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 has extensive experience of implementing systems at both strategic and operational level. His 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. He oversees the Trust’s operational function, including secondary ICT and Operations Team, in addition to health and safety and estates management compliance. 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 and a Chartered Manager with an active membership with the Chartered Management Institute. In addition, Ash is a PRINCE2® qualified 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.  

Aiden Tallant - Director of Teaching and Learning

Aiden has extensive experience as a primary school teacher, particularly in upper KS2. He is extremely passionate about improving children’s education and supporting schools to improve the quality and delivery of effective teaching and learning. Aiden’s previous roles have provided him with the opportunity to successfully design and implement changes to teaching and learning strategies and curriculum innovation with a focus on Maths and the Wider Curriculum. Through leadership roles and as a Specialist Leader of Education Aiden has a gained valuable experience in supporting schools to further develop their wider curriculum and their curriculum offer. Aiden has a passion for using ICT to enhance the curriculum and innovate teaching and learning practices to support all pupils. He is a recognised Seesaw Ambassador and has been responsible for leading on the delivery of remote education through both Seesaw and Microsoft Teams both in his school and across trust. In his current role as Director, by working with Trustees, the CEO, Directors, governors and Trust Academy leaders, Aiden ensures that HCAT’s common culture and set of expectations are consistently applied across the Trust so that children, staff and Academy communities benefit from excellent teaching, learning and effective leadership.

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.

Jason Walsh - Apprentice 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.

Madeleine Simpson - Finance Officer

Madeleine is currently in her 2nd year of studying to be an Accounting Technician. 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.

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.