News New Academy Trust Chair Foresees Bright but Changing Future

In January 2016, Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) welcomed Tessa Mason as Chair to the expanding Trust.

Speaking just three months after her appointment, Tessa talks of her experience to date working with BDAT in the increasingly changing education landscape after the Education White Paper announcement that all schools should now consider academisation.

Tessa said: “My first impression of BDAT was, overwhelmingly positive. I was impressed by the absolute commitment from the Board, as well as the high level leadership from the CEO, to drive school improvement through partnerships of good practice across schools in Bradford. I was excited by the Trust’s growth plans, and honoured to be asked to be part of a Trust so focussed on improving outcomes for children”.

“The announcements in the White Paper mean our ambition is now more important than ever. The education world is changing quickly and the paths schools choose to take between now and 2022 mean collaboration, and often academisation, is the only way forward if we are to deliver a robust, sustainable and improving education offer. BDAT is one of a number of Trusts who is now going to have to look very hard at their capacity, their growth and the changes the future demands”.

As Tessa considers the future she continues to reflect positively on the impact Academy Trusts can make with a pledge that BDAT should continue to move “from success to success.” She reiterates the Secretary of States words that “academisation is not a magic wand” but adds that “With hard work and determination in a school led leadership system, schools can support schools through the academy Trust and teaching school structures to drive improvement”.

Looking closer to home at BDAT she adds “BDAT is developing and fine-tuning our school improvement capacities quickly and growing our own leaders of tomorrow. The Board and school leaders are determined and optimistic. The next few years will be a time of consolidation and cautious planned growth. We remain 100% committed to the schools, pupils and families of Bradford that were set up to serve. We will need to balance our commitment to support new partners while maintaining our focus on those schools already in our family”.

Tessa took over the Chair role from Ven. Dr David Lee, the previous Archdeacon of Bradford, who had led the Trust from inception in 2012 through to his retirement in January 2016.

Tessa is an Education Advisor for the DfE and an ex-Head Teacher, who was appointed based on the exceptional level of knowledge she could bring to the Trust on the academies programme and the wider education agenda.

In January the Trust was delighted when Tessa Mason, who was already associated with BDAT through her work with the Diocese, accepted their proposal to take over the position of Chair.

Tessa is one of a number of recent new appointments designed to strengthen the BDAT Board alongside Bill Henry, a senior partner at Price Waterhouse Cooper, Margaret Platts, MBE and ex-Head teacher at Belle Vue Girls, Anthony Bennett, an National Leader of Governance and Denise Sterling, Chair of Governors at Immanuel College which joined BDAT in Feb this year.

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