Deputy CEO to step up at top primary trust

REAch2 Academy Trust names its new CEO

The deputy chief executive of one of England’s largest academy trusts is to step up and lead the organisation, it has been announced.

Cathie Paine will take over as chief executive of the REAch2 Trust – the largest primary-only chain in the country. She will take over from current chief executive and founder Sir Steve Lancashire in April 2022.

Paine has been the 60-school trust’s deputy chief executive since it started, and the trust board said she had played a “vital role in creating the design of the trust, securing educational improvements, and overseeing its growth”. 


Lancashire announced his plans to step down in the summer. He will stay on at REAch2 in an “advisory capacity” until the end of next August.

He said at the time he hadn’t “yet made plans for what I will be doing next, but REAch2 will always be a part of me, and I look forward to seeing the Trust continuing its current path of success”.

Gavin Robert, REAch2’s chair, said Paine was appointed through a “robust and competitive recruitment process”.

“Cathie stood out as an exceptional leader amongst a very strong field of candidates.

“We are confident that, in Cathie’s excellent hands, REAch2 has an exciting future and – thanks to our hard-working, dedicated staff – it will continue to benefit the children, families and communities within its reach.”

Paine said she was “absolutely delighted to be appointed as CEO and I look forward to building on the strengths of the first ten years”.

“We will continue our unremitting commitment to the children’s education and will broaden our horizons to respond to wider challenges, ensuring that tens of thousands of children are fully prepared for the changing world around them.”

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