of office:

01.11.2014 - 31.01.2023

More information to follow......

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.


Mrs Kim Stuart-Jones (Staff Governor)

Term of office:

02.12.2019  - 02.12.2023

I have worked at UCC for over 7 years now, first on main reception and then as Admissions Officer.  I absolutely love working here!  I have a background in HR and recruitment.  As well as being a member of staff, I am also a parent and have one daughter in Year 7 and a son who in join in September 2020.  I am passionate about helping the governing body make UCC the very best it can be

Appointed Governors


Mr Geoff Thompson

Term of office:

01.04.2011 - 24.6.2023


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. My wife is the Chair of Uppingham Neighbourhood Forum.  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.

To contact the Chair of Governors:

Mr Nick Clarke

Term of office:

11.09.2018 - 10.09.2022

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.

Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Mr Nick Davenport

Term of office:

05.12.2017 - 04.12.2021

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.

Chair of the Education Committee.

Dr Sarah Furness

Term of office:

05.12.2017 - 04.12.2021

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 have been a governor at Uppingham School and Oakham School since March 2018.

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


Miss Margaret Jennings

Term of office:

25.05.2011 - 31.12.2020

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 and link governor for Humanities.  I am a member of the Licentiate College of Teachers, Parochial Church Council and the Deanery Synod.

Mrs Lizzie Souter

Term of  office:

21.04.2017 - 20.04.2021

Chair of Resources Committee

I have been a governor at UCC since 2017.  I live locally in Market Harborough with my husband and our two children.  I am a qualified chartered management accountant (CIMA) and experienced company secretary.  I currently lead the finance and treasury function at Market Harborough Building Society, where I am also the company secretary and have responsibility for governance arrangements.  I have worked for the Society for  a number of years and am well versed in operating in a highly regulated environment.  I enjoy trampolining and running, including volunteering at Parkrun. 

Mrs Lisa Thipthorp

Term of office:

010.9.2019 - 31.08.2023

More information to follow....


Mrs Morag Topham

Term of office:

07.12.2011 - 24.06.2023

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, DT, Performing Arts, 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. I am a trustee of Manton Village Hall.

Mrs Jeannette Warner

Term of office: 

010.9.2019 - 31.08.2023

More information to follow......

Co-opted Governors

Mr Andrew Robinson

Term of office: 09.03.2020 - 09.03.2024

More information to follow.....

Mr Andrew Mankowski

Term of office: 14.09.2020 - 14.09.2024

I am an architect and a CDM Consultant (health, safety and risk management) and have been working in central London for the last ten years on high end projects including The Royal Opera House, The British Museum and Battersea Power Station development. I was engaged by the organising committee through preparation for the London Olympic Games.

I have designed and built a Further Education College and individual buildings at a High School. I was appointed as CDM Consultant for a centre of London school, for extensions above three storeys on a demanding site while the school was engaged in full teaching activities. I have prepared papers for Health and Safety Policies, Fire Protection, Risk Assessments and many others, as well as reviews and inspections setting high standards.

I have taught sailing in school and been part of school training for White Water Rafting, Caving, Scuba Diving and others, and have driven to the other side of the world. My hobbies are sailing instructor, fell walking, running and cycling.  I am married with two sons with PhD’s.

I have chaired the Professional Conduct Committee at the Royal Institute of British Architects and sit on the London branch of the Association of Project Safety, primarily driving the best in Health and Safety.

Recent ex-governors:

Mr Stephen Kirk - Term of office: 13.03.2018 - 12.03.2022 - Resigned: 14.09.2020

Mrs Emma Cohen - Term of office: - 23.03.2016 - 23.03.2020

Mrs Joanne Armstrong - Term of office: - 23.03.2016 - 230.3.2020 - Resigned :0 4.11.2019


Mr Stephen Berridge (Support Staff Governor) - Term of office: 25.05.2011 - 30.09.2019

Mr John Woodhead - Term of office: 01.09.2015 - 31.08.2019

Mr Mike Deely - Term of office: 030.1.2013 - 01.01.2021 - Resigned : 21.03.2019

Mr Robert Wills - Term of office: 010.1.2013 - 010.1.2021 - Resigned: 14.03.2019

Attendance records

2017 - 2018 FGB

2017 - 2018 Committees

2018 - 2019 FGB & Committees

2019 - 2020 FGB & Committees


UCC Governance Guide 2018/2019

This document sets out the vision for our school's governance along with the strategic priorities, committee structures and a general overview of how our governors are expected to carry out their roles.

Governing Body Structure

Ex-officio Governor
Name Committee
Mr Ben Solly (Principal) ALL
Elected Parent Governors (minimum 2)
Name Committee
Dr Miriam Stoate Education
Elected Staff Governors (max 4 - to include at least 1 teacher and 1 non-teacher)
Name Committee
Mr Laurence Redmond  Education, Resources
Mrs Kirsty Rodgers  Education, Resources
Mrs Kim Stuart-Jones  Resources
Appointed Governors (max 12)
Name Committee
Mr Geoff Thompson (Chair) ALL
Mrs Morag Topham (Vice Chair) Education, Resources
Mr Nick Clarke Education
Mr Nick Davenport  Education (Chair)
Dr Sarah Furness  
Miss Margaret Jennings Education, Resources
Mrs Lizzie Souter Resources (Chair)
Mrs Lisa Thipthorp Education
Mrs Jeanette Warner  
Mr Andrew Robinson Resources
Co-opted Governors  
Name Committee
Mr Andrew Robinson Resources
Mr Andrew Mankowski Health & Safety
Name Strategic Funding Committee Members
Dave Anderson  
Name Pay Committee Members

Geoff Thompson

Nick Davenport

Lizzie Souter