Supporting our schools to be the best they can be is central to CDAT's work. To allow us to do that, we have a small, core School Improvement team, supplemented by expertise from within our own schools in the shape of our team of Lead Teachers. Our School Improvement team is:
Neil Dixon (CEO) – As well as being CDAT's CEO, Neil also leads on many aspects of CDAT's school improvement work. Neil joined CDAT as CEO in May 2019, having spent the previous three years working for Ofsted as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors (HMI). Prior to that, Neil was headteacher of a Church of England primary school in Liverpool diocese. That school moved from having a 'notice to improve' (2003) to Ofsted 'outstanding' (2008) and was one of the first cohort of Teaching Schools nationally.
Sue Riley – Sue is CDAT's Senior School Advisor, a post she took up having previously been headteacher at Brereton CE Primary School, a CDAT school in Cheshire East. Sue has had vast school experience, as a teacher and leader in a diverse range of schools. She supports all aspects of school improvement, but has particular expertise in school leadership, English and church school distinctiveness.
Leanne Shaw – Leanne joined the CDAT team in September 2022 as School Advisor, having previously worked extensively in Warrington both as a senior leader in a large and very successful primary school and latterly as an advisor, specialising in teaching, learning and curriculum development. Leanne manages CDAT's Lead Teacher team and delivers both CPD and initial teacher training for the trust.
Emma Neal – Emma also joined the CDAT team in September 2022 as a School Advisor, specialising in support for EYFS. Emma has vast experience both as a headteacher (in Wirral) and as an educational consultant. As well as leading our trust's EYFS work, Emma also supports school leadership and SEND provision, and leads on the PGCE side of our School Direct programme.
Emma Furlong – Emma provides administrative support for all of our CPD programmes, including the NPQs, and for our School Direct provision as well. Emma also administers the joint CDAT/CDBE Headteacher Consultant offer and provides support for governor training and appointments.
Our Lead Teachers are knowledgeable and highly-skilled subject leaders drawn from across the trust. All have completed the well-respected 'Power of Coaching' programme with Olevi, and can be deployed to provide subject-specific support to schools as well as leading subject networks and teaching on our School Direct programme.
Our current Lead Teachers (with their specialisms) are:
Grace Page – SEND
Andy McAulay – PE
Lorna Pennance – History
Rachel Campbell – Geography
Amelia Wassall – RE
Diane Tice-Porteous – Music
Julie Pawson – Computing
Securing a high standard of education for the children in all our schools is the heart of CDAT's work. We know, though, that a lot goes on in the background to make sure that our teaching staff are able to deliver a broad, balanced and engaging curriculum. This is where CDAT's Central Team come in. They support all of the back-office functions of our schools – working with our specialist professional partners. Our Central team is:
Jane Evans (Director of Finance) – Jane joined CDAT in November 2020, having had a wide and varied career working in school finance. Prior to joining the CDAT team, Jane has had experience as CFO of another multi-academy trust, as a local authority finance officer and as business manager in a large grammar school. As well as her role as Director of Finance, Jane is also CDAT's CFO.
Chris Williams (Director of Operations) – Chris joined CDAT in September 2023, having had over twenty years of experience in education: in a local authority education department, diocesan education service, and a MAT. In his previous role as a diocesan officer, Chris' principal areas of responsibility included school organisation, admissions, school place planning, and capital, also working on a broad range of other operational and educational matters with over 200 schools across eight local authority areas. Within this role he also took on the development of a diocesan academy strategy, which is now being implemented, and was seconded for almost two years as the COO of the diocese's first MAT. As COO he had responsibility for establishing the operational, financial, and compliance systems and structures of the organisation. He is a foundation governor at a joint Catholic and Church of England primary school in Liverpool.
Judith Castledine (Governance & Compliance Manager and Clerk to the Board) – Judith has been in post as CDAT's Governance & Compliance Manager since June 2023. Prior to this appointment she was employed for ten years at Stockport Council as Senior Governor Support Officer, working with maintained school governing boards and academy trust LGBs and trust boards. In June 2021 Judith gained her Level 3 Certificate in the Clerking of School and Academy Governing Boards.
Dawn Lloyd (School Business Support Officer)
Vera Thomas (School Business Support Officer)
CDAT work with a small number of well-respected Professional Partners who provide specific, specialist services for the trust.
Our current Professional Partners are:
Working With Schools – HR, payroll and pensions
Stone King – Legal support
Jeanne Fairbrother Associates – Health and Safety
Second 2 None School Support – Governance and Clerking
AMF Projects – Conversion Project Management
Veritau – DPO services
Chester Diocesan Academies Trust
We believe that the quality of our School Effectiveness Support is a key benefit of CDAT membership.
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