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St Mary's
Church of England Primary School

A learning community dedicated to building
respectful and responsible citizens and empowering all learners.

Founding Trust Members

Founding Trust Members

They have ultimate responsibility for the Trust achieving its charitable objectives. They sign off the Articles of Association and have power to appoint and remove the Trustees. They have ultimate control over the direction of the Academy Trust decisions.


Eileen Patching OBE (Chair of the Board of Trustees)

Eileen is passionate and committed to the provision of and continuous improvement in good quality education and takes an active role in primary education in Basildon. She is a founding governor member on the Basildon‎ Excellence Panel and is now a Trustee of the new Basildon Excellence Partnership. Eileen has been a school governor of Merrylands Primary School for over 15 years and Chair of Governors for the past eight years. As a senior civil servant she leads a division of 120 staff in a range of policy and technical professional roles, risk management and customer service roles. ‎ Eileen has extensive experience of governance in challenging and assuring performance/interventions/development/handling of issues or cases involving millions of pounds. Her work involves analysis of complex data and financial information in order to make informed

Martin Pretlove

A retired managing director, from the banking and insurance sector with broad experience of leading rapidly growing business through periods of change. With a passion for teaching and learning he is able to work collaboratively with small and large groups and is able to use his calm communication skills to explain strategy and individual roles clearly. He has been involved at The Willows as a governor since 2009, in a number of roles including Chair of Governors and is currently Chair of Finance. Colin enjoys challenging those around him to achieve excellence.


Margaret Marshall (October 2016 to May 2018)

Margaret is a qualified teacher and has spent 19 years working in education and has served as a Governor of a primary school for 21 years, mainly focussing on curriculum and pupil related matters. She is a member of Manor Mission Church in Laindon and her husband and son are Trustees. She takes the lead in providing a Sunday school for children who attend the church. The church funds and provides a mobile youth club based in a bus for local teenagers once a week. Margaret is responsible, on another evening, for the activities offered to the children within the church where the focus is games, crafts and a short spiritual element which enables her to get to know the children and their specific needs. As a church member she also assists with lifts for the elderly, catering for social events and liaising with local schools for the use of the church.


Patrick White

Having spent five years in banking at the start of his career, Patrick was relieved that teaching offered more scope for creativity as it should be seen. He taught in Northampton, Hull, China and London – moving from economics to careers, and then teacher training to partnership work. Patrick became a TVEI Advisor specialising in partnership work, and as part of this development, founded and set up the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership in 1991. Following secondment to Business in the Community for two years in the mid ‘90s, Patrick set up the Newham EAZ before moving onto Greenwich EAZ and Excellence in Cities at the turn of the millennium. Patrick took the opportunity to take a sideways step in 2007 to set up the Greenwich Olympic Office and Unit in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. He then went back to his educational roots and worked with a large secondary school and a sixth form college on partnership strategy. He was recruited by Nord Anglia to set up a major gifted and talented programme in the Middle East in 2008 and spent several months in Saudi Arabia as Project Director for the Mawhiba National Programme designed to open up Saudi schools to a more relevant and challenging curriculum and teaching methods. Patrick opted to return to the UK to work and developed the Basildon Education Services Trust (BEST) as a charity vehicle for school collaboration across a range of school improvement and whole-school issues. He then worked with partnership bodies to set up the Basildon Excellence Panel, with Sir Mike Tomlinson as the independent Chair.


Lesley Evans (appointed 28th April 2022)

I am 75 years old and was married to my husband Don for 40 years. Now a widow, my two children and four grandchildren are a source of both joy and amusement.

All of my life I have been fascinated by knowledge, information and data. For most of my life I’d wanted to be a teacher, an ambition I achieved after returning to university as a mature student. I spent all of my teaching career in the East End of London and its suburbs. The skills that I had learned in commerce were extremely useful as a teacher and later in senior management, while those I developed in education are useful to me in retirement.


My personal faith is important to me and as one of the founding members of the Building Committee,I made a commitment to my church in West Ham, Newham to see through a new building project, which after 11 years has just been completed.  I now live in the small community of Bangor in North Wales where the sea and mountains allow plenty of walking opportunities and coffee stops. My ordinance survey maps also come in very useful when indulging in another passion which is archaeology - I managed to get myself on a local dig, which I thoroughly enjoyed even though the weather was atrocious and I spent a week on my knees in mud, hail and snow! When the unpredictable weather up here closes in, you will find me happily researching my own family tree and those of others.


However, once the fact that you have been in education is known, invitations to join all sorts of committees begin to arrive. I have learned to commit myself only to those things for which I really have a passion. One of those is devoting time to supporting my church and another is helping to run our local Cathedral Foodbank. I’m part of a team connected to a mediaeval church in Snowdonia, who are working hard to keep the little church which has been closed for over 100 years open to the public, especially walkers who need a pitstop. I’m also treasurer for the Jamaica Wales Alliance which I came to after being one of their community researchers.

Now, in this new step forward, I’m really looking forward to working with the other members of this team. I’m a bit out of touch with things educational, especially as Wales has a different curriculum, but I feel sure I’m going to be well supported to become a useful member.


Dr Katrina Bentley (appointed 28th April 2022)

Originally an agricultural research scientist, Katrina moved into accountancy in her mid thirties spending several years in the private sector before moving into the local Education Authority providing financial assistance and training to staff in local schools. She then moved into the Grant Maintained sector and took up the post of Bursar at a large secondary school, in Essex. The school took on Academy status in 2011 and formed a Multi Academy Trust in 2018. Alongside this professional experience, Katrina served on the Governing Body at her local secondary school, also an Academy, for 25 years. This gave her the intriguing experience of seeing the ‘work of a school’ from both sides and has given her a complete understanding of the role that can be played by an effective Governing Body in driving up standards.

She has now retired from both roles, but still retain a great interest in ensuring that all children are enabled for their future life through a quality education provided in the primary sector. Crucial to this is the effective, but efficient use of the resources made available to schools.  She presently carries out the Treasury function for a local branch of Parkinson’s UK.


Naz Miah (appointed 28th April 2022)

I grew up and lived in Canning Town, East London till 2007 when I moved to Essex to raise my children in a slower pace environment. As my children got close to senior school age their education was a priority hence the move in 2019 for better schools. I come from a close-knit family and had a happy and well-supported childhood.  I studied up to degree level, unfortunately due to personal reason I never completed my final year. I am now professionally qualified with the Chartered Institute of Insurers.  Most of my career has been within the property industry. I am based in Upminster work with professional clients in London & Essex.

I started my career in Estate Agency 2000, with 5 previous years in retail up to management level. I have been fortunate in building 2 cold start-up businesses which have been successful in their industry and with exit strategies.


I am married to katy who I met at work in 2004 and have been married for 15 years. We have 2 daughters, Aila age 12 & Raya age 14, both attend senior school. My personal time is devoted to my wife and children with days out, occasional travel and anything else they plan in my life. I enjoy watching movies with the girls and share a common love for Marvel movies with my eldest daughter. My youngest daughter is keen gymnast and baker, and we all a share common love for baking, not so much me as I can’t bake.  I am driven individual with a view of making positive changes in my surrounding. I enjoy helping others in both my personal and professional life which give me great sense of achievement. Both of My previous businesses have supported local children’s charities and school fetes in their communities to raise money and awareness. My most recent personal accomplishments are participating in the August 2021 Vitality London Half-Marathon raising just under £4,231for MacMillan Cancer and February 2021 participating in the Cancer Research 10k Winter Run raising £1,456.16.