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CEO: Duncan Ramsey

Duncan trained as a secondary teacher and spent the first part of his career working as a P.E and maths teacher before becoming head of department in a Secondary school in Essex. He then transferred to Primary schools and during 17 years as a primary headteacher Duncan led two very different schools to outstanding Ofsted judgements. Leading an average-sized village primary and a larger school in London have helped him develop the skills and experience needed to provide high quality support to schools within the Trust.

He is a qualified lead Oftsed inspector and received his Doctorate in 2003 for developing training programmes to support excellent performance in experienced teachers. He has subsequently completed an MBA researching high quality Multi-Academy Trust self-evaluation systems.

Duncan spent a number of years as a member of the East of England and North East London DfE Advisory Board providing advise and support to the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Following his time as a headteacher Duncan has been a Director of Education and CEO in two Multi-Academy Trusts.

Chief Operating officer: Rachel Mason

Rachel has worked in the Education sector for the past 14 years holding various roles supporting the business function of schools.  Prior to this Rachel worked in the banking and mortgage industries and has over 20 years' experience of working in various areas of finance, human resources and business management. 

Rachel has recently achieved a BSc Hons Degree in Human Resource Management and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), as well as holding Management and Leadership qualifications with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). Rachel is an experienced Senior Leader within the Education sector and is also a Trustee at a Multi Academy Trust.

Director of finance: Stephen Ackerman

Stephen has been with the Trust since 2018 firstly, as a Trustee and secondly now, as Director of Finance. He started his career in Finance and worked in a variety of Finance roles qualifying as a Management Accountant in 1999. He has also worked for a number of years in Factory and Operational Leadership roles, and he is a Green Belt in 6 Sigma Continuous Improvement.

Trust Finance Manager: Carole Taylor

Carole has been the Finance Manager at Sir Harry Smith Community College since January 2010. She has taken on the role of overseeing the finances for the Aspire Learning Trust and ensuring that all three schools deliver the very best value for money in the support of providing the highest quality of education for our pupils and students.

Senior Trust Finance Officer: Joanne McDonald

Joanne has worked in the Finance Department since August 2018, initially for Sir Harry Smith Community College and then for the Aspire Learning Trust. Prior to this, Joanne worked in the banking industry and has over 28 years’ experience, undertaking a number of roles primarily within current accounts and savings, and credit control.

sENIOR Trust Finance Officer: Emmeline Collin

Emmeline joined the trust in April 2022, having previously gained extensive experience in both banking and school financial administration.  Most recently she has worked for a large multi academy trust, assisting with a wide variety of finance functions. Prior to this, Emmeline has gained varied experience working in a both primary and secondary schools, building on her finance knowledge gained within the private sector.

Trust Finance Officer: Kelly James

Kelly joined Aspire Learning Trust in April 2022, having previously worked in local Government, gaining experience in financial administration and banking. Kelly has a diverse work background, having spent 12 years teaching and performing dance, within a variety of settings, to extensive work within the customer service industry.

Trust Operations Administrator: Kirsty Williams

Kirsty joined Aspire Learning Trust in January 2022, previously working within manufacturing specialising in suppling clothing and accessories to major UK retailers. Kirsty has excellent administration and organisation skills that help to support the Chief Operating Officer and Central Team.


Lindsay joined Aspire Learning Trust in April 2023 having previously worked for 24 years within the Travel and Tourism Industry. Lindsay has gained experience working overseas for many years, running Company offices and airport functions. Returning to the UK, she was responsible for the administration side for Overseas Hotel Contracting and the UK settlement system for hotelier payments within a matrix organisation.

Trust Governance Professional: Laura Schneikert

Laura has 20 years experience working in the education sector and became a qualified Clerk in 2012. Laura has worked with a range of schools and academy trusts across the country, both at board and local level. Laura's role is to oversee the compliance of the Trust's governance and procedural arrangements and manage all Companies House documents and correspondence.  Laura works closely with the CEO and chair of the trust in order to service and regulate all meetings. Laura is also a governor at a local primary school.