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.

Trustee Attendance 2022/23
Ken Battye
Sam Woolhouse
Helen Cooper
Claire Wood
Steve Jones
Susan Bailey
Paul Britton
Jonathan Roe
Andy Smith
Ron Leary
Sara De Tute (Resigned)
Zoe Green
Claire Wood.jpg

Claire Wood - Chair of Board of Trustees

Term of Office: 06/07/20 - 07/07/24
Area of special interest: Governance and Executive Management
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 03/10/22)

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.

Steve Jones.jpg

Steve Jones - Vice Chair of Board of Trustees

Term of Office: 06/07/20 - 07/07/24
Area of special interest: Finance/Governance
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 05/10/22)

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.

Andy Smith.jpg

Andy Smith - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/10/18 - 16/10/22
Area of special interest: None
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 12/09/22)

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.

Paul Britton.jpg

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 13/09/22)

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.

Helen Cooper.jpg

Helen Cooper – Trustee

Term of Office: 06/07/21 – 06/07/25
Area of Special Interest: HR
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 05/10/22)

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.

Ron Leary.jpg

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 12/03/22)

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 13/09/22)

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.

Sam Woolhouse.jpg

Sam Woolhouse - Trustee

Term of Office: 31/01/22 – 31/01/26
Area of special interest: Education
Business Interests: Headteacher - Driffield Northfield Infant School, Teacher Training - Yorkshire Wolds Teacher Training (Declaration received 16/09/22)

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.


Susan Bailey - Trustee

Term of Office: 03/8/22 – 03/8/26
Area of special interest: Governance
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 05/10/22)

Susan is an experienced governance professional who has supported and advised governors and senior leaders at a number of Further & Higher Education colleges in the region for nearly 20 years.


Susan is passionate about governance in education and the role Members play in the oversight of the Trusts’ activities and academic provision, ensuring the safety and nurture of all learners and delivery of agreed aims and objectives. She strongly believes that through working collaboratively and sharing respective ideas, expertise and knowledge at all levels the Trust can achieve the highest outcomes for all pupils, stakeholders and local communities.


Susan was born in Hull and is honoured to be a member of the Thrive Trust working together to inspire pupils to thrive in life.

Ken photo.jpg

Ken Battye - Trustee

Term of Office: 16/11/22 – 16/11/26
Area of special interest: Education
Business Interests: None (Declaration received 18/11/22)

Ken Battye has worked in education and teaching for forty-nine years. For twenty-six of these years, he was a very successful Headteacher of three UK schools, of which two were in Hull. The other schools were two international schools, one in the United Arab Emirates and one in Saudi Arabia.

Since 2012 he has been appointed to undertake numerous lead and team inspector roles for the Abu Dhabi Government and for the Dubai Government, and supports an outstanding school in Qatar.

He also enthusiastically serves as a Magistrate and on governing bodies and Academy Trustee Boards.


Sara De Tute - Trustee - Resigned (11/10/22)

Catherine Douglas - Trustee - Resigned (22/07/22)

Peter Thundercliffe - Trustee - Resigned (08/04/22)

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

Michael Wood - Trustee - Resigned (09/03/22)