Board of Trustees

The Trustees


The Board of Trustees have responsibility under the trust’s articles of association for controlling its management and administration. They have responsibility for directing its affairs, and for ensuring that it is solvent, well-run and delivering the trust’s charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public.

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Claire Wood - Chair of Board of Trustees

Term of Office: 6/7/20 - 7/7/24
Area of special interest: Governance and Executive Management
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 16/09/21)

In Claire's 37 year career in the NHS, she held positions in clinical nursing and executive management and leadership in London, Birmingham, Hull and Sheffield. Before retiring in 2008, she held the post of Chief Executive for the former East Riding of Yorkshire Primary Care Trust for 2 ½ years. During her professional career, she became adept at developing, interpreting and implementing strategy; able at meeting deadlines and targets and competing priorities; and flexible and resilient to the ever- changing policy agenda.


Over the years, Claire has held voluntary positions in the community as a youth leader in 2 local churches; Safeguarding Officer for 3 parishes; a member of an Independent Monitoring Board for a local prison;  a Trustee for a national Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Charity; a Magistrate on the Adult and Family benches; and a Parish Councillor. This varied experience has exposed her to different organisational systems and cultures, given her new networks, knowledge and confidence, and allowed her  to transfer her skills to support and challenge leaders in different fields.


Her interest in education began in 2009 when she coordinated a team of 12 mentors supporting GCSE maths pupils at Sydney Smith School. This prompted her to become a school governor, which she did first at Sydney Smith and then at Kelvin Hall. Claire was elected Chair of Governors at Kelvin Hall in 2014 and was extremely proud when the school was judged as Outstanding by Ofsted in 2015. She has been Chair of Trustees for the MAT from its inception as YHCLT to the present and is absolutely committed to the Co-operative Values that underpin the way business and behaviour are conducted in Thrive Trust. Whatever new challenges are ahead for education, Claire is keen to work with fellow Trustees, the School Development Team and the Local Governing Bodies to develop the best possible environment for pupils and staff to thrive.

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Steve Jones - Vice Chair of Board of Trustees

Term of Office: 6/7/20 - 7/7/24
Area of special interest: Finance/Governance
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 20/09/21)

Steve is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 40 years experience and has been a foster carer with his wife  for over 30 years having looked after nearly 40 children. He has been a school governor for 20 years during which time he has been Chair of Governors in 3 schools including St George’s Primary.  Steve has been a Trustee of Thrive Co-operative Learning Trust since the Trust started and has chaired the Finance and Personnel committee in addition to holding the post of Vice Chair. Steve passionately believes that every child should be given the same opportunities to achieve their maximum potential to thrive in life.

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Andy Smith - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 15/09/21)

Andy was born in Leicester and is an English Graduate of the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. His 35 years in corporate life were predominantly as an HR Director at Britvic Soft Drinks, Bass Brewers and Wedgwood. Since retiring from the private sector Andy spent 10 years as a Magistrate in Hull and 6 years on the Police Authority where he chaired the HR Committee and Business Development Committee. Andy is currently a member of the Governance Audit and Scrutiny Committee of the Fire Authority and the Joint Independent Audit Committee of the PCC/Police. He is  also a Board Member of the Alcohol and Drugs Service in Hull. Andy was a Governor at Newland School for Girls for 3 years and was then appointed to the Trust Board in 2018. Having a background of high level experiences in both the public and private sectors, he is able to work constructively in developing strategy, analysing data, challenging performance and driving change. Andy is an avid sports fan especially rugby union and cricket, as well as following the political and commercial fortunes of the country closely.

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Paul Britton - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: Education
Business Interests: Principal at Wyke Sixth Form College (Declaration received 14/10/21)

An experienced leader in education currently working as Principal and CEO at Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull. Paul’s previous experience includes roles in a range of large Sixth Form and Further Education colleges across the country, all of which are currently graded Ofsted Outstanding. As a Trustee with Thrive, Paul is excited to contribute to collaborative working in education with the aim of transforming life chances for young people in the Hull and the Humber region.

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Helen Cooper – Trustee

Term of Office: 06/07/21 – 06/07/25
Area of Special Interest: HR
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 05/10/21)

Following an early career as a teacher Helen moved into Local Government HR eventually becoming the Director of HR - Children’s Services, for a local authority. She then ran a successful HR consultancy business specialising in Education HR for 21 years (HC Associates Ltd). During this time, she worked as an Interim HR Director in various Local Authorities and an HR Consultant to schools and academies across the UK. Her business expanded and her team worked with academies and academy trusts as well as special schools. She brings a wealth of HR experience specialising in employment law in the Education sector and HR.

In 2016 Helen was honoured to be asked to become a trustee of NASEN (National Association of Special Educational Needs) and when, in 2019, HC Associates was bought by North Yorkshire Council this set Helen free to enjoy retirement and take on voluntary roles. Becoming a trustee of Thrive in 2021 is fulfilling an ambition Helen has held for a while but which was difficult during her working life due to frequent long distance travel.

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Michael Wood - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 17/9/21)

Born on Merseyside but held a career for over 20 years based on Teesside in the high-hazard chemical industry, Mike moved to Humberside in 2011 and has run his Health and Safety Consultancy since 2013. While in industry Mike has operated within the Boardroom as a UK Company Director and has been a member of several Global Business Leadership Teams in multinational chemical and power sector companies. He has also been a pension scheme trustee. Mike’s work life is focused on legal and corporate compliance, closely followed by driving improvement in performance and developing a positive culture in the workplace so everyone goes home safe at the end of the day. He believes education is a key area for a successful society where people realise their full potential and make a valuable contribution. He is keen to support an environment which allows people to succeed. Outside work he has a teenage daughter experiencing the strains of growing up in the 21st Century, whilst relaxation comes from watching sport, particularly football, rugby and cricket. He also collects military medals.

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Peter Thundercliffe - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 17/09/21)

Peter was educated at Riley High School in Hull and began his working career in the National Health service, primarily working in the operating theatre of the Hull Royal infirmary.​ Following this he moved into the commercial world and through his career he has had numerous roles, including Business unit manager, National sales manager, Global sales manager, European sales and marketing manager, eventually becoming a divisional Vice President for Europe the Mideast and Africa with a multi-national orthopaedic company. He now acts as a Business Consultant and also works with a not for profit community interest company. In addition to this he is also a volunteer with CatZero, the Yorkshire wildlife trust, works part time with the fundraising team of Dove House Hospice. Peter is a passionate believer that a sound education, enabling one to make good life choices, and the ability and confidence to question and challenge the received wisdoms of the day, gives an individual the power to make a positive impact on both their own future and that of others.

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Sara De Tute - Trustee

Term of Office: 18/12/18 - 18/12/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 16/11/2021)

Sara is a qualified solicitor who started her working life in a hospital laboratory but later went to Leeds University as a mature student where she studied for her law degree. After qualifying as a sort in a commercial law firm, she moved into the financial services world and sat on a number of boards with responsibilities for legal, risk and regulatory compliance in the UK and Europe. She is now retired from full time employment but works as a consultant and a non-Executive director. She became a Trustee as she believes that all young people deserve a great education and that each should be given the opportunity, through appropriate education and support, to reach their own individual potential. She has mentored a number of individuals, and always encouraged those who have worked with, and for, her to expand and develop their skills and  knowledge. She is passionate about achieving high standards and having the appropriate governance and uses her skills and business experience to support the Trust in achieving its aims. She is married to Paul with grown up children.

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Ms Catherine Douglas - Trustee

Term of Office: 09/07/19 - 14/09/23
Area of special interest: Legal/Employment Law
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 29/09/21)

Catherine brings plus years of business experience to Thrive, having held Exec leadership roles in retail, retail banking, business banking and estate agency. She has a master’s in Leadership and Change management.

She is currently responsible for business banking at the Co-operative bank , and is also the Executive Sponsor for Gender, which involves working with the HR team and Gender Affinity group to achieve our Gender Balance goals and support female career progression. She became a trustee as She believes  that young people deserve a great education and she is passionate about young people being able to maximise their potential. She believes that She can use her skills and experience to support the Trust.  Catherine is married and has  three grown up children (and a little dog called Betty).

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Mr Ron Leary - Trustee

Term of Office: 07/07/20 - 06/07/24
Area of special interest: Business and Finance
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 27/10/21)

Ron has recently retired,having worked for Jacksons Bakery for 36 years, joining from school he worked his way up to  a number of Senior Leadership roles in Operations and Project management. In his previous roles Ron has worked with a variety of stakeholders and he is determined  to engage with all levels to help the Trust meet its objectives. Ron volunteered to become a Trust Board member as he believes that everyone no matter what their background should receive the best education possible and he aims to use his experience and commitment to help the team deliver this. His hobbies include trail running, cycling and he enjoys watching most sports.


Zoe Green - Trustee

Term of Office: 06/07/21 – 06/07/25
Area of special interest: Business
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 16/9/21)

Zoe was born in Beverley and has lived in the local area most of her life apart from 5 years spent in London after leaving catering college. Having worked in the food service sector since the age of 13, and most recently as a Commercial Director for a national business, Zoe recently retired from this position after the business was sold. Zoe took on the role of a Trustee as she wants to assist The Board in making a difference to the children in the surrounding area with the various skills she has learned over the years in marketing, finance, training and business strategy. Zoe enjoys entertaining, road cycling, walking and jogging.

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Sam Woolhouse - Trustee

Term of Office: 31/01/22 – 31/01/26
Area of special interest: Education
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 9/2/22)

Sam is a qualified teacher, and for the last 20 years she has worked in schools across both Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. This has included teaching in Early Years, Key Stages 1 and 2, with a variety of leadership roles, and also three years as a School Improvement Officer for Hull City Council Early Years Team. Her current role is Headteacher of an East Riding two form entry infant school; a role she has held for the last 7 years. Sam is passionate about ensuring all children receive the very best education which equips them for a happy, fulfilled future. Sam believes her past professional experiences can support the Trust in fulfilling its aims and ethos.


Bill Maxwell - Trustee - Resigned (08/11/21)

Chris Shepherdson - Trustee - Resigned (11/01/21)

Humphrey Forrest - Trustee - Resigned (01/05/20)