About Us

The St Thomas Catholic Academies Trust is committed to excellence in all that it does. 

The Trust provides the framework through which schools can offer powerful support to one another, working in solidarity to realise the potential in each child and each member of staff we have the privilege to serve.  We have an unshakeable belief that every child is unique, created in the image of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and each child, with the right love and support, will thrive and succeed.

Our Mission:

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive!”

Our Vision:

Human flourishing and the uniqueness of every individual as a child of God is at the heart of our Catholic educational enterprise. In this context, a human being fully alive is one who is open to faith – to love – to joy – and to learning. They are daily becoming the person God created them to be and they are ready to delight in their God-given gifts, and to use them in the service of the Common Good.

Our Six Strategic Aims:
  1. Our Catholicity is at the core of everything we do.
  2. Every child will receive an excellent education
  3. We will recruit, develop and retain the best people (click here for more information about careers and training).
  4. We will support our schools by providing exceptional central services.
  5. We are financially robust and provide value for money.
  6. We will maintain high levels of service whilst expanding.

Our Strategic Executive Leader: Joe Richardson

The Executive Leader of our Trust is Joe Richardson.  With over 25 years' experience in Catholic Education and 15 years as a senior leader in our Diocesan schools, Joe is ideally placed to lead the Trust through its formation and subsequent growth.

Joe has enjoyed considerable success as Headteacher and Trust leader:

- He has supported schools in very difficult circumstances, securing rapid improvement where required.

- He served as Headteacher of an Outstanding school that went on to secure Teaching School status.

- He spent over 10 years as a leader (including 5 years as Headteacher) at one of the Trust schools - Cardinal Newman School, Luton.  An Outstanding Catholic School, it has maintained a fine reputation for quality education for the last 50 years.

- Over the last 5 years he combined his role as Headteacher at Cardinal Newman with the position of CEO of the St Alban Catholic Academies Trust.  During that time the Trust was formed, grew to 5 schools and more recently merged with the St Peter’s Catholic Academies Trust to form the new Trust we are today.

Speaking about his role Joe commented: 

 “When I look back on my career as a school leader, I would say that my greatest achievement lies in the work to support a school in very difficult circumstances.  We transformed outcomes for children and transformed the culture of a school that was in a very difficult place – you cannot achieve the first without the second.  As Executive Leader of our Trust I know that we can achieve this same transformation across our family of schools wherever it is required, building on the strengths that lie at the heart of our community.”

Our Executive School Improvement Advisor: Ciran Stapleton


The Executive School Improvement Advisor of our Trust is Ciran Stapleton.  With 28 years’ experience in Catholic Education, Ciran is well placed to co-ordinate school improvement across the Trust at its early stages of formation and subsequent growth.

Ciran has enjoyed considerable success as Headteacher and Trust leader:

- He served as Head of School of an Outstanding school in Surrey before going on to take the Headship at St Joseph’s Catholic High School, Slough in 2013 which was then in danger of closure but now holds Outstanding status. During his time there he also undertook significant school improvement at Thomas Becket School in Northampton 2017-2019.

- From 2016-2020 he combined his role as Headteacher at St Joseph’s with that of founder CEO of the St Peter Catholic Academy Trust before the Trust combined with the St Albans Catholic Trust to form the new St Thomas Catholic Trust.

Speaking about his role Ciran commented: 

“It’s a privilege to serve the young people of our Diocese who are our future hope and leaders for a transformation of our society into a place where Christ’s love is present to all.”