About us

The White Woods Way

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14 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.

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

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

ChallengingWe 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.

Tracey Gammons
Governance & Policy Lead
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Tracey joined the Trust in September 2022 as Governance & Policy Lead. Originally from a financial services background, Tracey also has 10 years Governance experience within various school settings and Multi Academy Trusts.

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.

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.

Sophie Fidler
Apprentice Assistant Accountant
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Sophie joined the Trust Central Team in September 2021 as Apprentice Assistant Accountant and supports our Trust CFO, Anna Bogunovic. She has successfully completed her AAT Level 3 accountancy qualification through the apprenticeship route in November 2023.

Melanie Fisher
IT T&L Support Development Lead
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Mel joined the team October 21. She has over 20 years experience in Primary education using I.T as a teaching tool. Mel has managed an Apple Regional Training Centre (RTC) and has delivered a range of workshops to help colleagues use iPads effectively within the classroom and how to engage and stimulate learning through the use of I.T equipment.

Mark Young
Trust Facilities Officer
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Mark has a maintenance background in the Rail Industry. He was appointed as 'Site Manager' at Kilnhurst Primary School in 2014 and completed qualifications in electrical installation and site management.

Recently, Mark has secured a 'Trust Facilities Officer' role and works closely with our 'Trust Building Surveyor', Dave Fitzgibbons, overseeing our 13 schools and supporting our premises team in ensuring our buildings are fit for purpose and provide a stimulating environment to enable all children across our Trust to thrive.

Beth Deakin
Trust SEMH Head
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Beth joined the Trust in September 22 as Trust SEMH Lead. She has worked across all phases in education, including leading inclusion within Primary and Secondary settings as well as teaching in a specialist alternative provision for children with social, emotional and mental health needs. Beth is passionate about ensuring that children and adults have positive mental wellbeing.

She is founder and chair of a grassroots community group which promotes and supports mental health and wellbeing as well as volunteering for other charitable organisations.

Neil Butler
Leadership and Development Specialist
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Neil joined WWPAT in May 2023, as Leadership and Development Specialist, leaving his position as COO within an 8 School MAT in Doncaster. Neil was a successful Primary Headteacher for 14 years in different schools and different local authorities.

Anna Bogunovic
Management Accountant
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Anna joined the Central Team in July 2023 as the Management Accountant. Anna is a qualified accountant and a fellow of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants. Anna spent the previous 9 years at the Department for Education in various finance roles but more recently was the Team Leader for the vulnerable children's finance department.

David Taylor
School Improvement Lead
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Dave is an experienced system leader. His leadership work has been recognised at a national level through OFSTED, The DFE English Hubs Programme and Chartered College of Teaching.

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.

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 Maqsood-Shah
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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.

Jo Dobson
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Jo is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a broad range of experience in corporate finance, audit, IT, and marketing both in the public and private sector.

She has worked as Commercial Director for an education software and consultancy business specialising in school improvement, case management and virtual learning systems. She subsequently held various CFO and COO roles in a variety of sectors including construction, recruitment, manufacturing and retail.

Clare Sturman
CFO of The Diocese Sheffield Academies Trust
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Clare Sturman is the CFO of The Diocese Sheffield Academies Trust.  She has a BSc (Hons) in Economics from The University of Hull.  She has over twenty years' experience in Finance, predominately in industry.

Clare is a chartered member of CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) who over the past five years has worked in school finance in a local authority school and a MAT gaining the Level 4 Diploma for School Business Managers (CSBM).


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.

Murray Christopher Clark
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Murray Clark retired in 2017 from his role as a Principal Lecturer in Organization Theory and Research Methodology and Doctoral Programme Leader at Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University. Prior to his academic career, after completing an MBA & Ph.D. (Organizational Behaviour at Manchester Business School), he was an operations manager for British Coal and a Chartered Mining Engineer.

He is co-editor of Business and Management Research Methodologies (Sage Library in Business and Management, 2006), a co-contributor to Research Methods for Managers (Sage 2010) and co-author of The Dilemmas of Leadership (Routledge, 2006).

His research interests have centred mainly on research methodology, trust and leadership. Since 2019, he has worked with BSL: Business School Lausanne as a doctoral supervisor on their DBA programme.

William Huw Thomas
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Huw is the Director of Education for the Diocese of Sheffield. He has 25 years of experience in primary education as a teacher and headteacher. He is a former lecturer in English and Education at Sheffield Hallam University and a Church of England curate He was a founder member, establishing the
Diocese of Sheffield Academies Trust Brings skills in school leadership, supporting schools, Diocesan leadership and working with the Church of England.

Mark Parry
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Mark has gained over 30 years commercial experience in the UK financial services sector and within multinational strategic marketing consultancies. Starting in business and financial analysis, he has enjoyed a wide-ranging career encompassing:

  • operational management
  • programme and project management
  • development of decision support systems

In 2010, Mark founded a consulting company advising clients in the public and private sectors on such areas as cost saving initiatives, technology investments and improving the quality of information available to senior leadership teams.

When not glued to a spreadsheet, Mark enjoys catching up with his long list of unread books, listening to jazz and walking in the nearby countryside.