CEO’s outstanding contribution to social mobility celebrated at retirement event

Published: 1 Oct 2018

Staff, former colleagues and friends gathered to celebrate the retirement of Richard Gould, CEO of Villiers Park Educational Trust last Friday night (28 September).

A former teacher, Richard joined Villiers Park in 1989 as Assistant Manager of Middleton Stoney, the original home of our education centre. He rose to Trust Director before moving to our current education centre in Foxton in 2003. He became Chief Executive in September 2010.

During his tenure, Villiers Park became involved in two substantial national initiatives. Firstly, providing extensive support and training to a number of universities as they launched outreach initiatives to support local schools and their students. Secondly, taking a lead in post-16 provision within the government’s Gifted and Talented Strategy.

In 2009 the Scholars Programme was established, after Gifted & Talented research identified an alarming underachievement amongst bright young people from low income households. Most recently, INVOLVE was added to our portfolio of programmes; an initiative that sees students developing their own enrichment activities in their school, developing their own skills but enhancing the learning environment for their peers too.

Richard’s expertise has seen him speak at numerous conferences, advising senior university staff on widening participation, contributing to national journals and joining various government groups and panels on social mobility.


At his retirement party, which saw the presentation of a cake made by staff decorated in honour of his love of tennis and a book showcasing photos throughout his time at Villiers Park, staff praised Richard for his passion and dedication to improving social mobility and for all that he’d achieved during his career.

Richard Barnes, Chair of Villiers Park Educational Trust said: “Richard Gould and I share our commitment to social mobility and passionately believe that Villiers Park Educational Trust offers an important means of achieving this. The success of Villiers Park Educational Trust in using education to address social mobility issues owes much to the vision and commitment of our retiring Chief Executive.”

The recruitment progress for a chief executive is in process. Caroline Baker, Director of Development and Communications will be Acting Chief Executive to lead Villiers Park during this period.