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 2018.

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.

Carol’s work for BDAT also enables her to support a number of regional and national initiatives, including sitting on the National Church of England MAT CEO Steering Group and participating in the DfE West Yorkshire Strategic Partnership on collaborative working across education in the region.

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 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.


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 to take up a post as a school improvement officer in Bradford specialising in working with schools facing challenging circumstances and developing leadership capacity in schools. This lasted until March 2015 (9 years). During her time at Bradford, Helen specifically supported Wyke Manor (now Appleton) as school improvement partner moving the school from SM to satisfactory; Immanuel College (from SM to good), Queensbury (from SM to Satisfactory with good leadership), and Feversham College from (Good to outstanding).

In 2011 as part of this role, the secondary heads in Bradford requested that the Local Authority second Helen to act as the Operational Director for the newly formed Bradford Secondary Partnership. In this role, Helen project managed all the work of the Partnership including coordinating the successful and rigorous self-review programme which all secondary schools in Bradford now participate. In this role, Helen participated in over 150 school reviews led by OFSTED ex-HMIs or active inspectors. Helen also led the leadership development work embedding the NCTL system leadership programmes and Teaching Leaders work in the City. As part of her Bradford Secondary Partnership work, Helen also brokered and directly provided emergency school leadership support for Kings, Laisterdyke and Tong High school.

On retirement from this role in April 2015, Helen established her own company specialising in advising secondary schools,

with a particular emphasis on providing support to senior and middle leaders and acting as the external consultant for governors who are carrying out Headteacher appraisal and assisting in the appointment of headteachers. Currently she is undertaking project work around boosting recruitment and developing leadership. She has also served as a governor on two school boards.

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 started his first headship in 2014. In the subsequent years he undertook two further headships, developing and leading strong staff teams in improving both student outcomes and the academies Ofsted judgements on each occasion. Jason’s professional journey has also seen him undertake school improvement consultation work with several schools and MATs within the North of England.

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

Craig Lee

Director of Primary

Craig joined BDAT in September 2016 and as Primary Director has led the strategic educational direction of the Primary Schools.

Since 2016 Craig has worked successfully with St Philip’s Primary School, Christ Church Academy and St Oswald’s Primary to all reach Good grades from their latest Ofsted inspections.

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.

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 – Director of Operations/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 expertise is in making business decisions to provide the best value support to staff and pupils to give every pupil the opportunity to achieve their full potential. He has delivered a number of high value projects involving new build and refurbishment programmes on time and on budget. As an HR Generalist, he provides advice and support to the management teams and enjoys building and shaping teams of people to meet the ever changing needs of schools.

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

For the past 4 years Katie has been the Head of ITT at Bradford Birth to 19 SCITT.

In 2014, Katie set up a primary ITT provision which currently trains over 60 student teachers each year and in 2018 this was extended to include secondary provision.

Prior to this, Katie was the Regional Lead for Teach First at Sheffield Hallam University and previously held appointments at Leeds Beckett, Leeds University and the University of Bristol; she started out as a Teacher of Science and in this guise was part of the writing team for the National Strategies and a consultant for the BBC.

Katie is currently a Research Lead for the Bradford Research School which involves writing research informed CPD to support the Science Guidance report and it’s delivery.

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 has worked at East Morton CE Primary School for 15 years and became involved with BDAT when East Morton joined the MAT in November 2017.

Reem’s role in school includes EYFS and Key Stage 1 Leader; Reem has also represented the Local Authority as an EYFS moderator for six years.

Reem has provided CPD to staff in school and has supported Early Years leaders in other schools; her support has focused around assessment, classroom provision, challenge, phonics and planning. Reem is an SLE for Eden Teaching School Alliance, where support has implemented a change in pedagogy and developed settings that are engaging, purposeful and challenging. Alongside EYFS and Key Stage 1, Reem is responsible for Teaching and Learning across school focusing on a broad and balanced curriculum, assessment of foundation subjects and supporting other foundation subject leaders.

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.


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 HR roles in Security and Retail Sectors, and has also spent over 4 years as a School Business Manager, she has also experienced the role of vice chair of governors at a local primary school. Claire’s role is focussed on governance management and compliance. She acts as the company secretary for BDAT. 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 and provides an efficient reception service to callers and visitors to the office.  She also assists with day to day support to the Central Team.


Danielle Carter

Governance & Compliance Officer

Danielle joined BDAT in July 2018 from Carlton Bolling College, where she was the Academic Support Officer within the Post 16 provision.

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 supports the Governance Manager and works closely with the Governing Boards throughout the Trust.

Jill Geering – PA to Director of Primary Education

Jilly came to the Trust 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. Her role will involve providing administrative assistance to the Director of Primary Education and his Team, as well as assisting and supporting the 13 Primary Headteachers within the Academy.

Prior to this position Jilly has also worked as an Events Manager at a newly built, modern Community Interest Club.

Bethany Holmes – Finance Support Officer

Beth joined BDAT in October 2017 as the Trust’s Business and Finance Apprentice. Following the completion of her Business Administration Apprenticeship in October 2018, Beth now holds a permanent position in the Trust as Finance Support Officer. Due to the development of her role, Beth is also undertaking a Level 3 AAT Accountancy course which she hopes to complete over the next 18 months.

Beth supports the Central Team in day to day activities including being involved in all business and finance aspects of the Central Trust.

As a former student of Immanuel College, Beth enjoys working closely with the schools within the Trust.

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.

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 experience in purchasing, assisting in the production of monthly management accounts and advising on financial policies and procedures. She has excellent inter-personal skills and enjoys building relationships with new colleagues. Lisa works closely with the Trust Finance Director and is the link between the Trust and the Academies, providing advice and support when needed.

Rachel Van der Boon

Governance and Compliance Officer

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

Rachel has worked in education since 2000, most recently at Beckfoot Oakbank 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 Volunteer. She also volunteers with her local Village Hall charitable body as a booking clerk and clerks the Trustee meetings.

Emma Williamson – PA to Director of Secondary Education

Emma joined the Trust in November 2019 as PA to the Director of Secondary Education. Her role will involve providing administrative assistance, analysing data and diary management.
Her experience in Education began in 2014 when she joined a Primary School in Bingley as Office Administrator.
Prior to this Emma planned Weddings and Events at a popular North Yorkshire venue.

See our latest tweets

Congratulations to students receiving their GCSE resit results this week. Lots of grade 4s and above. It took time, but you got there in the end! #BVGAexcellence⭐️@WeAreBDAT

Read all about it..... first BDAT Briefing for 2021. https://www.bdat-academies.org/news/bdat-newsletters/ Find out the results of our latest staff temperature check, news on ITT, remote learning, agile governance and more.


As we reach the middle of our second school week a quick reminder as to the importance of the people in our Trust and what we can offer. Look out for our new CPD Faculty - "BDAT People" coming soon @BDAT_CPD @WeAreBDAT #BDATFamily