Central Trust Staff

The BDAT team

In addition to the Trustees, BDAT also employs a small Central Team to support the day to day running of the Trust:

Carol Dewhurst, OBE

CEO of the Trust

Carol has been Chief Executive Officer of Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust since April 2014 overseeing the Trust growth from a three school MAT to Trust of 17 schools, educating more than 8,500 pupils and with a budget of over £54 million by the end of 2020.

During her time at BDAT, Carol has also supported the set-up of a new Diocesan MAT in the Richmond area of North Yorkshire, acted as a Trustee on the LEAF Academy Trust board to support their re-brokerage into Abbey Academies Trust and is Vice Chair of the New Collective Learning Trust, a new sixth form Trust based in West Yorkshire. She has recently joined the Board of the Hallam Schools Partnership Academies Trust to provide additional support and capacity following their FNTI in early 2021.

In 2020, Carol was awarded an OBE for her services to Education in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Carol is a political science graduate from Leeds University and Chartered Marketeer. 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.

Helen Griffin – Education Consultant

Helen taught for 32 years in a variety of secondary schools in Rotherham, Wakefield and Essex. She held a wide range of roles including ‘acting headship’.

In 2006 she returned North, and has carried out a variety of school improvement roles, culminating in being the Director of Secondary for BDAT until September 2019.

Helen now supports the Trust in its development work.



Jason Kenneally – Director of Secondary

Jason joined BDAT in December 2019 as Director of Secondary and has responsibility for the strategic direction of the secondary phase.

Jason undertook his first headship in 2014. In the subsequent years he undertook two further headships, developing and leading strong staff teams to ensure each school had an established culture focused on school improvement, utilising both collaborative and reflective practices to continually move these establishments forward for the benefit of students, staff and their communities. Impact was reflected in both traditional measures of student outcomes and Ofsted gradings as well as staff and student voice.

Jason’s expertise is working with schools in challenging circumstances and developing strong sustainable, collaborative cultures that ensure school improvement is a reflective model based on secure systems and evidence. He also has expertise in strategic curriculum and resource planning, leadership development and research practice to ensure effective organisational practice.

Jason’s professional journey has also seen him undertake school improvement consultation work with several schools and MATs within the North of England which has reinforced the importance of working as an effective collaborator in the education sector.


Craig Lee

Director of Primary

Craig joined BDAT in September 2015 and as Primary Director has led the strategic educational direction of the Primary Schools.

Craig started his first Headship in 2004. Craig became a National Leader of Education in 2010 and has also been the Executive Principal of an Academy Trust, an Executive Head of 5 schools and still led his own school to an Ofsted outstanding.

Craig’s expertise is working with schools in special measures and using data analysis to improve pupil performance. He also has expertise in strategic planning and how CPD and performance management can be used to improve school performance.

Craig has worked with the BDAT schools in the successful transition to academies and ensures that the schools have a consistent and collaborative approach to their development whilst maintaining their individuality.  Craig enjoys working strategically with the central team and the leaders of all schools to ensure that the best opportunities are given to every child in BDAT.

Ashley Reed

Chief Finance Officer

Ashley joined BDAT in April 2016. Ashley’s background is 8 years working in public finances being 5 years with the School Funding Team at the Local Authority and laterally with Belle Vue Girls’ Academy as Head of Finance & Facilities. Ashley previously has 20+ years experience working in the commercial sector covering a myriad of roles ranging from Payroll Officer to Finance Director. Ashley chairs the Bradford Secondary Business Managers Forum which meets every half term.

In his spare time Ashley is a committed badminton player and coaches badminton at Bradford Kobras Performance Centre to a range of children from 4 years old to 18 years old. Ashley also is chairman of the Bradford & District Badminton League which he has been involved with for the last 10 years.

Peter Thompson – Chief Operating Officer

Peter joined BDAT in November 2015. After a full career as a Warfare Officer in the Royal Navy during which he saw much of the world (especially the Gulf and West Indies) and gained a Master’s degree in Defence Studies, he took early retirement and moved to Yorkshire to become the Bursar at Bingley Grammar School. In 2007 he left there to take up the post of Bursar at a small co-educational all-through Independent day and boarding school in North Yorkshire prior to joining Woodhouse Grove School as Operations Director in 2012.

Peter’s role is to ensure the smooth running of the BDAT business so that the schools can focus on teaching and learning.  He provides support and direction in a variety of disciplines such as operational management, HR, safeguarding, procurement and involvement with union colleagues. As an HR Generalist, he provides advice and support to the management to meet the ever-changing needs of schools.  He oversees the work of the Head of Corporate Governance and Estates and Health and Safety Manager and works closely with the school leadership teams in terms of regulation and compliance, distilling government guidance and providing direction in terms of policy and procedures.

Peter is a Director of the New Collaborative Learning Trust and Chair of the Advisory Board of New College Bradford.

Katie Waring – Director of Professional and Career Development

Katie joined BDAT in January 2020 and as the Director of Professional and Career Development strategically leading the Trust’s vision to support school improvement by recruiting, developing and retaining highly competent and confident staff to deliver high quality education so every child can fulfil their potential and goals. Before joining BDAT Katie worked as a teacher in both the primary and secondary phases before moving into staff development, particularly in Initial Teacher Training. She chairs the Bradford for Teaching ITT group.

Katie is a Research Lead for both the Bradford and Oldham Research Schools.  She recently worked as part of the team that wrote the Kusuma Improving Secondary Science Implementation support course for the EEF.

In January 2021 Katie was awarded Fellowship of the Chartered College for Teaching for her demonstration of high standards of professionalism; commitment to engaging in relevant, career-long professional learning and critical engagement with research and evidence.

Helen Williams

Estates and Health & Safety Manager

Helen has recently joined the operations team tasked in assisting schools to look after and develop their premises to support effective teaching and learning.

Helen has a BSc in Building Surveying and associated professional qualifications around premise management. Her previous role was as Property Manager at the Diocese of Leeds, where she spent over 14 years supporting 200+ schools across the Diocese including academies. Previous to this she worked in Wakefield LA for 17 years in their Design Unit, finally heading up the Surveying team covering all types of buildings, including schools and managing a team of over 20 Asbestos, Asset, Building, Structural and Land Surveyors.

In her spare time she enjoys all things outdoors especially camping and adventurous activities.

Ann Morritt

Director of Teaching and Learning (Primary)

Since joining BDAT as Director of Teaching and Learning in September 2016, Ann has supported the improvement journey of the Primary schools within the Trust. As part of her role she has worked collaboratively with schools to develop a programme of CPD for colleagues which focuses on raising standards of achievement and enhancing the quality of education.

Ann has over twenty five years of experience working in education. Her career has involved roles within Wakefield and Bradford local authorities. She has worked as an improvement professional, a school leader, a consultant and as a classroom practitioner.

As a Head Teacher and as a Vice Principal, she effectively secured the necessary and rapid improvements that were needed to enable the academy to be judged by Ofsted as moving from satisfactory to good in all areas within two years.

Reem Briggs

Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning (Primary)

Reem joined the Central Team in January 2019. Reem worked at East Morton CE Primary School for 16 years and became involved with BDAT when East Morton joined the MAT in November 2017.

Reem’s role in school included EYFS and Key Stage 1 Leader, alongside supporting teaching and learning and middle leaders with subject leadership. Reem has also represented the Local Authority as an EYFS moderator for seven years.

In January 2019 Reem added capacity to the Primary Team, when she was seconded to BDAT as Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning for two days per week whilst continuing her role in school. Reem now works full time for the Primary Team; her support has focused around EYFS, KS1, phonics, subject and middle leadership. Reem also supports with the Trust’s CPD programme.


Claire Berry – Head of Corporate Governance and Compliance

Claire joined BDAT in September 2020 as Head of Corporate Governance and Compliance.  Prior to working at BDAT, Claire has gained experience in a number of HR roles,  she has also spent 4 years as a School Business Manager,  and has been a vice chair of governors at a local primary school.  Claire’s role is focussed on governance management and compliance, and acts as the company secretary. Her responsibilities include line management of the Clerks and Governance Compliance Officers, overseeing school admissions across the Trust and leading governor recruitment, training, support and audit.

In her spare time Claire coaches rugby league at youth level at her local community club.

Hayley Budge – PA to CEO and Office Manager

Hayley joined BDAT in September 2020 as PA to the CEO and Office Manager. Prior to working at BDAT, Hayley worked as Executive Assistant to the Headteacher in a Primary School and gained valuable school admin systems experience in supporting the Headteacher and SLT. Prior to this she spent 7 years working for a large PLC supporting the directors. Hayley is an experienced PA and provides support to the Chief Executive, as well as overseeing the management of the office.

Hayley will be the main link between the Trust, Academies and its staff, providing help, advice and support as and when required.

Hayley is governor at a local primary school and in her spare time she enjoys walking and yoga.

Aimee Burns


Aimee joined BDAT in February 2019 as Receptionist / Administrator for the Central Trust office. She works to provide an efficient reception service to visitors and colleagues and supports the day to day administration for the Central Team. Prior to working at BDAT, Aimee worked as a compliance officer for a recruitment agency where she gained valuable experience in office administration systems.

In her spare time Aimee is a busy mum who enjoys walking and spending time with her family.


Danielle Carter

Governance & Compliance Officer

Danielle joined BDAT in July 2018. She has over five years’ experience within Secondary Education settings specialising in attendance and attainment of Post 16 students, as well as supporting them in their Post 18 aspirations.

Prior to this she spent eight years in a senior administration role within the private sector, providing high quality finance administration support and customer service to their nationwide contracts.

Danielle is currently undertaking NGA’s Level 3 Clerks Development course. She supports the Head of Corporate Governance and Compliance and works closely with the Governing Boards throughout the Trust.

Jill Geering – PA to Director of Primary Education

Jilly joined BDAT in October 2019 as PA to the Director of Primary Education. Jilly is an experienced Personal Assistant, with over 10 year experience working in a variety of companies. Prior to working at BDAT, Jilly worked as an Events Manager, where she gained valuable experience in business management, HR, data management and customer service  Jilly’s role here at BDAT includes providing high level administrative assistance to the Director of Primary Education and his Team, as well as assisting and supporting the 13 Primary School Headteachers within the Trust.

In her spare time, Jilly enjoys meeting up with friends and family, reading, running and long walks with her two dogs Odie and Dotty.

Caitlin Holmes – Business and Governance Support Officer

Caitlin joined BDAT in January 2020 as Receptionist/Administrator. After developing a keen interest in Trust operations, Caitlin now holds a permanent role within the Trust as Business and Governance Support Officer.  Caitlin supports the Central Team on a day-to-day basis, and is involved in all business and governance matters of the Central Trust.

Keen to develop her skills, Caitlin is currently undertaking a Level 3 Certificate in Clerking of School and Governing Boards, accredited by ICSA. In addition to this, she has recently become a governor at one of the primary schools within the Trust.

Prior to working at BDAT, Caitlin completed her BA (Hons) in History at the University of Portsmouth. She also worked part-time in retail for 6 years alongside her studies.



Lisa Smith

Finance Manager

Lisa joined BDAT in April 2016 from Bradford University, Faculty of Management & Law where she worked for over 11 years, her most recent post being that of Purchasing & Finance Administrator. Lisa is a qualified Accounting Technician, having achieved the Level 4 Diploma with the AAT in 2011.

Lisa has significant experience in the preparation of management accounts and a sound knowledge of Iris Financials.  She has excellent inter-personal skills and enjoys supporting our Academy Business Managers and finance colleagues in all areas of finance and advising on financial policies and procedures.  Lisa works closely with the Trust Finance Director, assisting with the preparation of statutory returns.

Helen Thomson – Finance Support Officer

Helen joined BDAT in February 2021 having previously worked for an educational Multi Academy Trust where she worked in a similar finance role for the last 4 years. Helen has a good background knowledge of working within customer service, administration and banking. Helen is really excited to join the Central Team here at BDAT, having a passion for Education and learning new skills especially within the ESFA Finances.  Within her her spare time Helen enjoys baking, revamping furniture and decorating.


Rachel Van der Boon

Governance and Compliance Officer

Rachel joined BDAT in September 2019 as Governance and Compliance Officer. She supports a number of primaries as a dedicated clerk and works within the Governance Team supporting the development of governance.

Rachel has worked in education since 2000, most recently as Head of Year for Sixth Form, supporting students with progress, destinations, and well-being. She has also been a school governor, taking the role of Vice-Chair and Chair.

In her spare time Rachel volunteers with Bradford’s Youth Offending Team as a Community Panel member. She is also Secretary and Trustee of her local Village Hall charitable body.

Emma Williamson – PA to Director of Secondary Education

Emma joined BDAT in November 2019 as PA to the Director of Secondary Education. Her role involves; analysing data, diary management, facilitating CPD in a variety of cross school workstreams, providing support to the Director of Secondary Education as well as assisting the four Secondary school Headteachers and Senior Leadership Teams.

Prior to working at BDAT Emma’s career in education began in 2014 when she joined a Church of England Primary School in Bingley as Office Administrator where she gained valuable experience in a variety of areas, including supporting the Headteacher and SLT, HR and marketing assistance.

Emma’s former roles were six years in the Hospitality sector where she planned over 500 Weddings and Events at a popular North Yorkshire Hotel and Country Estate, before securing her first PA role to the Owner and Chairman of the Hotel and Country Estate.

In her spare time Emma enjoys reading, walking her two dogs and gardening not to mention adventuring with her two young sons.

See our latest tweets

Come and work with us! There is still time to apply for our Administrative Assistant vacancy - to find out more visit our website https://www.bdat-academies.org/vacancy/administrative-assistant/
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As the last BDAT school closes their doors for the summer holidays, we want to issue every student and every staff member a wonderful summer and say a huge thank you for being AMAZING in what has been a very unique (and hopefully never to be repeated) year. Happy holidays! 🌞😎☀️


We have a part time Administrative Assistant vacancy here at @WeAreBDAT. Click the link below to find out more. Come and work with us! https://www.bdat-academies.org/vacancy/administrative-assistant/