The St Laurence Education Trust (SLET) was established in 1997 as the governing body for Ampleforth College.

The Trust is made up of volunteer trustees from a variety of backgrounds who, amongst other things, oversee the financial, educational and strategic management of the school. They have overall responsibility for the school to meet all of the requirements set by external statutory bodies such as The Department for Education and Skills, the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Charity Commission.

Trustees meet formally every term as a full trustee board and for sub committees but communicate frequently between these meetings. They are regular visitors to the school, meeting staff and students and attending school events. To learn more about the individual trustees, please see the biographies below. Alternatively,  please contact Carl Bilson, Clerk to the St Laurence Education Trust, on for further details.  Mr. Christopher Adams is the Interim Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust.  He can be contacted throughout the year via Carl Bilson by telephone on 01439 766710 or in writing to Carl Bilson, Clerk to the St Laurence Education Trust, Ampleforth College, York, YO62 4ER.

Ampleforth College is undergoing a full review of governance. In October 2018 a framework agreement was signed between the St Laurence Education Trust, which is the proprietor and the Ampleforth Abbey Trust which ensures that the trusts operate as independent charities with clarity of responsibilities and boundaries. The agreement places the highest priority on the safeguarding of students.

At the same time, SLET trustees are working with the Director of Governance to enhance governance practice and ensure the highest standards of accountability.  A recruitment programme for SLET has recently yielded a number of new Trustees and Advisers whose skills and experience complement that of our existing Trustees.  This programme is ongoing and we are committed to adding further high calibre individuals to our Board so as to ensure the best strategic leadership and oversight for the future of the College.

Mr Christopher Adams
Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust

Mr Christopher Adams studied Mathematics at Cambridge University and trained as an accountant, eventually becoming a Partner at Armitage & Norton Chartered Accountants. From there he moved to KPMG, where he became Head of Charities in the North of England, before joining Saffery Champness in 2003. He remained a Partner there until 2012. He is now a self-employed Chartered Accountant, acting in a personal capacity as a trustee and board member for a small number of commercial companies, family trusts and charities. He is the Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust, a member of the Planning and Finance Committee and Chair of the Ampleforth Abbey Trust Audit and Risk Management Committee.

  • Edward Sparrow
    Chair elect

    Edward was educated at Ampleforth and Lincoln College, Oxford where he read history.  His whole working life has been spent at Ashurst LLP (formerly Ashurst Morris Crisp) an international commercial law firm in the City of London. Until his retirement in April 2018, Edward had been a partner there since 1981, specialising in corporate and banking disputes and financial and professional regulation. He is now a part time consultant to the firm. His other roles include: longstanding Chair of Governors at St Catherine's School, Twickenham, an independent day school for girls from nursery to sixth form; Chair of the City of London Law Society: the local law society for solicitors and firms practising in the City of London and Canary Wharf; a member of the Bank of England's Enforcement Decision Making Committee; the body responsible for decisions in relation to contested disciplinary cases involving firms regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and other arms of the Bank; and a trustee of Care International UK; the UK member of the Care federation which is an international humanitarian charity.  Edward has been married to Jay for more than 40 years. They have seven children, including three boys who all went to Ampleforth. His spare time is spent with his grandchildren, travelling or assisting in the garden.

  • Mr Matthew Craston
    Vice Chair & Chair of Planning & Finance Committee

    Mr Matthew Craston was a student at Ampleforth College and a graduate from Oxford University and has worked in London's financial sector for more than 30 years. He began in banking at Chase Manhattan where he spent the 1980s. Through the 1990s he worked in the corporate finance department of SBC and SBC Warburg, and then as a managing director in the leveraged finance group when the bank became UBS Investment Bank. In 2004 he switched to the fund management business, managing credit funds at at European Credit Management Limited for ten years. He has recently set up his own company, Finance Map, to provide students and others with an understanding of the financial world through one-to-one tutorials. Matthew is Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust Planning and Finance Committee and a member of the Ampleforth Abbey Trust Investment Committee.

  • Mrs Elizabeth Berner
    Chair of Education Committee

    Mrs Elizabeth Berner's professional life has been spent in teaching, particularly working for the Girls' Day School Trust over the course of thirty years.  In some of the Trust's SW London schools roles have included Head of a History Dept, Sixth Form Careers Adviser as well as undertaking subject and general Oxbridge preparation. She has also been a tutor in higher education in HM Prison Wandsworth.  Additionally she has held non-executive directorships in the NHS in the 1990s and currently sits on the boards of various voluntary sector organisations.  Her connection with Ampleforth arises from both her husband and son having been educated at the College, the latter also at the prep school at Gilling Castle, as well as from participation in some of the Lourdes pilgrimages and various retreats at the Abbey.

  • Barbara Matthews

    Barbara Matthews was educated in the United States and moved to the United Kingdom in 1988.  Her career has been spent first in law, as international council in both the steel and offshore oil and gas industries, working for FT 100 and Fortune 500 companies negotiating contracts throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  Secondly, in 2007 Barbara moved into politics as political assistant to the Conservative Group on the City of York Council.  From 2010-16 she was a non-executive director for one of the region’s largest NHS mental health providers.  Barbara’s daughter was educated through the Ampleforth system, including St Martin’s Nawton, SMA and the College.  She has been married to David since 1988 and her interests include politics, literature and equestrian sports.

  • Rachel Fletcher

    Rachel Fletcher worked at Ampleforth College for 23 years, initially as a Teacher of English. She later joined the Senior Leadership Team as Director of Professional Development before taking up the post of Director of Admissions until her retirement in 2014.  She has served as a Governor at St Benedict's RC Primary, Ampleforth, St Martin's Prep School, Nawton and St Mary's Girls' School, Baldersby.  She was also previously a Trustee of St Martin's Ampleforth Prep School.


  • Robin Burdell

    Mr Robin Burdell was educated at Ampleforth College (1969-1976) and is currently Head of Finance and Marketing Appointments for RSAcademics Ltd. Previous posts include Director of Finance and Operations for Worth School and Finance Director for Worth Abbey; Business Director and Secretary to the Board of Truro School; Director of Finance and Estates at Nottingham High School; and Head of Finance and Administration and Company Secretary at Stanford Hall Enterprises Ltd. He has served on the Independent School Bursars’ Association (ISBA) Executive Committee, Chairman of the ISBA General Purposes Committee, and on the Board of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Robin Burdell is a qualified Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA) and a Member of Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA).

  • John Sykes

    John Sykes was educated at Ampleforth College and went on to study Business Administration at Herriot Watt University, Edinburgh, followed by a Masters in EC Competition Law at Kings College, London. He qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and worked as a partner at law firm DLA, and then at Lupton Fawcett from 1992-2017. He is now working as a consultant and is a director of Mohun Intellectual Property Limited, a patent attorney firm.  John Sykes is a member of the Intellectual Property Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys. From 2008-2017 he was governor at Leeds Trinity University.

  • Richard Tams

    Richard was educated at Ampleforth College (1981-1986) and went on to study Law at Cardiff University. After 27 years working for British Airways in a wide variety of countries in Europe, North America and Asia, he now runs his own business consultancy in the aviation and travel sector, Tailwind Advisory Ltd. Before leaving the airline in 2018, Richard was posted to Beijing as Executive Vice President Greater China for British Airways and Iberia Airlines of Spain and, prior to that, he was Head of Sales & Marketing in the UK, based at BA’s Heathrow Head Office. He has sat on a number of boards including British Airways Holidays, BA Cityflyer and British American Business Inc. He is an accredited professional coach and also a regular member of the annual Ampleforth Lourdes Pilgrimage.

  • Meg Baines

    Meg Baines, Cert Ed BA MBA NPQH FRSA, is a retired head teacher who lives with her husband in North Yorkshire. Currently Vice Chair of Governors of a state secondary school and a Diocesan Section 48 Inspector for Middlesbrough, Hexham & Newcastle and Leeds & Bradford Dioceses, she was previously an ISI Section 5 Inspector. Meg was a teacher for 38 years in both state and independent schools across the country. She began her career in 1977 at St Augustine's School, Scarborough, moving to Leeds, Bromley and Crystal Palace where she spent the last 10 years as head of an independent Prep School. Meg has a wide range of teaching experiences and had success as a teacher of PE, RE and History in Walthamstow, Ilford and Bromley. Meg gained an MBA in educational management from Leicester University before becoming deputy head teacher in an all boys school in Ilford. Previously a governor on a number of governing bodies in Sussex and London, Meg was designated safeguarding lead and has recently completed head appraisal training with North Yorkshire County Council. Meg was a member of Independent Schools Association Council for 6 years, representing London South and remains an honorary member. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) since 2005, Meg is keenly interested in educational innovation. She retired from teaching in 2015, but remains a section 48 Inspector and was recommissioned by the Bishop of Middlesbrough in November 2018. Meg is an active member of the parish community, a mother of three grown up children, a doting grandparent and an avid amateur detectorist. 

  • Christina Fairhead
    Safeguarding Trustee elect

    Christina started nurse training 41 years ago and since qualifying as a state registered nurse (SRN) has enjoyed a very varied and interesting career. Examples of some of these roles are; General Nursing, School Nursing, Health Visiting and Specialist Practice Nursing.  Since 2005 Christina has held senior NHS roles in the field of safeguarding children which included managing the Safeguarding Children services within a Health Trust.  These included the Safeguarding Children Team, Health Team for Looked After Children and the Sudden Unexpected Death In Childhood (SUDIC) Service.  Whilst working in safeguarding Christina successfully completed a Master’s Degree in Child Welfare and Protection along with various courses in management, safeguarding leadership (NHS England) and safeguarding supervision (NSPCC).  Since 2010 Christina has worked within health commissioning organisations as a Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children. This is a statutory role and is described by the Royal College of Nursing as “The Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children provides safeguarding, child protection expertise and leadership throughout health and multiagency partnerships. The role is pivotal to complex case management, improved partnership working, strategic planning, quality assurance and performance monitoring.”  In June 2018 Christina took early retirement and returned to her post on part-time basis and becoming an Independent Safeguarding Children consultant.  Christina has extensive experience in all aspects of safeguarding children and continues to be a member of a Local Safeguarding Children Partnership in the area of her work.  In June 2019 Christina was awarded the title ‘Queen’s Nurse’ for “Continued commitment to improving standards of care in the community and to learning and leadership.”

  • Kieran McLaughlin

    Kieran McLaughlin is Durham School’s 53rd Headmaster and joined the School in September 2014. He is married with three young sons, all of whom attend the School.  Kieran was born and raised in Liverpool and studied at St Edward's College, a selective boys' school in the city before reading Natural Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge, eventually specialising in Physics and Theoretical Physics. Following his PGCE, he taught in London at a number of academic schools before becoming Head of Physics at City of London Girls' School. He then moved to Sevenoaks School as their Head of Science and Technology, where he spent four years. Prior to joining Durham, Mr McLaughlin was academic deputy head at the world-famous Rugby School for five years. His wealth of experience means he has a clear understanding and knowledge of the important role that top UK boarding schools play in educating the next generation, and the inherent importance of traditions and history.  During his career, Mr McLaughlin has been involved with a number of national curriculum initiatives, as well as delivering INSET on behalf of HMC and the National College of School Leadership.  In the past, he was the bass player in an obscure Liverpudlian rock band, as well as pursuing the ancient martial art of Ju-Jitsu to black belt level. His current interests include the arts, travel and family life.

  • Martin Rigby

    Martin Rigby was educated at Ampleforth before reading history at New College, Oxford, graduating in 1978.  He was a regular army officer for seven years before a career in venture capital investment initially at 3i plc and then at ET Capital Limited - a technology venture investment firm based in Cambridge which he founded in 1992.  He is a non-executive director of several   technology and venture investment businesses and is chair of the Morris Education Trust, a multi-academy trust educating over 2,500 pupils in primary and secondary schools in north west Cambridgeshire.  He has an MBA from Cranfield and a BSc in Computing and Information Technology from the Open University.  

  • Lynn Cooper

    Lynn Cooper was educated at City of London School for Girls and Girton College, Cambridge, reading history and then law. Under her professional name (Lynn Johansen) she worked as a lawyer at Clifford Chance for 27 years and was a partner for 15 years in the finance group, specialising in advising and setting up financial markets and advising on financial services regulation, particularly for commodity and energy market businesses. She worked with Government Departments and regulators and was a member of a Bank of England advisory committee. She was the partner for graduate recruitment and development for 4 years responsible for the marketing campaign, building relations with students and universities in the UK and India and for trainee development and training. She was a director of the firm’s pension fund trustee company. She is currently a non-executive director of ICE Clear Europe Limited, a financial institution in the City of London. She has served on the Evelina Children’s Hospital Appeal Committee and is currently Under Sheriff of Greater London.  Both Lynn’s husband and son were educated at Ampleforth College.