Meet the Trustees

Vaughan Collier (Chair)  Contact at



Gill Hopkins


Gill's background was in teaching and training.  After completion of a PGCE at the Urban Studies Centre in Stepney she taught geography in Yorkshire.  She also worked as part of the North Yorkshire Staff Development Team and with the Counselling and Career Development Unit at Leeds University.  On returning to Essex Gill ran the Teacher’s Centre in Chelmsford and also worked on teacher training programmes.  Whilst her children were young she worked part time at the FE College in Southend and then returned full time to teaching in a primary school.  In 2000 Gill took up a Headship of a failing Church of England Primary School which she successfully turned around to ‘outstanding’ before she left in 2007 to be ordained in the Anglican Church.


Gill served as curate in the Wickford and Runwell Team Ministry and was a governor at Wickford C/E School.  In 2010 she joined the Waltham Holy Cross Team Ministry and served as Team Vicar at the Church of the Holy Innocents, High Beach and Chaplain for Epping Forest and the Lee Valley.  The Chaplaincy was about developing ways to enable visitors to the outdoors to pay attention to their spiritual wellbeing.


Gill has ‘Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of Chelmsford’ following her retirement from full time ministry in February 2016.  She is Vice Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education and the Diocesan Member for the Hearts Academy.  Gill works as a volunteer for the Friends of Epping Forest at High Beach Visitor Centre and is also involved with a group welcoming Syrian refugees.


Gill is an‘Essex’ girl by birth and is married to Richard who was born in Australia.  They have two children who have followed their parents into the world of education.  Richard and Gill love all that London has to offer and also enjoy travelling, so they have moved close to a tube station to facilitate their movements.


Debbie Rogan OBE


Debbie Rogan, HEARTS Academy Trust CEO and Executive headteacher of two of our schools was awarded an OBE by the Queen in her 90th birthday honours’ list. This was for her services to Education over a 30 year career.  She has led the Trust firstly as head of its founding school, The Wickford C of E School (A National Support School) through the growth to over 1000 pupils across 6 schools, two Alternative provision settings and a Teaching School.


The HEARTS Academy trust was one of the first Multi Academy Trusts in the country to have both Church of England and community schools in its MAT. Debbie has been a National Leader of Education since 2008 and is a system leader through her work as an OFSTED inspector, SIAMS Church of England schools’ inspector and a Pupil Premium reviewer. She has been an elected member of the Eastern Region and North East London Regional School Commissioner’s Academy headteacher Board since 2014.



John Young


John first became a Parent Governor at Hilltop Infant School in 1999 and his experience in governance has continued to date. He has chaired the Governing body at Hilltop Infant School for the past 6 years and additionally also another Essex school.


He has a passion to see improvement in education in our local area and brings a diverse range of experience to the trust. In September 2017, Hilltop Infant and Junior Schools joined Hearts Academy Trust and John is now chair of the joint school’s Local Advisory Board.


John has had a career in sales and training as well as a broad experience in management for major national companies in addition to his own business.


He is currently employed with a national retailer and as an independent business trainer. He is a Finance Officer for a church and lives in Wickford with his family.


Sir Steve Lancashire


Steve has been involved in primary education for thirty years and as a Headteacher for the past twenty years, most recently as Executive Headteacher of Hillyfield Primary Academy. Hillyfield is a double outstanding school and REAch2 was founded on its success.


Steve is a National Leader of Education and has been a lead adviser for the department for Education, taking the lead in supporting schools to move from ‘Good’ to ‘Outstanding’.


As the founder and Chief Executive of REAch2, one of the largest and most successful primary academy trusts in the country, Steve seeks to establish a family of schools that share his passion and drive to secure the best possible outcomes for primary aged children and to ensure that primary education has a strong national voice. Ensuring there is enough capacity in the education system to enhance existing good schools and to tackle the issue facing failing schools is at the heart of Steve’s vision so that all young people have access to an exceptional education.


Steve was Knighted for services to education in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2016.


John Crane


John the Chief Executive for the Vine Trust. He has been the Headteacher and then Executive Headteacher for two diocesan academies. John has extensive experience of leading strong Church schools. This has included consistently being in the top 25% of schools for valued added and leading a school out of special measures to a good judgement in 18 months.


Julia Attridge


Julia qualified as an accountant specialising in the public sector in 1990.  In 1995, she moved to work for the professional body, CIPFA.  There, she became an education professional, responsible for the education and training of accountants in the UK and overseas.


In 2003 Julia gained an MBA and shortly after decided to add to her education expertise and give something back to the community by becoming a school governor. She chose the primary school which her children had attended many years before, which had for some years experienced severe difficulties, moving in and out of special measures. Julia had been a governor for around 8 years when in 2012 the school joined the HEARTS Academy Trust.  She believes that joining HEARTS has resulted in a fundamental improvement to the school and its governance and was delighted to accept an invitation to contribute to the Trust.



Hearts Academy Trust


2 Mount Road



SS11 8HE


Company number 7851097




T. 01268 572672









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