Benedick Ashmore-Short - Chief Executive
Benedick has had a career in education spanning two decades and has an unrivalled track record of school transformation in numerous roles including Primary and Secondary Headship, Executive Director of Education and Chief Executive Officer.
In 2014 he was named Pearson 'Headteacher of the Year' winning a coveted Plato due to a significant school transformation that led to the school being a catalyst for community cohesion and moving from ‘Special Measures’ to Good in under two years. He has led 21 schools through inspections all with positive outcomes- the majority moving forward two Ofsted grades.
Benedick has been described by Ofsted as ‘inspirational and forward-thinking’ -he is a highly motivational leader who believes in empowering teaching staff and pupils to achieve beyond their dreams. His passion has always been teaching and he has continued to teach throughout his career, regardless of position, and has the rare experience of teaching all year groups from Reception to Y13.
Benedick's areas of specialism are due diligence, financial turnaround, management of risk, inspection readiness and strategic, sustained school improvement. He has led numerous training, development and leadership programmes and has recently specialised in developing Executive Leaders across the UK working with Ambition School Leadership.
He is delighted to have joined TPAT as Chief Executive Officer during this important stage of our strategic journey.
Rachel Surch - Primary Executive Principal and Principal - Red Oaks Primary School
An experienced Primary School leader and Red Oaks Head teacher since 2012, I am very proud to be the head of such an inclusive school that is committed to raising standards and delivering an exciting curriculum.
I love my job and consider myself privileged to have the opportunity to shape the future of Swindon children. Red Oaks is a creative and dynamic school often found to be leading new initiatives and encouraging fresh opportunities whilst optimising fun and challenge.
I am fortunate to work with a wonderful primary team who are keen to share ideas and be at the forefront of education. We joined The Park Academies Trust because we discovered our secondary colleagues were like-minded in realising the potential of primary and secondary collaboration in developing a seamless transition for pupils.
I look forward to welcoming a working with new primary partners with whom to continue this exciting journey towards excellence.
Alastair Dixon-Patterson - Director of Finance and Operations
Experienced in Support Services with a background of operational management, facilities management (previous member of BIFM), sales and contract management both in and out of the Education environment.
Developed the MAT central structure and leads a team of ICT, HR, Premises and Finance specialists.
Identified the financial improvements required and led the restructure of the business support team at Abbey Park school and the necessary cost saving programme to eliminate a projected £1.2 million deficit. This included a PFI market testing exercise that has delivered material savings (6 figure) and a transition to a new FM provider.
Took the joining school through challenging academy conversion which included land/PFI issues.
Jon Young - Principal – Abbey Park School
Senior Leadership experience in two schools. Deputy headship of 10 years with an emphasis leading on Teaching and Learning, contributing to the success of Lydiard Park Academy. This experience provided Jon with the educational understanding and skills to support and improve the outcomes for young people.
Currently, into his fourth year as Principal with the Park Academies Trust, leading on the changes and improvements at Abbey Park School delivering much improved outcomes. Jon is very passionate about an educational experience of high quality for the young people of North Swindon. Outcomes for pupils are now the highest they have ever been and public confidence in the school is reflected in the school being over-subscribed.
Gary Pearson - Principal – Lydiard Park Academy
An experienced secondary school leader whose background in Senior Leadership prior to headship focused upon the Pastoral side of education. He is the Principal of Lydiard Park Academy, the founding school in The Park Academies Trust. During the MAT transition period restructured the Senior Leadership Team and guided the academy to its highest progress levels at both GCSE and A-level.
Oversaw the transition from LPA Sixth Form to The Park Academies Trust Sixth Form that is dedicated to promoting the highest educational outcomes for the pupils of both West and North Swindon. The success of the Sixth Form is reflected by the increased numbers of pupils from the area going to University.
Ruth Lee - Head Teacher - Orchid Vale Primary School
Since 1997, I have gained great satisfaction and fulfilment from teaching and leading in three very different Swindon primary schools. My previous role was as Head of School for seven years before joining the team as Head Teacher of Orchid Vale Primary School in September 2019. I am passionate about school improvement and creating a broad and challenging curriculum that improves outcomes for all pupils.
I am extremely fortunate to work with a committed team and together, we are looking forward to developing practices and knowledge that benefit our pupils both now and as they move into secondary education and beyond.
Being part of the Park Academies Trust brings further strength and opportunity to all members of our school community in providing the very best education for the children of Orchid Vale.