CEO In Conversation – Claire Cuthbert, The Evolve Trust

Claire Cuthbert

On the second occasion that Claire-Marie Cuthbert made the journey down from her native North East to Mansfield, she had a pretty clear appreciation of the enormous task she was taking on. The interview process – a few weeks earlier – had revealed all. It was the summer of 2016 and The Evolve Trust was at a low ebb. The trust was heading towards some major financial challenges. With only three academies to its name – a secondary, a primary and a special school – the central team salary bill had, Claire tells me, ballooned to over £800k. The top slice, meanwhile, amounted to less than half of that figure and there was no educational expertise within the central team. Even more concerningly, two of the trust’s schools were in special measures, whilst The Brunts School – once Mansfield’s flagship secondary – was considered to be ‘coasting’. The trustees were determined to find someone with the energy, values and credibility to turn Evolve around. Claire, they believed, was that person.

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