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.

  • Mr Matthew Craston

    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

    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.

  • 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.

  • Sr Frances Orchard

    Sr Frances Orchard CJ has spent her entire career in senior education and brings extensive knowledge of Catholic education, and the transition from religious to lay leadership in Catholic schools. She was the headmistress of St Mary’s Ascot and General Secretary of the Catholic Independent Schools Conference (CISC). Since retiring from teaching, she has taken up several school governor posts in schools across the country. She is currently the Provincial Superior of the Congregation of Jesus, Chair of Trustees of the Congregation of Jesus Trust and Chair of Trustees of the Bar Convent Trust York.

  • 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.