Beth Curl
Chair of MAT Board


Beth Curl was a governor of The Queen Katherine School for 8 years

and has been a Director of the MAT since its formation and is now chair.

Beth started her career as a research chemist with an international

life science company. Her growing interest in people and organisations,

catalysed her move into HR and Learning and Development.

Beth founded her management development consultancy in 1999 and

works with a wide range of organisations, particularly in the science and

technology sector.

Since moving to South Cumbria in 2006, Beth has worked with a

number of voluntary organisations and is committed to helping the

Fells MAT provide the best education and opportunities for all its students.

Joanne Heather
Vice Chair and Chair of RAF Committee

Joanne joined the MAT Board in 2018 after moving to Cumbria in 2017. She has two children at QKS.

Joanne started her career with Shell International as a petroleum engineer, and after several years gaining operational experience moved to strategic planning and financial management, underpinning her undergraduate degree in Maths with an MBA at night school. She moved to Houston, Texas with a US energy company in 2000 to advise on investment of their asset portfolio and led the budget and financial planning teams for different divisions within the company. Latterly, she worked with a boutique management consultancy providing portfolio management and financial expertise, project leadership, organisational development, and facilitation and coaching of teams and executives. Over the years, she has contributed financial guidance to a number of voluntary organisations.

She brings a wealth of experience in financial management, strategic planning and organisational development to the Board.

She is passionate about how schools can best be supported to equip young people for adult life through the development of personal skills and future-proofed career aspirations as well as good academic qualifications. In her free time she is enjoying being back in the north of England, and exploring new destinations as well as revisiting old haunts.

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Lisa Bibby
Chair of CAS Committee

Lisa has over 25 years’ senior leadership experience across public and third sectors, delivering major change and improvement programmes across education, children’s services and community regeneration, most latterly as Director for Education and Schools for Blackburn with Darwen Council, focused on the reform of all education services and establishment of a schools led improvement system.

Since 2014 Lisa has worked as an independent strategy, development and improvement consultant to public and third sectors at local and national levels and is also a co-founder of a collaborative consultancy based in Lancashire specialising in research and evaluation. Since 2017 she has also worked for Mind, the national mental health charity, as a Quality Reviewer, responsible for undertaking independent reviews of local Mind charities, assessing all aspects of leadership and governance, sustainability and growth, influence and participation.

Lisa has significant experience as a trustee, chair, non executive director and as a member of a number of partnership boards including the Mind Network Committee.


Lynne Horne


I have lived in the Furness area all my life and have recently retired; I have one son and three grandsons. I am currently actively involved as a volunteer at a local Hospice.

I have over 29 years’ experience working in the Education sector, mainly in the area of Finance and Business Management. I also hold a Post 16 Certificate of Education. I have served two terms as a Governor at Walney School, during which time I gained invaluable experience in all aspects of the Governance of a school. I particularly enjoyed my links with the SEN Department and working with the Pupil Premium Champion at the school. I am passionate about the welfare and development of all our students and look forward to being a new member on the Board of Trustees.

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Rebecca Batstone

Rebecca was appointed as a MAT Trustee in November 2021.


She originally trained as a pharmacist and has spent over 25 years working in the NHS and the Pharmaceutical industry, She is also a qualified life and business coach and presently wrks part-time in her own business and part-time for a mental health charity in Kendal.


She moved to Cumbria in 2017 with her husband and son and in her spare time enjoys walking and is presently ticking off the Wainwrights.

Paul Edmondson

Paul Edmondson was appointed as a MAT Trustee in December 2019.

Degree educated in Engineering, Paul has spent the majority of his career working for Siemens in the Oil & Gas Industry where he held a number of Design, Commercial and Management positions.

Paul now works locally in the advanced materials and paper products group – James Cropper plc, where he is the Technical Manager within the group’s Strategic Innovation Team.  

Paul is an alumnus of The Queen Katherine School and resides locally with his wife and two young children.

In his spare time he enjoys fell running, playing football and photography.

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Kathryn Ritchie, OBE


Kathryn joined the MAT in January 2022. 


She recently retired after 39 years working in education as a primary / middle school teacher, Headteacher, Education Consultant,  Head of Inspection Unit, Senior Inspector of Schools, Director of Education Services and CEO of Service Children’s Education worldwide. Kathryn’s driving force has always been to get the best for the children and young people in her care.  Her contribution to education  was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2015 when she was awarded an OBE.



Outside of the education world Kathryn enjoys travelling, reading, walking the fells, playing tennis, golf and skiing.