Central Team

The Trust provides a number of professional advisor services to ensure its academies receive appropriate guidance and support in the key areas of business and finance. This core team of professionals ensure consistent methods of operation, strong quality assurance and best value for academies within the Trust.

Tom Banham - Chief Executive Officer

Tom is an experienced NLE and provides school to school support to schools in a variety of different contexts. He is a lead facilitator on the NPQH Programme and also an elected member of the Yorkshire and Humber Advisory Board. Alongside this he is also a member of the Barnsley Alliance Board that facilitates the strategic sector led school improvement of Barnsley Schools. for the Local Authority. This network of support enables him to access an array of specialist knowledge and expertise from a diverse pool of system leaders ranging from NLES, LLES, Consultant Heads, SLES and other field experts across the whole of the Education Sector and beyond. Tom is the strategic lead for Tykes Teaching Alliance and  also member of the Exchange Teaching Hub strategic Group.  

Victoria Harrison - Deputy CEO / Chief Operations Officer

Victoria has vast experience in both public and private sector business and financial management and has extensive knowledge of the corporate and operational support functions of schools, having worked in this area of expertise for over fifteen years. She worked for Barnsley Council for 6 years, delivering all aspects of financial service provision including actively leading the Barnsley LA Financial Services traded arm. She is a qualified Accounting Technician and holds the CIPFA Accounting for Academies qualification alongside the Diploma in School Business Management. Victoria has a wealth of experience in managing academy conversions and is wholly aware of the importance of effective due diligence, the application process, and the legal steps in the transfer process. Alongside this, the financial processes required throughout conversion and beyond as well as the annual accounts, pension authority and companies house requirements.

Andrew Ravenscroft - Chief Finance Officer

Andy has extensive experience of public sector financial management & academy finance. He worked for Barnsley Council for 12 years, working in the financial control team, education finance & financial services for schools trading arm, delivering support and advice to schools across Barnsley. He worked at Shafton Primary Academy for 10 years as Business Manager and successfully managed the finance function in transferring to an academy when Shafton became part of the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) in 2012. Andy then took on the role of Finance & Operations Manager in the school support services team at AET for the South & West Yorkshire region, managing finance for five primaries and one secondary in the region. He is a qualified accountant and holds the CIPFA Accounting for Academies qualification alongside the Diploma in School Business Management. Andy supports strategic and operational finance across the Trust.

Ash Clark - Director of Operations

Ash is an experienced operator with extensive experience of implementing systems at both strategic and operational level. His extensive ICT and operational knowledge and experience acquired through a variety of roles across the Local Authority and Education sector is key working as part of the Trust’s Central Team. Ash strategically manages the Trust’s operational function, including estates management compliance, health and safety, and capital works. In addition, Ash supports our academies by providing strategic and operational guidance, expertise, and steer to ensure the Trust estate is safe and fit for purpose, to support teaching and learning for all stakeholders. Ash is degree educated, a chartered manager and a qualified PRINCE2™ project manager.    

Sally Goodall - Director of Human Resources

Sally has extensive experience in leading and supporting all business management functions gained over many years working within a variety of educational environments. Her specialist area of knowledge and experience is in human resource management. Sally is educated to degree level and is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development. As a generalist practitioner, Sally leads strategic and operational HR across the Trust.

Anna Lee - Human Resources Business Partner

Anna has extensive experience of providing HR advice to schools and academies after working for Barnsley Council for 12 years and more recently having had experience of working in the Central HR Team for two large multi academy trusts. After graduating, Anna went onto specialise in Human Resources, holding a Post Graduate Diploma in HR Management and Chartered membership of the CIPD. She has a sound knowledge of teaching and support staff terms and conditions of employment as well as significant experience of TUPE and the management of HR casework.

David Wakefield - Strategic ICT Manager

David has substantial experience of supporting IT within the education sector, across a number of local authorities. For over 25 years he was a Company Director of IT support services, where he was primarily responsible for providing ‘fit for purpose’ ICT infrastructure to Primary and Secondary education, covering the broadest description of starting point and need. Within HCAT David is responsible for the strategic vision, management, installation, maintenance, availability and security of the curriculum and administrative ICT network, including the hardware and software infrastructure within Primary Schools in the trust. David passionately believes that when technology is used in the right way it can enhance the educational prospects and outcomes for all children. He has the expertise, dedication and commitment to take advantage of the opportunities of the connected world, helping us meet the IT expectations of students, staff & partners.  

Vicky Underhay - Director of Teaching and Learning

Vicky has extensive experience as a primary school teacher.  Throughout her career, she has worked across and led all primary key stages and raised standards across the school. Her expertise and breadth of knowledge across this sector has enabled her to lead change and raise standards. She is extremely passionate about ensuring all children get the best opportunity for education and supporting schools to improve the quality and delivery of effective teaching and learning. Vicky is currently an SLE and has supported in the delivery and understanding of Maths for Initial Teacher Training students. She believes that all children should have a love of Mathematics and be taught through real – life contexts and that children’s education should be engaging but also empower them to be life-long learners. Throughout the roles she has undertaken, Vicky has implemented and been a key facilitator for change mainly in Mathematics but also supported rapid improvements across the curriculum. Vicky understands the importance and the value of collaboration and networking opportunities available through the Trust. Through her new role as Director, she works effectively alongside all staff to ensure high expectations and a continual drive to improve standards.  

Natalie Whitehouse - Director of Teaching and Learning

Natalie has extensive experience in the primary classroom, particularly KS2. Her passion for teaching and learning is reflected through her innovative ideas that supports, challenges and gives pupils the opportunity to reach their potential. She is recognised as an Apple Distinguished Educator and Apple Teacher through her use of ICT that enhances learning in the classroom making it deeply personal for every student she teaches. She has previously led the Apple Regional Training Centre at a local school and has been shaping ‘the technology journey’ across a number of schools ever since. She believes that technology should be in every class and her aim is to help empower staff to deliver an innovative curriculum that engages and excites pupils in every school she visits. Natalie is currently an SLE giving school to school support and one of the leaders of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) course.

Jeni Lowrie - Director of Teaching and Learning

Jeni has over a decade of experience in primary education spanning both Key Stage 1 and 2, where her impact is truly noteworthy. With a particular focus on outstanding practice in Year 1 and 2, Jeni demonstrates a profound dedication to early childhood education. Her leadership extends across various curriculum areas, including ICT, PE, and Science, showcasing well-rounded expertise. Beyond her school, Jeni's influence is felt as a Specialist Leader of Education, contributing significantly to teaching and learning in diverse educational settings and supporting school improvement. She is a driving force in professional development, serving as a CPD facilitator for staff across the trust. Her commitment to the growth of educators is evident in her involvement in the development and mentoring of ECT’s and previously as an Apple Teacher; leading CPD sessions that highlight the integration of technology to enhance the overall teaching and learning experience. Jeni's passion for innovative education and her aspiration to instil a love of learning in students truly distinguish her as a dynamic and dedicated educator with a wealth of experience and expertise.

Jenny Chambers - Director of SEND

Jenny is a experienced senior leader in education, and has extensive knowledge in supporting a vast range of complex needs and disabilities. With a career spanning over two decades as a teacher, maths leader, SENDCO and Assistant Headteacher, Jenny's commitment to inclusive pedagogy has been instrumental in ensuring that all students, regardless of their challenges, can access the full curriculum and thrive academically. Throughout her career, Jenny has demonstrated a deep understanding of the diverse needs of learners with disabilities and special educational needs (SEND). From cognitive disabilities to physical impairments, she is an advocated of inclusive learning environments where every student feels valued and supported and is able to thrive. Jenny champions professional development initiatives designed to equip teachers with the skills and resources needed to effectively adapting teaching for students with SEND. From differentiated instruction techniques to assistive technologies, she has supported educators to cultivate inclusive classrooms to unlock the potential of every student so that they can thrive and succeed in our diverse world.

Madeleine Simpson - Finance Officer

Madeleine is currently in her final year of studying her Diploma in Professional Accounting. Her role is varied and she works across a range of Financial and Accounting responsibilities including purchase ledger, sales ledger, banking, payroll support, budgets and monthly accounts processing.

Kirsty Fechter - Finance Officer

Kirsty has worked within the education sector in various roles since 2004. Based onsite at the large secondary school within the Trust she loves the daily hustle and bustle of the school environment. She is proud to work for an employer whose vision and belief is to Educate, Empower and Inspire all children. Giving them access to opportunities and learning experiences which will shape them as individuals, instilling confidence, and ability in each and every child to allow them to chase their dreams as they step out into the world as young adults. Her role is varied, and she work across a range of Financial and Accounting responsibilities including purchase ledger, sales ledger, banking, payroll support, budgets, and monthly accounts processing.    

Jason Walsh - Finance Assistant

Jason is currently studying to be an Accounting Technician. His role is varied and he works across a range of Financial and Accounting responsibilities including purchase ledger, sales ledger, banking, payroll support, budgets and monthly accounts processing.

Ellie Laight - Governance and Compliance Officer

Ellie has worked in the education sector for over 15 years gaining extensive experience in educational compliance. As the Trust governance professional, Ellie supports and contributes to the efficiency, effectiveness and compliance of the trust and local governing boards. Ellie provides essential, practical support to the board and school senior leaders ensuring that statutory and regulatory requirements are met for the conduct and running of board meetings and with regard to governance stipulations which form part of our funding agreements.

Dee Marsh - Director - Tykes Teaching Alliance

Dee has been the Director of Tykes Teaching Alliance since 2017. She has worked in the education sector for over 15 years, her previous roles include managing Hoyland Common Children’s Centre and overseeing the Family Support Team for North East Barnsley. Tykes Teaching Alliance is the outward facing arm of HCAT, it is driven by the moral purpose of having concern for children beyond our own schools. Initially founded by the DfE as a Teaching School Alliance, Tykes provides Initial Teacher Training, School to School Support and Professional Development opportunities for all Barnsley schools. It delivers the Early Career Framework, Appropriate Body Service and National Professional Qualifications on behalf of Exchange Teaching Hub. More recently Tykes has become a Lead Delivery Partner for Exchange Teacher Training. Dee leads both the strategic development and operational management of Tykes facilitating sector led school improvement of Barnsley Schools. She is a member of the Barnsley Schools Alliance Board, sitting on the Leadership Capacity Group and is Chair of the CPD working group. Dee is also Chair of the ECF Expert Delivery Group for Exchange Teaching School Hub and is a member of Exchange Teaching Training’s Steering Group.

Katie Bramall - Professional Development Programmes Lead

Katie joined the team at Tykes Teaching Alliance in April 2023 as Professional Development Programme Lead. She has 14 years of primary experience, teaching across EYFS, KS1 and KS2 throughout her career. Katie is bringing this wealth of experience to her new role in managing the delivery of both the Early Career Framework and National Professional Qualifications for schools across Barnsley and Doncaster. Katie works closely with the team at Exchange Teaching Hub, who are the designated Teaching School Hub for our region, to ensure all Early Career Teachers and those continuing their professional development receive the training and support they need.

Jack Dalby - IT Support Apprentice

Jack is an enthusiastic IT Support Apprentice dedicated to enhancing technology in the education sector. With a passion for building computers as a hobby, he bring a hands-on approach to the role, constantly exploring ways to integrate cutting-edge technology into the school environment. Committed to providing seamless IT support, he thrives on the challenges of troubleshooting and problem-solving. Together, let's embrace the future of education through the power of technology!"

George - The Office Dog

Woof! I'm George, the Central Office's furry bundle of joy and your go-to source for happiness and well-being. With my wrinkled, yet charming face, I'm here to greet you with a wagging tail and a heart full of love. I might not wear a suit and tie, but you can count on me to brighten your day and make your visit to the Central Office a memorable one. My main role is simple – to sprinkle a little happiness everywhere I go. Whether you're a stressed-out employee or a first-time visitor, I'm here to melt your worries away with my adorable Sharpei charm. My main duties include giving out tail wags, slobbery kisses, and belly rubs. I roam the office, ensuring that everyone's well-being is in tip-top shape. If you're feeling down or need a pick-me-up, just look for my wagging tail and soulful eyes. I promise to bring a smile to your face.

Nelly - The Finance Dog

Woof, I'm Nelly or more affectionately known as Nelly Noodles! You'll typically discover me holding court in the finance office, and you guessed it - that's where the biscuits are stashed! While I might not crunch numbers or draft reports, I have a vital role in maintaining office morale. My primary responsibilities include spreading joy, providing impromptu stress relief, and reminding everyone to take a break and enjoy a biscuit or two.

Mae - The Newbie

Meet our latest recruit, Mae, the newest addition to our team. Mae brings a wagging tail and a world of enthusiasm as she joins us on our mission to create positive change. As another Shar-Pei on the team, Mae embodies the unique qualities that make our furry colleagues so special. With her adorable wrinkles and gentle demeanor, Mae adds a touch of charm to our office environment. Mae may be new to the team, but she's already making her presence known with her infectious energy and unwavering dedication. Whether she's sniffing out new opportunities or lending a paw to her fellow team members, Mae's enthusiasm knows no bounds.