Brian Hooper to retire from Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT)

CEO 01Brian Hooper, Chief Executive of Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT), will retire in August, but will spend the coming months mentoring his successor.

Brian has enjoyed a career in education spanning 22 years, including two years as Chief Executive of AAT, 18 years as a headteacher and the last seven as a National Leader of Education.

He will be succeeded at AAT by Phil Minns, the current Assistant Director of Children’s Services in Dorset and a former head teacher in Dorset schools for 14 years.

Brian said: “I will be handing over this role to Phil in the full confidence that AAT is in a strong position, with our pupils across the Trust enjoying increasing success.

“In particular I am glad to know that St Aldhelm’s Academy is on a clear journey to Outstanding.”

He continued: “Thanks to the superb work of all Ambitions’ dedicated staff, many of whom are unsung heroes, AAT has an exciting future.

“All AAT academies are rated as either Outstanding, Good, or are making good progress to Outstanding.  Furthermore, the Trust has been rated as one of the best in the South West by the Regional Schools Commissioner.”

Brian was Head Teacher then Executive Head Teacher at the Bicknell School in Bournemouth and then Tregonwell, its successor.

He continued: “I will miss the children, whom I have seen flourish across the Trust and I will also be sorry to leave the talented staff and teachers. But I am very much looking forward to working with Phil in the coming months to ensure a seamless handover and to supporting the continued development of education nationally.”

Married, father-of-four Phil Minns guided Portesham CE VA Primary out of special measures.

After a headship at Ferndown First School, he became head of Damers First School in Dorchester, which became an Outstanding school in 2009.

Phil was awarded National Leader of Education status in 2013 and went on to become one of Her Majesty’s School Inspectors, carrying out Ofsted inspections and supporting schools in special measures to improve.

He said: “I feel very privileged to be the next CEO of Ambitions Academies Trust.

“Brian Hooper has done a fantastic job and will certainly be a hard act to follow.

“I am very eager to join the strong team which is so committed to its pupils achieving their full potential.”

AAT’s Chair of Trustees, Mrs Pat Marchiori, said: “Brian’s contribution to the success of Ambitions and its academies has been immense and we are incredibly grateful to him for his vision, determination and hard work.

“Many schools and Local Authorities have benefitted from Brian’s advice and support and so many other children have also been helped.  It has been a privilege to work with him.”

She continued: “Phil Minns’ current role, as Assistant Director of Children’s Services in Dorset, gives him a good understanding of the current local education sector, the broader developments currently taking place and the overall direction of education in England.

“He has relentlessly pursued high quality education and care for all children in every role he has had and is committed to ensuring all children achieve the standards that they are capable of.

“We look forward to welcoming him in post.”

Media information, please contact Debbie Granville, Deep South Media, tel: 01202 534487 or email:

Notes for editors

Tregonwell Multi-Academy Trust became known as Ambitions Academies Trust in July 2014, which under Brian’s leadership has earned a reputation for transforming underperforming schools; Tregonwell Academy consisting of Petersfield Campus, Nigel Bowes Campus and Throop Learning Centre and Queen’s Park Academy in Bournemouth have both been rated as ‘Outstanding’ by government inspectors.

Longspee Special School in Poole is also blossoming under the Trust, while St Aldhelm’s Academy and Manorside Primary in Poole, as well as King’s Park Primary in Bournemouth, are all making marked progress.

AAT has also opened a new nursery provision, Little Ambers, at King’s Park Academy.