Meet the board members and trustees

The Redstart Learning Partnership Academy Trust



Exeter Diocesan Education Network DBE Trust Corporate Member

Keith Hallam

Keith Hallam photo.pngI was born and raised in Chard and lived in Tatworth for a while before moving to Axminster in 2000.

My children both attended a local Primary school, where I was privileged to be elected as the Chair of Governors, having previously been the Chair of the Friends of School.

I am married to Jane and we have 2 children. Steph is in her NQT Year at an Upper School in Bedfordshire and Jake is in his second year, studying Economics at the London School of Economics. I have always taken a keen interest in their education and am pleased that I can bring all of my experiences to a new and very exciting role.

I have worked for a local regional company for the last 28 years, where I currently work as an Operations Manager with 40 staff, across 15 locations.

The Bath and Wells DBE Trust Corporate Member - Ed Gregory

Ed Gregory photoThe Bath & Wells DBE Trust was established in 2011 in order to offer a corporate representative to each mixed academy trust containing a church school, this was necessary as the DBE itself is not incorporated; every mixed MAT using church articles has the DBE Trust as a corporate member.

As well as the generic responsibilities and duties of being a member of a charitable company, it is the DBE Trust’s additional responsibility to safeguard and promote the values of the academy trust with respect to its church schools and its Christian ethos. Further to support and nurture the relationship between the trust and the Diocese of Bath & Wells.

The  corporate member works with the trust to appoint onto the board to ensure those appointed have the skills and expertise each board needs. The DBE Trust hopes to continue to strengthen links between itself, trusts and the local church and communities.

Currently our main link is Edward Gregory, Diocesan Director of Education for the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Ed has over 30 years of experience in education as a teacher, headteacher and system leader delivering successful school improvement initiatives.

Eric van den Barselaar

Eric photoI first became involved in school governance as an elected parent governor at The Redstart Primary School in 2001. In 2006 I became Chair of Governors at Redstart and then Chair of The Redstart Learning Partnership in 2015. I have recently stepped down as Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Redstart Learning Partnership and I am now continuing my role as a Member. 

As well as my knowledge and experience in school governance, I have also fulfilled governance roles on Boards in the NHS, where I work full-time as an Extended Scope Physiotherapist, specialising in spinal problems. From 2010 to 2015 I was Chairman of Chard and District Swimming Club.

It has been very exciting to be involved with the team at Redstart over the years and the formation of The Redstart Learning Partnership was the logical next step in the school’s development. Working with all the schools in The Partnership, aiming to provide an outstanding education for every child, has been equally exciting and rewarding.


Simon Billington (SEND) (Diocese Representative) Chair 

Simon Billington photoI am thrilled and honoured to Chair the Trust Board. I hope to support and to play a part in helping children and staff across the partnership to achieve, thrive and be content in their time with us. To my role I bring a passion for high quality education which equips children for life, and particularly to see children grow holistically as responsible citizens in an ever-changing world through the promotion of Christian values, and a discovery of their value and worth to a God who loves them. I also am strong strategically and organisationally.

My wife Rachelle and I have 4 boys - Jonah, Reuben, Gabriel and Caleb - and in our spare time we enjoy a range of sport, music and being with friends. I am also a passionate reader, currently working my way through all the Booker Prize winners since 1969!


Suzanne Flack (Diocese Representative)

Suzanne new photoI am the CEO of The Redstart Learning Partnership based at The Redstart Primary School. I work with all schools in our Multi Academy Trust and sit on the Board of Trustees.

My role is to ensure that all pupils in any school in the Partnership receive the best educational experience and achieve to their full potential. I spend time in all of the schools working alongside the Heads of School and we work very closely together to develop each school. 

I have a very strong leadership team which works across the Trust. This includes the Senior Executive Team (SET) Tess Gale, Director of Operations, Sue Rogers, Deputy CEO, Susan Fielden, Chief Financial Officer, Dominic Heath-Coleman, Estates and Contracts Manager, Beth Souster, Communications and Development Manager and the Heads of School (Mr Gareth Nation, Castle Primary School and Buckland St Mary C of E Primary School; Mr Steve Beynon, Minerva Primary School; Steve Morton, Holy Trinity Primary School; Ms Lindsey Gabriel, Winsham, Ashill and Hatch Beauchamp Primary Schools and Mrs Carly Ellis, Priorswood Primary School and finally the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mr Simon Billington and the Board of Trustees.

It is my aim that every school in the Partnership will be outstanding.


Wendy Duffield (Health and Safety) (Diocese Representative)

Wendy Duffield imageI have been involved with school governance since 1998 when I worked for Tesco based at the new store in Chard and we supported the school with what was then, the Computers for Schools initiative.

I was a governor on the board at Redstart Primary School from 1998 until invited to be a trustee of the newly formed Redstart Learning Partnership in 2015.

I live and work in Honiton and after a 26 year management career with Tesco which encompassed lots of roles and locations in the South West ended with redundancy in 2018.

I now work in healthcare as part of a domiciliary care team based in East Devon.

I enjoy being part of the school community and a strong believer that every child has the right to be a great education and they need great schools to help them develop and I am proud to be part of The Redstart Learning Partnership.

I bring to the board my knowledge and skills in HR, Auditing and Compliance.

In my spare time I enjoy photography, all sorts of arts and crafts, apart from knitting! I love reading and visiting National Trust properties.

I am part of a small charity fund-raising group in East Devon all of which keeps me very busy.

Joseph Doggrell

Joseph DogerellAfter graduating from the University of Bath in 2009 I moved to Taunton to train as a Chartered Accountant with Albert Goodman LLP. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2012 based in the audit department. As well as working with companies and charities, I have acted for a number of academies across Somerset and Dorset over the last 5 years.

In March 2015 I was appointed to the Board of Trustees and recently appointed as the Chair of the Business and Audit Committee and I'm excited to put my professional skills to good use. With the resources and people we have available, the Trust has an exciting future ahead of it.

I very much look forward to the years ahead and what we will accomplish!

Steve John

Steve John photoI have had a long standing involvement with education in Somerset having been a Deputy Head and then Headteacher of two large Primaries as well as a Leading Adviser for Primary Education in Somerset. I retired 3 years ago but was still keen to stay involved in education and now, with a colleague, work as a consultant in schools across the West Country.

I have been lucky to have had a long standing connection with Redstart and am proud and honoured to continue this association as the school moves into the next and very exciting phase of its development.

Mark Brierley (Diocese Representative)

Mark Brierly imageI am an architect and was director of my practice in Frome between 1980 and 2017. I have spent a large part of my career designing schools and I have developed a good understanding of the needs of both staff and pupils and the issues involved in managing school premises. I developed a good relationship with the Diocese of Bath and Wells and I have also worked with the dioceses of Bristol and Lincoln.

An interest in education runs in the family; my mother was a history teacher and both my children have chosen careers in education; biology at a secondary school and climate change at a university.

I am now retired from full time architecture and excited to be involved with the Redstart Trust. I whole-heartedly endorse the Trust’s ambitions and look forward to helping it grow.

Richard Davies (Diocese Representative)


Richard DaviesA former managing director with an engineering degree and wide business experience in the development and growth of organisations having worked in both executive and non-executive roles. I am also a member of the Institute of Directors and have been a mentor to teams in the Bristol Young Student of the Year competitions. I have hands on experience across a range of disciplines that affect TRLP including ethics, governance, financial control, HR, growth and the integration of additional organisations.


Throughout my career I have employed highly skilled people from a variety of backgrounds and I have seen many times the positive impact of good education and how it is critical to success. TRLP is an exceptional trust and I am keen to provide my experience to help it further develop and grow its’ capability to deliver high quality education.  


Tim Kavanagh 


Tim kavanagh smallI am based in London working in Canary Wharf for BP and have previous experience working for RBS, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and The New York Stock Exchange. I have a mixed career background, where I have worked in Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance, Trading and also Project Management; allowing me to develop a number of different skillsets that will be useful in my role as Trustee. I graduated from Loughborough University in 2008 with an Economics degree.


I am excited to be involved with the Trust and utilise experiences from my professional career; having been lucky with my own education and opportunities, I know how important it is to provide high quality education from a young age and I am passionate about ensuring this is delivered.  


Lorraine Davey (EYFS) 

Lorrainedavey pictureI am passionate about raising standards in Education and promoting the rights of all children to develop a love and zest for learning. I am thrilled to be part of The Redstart Learning Partnership as my association with Redstart, and Suzanne Flack in particular, goes back many years, to when I was working for Somerset County Council.

During my time at the County Council I carried out a number of different roles over a period of fifteen years, mainly supporting the development and growth of new early years settings. I was also responsible for the quality of education in early years settings and offering support and advice on how they could improve.  

I am a qualified and experienced primary/middle school teacher and prior to working for Somerset County Council, I managed an independent Nursery, worked as an independent registered nursery inspector and spent many years as an early years support officer and advisor, which has helped me support other educational provision.

Recent achievements include taking on failing nurseries as an independent consultant, offering advice on improvements and offering practical support and improvement plans to improve their practice. I have also delivered training and support to nursery providers on a private consultancy basis. 

My husband and I were respite foster carers and youth workers for a number of years and we also have two sons. We enjoy DIY, walking, and caring for a mad sprocker dog!

I also enjoy a wide range of crafting activities and reading and I am excited to be part of a growing Academy Trust. 

Neil Aries 

Neil photo

I am embarking on a new chapter in my career as a business consultant and non-executive director, supporting businesses to maximise their greatest assets - their people.  This is based on my 30 years’ experience as a proven business manager, director and senior leader with a passion for people management and a strong background in operational excellence.  Personally, I have been married to a teacher for 28 years, have two grown-up sons who have both been through the education system here in Somerset and have been a Governor for a local primary school.


Beth Souster – Governance Professional 

Beth Souster photo

I joined in December 2015 as the Trust Manager and my role has recently changed to Communications and Development Manager. I co-ordinate activities to support marketing and PR, training and development, the growth of the Multi Academy Trust and Governance Professional to the Board of Trustees and support the Heads of School and CEO. A very busy and varied role!

I am thrilled to be part of such a successful and fantastic team. Previously I worked for an education organisation for 11 years, so I have a good understanding of the sector. I thoroughly enjoy working in an environment that contributes to improving the life chances of young people.

I have 2 young children, Isla (14) at Holyrood Academy and Ava (10) at The Redstart Primary School.

The Trust is on such an exciting journey and I am so pleased to be a part of it. I am really looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow and develop.

Eric van den Barselaar
EDEN Corporate Member 
Keith Hallam - Foundation Representative
DB&W Corporate Member
Suzanne Flack Foundation Representative
Simon Billington Chair / Foundation / SEN
Wendy Duffield Vice Chair/Health & Safety/Foundation
Mark Brierley Foundation/Education Committee Chair 
Richard Davies Foundation
Joe Doggrell B&A Committee Chair 
Steve John Child Protection
Lorraine Davey  EYFS
Tim Kavanagh  
Neil Aries   
Claire Lowe   
Beth Souster Governance Professional 
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