About us

The White Woods Way

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13 school primary phase Trust based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire

The Trust was founded September 2013 by three self-converting primary schools and has rapidly grown over the past five years. The Trust was founded on, and is guided by, a strong ethos centred on improving the life chances of ALL children regardless of background or ability. We aim to deliver high standards of teaching and learning through developing a culture of high expectation and high aspiration, providing a rich broad balanced curriculum and ensuring all learners have equality of opportunity.

At the very forefront of our drive for improved educational standards is the determination to work together in partnership to enable the Trust to offer the best possible educational experience to all children in our local communities. It is our aspiration to become a hub of excellence, helping to promote the life chances of all children in our Trust.

The Trust Central Team is responsible for the day to day running of the Trust, managing key functions including finance, facilities management and data protection. The Team plays a key role in delivering the strategic vision set by the Trust Board of Directors. The Chief Executive Officer is Kate Davies.

The strategic direction of the Trust is overseen by a Board of Directors who hold the Trust Central Team to account. The Board is made up of skilled professionals with extensive experience in education, finance, governance and the law. The Board is responsible for upholding high standards in public life as set out by the Nolan Committee. See below details of serving Directors.

Directors of the Trust are held to account by Trust Members. The current Members are Huw Thomas, Murray Clark and Alan Richards.


All of our children, from any background, will be supported to excel both academically and socially, developing the skills of lifelong learners.

Our Mission

Our schools will be exceptional and provide children and adults with a breadth of exciting opportunities promoting curiosity and broadening the mind.

We will build positive, challenging partnerships with each other and the wider community promoting aspiration and ambition.


Our 4 C’s;

Child-centredOur children are at the heart of all we do.

CollaborationWe work collaboratively, learning and supporting each other to maximise the achievement of our children and adults across the trust.

CuriosityWe embrace new learning and promote curiosity in all, always striving to improve, keeping ‘the main thing the main thing’.

Challenge We set ourselves and our children aspirational targets and are open to professional challenge and support.

White Woods 2020 Prospectus

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Trust Central Team

Kate Davies
CEO of White Woods Primary Academy Trust
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Kate was appointed ‘CEO’ in July 2019. She has worked across all phases in education, serving as a head teacher for 15 years and working as a ‘National Leader of Education’.

David Fitzgibbons
Trust Building Surveyor
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David was appointed ‘Trust Building Surveyor’ in June 2017, having previously worked as a consultant for a private sector building consultancy company. David has a proven track record in managing large scale building projects and has over 15 years of experience working in the education sector.

Jane Flaherty
Data Protection Officer
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Jane has recently been appointed ‘Data Protection Officer’ for the trust, having previously worked as a ‘School Business Manager’ for over 12 years. Prior to entering the education sector, Jane worked in senior positions in a number of private sector organisations.

Joe Hawkins
Apprentice Estates Officer
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Joe Hawkins is our ‘Apprentice Estates Officer’. Joe works alongside schools, shadowing and supporting our ‘Trust Building Surveyor’, Dave Fitzgibbons. In addition to his time spent within our trust, Joe attends Barnsley College once a week as part of his apprenticeship, working towards a BTEC in construction.

Andy Blatch
ICT Infrastructure and Innovation Lead
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Andy joined the team in November 2019, having previously worked for a large IT managed service provider for over 17 years and has experience delivering and supporting IT systems across a wide range of educational establishments.

Nikki O'Loughlin
Trust English Lead
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Nikki O'Loughlin joined the central team in January leaving a successful in-school English intervention company designed to work with senior leadership in driving the progress and attainment of all students in English across a number of Yorkshire school. She has a wealth of experience across the key stages helping schools embed a rich, diverse and challenging English curriculum with students' experiences at its core.

Debbie Samwell
Chief Finance Officer (CFO)
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Bio coming soon...

Katy Jones
Human Resources (HR)
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Bio coming soon...

Tammy Gaines
Finance Business Partner
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Tammy joined the central team in November 2020.  She has over 10 years’ experience working within the finance and education sector having worked at both secondary and primary school level, and since 2013 has worked within a multi academy setting where she worked closely with the Director of Finance to successfully develop and implement the centralisation of the finance function.

Amy Hinchliffe
Executive Assistant
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Amy joined the team in April 2021 as Executive Assistant to CEO. She has experience of working within a large Academy Trust central team providing executive support, managing the induction process for Newly Qualified Teachers and co-ordinating professional development programmes/events - which is a real passion of hers. She has recently completed a Level 5 diploma in Leadership & Management.

Board of Directors

Phil Marshall
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Phil has a broad range of intensive educational leadership experience spanning 3 decades, having served 13 years as a secondary head teacher in Rotherham. Since 2011, Phil has worked with the Department for Education as an ‘Education Specialist’, in addition to serving as a ‘Director of Learners First Schools Partnership’. Phil is also a ‘Director of PM Impact Ltd’, providing leadership support to academies, multi-academy trusts and schools.

Julie Parry
Vice Chair
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Julie has over 30 years of experience in primary education, 20 of which have been spent as a primary head teacher, working in Reading, Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and Doncaster. She has worked for local authorities and for multi-academy trusts as both an employee and on a consultancy basis through her own consulting company.  Julie has a keen interest in conservation and volunteers for the Peak District National Park.

Stephen Wragg
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Stephen has more than 13 years of experience as a non-executive in the NHS, most recently as ‘Chairman of Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’, a position he held from January 2009 to December 2018.

Currently, Stephen is a self-employed management consultant and prior to this he was ‘Technical Director’ at W2 Networking where he was responsible for customer technical solutions, customer service and satisfaction and the development of commercial data centre strategy.

Alan Richards
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Alan has worked with the Trust’ since its formation in 2013, having previously served as a local governor since 2002. In 2012 Alan was appointed as a ‘National Leader of Governance’ and currently runs his own training business. Prior to this, Alan served for 30 years as a volunteer for South Yorkshire Police.

Mike Jennings
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Mike is the former ‘Senior Litigation Manager’ with the international law firm, Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP, and is now ‘Independent Legal Consultant’. He has been involved in multi-million pound litigation for over 30 years and has served on risk management committees at two major teaching hospitals. He has also served as a governor and chair at a primary school, broadening his experience in the education sector.

Ian Newbury-Milton-Scott
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Ian is a qualified and experienced human resources practitioner. Ian currently works in the children's social care sector in a senior role. He has held the role of Chief Operating Officer and Director of People Services & Employee Engagement for an organisation that provides residential care for children including education and therapeutic provision.

Ian has previously worked in the housing sector in senior roles and for local authorities including a Shire County as Head of Human Resources, working closely with an NHS Trust as joint lead for organisational development. He has held positions of Chair of the Public Employment Partnerships and Chair of the Counties Equality Network. Ian has hands-on experience of working with Inspectors and Commissioners including improving the quality and leadership with positive outcomes.  Ian is currently a non-executive director for a poverty alleviation pension fund.

Asma Magsood Shahand
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Asma has over 15 years experience as a senior leader and headteacher in the primary education sector within the Yorkshire and Humber region. She came into teaching with a strong belief that every child can, and has the right to, achieve no matter what their socio-economic background, race, religion or disability status. This belief is a strong driving force and fosters her ambition to serve diverse communities and improve the life chances of all pupils. Her primary areas of expertise include leadership development, Early Years and EAL.

Zaidah Ahmed MBE
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Zaidah is an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion specialist with 20 years of experience both in the public and voluntary sector. She is highly respected and nationally recognised for the work in the field of community engagement with BAME and hard to reach communities. She is a serving magistrate for over 15 years. She also holds a Trustee position at Rotherham United Community Football Sports Trust for the past 15 years.

She holds a Masters in Education.

David Idle
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David has broad experience within corporate management, working on national and multinational projects.  His focus areas include technology, transformation and change management of business’, with experience within the Retail, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Sales Industries. David has a Master’s Degree from Sheffield Hallam University and prior to embarking on a career in Information Technology, David served within the British Army for over 10 years.