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Our Team

Paul Slater
Chief Executive Officer, Trust Primary Lead

Paul Slater has been a successful primary headteacher for over 20 years and has been working with the Trust since 2017, as a School Improvement Partner and as the CEO in 2019.

​Paul has worked across many different local authorities and has supported and advised many schools on curriculum development, Ofsted preparedness, staffing restructures as well as supporting schools to move from Ofsted categories towards Good. He enjoys working alongside colleagues to improve the life chances for all pupils and is always willing to offer advice and provide support.

He firmly believes in allowing students to achieve their best through a wide variety of subjects and experiences provided through schools.

Paul was nominated for the prestigious National Teaching Award and was a Silver Award winner in 2019 for his services as a Headteacher. Paul is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching (FCCT) and has achieved the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership.

Paul is a keen fell walker and an avid reader. He also enjoys going to the theatre, to concerts and to the cinema and spending time with his family.

Tracy Houlden
Chief Operations Officer

Tracy is the Chief Operations Officer and Human Resources Manager for the Trust, supporting the schools with all HR and people related issues. She is CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualified and has extensive HR, leadership and management experience in a wide range of sectors.

Her approach to HR in education is pragmatic and school focused. She aims to take the mystery out of HR and provide as much support as necessary to the schools’ Senior Leadership Teams.

Tracy loves living and working in the Lake District – 'having spent 5 years commuting to Bolton from Kirkby Lonsdale, the journey to work is now wonderful.'


Jon Hayes
Trust Secondary Lead

Originally qualifying as a science teacher in 1997, Jon worked in schools across the North West and West Midlands before becoming a headteacher in Lancashire in 2011.  He moved to The Queen Katherine School in 2015 and relocated to Cumbria, with his family, as a result.  Jon has worked with the Local Authority to support school reviews and has sat on the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.  He is currently a member of Ofsted’s Headteacher Reference Group and the Schools’ forum for Cumbria – soon to be Westmorland and Furness.


Ben Griffin
Trust Behaviour Lead

Details to follow





Emma Robinson
H.R. Support

Emma started working in Human Resources for TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) in 2002 as HR Administrator, working up to HR Business Partner and attaining a PGDip in HR with CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualification.

Since joining the Trust in 2015 as HR Assistant, Emma has gained experience in the education specific aspects of HR, and has enjoyed her varied role supporting the schools.

Emma feels lucky to live in South Lakeland with her husband and son, taking the opportunity to get outside to enjoy the beautiful landscapes as often as possible. 


Billy Coxon
Accountant and Finance Officer

Billy first worked for The Queen Katherine School in 2012 helping to prepare the end of year accounts. Since then he has become the Trust Accountant.

​He is best known locally for playing rugby and was a regular in the Kendal 1st XV for over 20 years. Recently, he hung up his boots and took up golf (with a lot less success).



Kate Brayshaw
Payroll Manager

Kate has been working in the Finance Office at The Queen Katherine School since 2008. After starting her employment as a Finance Assistant with AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications, she has worked her way up through all aspects of the schools’ finances. She now manages the daily functions of the Trust Finance Office Team and the monthly payroll for all schools in the Trust. Working closely with the Trust Accountant, Kate is developing her role to work at a more strategic level.

Kate lives with her family in South Lakeland and enjoys ticking off the Wainwrights, running with a local fell running club and parkrun. She is also volunteers as Treasurer of her local Scout Group.


Marg Walling
Payroll and Finance Assistant

Marg was a Police Constable in Cumbria and after her daughter was born, decided to change career and go into the world of finance. In September 2016, Marg joined The Queen Katherine School as Finance Assistant and passed her first accounting exam in the same year.

Marg’s role has developed and grown and she now works supporting all of our schools as Trust Payroll and Finance Assistant. In her spare time, Marg is Treasurer for South Lakes Churches and likes spending time with her young daughter.

Marg enjoys her new role in the Trust Finance Team and enjoys the variety of the challenges that regularly arise.


Neil Solender 
Facilities and Heath and Safety Officer

Neil moved with his now wife to the village of Staveley 15 years ago after working at Heathrow as a project and environmental Manager.

Since living in the North West he's worked for the Lake District National Park as a facilities manager and the Giilpin Hotel as the Estate Manager. More recently Neil has run a business and now joins us in 2022 to manage the Estates Team.

He has just finished renovating his own house over 14 years and enjoys spending time with his family; mostly driving his daughters to an ever-increasing number of clubs.


Stephen Jaques
IT Manager

Steve has worked in educational IT for over 20 years. Having started as a technician and worked his way to Trust IT Manager, he has experience in all aspects of school IT services. He has successfully overseen and managed a huge amount of growth and development over the years and always has a firm focus on what is next.

He is very driven to provide an excellent IT service and understands how this underpins modern education and school processes.

Having moved to Cumbria recently, he is keen to continue exploring the wonderful countryside on foot and on his mountain bike.


Jason Wills
IT Technician

Jason joined The Queen Katherine School fresh out of college as a Trainee IT Technician in 2008. Since then, he has developed his skills and knowledge of IT in education to be able to support staff and students. He now works as an IT Technician with all the schools in our Trust providing both onsite and remote support alongside our local IT teams.

He enjoys the challenges that the job brings and views problems as puzzles to be solved rather than obstacles. Jason believes in bringing a calm and friendly face to any situation to help reassure staff and students.

When not providing IT support to his family; Jason enjoys reading fiction, playing video games with his friends and going on walks in the beautiful South Lakes.


Alec Lishman
IT Apprentice

Alec has joined the team as an IT apprentice after working in the catering industry for more than 15 years. After his fourth child was born, he decided that he needed a change and follow his true passion, Computing. 

In the past, Alec has also been a Community First Responder and a volunteer for North West Ambulance service for 13 years. The role involved being the first on scene to incidents giving initial treatment to patients and assisting Ambulance crews when they arrived. 

Alec works across all three schools within the Trust gaining valuable knowledge and experience from his colleagues at each site. 

Alec enjoys spending his free time having days out with his wife and four children, and helps friends and family with their IT needs when they ask. 

Alec looks forwards to completing his BCS Level 3 IT Solutions in July 2023, and aims to continue his employment within The Fells Trust. 


Joanne Bower
Clerk to the Trust

Joanne has worked in various administrative and finance related roles within schools since 2005 and qualified as a senior teaching assistant in 2018.

Prior to working within schools, Joanne has worked as a legal secretary in a solicitors/estate agency and as a desktop publisher in a local travel agency.

Joanne enjoys the outdoors and goes on regular walks with her husband in the beautiful South Lakes countryside.