Kate Baynes​

Kate was born in Southend and has lived there her whole life. Kate attended Thorpe Greenways Infant and Junior Schools and then Southend High School for Girls. After college and university Kate entered the teaching profession and has taught locally and in London for over 40 years. Kate's husband is a Chartered Accountant and she has three grown up children and a granddaughter. 

Kate started as a Governor at West Leigh Schools in 1992 and has been such for 26 years. Kate's main expertise is in Teaching and Learning and Personnel. 

When Portico Academy Trust was formed in 2016 Kate was invited to become a Trustee. Her main focus is Teaching and Learning, Data, Personnel and Health and Safety. 


Frances Gretton

Frances is a retired Registered Nurse with 35 years experience of working in the NHS.  She has worked on the wards and reached the level of Ward Manager before changing roles.


Frances changed direction and began teaching the Health Care Assistants – setting up and running the Trust’s National Vocational Qualifications Centre.

Whilst running the Centre she also collaborated with others in creating a Competency scheme for nurses and health care assistants.

In the last 3 years within the Trust Frances worked as part of the Change Management team, they used the Toyota LEAN methodology.

Frances has an extensive experience in working within an ever changing service with all the challenges this brings.

She became a School Governor at Hamstel Junior School in December 2013, and then became a Trustee of Portico Trust in September 2016. 

Frances stood down from Hamstel Junior School Governors in August 2017.

Frances has lived in Southend her whole life, she is married with one grown up son.


Sue Hay

Sue has worked in education for 26 years, in secondary schools across London and the East of England. She has over 20 years experience at Senior Leadership Level and is currently Headteacher of The Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in Upminster. Throughout her career, Sue has maintained close links with, and interest in, the primary sector, and she has a passionate belief in the transformative power of education. Sue’s particular areas of expertise are learning and teaching, school improvement, academic performance, and teacher development. Sue also has extensive experience of school governance, having been on the Governing Board of four different schools, including a period at Porters Grange as a Parent Governor. She has three school age children, who keep her very busy when she is not at work. 

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Bob Hellen

Born and educated in Hackney, East London,but now living in Billericay since marriage in 1969. Graduate of Kings  (BSc Hons) & Chelsea (MA(Ed)) in London.

Teaching career of 37 years, including 17 years as Headteacher of Cecil Jones High School, followed by 10 years working as Education Consultant predominantly for Southend LEA.

Chair of Trustees and Members of Portico MAT since formulation of MAT

My work in my schools and the Trust is driven by passion  to give every child  the opportunities , support and quality of learning to achieve their best.

In my retirement I spend my time with our 5 grandchildren, playing golf , gym  & swimming & taking holidays in France with our touring  caravan.


Graham Lane

Graham is a retired Chartered Accountant and, prior to retirement he was a partner in a top 30 firm of Chartered Accountants in the City of London.  Graham managed a portfolio of clients as well as overseeing running the office of 230 people and the firm’s IT systems. As a result he has a wide experience of project management, procurement, managing people and finance.

Graham has lived in Southend all of his life and been a school governor for over twenty-five years at local schools. As well as being a Trustee of Portico Graham is a Trustee of another local Multi Academy Trust and of two national Maritime Charities.  From these activities he has gained a good understanding of most areas of school/academy management.

Graham's experience allows him to bring a common-sense and business approach to education and has taught him to be challenging in a constructive way.  The only reason for his activities in education is to help provide the best for the pupils and students to ensure they have a sound education to support them for the rest of their lives.


Alan Murkin

Alan is a director of a large London based firm of electrical engineers. He lives in Shoebury with his family and has been a long serving Governor of Friars Primary School, in the last three years as Chair. 

Karen Packer

Karen was Head of Quality Development and taught A/AS Level Biology at South Essex College for 15 years. She has a continued interest in education and was Chair of Governors at West Leigh Junior School.

She is married with a daughter at Westcliff High and a son at West Leigh Junior School. Karen volunteers locally with Girlguiding and is the lead volunteer with the Essex International Scout & Guide Jamboree.


Ros Sanders

Ros has lived most of her life in Southend.   She has three children and seven grandchildren, two of  whom attend Southend primary schools.  Ros became involved with teaching as a second career when her own children were young.   Following some time as a volunteer mum at her children's school and a volunteer Adult Literacy Tutor, she trained for a career in Adult Education.   


During Ros's career at Essex County Council's Adult Community Learning Service, she gained considerable experience, and qualifications, in leadership and management in education MA(Ed).  Ros became Principal of Basildon Adult Community College in 1997 and Principal Officer for Adult Community Learning in 2007.


Now retired from paid employment, Ros continues to be involved in local community organisations and until 2020 was a member of the Porters Grange Local Governing Body.  Ros also supports her local Scout Group and the Southend Food Bank.

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Cheryl Woolf

From 1973 Mrs Woolf taught for just over 16 years at Thorpedene Junior School in Shoebury taking a break during that time to have her family. She returned to Thorpedene  after a request from the Headteacher and stayed for a further 10 years! Mrs Woolf became a Deputy Head at West Leigh Junior School in 1994. In 1995 Mrs Woolf was appointed as Acting Head and then Headteacher from September 1996. In 2010 she began to support schools in Southend with school improvement, working at Eastwood Primary, Friars Primary School, Porters Grange Primary School and with Leigh North Street, Hamstel Schools and St Mary's Prittlewell C of E Primary School.