Children's University Staff

Debbie Bennett:  
Debbie is the Children's University Manager and is responsible for the day to day running of the Essex Children's University and the Suffolk Children's University.
Debbie was interviewed for Essex Living Magazine and you can read more about her role and passion for all things children's university in the article this article Click Here


Meet the Trustees  As a charity, Essex Children's University Trust has a Board of Trustees which have overall control of the charity and they are responsible for making sure it is doing what it was set up to do.  

Our Trustees use their skills and experience to support our work, helping us to achieve our aims.  

The role of the Trustee is a voluntary one. 

Our Trustees undertake 6 main duties:

  1. Ensure the charity is carrying out it's purposes for the public benefit.
  2. Comply with our governing document and the law.
  3. Act in the charity's best interests.
  4. Manage the charity resources responsibly.
  5. Act with reasonable care and skill.
  6. Ensure our charity is accountable.

If you are interested in finding out more about the role of our Charity Trustees you can find information on The Charity Commission website, linked here.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Trustee, please contact the Children's University Manager in the first instance, by email,

Angela Bull: 
Angela has worked in the education sector for over 13 years, mainly as an HR professional and most recently as the Director of HR  within a large multi academy trust with responsibilities for safeguarding and wellbeing. 
She has also managed finances and premises in a school business manager role for 5 years.  She is passionate about working in the education sector and making a positive difference to children’s lives. 
She wanted to use her expertise more widely to the benefit of a charitable organisation that aligns closely with her values and Children’s University is an ideal opportunity for families to develop their children’s talents through encouraging children to do what they love, try new things, uncover new skills and open their eyes to new possibilities that they will take into their futures.

Julie Powell:
As a Senior Health Promotion Adviser for the Colchester Primary Care Trust, Julie Powell was a founding member of the Management Group which piloted the Children's University in East Colchester 15+ years ago.  Julie's early support enabled the Children's University to grow locally and then flourish into the Essex Children's University Trust, which, of course, now works across Essex and Suffolk.
After her retirement, Julie joined the Trustee Board of the Essex Children's University Trust in 2018 bringing with her valuable experience of working across statutory, voluntary, and commercial organisations.
In joining the Trustee Board Julie is proud to have a role to play in supporting the Children's University and continuing to develop life enhancing experiences for children and families with recognition and reward for their achievements at local graduation ceremonies.

David Matthews:  Chair of Trustees
David Matthews trained as an English teacher and taught for most of his career in South London. He was Head Teacher of St Andrew's, a Church of England comprehensive school in Croydon, for eleven years.  
His involvement with The Children's University (CU) began in Croydon, working with a consortium of local schools and then as Chair of a charity which now delivers CU in Croydon, West Sussex and the New Forest.  
He believes that the opportunities CU offers to children and young people are an invaluable complement to formal education, providing critical life-skills that help each individual realise their full potential. 
He moved to Ipswich in 2021 and was elected churchwarden of St Mary-Le-Tower, Ipswich's civic church, in July 2022.  
He is a published author and enjoys writing, gardening and dabbling in genealogy.

Toni Kittle:
Toni is director of primary education for Unity Schools Partnership. She joined the trust in 2019, working as Headteacher of Westfield Primary Academy. Prior to that, she worked as a Headteacher in Great Cornard.
Toni has 22 years of experience working in schools across London, Essex and Suffolk. Toni has a passion for working with disadvantaged children and families, believing in raising aspiration and providing the best opportunities for all.
As a headteacher, Toni has always advocated for Children's University. 

Lynne Upton: Details will follow
David Humber: Details will follow
  • Professor Emeritus, Anglia Ruskin University.
  • President Chelmsford Science and Engineering Society