Extended Leadership Team

Eduction Support Service Core Team

Sally Boaden
Sean Kelly
Phil Willott
Claire Beardsall
Sue Lightburn
Andrew Pole
Sally Boaden Chief Operating Officer

Sally joined the Trust in 2022 following a hugely successful career as Chief Finance Officer of an Outstanding Single Academy Trust within the East Midlands and Humberside region. This experience, coupled with her current status as an accredited ESFA School Resource Management Associate (SRMA), has strengthened the Trust central executive team.

She brings expansive knowledge and experience to the Trust in all aspects of business support services, including governance, procurement, health & safety, human resources, finance and compliance from primary and secondary settings and academy trusts, bringing over two decades of School Business Leadership experience to the role.

Working tirelessly as a transparent and ethical leader, she has quickly established herself by developing purposeful relationships and processes across Raleigh Education Trust and strengthened external strategic partnerships.

Sally is a member of the Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL) and the National Network of Special Schools for School Business Professionals and accredited as an ESFA School Resource Management Associate. She actively supports the Association of BAME Business Leaders in Education group, WomenEd and the National College of Education. Sally has achieved a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management and a Level 6 School Business Management qualification.

She has a passion for ensuring MATs are well run through the proper use of public money and compliance with the regulatory frameworks. She strongly advocates that robust regulatory compliance is the bedrock of school support to deliver the best possible outcomes for our children young people.

Sean Kelly Chief Executive

Sean is an unapologetic advocate of children particularly those with complex needs. 

He is a highly qualified and experienced leader in education and has demonstrated a commitment to lifelong learning achieving a Master’s Degree in Social and Emotional Behaviour and, most recently, the National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership. This commitment has supported a highly successful school leadership career beginning as a SENCO, moving through assistant and deputy roles before accepting his first secondary Headship. Sean progressed to MAT school-to-school support roles in several Trusts, including Trust lead for SEND, Director of Education and a secondment to the Centre for British Teachers supporting a school in challenging circumstances.

Sean has successfully secured outstanding Ofsted judgements and led a school through more challenging outcomes. He considers that he has learnt a great deal about leadership and a polarised approach to school improvement through periods of challenge. He believes successes can lead to an incredible feeling of accomplishment, but they are no accident. They are the outcome of hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, a love of what one is doing.

During his time with the Trust, Sean has supported school leaders through four inspections, securing three good outcomes, moving one from a category straight to a good judgment.

Currently, Sean represents the Trust locally as a Nottingham City Council (NCC) Education Improvement Board member and member of Nottingham Citizens; regionally as a member of specialist MAT CEOs network and nationally as a member of the National SEND and AP CEO Network.

Previously, he has represented education locally as a member of the NCC Safeguarding Board, the Children and Young People Partnership Board (vice-chair), and the City Headteacher Board. In addition, Sean has supported Teach First and continues to support the University of Nottingham ITT programmes. National system engagements have included acting as a DfE appointed reference point for military ethos programmes, advisory board member for the Rowntree Foundation and Prince’s Trust External Reference Committee. Sean also represented the sector at Buckingham Palace, following an invitation to join a national Educational Forum.

As the Trust executive officer, Sean is accountable for embedding the Board’s vision in everything the organisation does and securing compliance with a wide range of regulatory bodies. The schools he leads are united in the belief that diversity makes them stronger, and he is keen to see Trust growth that reflects this belief.

Sean attributes much of the Trust’s success to a culture based on choosing optimism over pessimism and embodying the belief that we can all do a little better tomorrow than today.

Phil Willott Director of Education

Phil is an advocate of trauma-informed practice, the development of the whole child and providing positive learning experiences that last a lifetime.

Phil joined the Raleigh Education Trust in 2021 and has over 18 years of experience within education. Before joining the trust, Phil was an Executive Principal of two academies, where both schools were acknowledged for their trauma-informed ethos, achieving the Trauma-Informed Schools Award. The school’s caring and kind approach was also recognised by the local and national press.

He has a proven record of school improvement, helping lead a mainstream school and a multiple site pupil referral unit out of special measures, as well as opening two alternative academy free schools.

Phil began his career as a teacher of ICT and Law, before becoming a pastoral middle leader, senior leader and qualified SENDCo, leading in both mainstream and alternative/special education. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a passion for inclusive education and supporting the most vulnerable children and families.

Phil was a member of the Youth Justice Management Board – Lincolnshire and has worked within the youth probation service.

A lifelong learner, Phil has recently achieved the National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership and is about to embark on a level 5 qualification in coaching.

Phil has delivered modules of the NPQH programme and is currently a coach for NPQLBC cohorts. He was recently invited to present at two Westminster Insight conferences and to the Nottingham City’s Youth Justice Management Board about the importance of early intervention and safeguarding.

“Every child deserves a champion” – Rita Pierson

Claire Beardsall Executive Assistant & Governance Professional

Claire is a high calibre governance professional following five years as a volunteer EYFS setting LGB Chairperson, and subsequently, the Trust governance professional. In this role, Claire has been instrumental in the design and development of the Board committee structures and the introduction of local governance arrangements across the Trust (see Hub model), including creating all Terms and successful recruitment and induction activities.

When Claire isn’t managing all of our members, trustees and governors, she finds time to manage the chief executive as his Executive Assistant.

Following the successful completion of a LLB Hons Law with Psychology in 2011 through Nottingham Trent University, Claire has gone on to complete the Department for Education funded ICSA accredited Level 3 Certificate in the Clerking of School and Academy Governing Boards in 2019, and her CIPD Level 3 Qualified 2022.

Claire has supported undergraduates more widely as an Ambassador Mentor and Victim Support Volunteer.

Claire is passionate about education and all things related to compliance as the Trust Data Protection Officer.

Sue Lightburn HR Director

Sue is an enthusiastic and committed HR professional with significant experience of the education sector and a passion for making a positive impact as the trust HR Director.

Sue is CIPD Level 7 qualified and has previously worked in HR within schools and Trusts, including as a HR Consultant providing HR support and services specifically within the education sector, ranging from managing day to day issues, including complex disciplinary and grievances to providing guidance on strategic organisational changes. Delivery of a broad range of consultancy support projects from restructuring to disciplinary investigations. Design and delivery of workshops / seminars on topical subject areas and sector specific updates to upskilling middle and senior leaders on effective people management.

Sue has supported the trust in establishing key people processes and policies, including new people structures in 3 of the trust’s schools to support school improvement.

Sue ‘s practical knowledge and understanding of the complex nature of the sector allows her to provide timely advice and support at a strategic, operational and tactical level. The scope of HR can be diverse and Sue has engaged in and led complex restructures, grievance and disciplinary investigations, bespoke training design and delivery and SCR audits and strategic planning.

Sue’s ambitions for the trust are to develop and strengthen HR provision and services centrally to support future development and growth.

Andrew Pole Finance Director

Andrew is the Trust Finance Director and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role from a career spanning over 20 years working in Legal practices. He became a fully qualified Accounting Technician (AAT) and has since become part qualified Management Accountant (CIMA).

He is deeply committed to ensuring the Trust maintains regulatory compliance through solid sector knowledge and collaboration. Knowing that the education sector is forever changing, his proactive approach scans the horizon to ensure the Trust is well placed to respond to market developments promptly.

As a member of the Central Executive Team, Andrew works closely with the Chief Operating Officer and central team and the Chief Executive managing long-term strategy and risk.

Andrew is a firm believer in the term “the tone at the top” – striving to be the best professional example to his team and peers.

Attendance and Welfare Team

Family of Schools