Our Board

Tessa Mason

Chair of the Trust


Skills: Education (primary and secondary), consultancy, strategy and policy.

Tessa has extensive and successful experience working influentially at all levels of the English education system. A former primary teacher and twice headteacher, Tessa has developed expertise across all age groups and sectors, working with schools, universities and colleges of higher education, as well as local/national government departments, specialising in the training and development of the entire schools’ workforce. Tessa was identified as a lead primary headteacher by the National Primary Strategy, and provided outreach support and development for head teachers and leaders of childrens centres in Leeds in over 30 settings.

Tessa was the Regional Programme Leader for the Training and Development Agency (TDA) for schools for 4 years until 2011, with responsibility for ongoing sector-led professional development, and delivering the British government’s legislative reform programme in over 2000 schools and 15 local authority areas in Yorkshire, England.

Tessa is currently a Teaching and Leadership Adviser in Yorkshire and the Humber for the DfE (NCTL and ACOD).

Bill Henry

Vice Chair of the Trust

Skills: Strategy, change management and facilitation

Bill was a Senior Partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) prior to his retirement, where he led the Risk Assurance practice for the North. He is an experienced facilitator and mentor with expertise in organisational development and change management.

Bill has been actively involved with Immanuel College since September 2011, becoming an Associate Governor in 2013.

Catherine Wilson

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: HR and employment law

Catherine works for Ellis Whittam as Director of Legal Services.  Born in Leeds and educated at Notre Dame High School , Catherine read law at Oxford University before practising as a barrister. Catherine has been a partner with two national law firms based in London and the South East before relocating back to Yorkshire in 2014.

Catherine has a long history of advising education clients and charities on employment and governance issues. Coming from a family of teachers, Catherine is passionate about improving children’s life chances through education.

Mr Tony Hesselwood

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: Finance, accountancy and risk management

Tony is a Chartered Accountant having retired after 41 years in a local general practice in 2009.  He worships at St Paul’s, Shipley where Tony acts as Administrator and is also affiliated to St Michael’s in Cottingley.

Tony was Chairman of the Bradford Diocesan Board of Finance for 27 years, again until 2009, through which he had oversight of the DBE’s finances.  He has represented the DBE on the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust from the beginning.

Currently he is Vice Chairman of the Scargill Movement and on the Board of the Cottingley Cornerstone Centre .

Denise Sterling

Trustee of the MAT and Chair of Governors at Immanuel College

Skills: NHS senior manager, strategy and governance

Denise is an Occupational Therapist by profession and has practised within the National Health Service for over 30 years in a variety of clinical and managerial positions. She is currently Head of Occupational Therapy for Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust with responsibility for the strategic, professional and managerial leadership of the staff providing the delivery of trust wide services for all age ranges from newborn to the elderly.

Denise sits on the BSc (Hons) OT course committee of two local universities supporting undergraduate training and delivering workshops preparing the graduates for transition into practice.

An active member of her local church, Denise leads the women’s ministry group and enjoys the challenge of developing programmes to meet the needs of a diverse group of women.

Denise has been a school governor for 13 years and remains committed to supporting the school and school leaders to maximise opportunities for children of all abilities and backgrounds.

Carol Dewhurst

Trustee of the MAT and CEO of the Trust

Skills: Project management, strategy, policy and communications

Carol has been Chief Executive Officer of Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust since April 2014 overseeing the Trust growth from a three school MAT to a Trust of 14 schools and over 7,000 pupils by the end of 2017. Carol has also recently supported for the set up of a new Diocesan MAT in the Richmond area of North Yorkshire, acted as a Trustee on the LEAD Academy Trust board to support their re-brokerage in to Abbey Academies Trust and is a Trustee of New Collective Learning Trust, a new sixth form in West Yorkshire. Carols work for BDAT also enables her to support a number of regional and national initiatives, most recently advising the Diocese of Leeds on their academy strategy and chairing the DfE West Yorkshire Strategic Partnership on collaborative working across education in the region.

Carol is a political science graduate from Leeds University and Chartered Marketer. Carol has worked in a number of public sector roles delivering project work across different areas of the children’s workforce from early years, social work and integrated working (every child matters). Carol previously worked as a team leader in the Academies programme at the Department for Education covering Yorkshire and Humber and the North West.


Nurjahan Ali Arobi

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: NHS Manager, SEN

Nurjahan is a Patient and Public Involvement Manager for NHS England. She has two daughters and became a school governor due to her interest in education and desire to ensure her own children receive the best education possible. Nurjahan has vast experience in dealing with recruitment, HR issues and is the Chair of the Curriculum and Student Welfare Committee at Belle Vue Girls School.

Pauline Hagen OBE

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: Education and senior leadership

Pauline started her career as an English teacher and has worked across the sector, and also in the prison service, as Director for Learning and Skills.

Pauline was appointed Principal of New College Pontefract in 2011 and was instrumental in driving significant improvements within the college, culminating in an Ofsted inspection in which the college was graded Outstanding in all areas in 2013-14.

Pauline is responsible for two successful applications to open free schools, one of which opened in Doncaster in September 2017, and is currently leading New College Pontefract through the process to become one of the first sixth form colleges in the country to academise.

Pauline was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list, for services to education.  Pauline is also a National Leader of Education and an Ofsted Inspector.

Roland Clark

Trustee of the MAT

 Skills: Finance, audit expertise and governance

Roland was a Partner in a local accounting firm until his retirement. He is a Pro-Chancellor at the University of Bradford where he is also Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. Roland is also a Trustee of Bradford YMCA.

He has also acted for a number of local academies and charities as their auditor and advisor, particularly in the area of corporate governance and sustainability.

Stephen Emsley

Trustee of the MAT and Chair of Governors at the Academy at St James and St Oswalds

Skills: Recruitment and Business

Stephen is a Recruitment Specialist and works with a large volume of schools and local authorities to form their recruitment strategies to attract and retain the best staff to their schools, ensuring that pupil outcomes are increased via better teaching. He has been a Governor, Vice Chair and Chair since 2011 and successfully reshaped a governing body that was criticised by OFSTED for failing to hold the school to account, to a governing body praised for its transformation.

Stephen is committed to the potential for all schools to achieve an “Outstanding” status through strong and committed leadership, and a shared strategic vision that is embraced by all staff.

Ruby Bhatti

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: Legal and Governance

Ruby is a highly successful Solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in the legal field. She has over 19 years’ experience of various Non-Executive Directorships, including previous Chair of a BME Housing Association. Her other Non-Executive roles include a social enterprise company, Carlisle Business Centre (CBC) and its charity arm ACL Ltd.  She is also a Director of Yorkshire Arise Ltd, a unique company that has four social enterprise companies working together in Bradford on key projects.

Ruby also sits as a Non-Executive Director both in the Social Housing sector for Incommunities and Sadeh Lok House Group. Ruby is the lay member –governance board member for the NHS Bradford City CCG and is the chair of the Primary Care Commissioning Committee and Remuneration Committee for Bradford City CCG.

She is a Local Leader of Governance supporting other Chair’s in the education field for the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Chair of Governors for three local schools, as well a panel member for Bradford Local Authority Education Appeals Admission Panel. Ruby is also a management committee member of TRACKS Education which provides education for pupils with medical needs that prevent them from attending their mainstream school.

Ruby is also Co-Chair for the Quality and Safety Patient’s Panel for the Bradford Institute for Health and Research (BIHR) and Public Reviewer for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). She was previously a Reviewer for the Ethics Committee for NHS Bradford & Leeds.  She also supports the Bradford University, the Faculty of Health as a service user sitting on various panels which also includes patient research. She sits as an Associate Hospital Manager for the Mental Health Department, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, a role which enables patients to have their case considered independently.

Ruby recently has become a Fellow for the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), (FRSA) and a National Leader of Governance for Education (NLG) for Yorkshire and the Humber.


See our latest tweets

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that 6 of our Post 16 students have secured interviews at either @UniofOxford or @Cambridge_Uni!
The subjects they are being interviewed for are: Medicine, Mathematics, Engineering, Natural Sciences and Biology.
We are so proud of them!

@STPHILIPSCE Primary Academy are looking for a new caretaker!
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Exciting governance administrator opportunity within BDAT available now. Visit our website today to find our more about how you can join our team of clerks https://t.co/Odic1zXR1z