Our Board

Tessa Mason

Chair of the Trust

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

Tessa is a highly  experienced education adviser and consultant. Following sixteen years in headship in Leeds, Tessa became the Regional Programme Leader for the TDA for Yorkshire and Humber until 2010 and subsequently a Teaching and Learning Adviser for the NCTL  and a DfE Education Adviser for the RSC in Lancashire and west Yorkshire and the north of England (current).

Tessa has specialised in the professional development of the whole of the teaching workforce, in school and MAT governance and in supporting and advising the emergence and development of the self-improving system in all phases of education. In this context Tessa has developed the regional NLE, NLG and  TSA presence and influence across the north of England. In recent years Tessa has had a direct role in supporting the National Teaching School Council representatives and the DfE on strategy and coordination in Yorkshire, Humber and in Lancashire/West Yorkshire.

Tessa is recognised for her work in the diocesan schools sector and has understanding and experience of the shape and scope and leadership of a full range of multi academy trusts, as well as for her deep knowledge and understanding of the school led system. Tessa contributes to the facilitation of the NPQEL in the north west of England.

Bill Henry

Vice Chair of the Trust

Skills: Strategy, change management, facilitation

Bill was a senior partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) prior to his recent retirement, where he led a large practice across the North. He is an experienced facilitator and mentor with expertise in strategic risk and governance.

Bill has been a governor of Immanuel College since 2013

Peter Addison-Child

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: Education

Peter’s career has spanned both public and private sectors, with senior roles in government departments working directly with Ministers as well as appointments up to board level in business, including a spell with consultancy PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

His commercial experience includes co-founding a business consultancy start-up which grew to generate over £23 million in revenue during his tenure as a Director.
Since 2011, Peter has worked as an independent consultant, focused mainly in the education sector. His has worked closely with National Leaders of Education in projects for the Teaching Schools’ Council and the former National College for Teaching and Leadership. His most recent clients include the Institute of Education at UCL and Deloitte, as well as various teaching schools and multi-academy trusts and local authorities. He brings particular expertise in strategic business communication and engagement.

Beyond education, he has also provided consultancy and executive support at the top level in the health sector and the sports sector, working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and UK Sport amongst others.

Nurjahan Ali Arobi

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: Management, SEN

Nurjahan is a Patient and Public Partnerships Account Manager for NHS England. She has two daughters and initially became a Governor due to her interest in Education and a desire to ensure her own children receive the best education possible. Nurjahan has vast experience in dealing with SEND and is passionate abut supporting the progress and well-being for all students. Nurjahan is the Vice Chair of the Governing Board and Chair of the Student and Provisions Committee at Belle Vue Academy.

Nurjahan has been a Director of the Yorkshire Dales Society.

Ruby Bhatti, OBE

Trustee of the MAT and Chair of Governors at Clayton St John

Skills: Legal, Governance

Ruby is a highly successful Solicitor with over 27 years’ experience in the legal field. She has over 21 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 sits as a Non-Executive Director, previously in the Social Housing sector on Incommunities Group Board and currently Deputy Chair and lay member – governance for NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

She is a National Leader of Governance for Education (NLG) for Yorkshire and the Humber, a Non Executive Director for the Dixon Multi Academies Trust  and Rainbow Academy. She is also a panel member for Bradford Local Authority Education Appeals Admission Panel.

Ruby is Chair for the Quality and Safety Patient’s Panel based at the Bradford Institute for Health and Research (BIHR), Panel member for The Improvement Academy for Yorkshire and the Humber and Public Reviewer for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). She has recently been appointed as a Patient Research Ambassador for the Bradford Teaching Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust.

She is a Patient Lecturer at the University of Bradford. She sits as an Associate Hospital Manager for the Mental Health Department, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Ruby is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce ( FRSA) and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

Ruby has been awarded an OBE in New Year’s Honours 2019 for her services to children and housing.

Roland Clark

Trustee of the MAT

Skills: Business Advisor

Roland is a Governor at Belle Vue Girls Academy and has been involved in the education sector for many years which has given him wide experience including as Chair of Governors of a local Church Primary School.

In a professional role he has experience as an Auditor and Advisor to Academies since they were first created.

Roland is Chair of the YMCA in Bradford as well as Chair of ‘Inn Churches’ which, in Winter organises overnight accommodation in local churches and also runs ‘The Storehouse’ café in Bradford and delivers training on healthy cooking on a limited budget.

His role within BDAT enables him to make a positive contribution both in the area of education in a Christian context, and also to the overall welfare of this part of the country generally.

Carol Dewhurst

Trustee of the MAT and CEO of the Trust

Skills: Project management, strategy, policy, communications

Carol has been Chief Executive Officer of Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) since April 2014 overseeing the Trust growth from a three school MAT to a Trust of 17 schools by the end of 2018.

Carol has also supported the set-up of a Diocesan MAT in the Richmond area of North Yorkshire, acted as a Trustee on the LEAF 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 Trust based in West Yorkshire.

Carol’s work for BDAT also enables her to support a number of regional and national initiatives, such as participating as Bradford representative on the West Yorkshire Strategic Partnership and sitting on the local schools forum.

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.



Stephen Emsley

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

Skills: Recruitment & 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.

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 of the Hirst Wood Burial Board 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 also represents the DBE as a member of the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust and has been involved in the Trust from the beginning.

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

Denise Sterling

Trustee of the MAT and Chair of Governors at Immanuel College

Skills: Management, strategy, governance

Denise is an Occupational Therapist and has practised within the National Health Service 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 Trust staff.

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.

See our latest tweets

Great conversation with Paul Dickinson from Rest Bandit on how to Work Smart and Rest Smarter at the BDAT conference today. Definitely food for thought... #growthtogreat @WeAreBDAT @restbandit thank you

Thank you to Andy Sammons, author of The Compassionate Teacher, for coming to the BDAT conference today to remind us of the links between workload and wellbeing and how as leaders we can make a difference for our staff @andy_samm #growthtogreat


Thank you to Katie Savage @EastMortonCEP and Katie Waring for telling us about our new innovation work stream and Director of Careers and Professional Development role - two great examples of how we want to invest and develop our staff talent #growthtogreat @WeAreBDAT