Meet our new Trustee – Ruth Young

May 25, 2023

We are delighted to announce that we have appointed a new Trustee to Wessex Learning Trust, Ruth Young. To get to know Ruth a bit more, we asked her some questions about her career path so far, why she’s excited about joining the Trust and how she thinks her experience can support the Trust at such a crucial time of growth.

Can you tell us about your career so far and what attracted you to become a Trustee at Wessex Learning Trust?

My career began as a little girl, lining up my teddy bears and teaching them. However, having failed my A levels appallingly, am still not sure how, I lost my place at university to study to become a teacher… and meandered into the Civil Service. 12 years later and with three little boys, I continued working and studied for five years, mainly part time at night, and finally qualified as a teacher. I remained in teaching until 2017, when I was made redundant and returned to the Civil Service, this time the Department for Education.
Missing the school environment dreadfully, I maneuvered myself into voluntary governance – I am Chair of Governors of a primary school and a Member of Bath and Wells Diocese Board of Education. Though, I felt that I could offer more to the education sector, thinking that my skills and experience could be put to further use. I looked for a trust with church schools, and that was close to Congresbury where I live, and with values that aligned with my own… and Wessex Learning Trust ticked that box!

What do you think are important qualities a Multi-Academy Trust Trustee should have?

First and foremost a desire to provide children with the best education they can experience and not just from an academic perspective but that holistic rounded approach that will support them into their adulthood. In order to achieve that, I believe trustees need commitment and dedication. It’s not easy being a trustee, there are several challenges along the way so one needs resilience too. And finally, I’d say a trustee needs to be able to see beyond the child, to see the bigger picture… to have an awareness and understanding of the community that enables the child’s education…. the parents, the staff, the volunteers, the entire trust community, because this is what underpins the education of the child.

How do you think your previous experience will support the future of the Trust?

My governance experience is perhaps the most important, at least at this time. I’m looking at how we can have a trust wide ethos and values committee, that supports all schools (church schools and non-church schools), the trust central team and the trust wider community. My experience as a governor and as a member of the Diocese Board of Education will help me to begin to set this in motion, though it’s just the start. As the committee develops, it will be my teaching experiences, my encounters with pupils and, my working within a team that will help me to support, develop and challenge the role of the Ethos and Values Committee, whilst it is nurtured by the ethos of Wessex Learning Trust.

What are you excited about in your new role as Trustee?

It’s a new role for me within governance, as I’ve not been a Trustee before so, so I find that exciting in itself, especially as I’m a Foundation Trustee, which means I have a responsibility (in addition to other roles) to protect and preserve Christian Distinctiveness within the Wessex Learning Trust’s Church schools.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

I have a rescue dog, Tilly… with separation anxiety who keeps me well occupied. I am trying to train her that if I’m the other side of the door, all will be well, though she’s still not convinced. This differs significantly from my previous rescue dog who was completely aloof, would check the clock and remind me that I was supposed to have left five minutes ago and I was spoiling her quiet time!

When I manage to organise a space in my calendar and overcome the challenging logistics of the North Devon coastline, I’m endeavouring to walk the South West coast path though, having only completed 99 of the 630 miles, I’m making slow progress.

And… when not occupied with Tilly or my walking boots or, indeed being a Mum and a Grandma, I can be found sat at Ashton Gate, proudly holding onto my 20 year season ticket and cheering very loudly for Bristol Rugby.