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Staff & Directors

Our Staff and Directors combine humility with determination. We see this in the example of Jesus. They are the nurturing leaders, who do not want credit, but want success to sustain over a longer period of time, long after they are gone. Staff and Directors will identify and include people who share the vision and can contribute to the direction of the Trust as well as having the skills and knowledge needed to meet the objectives. They will not shy away from facing and accepting brutal truths and realities of data, numbers and situations but at the same time they won’t lose hope of a better future. All Staff and Directors share the same values regarding education provision.
Educating for Dignity and Respect
Educating for Wisdom, Knowledge and Skills
Educating for Hope and Aspiration
Educating for Community and Living Well Together

Matthew Edwards

Headteacher, Coleshill CE Primary School

Matthew returned to his roots when he was appointed Head Teacher of Coleshill C of E Primary School in April 2018, having previously spent his teaching career in Staffordshire.

Rachel Sale

Headteacher, St Michael's CE Primary Academy

Rachel has enjoyed being a teacher and leader in Birmingham all of her teaching life. She joined St Michael’s in September 2017 after meeting the wonderful pupils and staff at the school and being inspired to join them in order to help build a school to make a difference in their community.

Shirley Atkar

Headteacher, St George's CE Primary Academy, Edgbaston

Shirley has passionately worked for the Church of England from newly qualified teacher to her current appointment as Head Teacher of St Georges Church of England Primary School, Edgbaston in January 2013. Shirley’s love and aspirations for the pupils, staff, families and the wider school community are at the heart of all she strives to do.

Chris Whiting FCCA

Internal Auditor

Chris is an experienced academy sector specialist and multi-academy trust Finance Director. He has been responsible for the implementation of structures, accounting systems, controls and reporting frameworks across several multi-academy trusts covering academy, further education and community and leisure business streams. 

Sheila Benbow

PA to the CEO

Sheila took up her post as Administrator in October 2017 and now with the development of the MAT in its second year, has a new role as PA to the CEO. She began her career in marketing and administration before training and teaching in Birmingham, and later Staffordshire.

Donna Lewis MBE

Finance Director (Chief Financial Officer)

Donna took up the position of Finance Director with Birmingham Diocesan Academies Trust on 1st January 2018.  Prior to this she was Head of the Consolidation and Financial Reports at the Education Funding Agency.

Charlotte Ward Lewis

School Improvement Advisor

Charlotte has recently joined the Diocese as Head of School Effectiveness.  She comes from 12 years of headship in a Church of England School in Leicestershire where she was the head of an outstanding school and involved in school to school support and school improvement across the Diocese of Leicester.

Andrew Halstead

Diocesan Secretary, The Church of England, Birmingham

Andrew is the Diocesan Secretary for Church of England – Birmingham. He is the senior non-clerical executive in the diocese, leading its projects and administrative structures and is responsible for staffing and allocation of resources.

Patricia Saunders

Vice Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education

Pat Saunders’ main career was with the Local Government Ombudsman, specialising in local authority education issues and working as a lay inspector of rural and urban primary and secondary schools when OFSTED was first established.

Sarah Smith

Diocesan Director of Education

Sarah came to the Diocese in February 2015 from her post as Executive Head Teacher of St John’s CE Primary School in Sparkbrook, which she led for 11 years.

Peter French

Assistant Director of Education

Peter has been involved in governance for many years. He has been a Primary school chair and is now chairing a Secondary school which is sponsoring a local Primary school.

Derek Higgins

Headteacher, Hawkesley Church Primary Academy

Derek has had a long association with Hawkesley. He lived on the estate for a number of years and his son and daughter attended Hawkesley Infant and Nursery School. It was during that time that he volunteered to work in the junior school. This gave him a real thirst to become a teacher.

David Grist

Headteacher, St George's CE Primary Academy, Newtown

David became Headteacher of St George’s Newtown on 30th October 2017. Prior to that he was Headteacher at Fairway Primary Academy in Kings Norton, part of the Education Central family of academies. He has been a teacher and school leader since 1991 and has worked in a number of schools across Birmingham and Sandwell.

Denise Gardner

Headteacher, Nethersole CE Primary Academy

Denise is delighted to be the Headteacher of The Nethersole Academy. She joined the academy in 2013 and became a part of the leadership team in September 2015. From the moment she visited the school, she was struck by the history and setting at Nethersole and once she had met the children she knew that she wanted to be an important person in their lives, helping to shape their day to day experiences and learning. Denise has really enjoyed teaching at Nethersole and feels it is a great honour to now be leading the school as the Headteacher.

Devina Shryane

Acting Headteacher, St Clement's CE Primary Academy

I have developed and grown in my passion for teaching, guiding and supporting children, staff and families during my 16 years at St Clement’s CE Academy. There was a period during this time when I worked at a very different type of school, but quickly realised that working within a Church of England inner city school was where I felt most effective.

Anne Bufton-McCoy

School Improvement Advisor

Anne was a Primary Headteacher for some twenty years in several schools in Birmingham and Leicestershire. The majority of these schools were in a category and she has a good track record of moving schools forward successfully.

Christine Arrowsmith

Since 2012, Christine has worked as a ‘Hotline’ officer with the Association of School and College Leaders, offering telephone advice to all ASCL members, which requires up to date expertise and knowledge of curriculum, data for accountability, inspections, pay, performance management, employment law, management of staff and students and Governance and Trusts, as well as strong people skills. Christine has also worked since 2011 as a self-employed education consultant, supporting schools in the primary, secondary, special and pupil referral unit sectors. Her specialisms include supporting Senior teams and Governors on school improvement, particularly involving leadership and management, subject and pastoral leader training, pre and post inspection support, school evaluation and school improvement planning.

Sarah Smith

Sarah came to the Diocese in February 2015 from her post as Executive Head Teacher of St John’s CE Primary School in Sparkbrook, rated ‘outstanding‘ by Ofsted, which she led successfully for eleven years. A National Leader of Education, she has been involved in supporting schools on their journey of school improvement and has served as Chair of Birmingham Local Authority Primary Forum.

Dr Jan Smart

Jan’s current role is HR Director of the Church of England, Birmingham. Prior to this, she was CEO of the Renewal Christian Centre in Solihull for seven years and from 1989 to 2008 she held various senior management roles at Cadbury Limited, including: Sales Analyst, Market Research, Strategic Planning, Business Development, Finance, Training & Development, HR and Employment Law . Her specialist HR experience will support the BDMAT in developing high quality people practices and ensuring compliance with statutory requirements relating to HR policies and procedures, while her general business experience will support strategic planning and development.

Steven Skakel

Steven is an Independent Director and Trustee with a portfolio of roles. He is currently Chair of Shirley Deanery and Birmingham Diocesan Synods. In addition to joining the Birmingham MAT, Steven is a member of Bishop’s Council for The Church of England Birmingham, a member of the national Church of England Peer Review team, a trustee of the Barrow Cadbury Trust and a school governor.

Revd Barrie Scott

Barrie has been Vicar of St John the Evangelist, Perry Barr since January 2015 and was previously Honorary Assistant Priest (SSM) at St Michael’s Handsworth for sixteen years. Between 2004 and 2015, Barrie was Headteacher of two different schools in the Midlands, having previously served as Deputy Headteacher, Head of Modern Languages and Advisory Teacher for Languages in schools across the Midlands. Barrie was headteacher of Granville Community School in Swadlincote, an 11-16 comprehensive school, which moved over 3 years from Serious Weaknesses to becoming the best school in the area, the rise in KS3 SATS and GCSE results making it one of the top ten most improved schools in the country. Following this, Barrie became Headteacher of Cannock Chase High School, a large 11-19 comprehensive school in Staffordshire and oversaw its successful conversion to a free-standing academy and a rise in results of 18% on GCSE headline measures and a comparable increase in A Level/sixth form results. The school also saw a rise from 4% to 20% of sixth-formers obtaining places at Russell Group universities. Barrie was elected to the Association of School and College Leaders National Council in 2011, and was a member of the Ofsted monitoring and the Curriculum and Standards committees. He also served on the Academies and Direct Employers Group.

Nick Pilditch

Nick joined the team in June 2017 and comes from a business background; his expertise in that world is in business transformation and culture change. Nick is commercial trained and gained his MBA from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016.

Stephanie Haynes

Steph’s current role is in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults with the Church of England, Birmingham. She has previously held various roles with the West Midlands Police, primarily as Detective Sergeant/Constable in the Public Protection Unit, from 1986 -2016. Throughout this previous career she was engaged daily in multi-agency public protection investigations which involved working very closely with other agencies, including Education. She thus brings over twenty years of experience in safeguarding to her present role with the diocese.

Geoff Harley-Mason

Geoff works both as a mentor to church youth workers supporting them in their ministry to young people and as a learning mentor to year 6 young people at school in Sparkhill. He has qualifications in both youth work and theology and has worked for several churches in the West Midlands. Currently he is chair of Governors at Arden Academy in Knowle and is also a director of the Arden Multi Academy Trust. As part of these roles he sits on the Solihull LEA Schools Forum.

Melanie Crooks

Mel is Director of Finance across a number of church related entities – the Diocesan Board of Finance, Cathedral, Thrive Together Birmingham, and previously with the Diocese of Birmingham Education Trust (DBET), the umbrella trust for sponsored diocesan school academies prior to Sept 2017. She was a member of the DBET Academy Finance and Scrutiny Committee, with oversight for school financial management and audit effectiveness. She also provides financial governance and management training to governing bodies/accounting officers and school business managers.

Christopher Mansell

CEO and Accounting Officer

Christopher took up post as CEO of the new BDAT on 01 September 2017. Prior to this, he had been Headteacher of 4 schools during a period of 17 years in Derby City, Derbyshire and Warwickshire, having commenced his first headship in 2000.

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Welcome to our website. On this page you can find out more about our Vision, History, Growth Strategy, Staff and news. This page is under development.

Our Vision and Ethos

Strategic aims To achieve our vision and values, we have developed the following strategic aims: all decisions made have our values at their heart and are based on our Christian…

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