Fred Corbett

Fred Corbett

Chair of the St. Benet’s Trust Board

After 44 years in a variety of senior roles in schools, higher education, and local authorities Fred retired in 2012 as Head of Norfolk County Council’s Education Services and Deputy Director of Children’s Services. He was chair of DNEAT until 2017 when the Bishop appointed him as Chair of St. Benet’s MAT. He provides advice on education to both the Norwich Diocese and the RC Diocese of East Anglia. He is a Member of the St. John’s Roman Catholic Trust and a Governor at Thorpe St. Andrew within the Yare Trust.

Fred’s non education time is taken up with a directorship of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, watching Norwich City FC and as a research student at UEA where he is doing a PhD researching 19th Century military landscapes in England and Ireland. He has three grown up children who were educated in Norfolk, benefited from several of our great universities, work in the public and charitable sectors and keep him busy with delightful grandchildren.

Rachel Beeson


During a career in education Rachel has worked in a number of roles, including as a headteacher, adviser and deputy director of education.  Rachel now works as an independent educational consultant. Passionate about providing the best possible life chances for all children, Rachel believes that diocesan MATs have a critical part to play in sustaining the role of church schools. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys gardening and reading but above all treasure time spent with family and friends. Rachel is married with a grown-up daughter who works in the fashion industry.  

Richard Butler

Richard Butler

Norwich Diocesan Secretary (Chief Executive).

Richard Butler was appointed the Diocesan Secretary in September 2009.

Born in Norfolk, Richard went to school locally and in London and undertook his initial degree at Grey College at the University of Durham, following which he undertook research degrees.

Before working with the Diocese of Norwich, Richard was the Chief Executive of Mobilise – a national charity – and before that was the Director of Finance and Business for the Benjamin Foundation – a county charity.  Richard moved into the charitable sector following a successful career and brings a range of experiences to the Diocese.

Richard was appointed Lay Canon of Norwich Cathedral in May 2016.  He has also been one of the Deputy Lieutenants for the county of Norfolk since 2008 and was appointed an MBE in 2011.

Richard is married to Janet and they have two children.  When not working he enjoys being involved in the Scout movement, collecting wine and country pursuits.

Paul Dunning

Paul Dunning

Paul has worked in education for the last 20 years having first pursued a successful career in the agricultural industry. Having established a training scheme for his employers, Paul’s interest in education began and he moved into Further Education, working first for Easton College and then Bishop Burton College. Paul then spent five years working for Norfolk Children’s Services giving him a broad insight into the maintained school system. During this time he achieved a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of East Anglia. In 2014 Paul became Chief Executive Officer for the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust. In September 2017 Paul was appointed as the Diocese’s Director of Education. He is also a Trustee for DNEAT, the Diocese’s other Multi Academy Trust.

Ed Frankland

Ed Frankland

Edward was a foundation Governor at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston where he had a particular interest in the strategic development of the school as well as its curriculum and standards. Although not involved in education by profession Edward says he has found this role extremely interesting and rewarding as the Governing Body helped the school to go from strength to strength.

Edward is a qualified solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in commercial and financial litigation. Until recently he worked in private practice although the majority of his clients were government bodies. In 2015 Edward joined a Non-Department Government body responsible for the regulation of pensions. Edward is married with three children and in his spare time enjoys reading history, gardening, walking and sport; particularly rugby and cycling.

Edward believes that the creation of a MAT based in Harleston for the benefit of the surrounding area is a fantastic opportunity to enhance education for all students in the region. As a Governor Edward challenged the Senior Leadership of the Academy and as a Trustee for the MAT, he has expanded that challenge to all of the Academies. With his legal background Edward brings a wealth of experience dealing with compliance and regulation and he feels that he has the long-term strategic vision to ensure that the MAT is a success for all.

Kathryn Hirst

Kathryn Hirst

Kathryn is a Partner of Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers, specialising in commercial and employment law. She also works on aviation cases, which is a very niche area of law and Kathryn is building up the firm’s work for incorporated Charities.  

Kathryn was born and educated in Norfolk, before graduating from the University of Leicester with a 2:1 (Hons) law degree and completing the Legal Practice Course at The College of Law in Guildford. Kathryn joined Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers in 1997 and qualified as a Solicitor in 1999.  In 2003 she gained a Masters degree in Employment Law from the University of East Anglia whilst working full time and was made up to a Partner in 2008.

Outside work Kathryn likes to keep active and is married with two lively boys. 

Kathryn wanted to become a Trustee for a number for reasons; firstly, because she felt that she has much to offer, secondly as a way of ‘giving back’ to the community and to the Church and thirdly as a personal learning opportunity.  Kathryn brings to the table fresh experience, common sense and astuteness from being a parent currently going through the education system.   On a professional level she has relevant and appropriate professional knowledge and experience to ensure that she can add value to Trustee discussions and decision-making processes. The role of Trustee was not new to Kathrym because she has been a Trustee of the Horstead Centre and previously of Asperger East Anglia.

Steve Potter

Steve Potter

Having enjoyed a varied career across a number of different disciplines including; marketing, motivation, project management, digital design and latterly as a property developer, Steve has developed a number of strengths which he feels have given him a range of skills he can draw on as a member of St Benet’s MAT.

Steve’s three children were educated within a Church of England ethos and have gone on to have successful university careers. Since then he has continued his connection with education, by becoming a School Governor in 2001 and more recently a Cluster Governor.  During the last 16 years Steve has undertaken a number of different roles across many areas of governance, including Safeguarding, Achievements and Standards, Head Teacher’s performance, Attitudes towards Learning and Staff recruitment. Steve says his focus, as a Governor, is on improving standards within school whilst protecting the wellbeing of both students and staff. 

With the introduction of MATs Steve wanted to extend his support, challenge and influence across a wider group of schools by becoming a Trustee. 

Geoff Rivers

Geoff Rivers

Geoffrey’s career in Local Government started in Housing which was followed by Education, Regeneration and Policy in the West Midlands. He worked very closely with Public Health in Liverpool and then became Chief Executive Officer for South Norfolk Council in 1999. Geoffrey moved to St Edmundsbury Council in 2008 and left after he had overseen the amalgamation of the staffing structure with the neighbouring Council, Forrest Heath.


Since then Geoffrey has taught for a year in a comprehensive school, acted as an interim Chief Executive Officer for Breckland and South Holland District Councils and has also worked with the newly formed Councils in Northern Ireland.

Geoffrey is a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust and is Vice-Chair of the Finance and Performance Committee; he also chairs the Charities Committee. He is a Governor of his local comprehensive school and Vice-Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board for Hollesley Bay Prison. He is treasurer to his local branch of the Workers’ Education Association.

Geoffrey’s personal interests include sports, and in particular rugby, football and cricket; he enjoys film and theatre, galleries, travel and architecture – ‘the quality of the built environment has a major influence on how people relate to each other and the various communities we live in.’ Geoffrey is married with two children.

Throughout his working career Geoffrey has always had a strong interest in education and schooling. In the early part of his career he taught mathematics at a Community College in Coventry and more recently acted as an emergency ‘supply teacher’, again teaching mathematics at King Edward VI school in Bury St Edmunds.

Geoffrey brings extensive experience to the Board, particularly in budget setting and monitoring, setting and leading on strategic direction and working collaboratively with other agencies.

Michael Soper

Michael Soper

Michael is currently the Business Intelligence Manager for Cambridgeshire County Council.  He leads a team of twelve researchers delivering a diverse work programme that includes regional economic forecasting, population modelling, customer insight analysis, crime analysis and housing needs assessment.

Michael is a keen sportsman.  On the committee at Mellis Cricket Club he led on the club’s development plan and built the partnerships and managed the funding bids that led to the building of the club’s new pavilion.  He loves distance running, having completed a marathon and many ½ marathons; he has also previously played and coached Korfball and American Football.

Michael was a parent governor at Dickleburgh Primary School for over eight years and chaired the Pupil, Parents and SEND committee, he is also the lead governor for safe-guarding.  He currently has two children attending St Benet’s MAT schools. Michael feels that the community at Dickleburgh Primary School achieved a tremendous amount.  Together they created the right ethos and environment at the Academy to enable the Academy’s leadership team to deliver excellent teaching and outstanding academic results; children thrive at the Academy.  Michael wanted to become a Trustee for St Benet’s to enable the sharing of this approach across all schools within the Multi-Academy Trust. Michael has always been willing to volunteer to carry out additional work; he was the lead governor for safe-guarding (training completed 2015), was interviewed as part of the school’s ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgement and has taken part in recruitment panels.

Michael has a special interest in SEN and has paid particular interest in this policy area and he understands the balancing act schools have to play in meeting the needs of children within the scope of the budget available.  Michael has been a budget manager for many years and the technical elements of his job role have led him to gain qualifications in Project Management, Contract Management as well as the Development of New Business Models (the process of spinning out or creating new enterprises from existing local government activity). 

Michael brings ideas, experience and enthusiasm to the MAT. 

Paul Weeks

Paul has been the Bursar of The Free School Norwich since its creation in 2011.  Previous to this he was Headmaster of a Preparatory School. Paul is currently a Trustee and Treasurer of Norfolk Scouts, a member of the YMCA Finance Committee, on the Advisory Committee of the Excelsior Trust and Trustee to two local charities.  He has been a Governor in three local schools and is at the moment Chairman of one.

Paul has said that he wanted to become a Trustee because he is a person who likes to be involved and when possible make a difference and put something back into the community. Paul believes his experience as a Headmaster, then Bursar of an Independent School will help make him an effective Trustee.  He believes that having been “on both sides of the table” in this respect he has gained knowledge and skills to add value to the Board. Having been a Trustee for other charities Paul realises the importance of willing volunteers to a Board.

Zoe Moyse was a Director from 26/3/18 until 1/3/19

Helen Adshead was a Director from 26/3/18 to 1/3/19

James Kerr was a Director from 09/05/2018 to 23/11/19