Directors

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.

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