About us

Palladian Academy Trust (PAT) is based in Bath and Wiltshire. We are a community of schools*, each with its own particular ethos, enjoying a mutually enriching partnership. Our core purpose is to make a fundamental difference to our pupils, families and colleagues through high quality education and development opportunities.

Palladian Academy Trust includes both church and community academies working closely together, all connected by the vision we share for our students. We value and respect the individuality of every child and believe their learning and development should be personal and holistic. We aim to support their wellbeing and help them achieve their best. We are proud to have a great team of people working in our schools and centrally to enable this to happen.

Underpinning our vision for education are our values: wellbeing, professional development, character, partnership and enrichment. We are a values-driven organisation; committed to the Palladian Promise to learners and colleagues where the values and vision are lived out everyday in our classrooms and beyond!

The Trust Board holds Trust leaders, schools, senior leaders and school governing bodies to account across the Trust and provides strong support.

All our schools are passionate about providing enriching and valuable opportunities for our pupils and staff through a shared commitment to strive for excellence and equip our pupils for the necessary life skills they need for the next stage of their journey.

We are a lively Trust who thrive and develop from collaboration, support and challenge from within the Trust and more widely. We value the partnerships we have locally and nationally to ensure we are a group of great schools working together to make a difference to every member of the Palladian Academy Trust family.

Donna Tandy, CEO

*Every school in the Palladian Academy Trust is an academy.

The Palladian Academy Trust (PAT) is a group of like-minded local schools – all academies – that have chosen to work together in partnership for the benefit of our children’s education.

The five values of the Palladian Academy Trust

We want to provide exceptional learning and achievement for all in the Trust through:

  • well-being
  • character
  • professional development
  • enrichment
  • partnership


The Palladian Academy Trust Vision  

The PAT will nurture the well-being of all, acknowledging the importance of the mind, body and spirit, and respecting the individuality of each child.  The PAT community will support learners in retaining perspective at all times. The threats to well-being in the twenty-first century will be tackled energetically and imaginatively in school as barriers to happiness and progress in learning.

We will help children to be confident, well-prepared and successful learners. Character education will be at the heart of all our practice, recognising that what is most important in school is to learn how to learn.  The Palladian Challenge will offer a framework for development across a range of personal qualities.

We will create new pathways for the effective professional development of staff.   It will be led and managed across the PAT, identifying and sharing the skills and abilities of our staff; training programmes for different career stages will be offered; all staff will be able to rely on inspiring and relevant INSET; more fluidity will be seen, allowing staff to develop their careers across different contexts at times.

The Trust will offer co-curricular experiences which add to and potentially transform children’s lives.  Parents will recognise and support the inspiring enrichment opportunities open to students through the PAT, both in the curriculum and in other areas such as sport and the performing arts.

The Palladian Academy Trust will be inspirational and child-centred, working in partnership within the community for the best possible outcomes for learners. ‘Trust’ and ‘team’ will be keywords in the PAT, characterising our professional relationships.  The PAT will be well resourced, making use of opportunities for collaboration and redirecting additional resources to support learning. Our sound business practice will encompass strategically developed central services, efficiencies and sharing good practice, contributing to student achievement.

All schools in the Trust will contribute to embedding and then living by our values in a partnership that is mutually enriching, while church schools will be clear in upholding Christian values strongly.

PAT trustees and members, with their diverse skills and backgrounds, will hold all PAT schools to account. They will provide high level support and form a valuable bridge to the local community. Their strategic thinking will encompass the succession planning necessary to support improvements beyond our first Trust Development Plan (TDP) from 2017-20.

The Palladian Academy Trust was formed in 2016. An Executive Leadership Team meets regularly.  This is comprised of the headteachers of each school with Tim Withers, Chief Executive Officer and Jo Marsh, Chief Operating Officer.  The founder school of the exciting and innovative partnership is Ralph Allen School, itself an academy since 2012.  Each one of the ten headteachers brings a wealth of experience to the group and is passionate about the learning of the young people in their care.  The Palladian Academy Trust is a community of more than three thousand pupils and staff who work in our schools, and there is enormous potential for coming together as a community to provide enriched learning opportunities for every member of the Trust.

Why the name ‘Palladian Academy Trust’?  The Palladian Bridge in Prior Park is a local landmark and since bridges connect people, the group felt this was a very appropriate emblem. This is reflected in our logo.

About Multi Academy Trusts (MATs)

A MAT is a group of schools governed by one trust and a single board of directors. The board is responsible for decisions relating to how each academy is run, from curriculum to staffing.

Each of the academies within a MAT has a school governing body to which it delegates some of its functions, although the MAT remains overall accountable.

Current government policy is very clear that MAT status is something which is strongly supported, and has the potential to drive further improvement in the education system. This is because of the efficiency and effectiveness of collaboration, and in particular the new possibilities of schools choosing to work together in this way.

Working with the Diocese

The Palladian Academy Trust has a very warm relationship with the Church of England Diocese of Bath and Wells. Our Articles of Association are those designed for use in a MAT containing both church and community schools and the Diocese retains a number of powers and checks to ensure that the culture of the MAT remains supportive to schools with a Christian character.

We have representatives from the church sitting as both members and trustees of PAT although we work with the Diocese to make sure that we recruit people who can contribute to the skills set required by the Board of Trustees.

  • 40% of Members and 33% of Trustees are nominated by the Diocese
  • Land is not leased or transferred for C of E schools, but continues on the existing model (apart from LA playing fields which are transferred on a 125 year lease)
  • The Scheme of Delegation to the SGB and the Academy Articles will safeguard the foundation and aims of the school – ‘Christian character’
  • Changes to the Scheme of Delegation for a C of E school have to be agreed with the Diocesan Director of Education
  • The Diocese offer is not just to Church schools – they have a concept of ‘extended family’.

The aims of the Palladian Academy Trust

Tim Withers, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, said: ‘The Palladian Academy Trust (PAT) is a partnership that will add to the opportunities for young people in Bath and Wiltshire, with a vision for their personal development and education from 4 – 19.  We are really excited about the possibilities a multi-academy trust offers.

Professional learning is something we feel is particularly important. Working in schools is a rewarding, but also a fast-moving and a demanding job. Training opportunities are always going to be expanded across a partnership.

Our aim is that the Trust will be a great place to study, and also to work.’

Trust Members

Trust Members are custodians of the constitution and receive the statutory accounts.

Ruth Balch (ex-officio as Chair of Trustees)
Andrea Arlidge
Ed Gregory, Corporate Member for Diocese of Bath and Wells
Julia Garratt
Fergus Stewart, Corporate Member for Diocese of Salisbury

Board of Trustees

The board of trustees manages the business of the academy trust. Their focus is on the three core functions of governance:

1.   ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
2.  holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of  the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff;
3. overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

Ruth Balch, Chair of Trustees
Donna Tandy, Chief Executive Officer
Sally Apps
Tom Battersby
Pat Black
Richard Bullard
Emily Commander
Russell Franks
Wera Hobhouse MP
Chris Mason, Vice-Chair of Trustees
Antony Moore
Mike Robbins

Please click here for a short biography of each trustee

Chairs of Governors

Kris Arnorsdottir-Edwards, Fitzmaurice Primary School
Steve Casemore, Ralph Allen School
Alex Barnett, Oldfield Park Infant School
Trevor Dolby, Widcombe Infant School
Paula Black, St Martin’s Garden Primary School
Ros Hicks, Widcombe CofE Junior School
Susan Fletcher, Combe Down CofE Primary School
Katie Payne, Oldfield Park Junior School
Tim Quick, Winsley CofE Primary School
Sarah Wilton-Rhead, St Philip’s CofE Primary School

School Governing Bodies

Their core functions cover all factors that relate to, and underpin, good teaching and learning.

Executive Leadership Team (ELT)

The ELT has responsibility for the implementation of Trust-wide strategies and policies through the development of procedures, guidelines, action plans and the further delegation of responsibility to staff as appropriate.

Donna Tandy, Chief Executive Officer
Jo Marsh, Chief Operating Officer
Paul Jacobs, Director of School Improvement

Tracey Dunn, Headteacher of Fitzmaurice Primary School
Jane Gascoigne, Headteacher of Combe Down CofE Primary School
Dave Goucher, Headteacher of Oldfield Park Junior School
Andy Greenhough, Headteacher of Ralph Allen School
Andy Joy, Headteacher of St. Philip’s CofE Primary School
Claire McMurtry, Headteacher of Oldfield Park Infant School
Claire Parfitt, Headteacher of St. Martin’s Garden Primary School
Claire Taylor, Headteacher of Widcombe CofE Junior School
Alison Watts , Headteacher of Widcombe Infant School
Becky Wilson, Headteacher of Winsley CofE Primary School

Jo Stoaling*, Headteacher of Three Ways School

* Associate Member

For Central Services, please visit the Contact tab on the right at the top of the screen.

Ruth Balch, Chair of the Board of Trustees