Cookie Preferences

Here at The Park Academies Trust we use cookies to:
- improve our website performance;
- help you share our content across your social media networks; and
- personalise our advertisements to you.

To accept our cookies please click the button below, or for further details and the chance to specify your cookie preferences please click ‘more information’.

You can change your preferences at any time by visiting the “Cookies Preferences” page, which can be found via our footer. View our Privacy and Cookies policies for full details.

Meet the team

Strategic direction for the Trust is shaped by a productive partnership between those in governance (members, trustees, and local advisory board members) and senior leaders.



James Nicholson
James Nicholson

James Nicholson - Interim CEO

James joined The Park Academies Trust in January 2023. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has a wealth of experience in Finance, ICT, Estates, group procurement and legal issues.

He has previously worked in large academy trusts and was instrumental in having a previous organisation’s Financial Notice to Improve lifted just 12 months after joining them. At another he turned around a history of multi-million pound annual losses into an annual surplus whilst at the same time the educational team raised pupil outcomes.

James has been an academy trust Chief Financial Officer since 2003 and a Trustee since 2007. At various points he has also worked with the Department for Education and The Education Skills Funding Agency on finance and governance issues.

Rachel Surch
Rachel Surch

Rachel Surch - Director of Primary 

I am an experienced primary practitioner and have spent 18 years in leadership and 9 years as the headteacher at Red Oaks. I am very proud to be part of the TPAT family and I strongly believe in inclusion and raising standards through an exciting and broad curriculum that optimises fun and challenge.

I love my job and consider myself privileged to have the opportunity to shape the future of Swindon children. TPAT primary schools are always striving to be creative and dynamic; often found to be leading new initiatives and encouraging fresh opportunities.

I am fortunate to work with a wonderful primary team who are keen to share ideas and be at the forefront of education. TPAT primaries work alongside our secondary colleagues who are like-minded in realising the potential of primary and secondary collaboration and developing a seamless transition for pupils.

I look forward to welcoming and working with new primary partners with whom to continue this exciting journey towards excellence.

David Williams
David Williams

David Williams - Director of Inclusion

David Williams (Executive Director of Inclusions for The Park Academies Trust) has a BSc (Hons), a PGCE, and a research Master’s degree in Learning and Teaching specialising in student well-being from the University of Oxford. He completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs Co-ordination in 2014, and the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) in 2019 and he is qualified to test for JCQ examination access arrangements. In 2017 David completed the Master’s level Attachment Lead qualification.

David was a trustee of the British Dyslexia Association from 2010 to 2020, and was joint non-executive Chair of the Management Board and Chair of the Trustees from 2018 to 2020.  David is currently a Trustee for the Wiltshire Dyslexia Association and since 2018 he has contributed to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Specific Learning Difficulties. In 2007, he received an international scholarship for his research into the use of mindmapping techniques with ASC students, and in 2011 was named Dyslexia Teacher of the Year.  David is frequently invited to speak to groups of SENDCos both locally and nationally. 

David is a member of the Swindon Strategic Special Educational Needs Board and sits on the Swindon and North Wiltshire Professional Leaders Network for the Clinical Commissioning Group. David chairs the Swindon Sendco Champions and the Secondary Sendco working group.

Craig PashlerCraig Pashler

Craig Pashler - Interim CFO

Craig brought over 25 years of financial experience to TPAT, covering financial accounting, management accounting, analysis, senior decision making and strategy. Having trained and qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant within industry, Craig moved into the education sector in 2006.  Craigs first role in the sector was with an educational trust which had a mix of Independent schools and academies and where he onboarded (financially) 27 schools\academies. During his time here Craig completed an MBA from Warwick Business School.

Following that role Craig moved into a private equity backed, global independent school’s organisation where he was based in their UK corporate office. He returned to the Public Sector (2014) joining a MAT as Financial Controller and working his way up to CFO, a position that he held for five years.  That gave Craig experience of the breath and scope of what is involved in holding a senior role within a large organisation.  Craig also continued his executive training and achieved a Post Graduate Diploma from Warwick Business School.

Craig continues to support the not-for-profit sector in his personal time and in recent years has held roles including Trustee and hands on ‘front line’ volunteering in local charities.

Tracey DyerTracey Dyer

Tracey Dyer - Head of Governance & Policy

Tracey has over 20 years’ experience of governance, and has held senior governance roles in a large international confederation, and two UK universities.  Areas of specialism include corporate and charity governance, data protection, and policy.  Tracey joined The Park Academies Trust as Head of Governance and Policy in 2022.

Voluntary roles have included company secretary to the INGO Accountability Charter (Accountable Now), which was founded in 2008 by leading international civil society organisations, and parent governor of an outstanding secondary school within a multi-academy trust in Oxfordshire.

Executive Team Structure (94KB)

Organisation chart showing TPAT executive team structure