The Stour Academy Trust consists of eight Primary Academies that work collaboratively to improve outcomes for all children. Please visit the individual Academy websites here to find out more about Academy staff.
Rachael has a long and diverse history with the Trust, having been appointed in 2005 by the sponsor school and since undertaking most roles within its leadership structures.
During her Headship, she led her team to secure an Ofsted outstanding judgement and outstanding SIAMs judgement. Ofsted noted that “The headteacher, leaders and staff work tirelessly to ensure every pupil achieves the very best they can. Every pupil and member of staff is valued as an individual and supported to achieve highly. Talents are nurtured and encouraged, creating an exciting and highly effective learning environment for all.”
As a founding member of the Trust, Rachael has been instrumental in driving forward educational policies and practices that have been highly commended and led to sustainable changes for schools joining the Trust.
As executive Headteacher, Rachael ably supported school leaders to transform struggling schools and improve outcomes for all children.
Rachael’s role evolved as the Trust developed and she became the Deputy CEO, focusing on system leadership whilst leading school development as Director of Education for the Trust.
To further develop her skills in system leadership, Rachael worked with Ambition School Leadership and successfully completed the Executive Educators training for CEOs in 2017.
Following her long career as a school governor, Rachael joined the Board of Directors in 2012 and has a strong knowledge and understanding of MAT governance structures.
Rachael’s strength lies in her ability to form strong relationships with school leaders and work with them to create positive changes for children.
Her current focus for the Trust is the further development of outstanding teams of professionals that add value to all schools within the Trust.
Tommy Cullen is the Chief Operating Officer for The Stour Academy Trust. He began this role in September 2018 after previously working as the Director of Finance and Premises for the Trust from January 2017. Tommy acts as the Chief Finance Officer of the Trust and is heavily involved in our building expansions and new development schools such as Chilmington Green Primary School.
Beginning his career in an educational setting in 2009 as a Finance Assistant, by 2016, he was acting as Finance and Business Manager for a MAT comprising of 9 schools. Tommy has worked closely with the DFE and ESFA on a number of high profile Trust rebrokerages and continues to support them on a number of pilot schemes. Currently, he is an active member of the ESFA user group supporting a wider network of MATs across the country.
Vikki Tottman, a founder member of The Stour Academy Trust, was initially employed at the sponsor school in 2007 as a part time Finance Assistant, transferring from the business sector with a wealth of finance experience. In her first year Vikki successfully led and completed the sponsor school’s FMSiS (Financial Management Standard in Schools) assessment. Vikki’s role developed into Finance Manager when the sponsor school federated with Hersden Village Primary in 2009; whilst managing school budgets she also developed payroll and HR provision for both schools.
At the Trust’s inception in 2012 until August 2017, as the MAT grew from 2 to 5 primary schools, Vikki was appointed Business Manager taking full responsibility for: overseeing budgets, procurement; finance functions, day to day HR, premises and maintenance projects for all schools within the Trust. She was instrumental in developing the initial business plan for the growing Trust and the implementation of new roles and teams required, vital to ensure that the business structure developed successfully and coordinated with the planned Trust growth.
In September 2017, aligned with the business need, Vikki was appointed as HR Director for the Trust, managing the HR function in its entirety for 8 Trust schools. This has included supporting Senior Leaders from schools across the MAT, working within the Trust Central Team and addressing key enhancements to the Trust HR functionality. Vikki has developed and instigated robust, supportive processes for all Trust employees, with a focus on ensuring workforce equality, well-being and work-life balance, in line with the Trust’s vison and values. During this time, Vikki has also undertaken and gained CIPD level 7 Advanced Certificate, Human Resource Management accreditation.
After completing his degree in Digital Media at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2011, Rob studied for a PGCE in Primary Education at the CCCU in 2012. He then spent the following two and a half years teaching in schools within The Stour Academy Trust, holding the responsibility of website and brand management of the Trust on a part-time basis. With the MAT expanding, Rob joined The Stour Academy Trust Central Team in 2016 as a full-time Director of Marketing and Communications. Using his first-hand experience in primary education, Rob is able to effectively develop marketing and communication strategies and produce content that engages the Trust’s key stakeholders. Rob liaises with Teachers, Office staff and Senior Leaders from schools across the MAT and works directly with the Trust Central Team.
Joining the Trust in 2018, Lauren is the newest member of The Stour Academy Trust Central Team. With an experienced background in education, Lauren supports the CEO and Deputy CEO by liaising with Teachers, Office staff and Senior Leaders from schools across the MAT as well as external companies, other MATs and government departments. Lauren is currently completing an Executive PA Diploma in order to acquire a broader range of skills to further support the Central Team.