The National Literacy Trust is governed by our Board of Trustees, who come from a range of sectors and are responsible for the governance, strategic direction, general management and control of the charity and for the appointment of the Director.
Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO, CBE is a passionate and practical campaigner who has gained an international reputation for "connecting the unconnected", inspiring individuals and organisations to work together for the common good.
Having been Chief Executive of Business in the Community from 1991 to 2008, where she worked closely with the President HRH The Prince of Wales in building a movement of 850 member companies, she is now Vice President of Business in the Community working particularly on encouraging responsible business practice in disadvantaged communities. After stepping down as Chief Executive of BITC, Julia served as Special Adviser to The Prince’s Charities and, in particular, focused efforts on disadvantaged communities such as Burnley, Tottenham, Redcar and Burslem. Her objective, through all her work, is to build a more robust civil society by promoting collaboration among senior leaders from business, government, education and communities.
Julia also plays senior leadership roles in charities aiming to transform education and opportunities for young people. As Chair of Teach First from 2006 to 2014, and now Vice Patron, Julia has pioneered efforts to address educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into effective, inspirational teachers in low-income communities across the UK. In addition, Julia is Vice Chair of the Fair Education Alliance – an association of education and business organisations to drive action at local and national level to make education and life chances fair for all young people. She also serves on the Board of Teach for All, the international partnership with Teach for America that seeks to spread the experience and mission to other interested social entrepreneurs across the world. Julia was appointed to chair the National Literacy Trust in 2013 and chairs Read on. Get on., the national campaign to ensure all children are reading well be the age of 11 so that by 2025 all children in the UK will start secondary school as confident readers.
Following her 2012 government review on increasing young people's engagement in social action Julia co-founded Step Up To Serve (formerly known as the Campaign for Youth Social Action), which was convened by HRH The Prince of Wales and launched with the support of three party leaders in November 2013. She is now a trustee of Step Up To Serve, which aims to get 60 percent of young people involved in practical action in the service of others by 2020. Julia is also a Board member of National Citizen Service, the Careers and Enterprise Company and the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.
She is an external adviser to Carillion's Sustainability Advisory Committee and, until recently, chaired the Advisory Board of the Newnham College Campaign.
Gareth is a chartered accountant and a Director at PwC LLP where he has been working in the mergers and acquisition team for the last 11 years. Gareth leads teams for global PwC accounts on international transactions and has significant corporate and private equity contacts and experience. Gareth is a Law and Accounting graduate from Leeds university. Outside work, he enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, music and reading.
Frank is a Senior Adviser with KPMG, having recently retired from the partnership after more than 30 years with the firm, the last 18 as a senior partner. He specialises in providing corporate finance and strategic and advisory assistance to a wide range of clients, from listed and private and family companies to Government departments and Financial Sponsors.
Frank joined KPMG in 1984 and was appointed partner in 1997. One of the founding members of the firm’s Corporate Finance business, he was Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, London and UK Head of Financial Sponsor Coverage until his retirement in September 2015. He has worked extensively overseas, including running the KPMG Corporate Finance practice in France for three years.
Over the course of his career, he has taken the opportunity to become involved in many community-linked projects and has acted as mentor to head teachers in East Anglia in business-to-education initiatives.
Frank was educated in Scotland and graduated from Heriot-Watt University with a degree in Accounting and Finance in 1983. He is a Fellow of the ICAEW and a member of its Corporate Finance Faculty and in 1999, completed the PMD senior management programme at Harvard Business School. Frank is also a Freeman of the City of London.
Ben Fletcher was Managing Director of Boots Opticians from October 2013 to January 2017, responsible for leading the Boots Opticians business across 640 stores and 5,000 colleagues. He was previously Finance Director of Boots UK & Ireland and joined Boots UK as Commercial Finance Director in July 2011.
Prior to this, he was Finance Director for the global Salon Professional division at Procter and Gamble (P&G). During his 12 years at P&G, Ben worked in a variety of finance roles in the UK and Western Europe.
Ben is a board member of the British Retail Consortium and chairs the Audit & Risk Committee.
Ben is married with two children and lives in Leicestershire.
Joanna Prior is Managing Director of Penguin General Books, one of seven adult divisions at Penguin Random House. The division comprises Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Portfolio, Fig Tree and Penguin Ireland imprints and is home to authors as varied as Clare Balding, Antony Beevor, Alain de Botton, Nick Hornby, John le Carré, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith and Colm Toíbín. Joanna joined Penguin in 1998 as marketing and publicity director. Before this, she held the same role at Fourth Estate and was briefly editor of the Sunday Telegraph magazine. She began her career as an assistant at Macmillan, then becoming a publicist at Heinemann.
Joanna is President of The Publishers Association, past chair of the Trade Publishing Council and chair of the PA’s Reading for Pleasure committee. She is also a founding member of the Reading Partners steering committee, the industry consortium working with libraries. She has been a board member for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction since 2012 and was Chair of World Book Day in 2012.
Liz has been the head teacher of Surrey Square Primary School, in Southwark, since 2006. The school serves a complex community, and has been hugely successful in developing excellence in both personal and academic outcomes for its students. Based on a strongly values-led approach, the school ensures meaningful and long-lasting learning opportunities are the "daily diet" for all pupils. Language and literacy development have been key to the transformation of the school and Liz is a strong advocate for the critical importance this work plays at the heart of great schools and, as a result, communities. Liz works extensively within education beyond her school, notably as the Consultant Director for Primary for Future Leaders Charitable Trust, supporting aspiring head teachers. She is also an accredited National Leader of Education. As a mum to two young girls, Liz is also keen to support women in and into leadership, finding ways to balance work and life.
Joanna Trollope has been writing for over 30 years. Her enormously successful contemporary works of fiction, several of which have been televised, include: The Choir, A Village Affair, A Passionate Man and The Rector's Wife, which was her first number one bestseller and made her into a household name. Since then she has written many books including The Best of Friends, Next of Kin, Other People’s Children, Marrying the Mistress, Second Honeymoon, Friday Nights, The Other Family, Daughters in Laws and her latest bestseller, The Soldier’s Wife. Joanna also wrote Britannia’s Daughters – a non-fiction study of women in the British Empire – as well as a number of historical novels now published under Caroline Harvey. Joanna was awarded the OBE in 1996 for services to literature.