Trust Staff

Mrs Rachel Howie  - Chief Executive Officer

Rachel joined the Trust as its Chief Executive in July 2016. Prior to this, Rachel worked for Ofsted as an HMI. 

Rachel has spent 18 years as a teacher and then Head teacher at Hillview Primary School in Hucclecote, Gloucester which was rated ‘outstanding’ under her leadership.  She has also held a number of additional roles, including, an Intervention Consultant for the local authority for schools causing concern, mentoring new headteachers and leading training for schools developing innovative curricula. Rachel has also worked with leadership teams to support the development of stronger and more robust management systems and has worked with the National College to write guidance materials for leading change within the curriculum.  More locally, Rachel has also been chair of the Gloucester Association of Primary Head Teachers and the Gloucestershire Schools Partnership. Contact Rachel.

Mrs Kerry Brimfield - Chief Operating Officer

Kerry Brimfield

Kerry has worked in education since 1999 in both the primary and secondary sector. Previously a Director of Finance and Operations for a secondary C of E Academy, Kerry supported the conversion of a number of local primary schools to academy status. She has substantial experience of project management and managing academy budgets; in her last job she also generated  around five million pounds in extra income for the school.

Kerry has been the Lead National SBM Advocate for the National College and a member of the Bureaucracy Reference Group at the DfE.  She has completed the National College CSBM, DSBM, ADSBM and Financial Reporting for Academies courses and has delivered training on government initiatives for school business managers; she was also responsible for writing the revised school business managers' Competency Framework. Her contribution to the field of school business managers was recognised when she receiving the ‘Sue Simcock Award for Outstanding Contribution to the School Business Managers Profession’. Contact Kerry

Canon Helena Arnold - Head of New Business

Helena Arnold

Formerly Director of Education for the Diocese of Gloucester and part-time CEO of the Academies Trust (2012-16) Helena continues to support the Trusr working part-time as Head of New Business, following her move to Cornwall.  

Helena has fifteen years experience working in schools, (including nine years of senior leadership experience in three very different institutions, including a City Technology College, a city school and a rural comprehensive). In 2013 she was elected Chair of the Anglican Association of Directors of Education and has recently undertaken consultancy work for the National Society on school effectiveness. 

Whilst working in Worcestershire, Helena was a member of the Diocesan Board of Education and qualified as a Section 48 SIAS Inspector for church schools. Helena has served as a trustee of the Methodist Schools and Academies Trust and was a Director of All Saints’ Academy in Cheltenham and a trustee for the St Matthias Trust. Contact Helena

Mrs Helen Springett - Head of School Improvement 

Helena Arnold

Helen joined the central office team in September 2017 as Head of School Improvement.  Helen graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 1995 and has taught from reception to year 6 in Essex, Thurrock, East London and Gloucestershire, the majority of this experience in schools in challenging circumstances.  For the last twelve years, Helen has been a Headteacher and Executive Headteacher for three church schools. 

Most recently she has led Winchocmbe Abbey C of E Primary School on its journey to being graded Outstanding for both Ofsted and SIAM's in 2016/17.  Helen has also held a number of additional roles, an Ofsted inspector, mentor for new headteachers and Educational consultant.  In 2017 her contribution to leadership was recongised when she was awarded the Teaching Times and Achievemet for All's "inspiring leadership" award.   Contact Helen

Mr Rob Jones - Operations Manager 

Rob started his career in the public sector in 1991 working as a Social Worker in a variety of roles in children’s services.  He has worked in education since 2004 starting in the Local Management of schools Team at the London Borough of Hounslow, supporting schools in both the primary and secondary sector. 

Subsequently Rob was the Business Manager for a Gloucester Secondary school overseeing the financial and premises management of the School and its public access sports centre. Whilst there Rob set up a local support Hub for four local Primary Schools providing premises, finance and IT support.  Most recently Rob worked at a University Technical College in Bristol as Business Manager overseeing the finance, estates and contract management, ICT and HR functions. Contact Rob

Mrs Ellie Hully - Executive Officer

Ellie HullyEllie  joined the Diocese of Gloucester Education Department in 2009 as Buildings and Finance Administrator, managing the financial aspects of capital building projects for Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary Schools.  Prior to this she completed her Bachelor of Science Degree and Post-Graduate Diploma in Biology before working in the pharmaceutical sector as a Quality Control Technician.  Between 2009 and 2011 Ellie managed the pre-opening Trustee accounts for All Saints’ Academy, Cheltenham.  She then started studying for a diploma with the Association of Accounting Technicians.

Ellie began working alongside the Diocese of Gloucester Education Trust and Academies Trust in October 2012, before joining the Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust full-time as Executive Officer in September 2013.  Ellie has been an integral part of the team from the initial setting up of the Umbrella Trust and Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) in 2012 to assisting with the administration of single academy conversions and two academy conversions under the MAT. Contact Ellie

Mr Nick Patten - Chartered Accountant (Head of Finance)

Nick initially joined DGAT in January 2015 to provide maternity cover and was then appointed as Head of Finance in January 2016. 

Nick qualified as a chartered accountant in 1983, and in total spent 14 years within major accounting practices, both in UK and in East Africa. Nick undertook a variety of accounting and audit roles during this period across a very broad spectrum of businesses ranging from sole traders to multinational businesses.


Nick then moved into financial services and spent 22 years in various financial reporting and investigative project accounting roles within major insurance companies. Prior to joining DGAT Nick was heavily involved in due diligence reviews and preparations for the sale of a number of insurance portfolios. Contact Nick.

Mrs Claire Morgan - Finance Officer

Claire joined the Diocese Academies Trust in January 2015 as a Finance Officer. Before joining the team, Claire gained her AAT Accountancy qualification from the Royal Forest of Dean College in August 2013 whilst working as an accounts technician within two small independent private accountancy practices based within Monmouthshire and the Forest of Dean. Claire brings to the Diocese Academy Trust a wealth of experience in dealing with sole traders, partnerships and limited companies.

As Finance Officer, Claire supports many aspects of academy conversion, including the procurement of services, setting up financial systems and the implementation and training on financial policies and procedures. Claire has also recently become a member of a Local Governing Body at Primrose Hill Church of England Primary Academy. Contact Claire.

Mr Christian Thompson - Finance Officer

Chris is part-AAT qualified and last year completed a level 3 NVQ in Business and Administration.  He has close to 20 years experience of working in an accounts environment for a wide range of businesses ranging from care homes for the elderly to a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners.  

Chris supports all finance functions for academies, including implementing and training on finance policies. Contact Chris.


Mr Steve Green - Finance Officer

Steve joined the Diocese in 2017.

Steve is part-AAT qualified and has over 35 years’ experience of working in an accounts environment for a varied range of businesses including a local retail group, a local solicitors & more recently Gloucestershire County Council

Steve supports all finance functions for academies, including implementing and training on finance policies. Contact Steve