Centre Team & Trustees

Centre team

Mark Talbot

Chief Executive Officer (full-time)

Mark Talbot is DCAT’s Chief Executive Officer. He has been in senior roles in Eastbourne, Hastings and Berkshire for over 15 years.

He took up the full-time CEO role in June 2018 having been in interim charge from September 2017. He has a passion for Church School education with a belief that every child should achieve their God-given potential.

Key roles:

  • Vision, values and ethos
  • Trust Strategy
  • Trust development and governance


Beruk Berhane

Deputy CEO – School Improvement (full-time)

Beruk Berhane is DCAT’s Deputy CEO – School Improvement. He is responsible for the educational performance of DCAT academies. He has worked in schools for over 20 years. Beruk has a proven track record of working in collaboration with leaders to secure significant school improvement.

Key roles:

  • Quality of education 
  • Collaborative school improvement 
  • Trust wide professional development of staff 


Stephen Barrett

Chief Operating Officer (full time)

Stephen is the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer. He has extensive school experience, having previously worked as Director of Finance & Operations, COO and School Business Manager at various different settings. He has overall responsibility for overseeing the strategic development of the Trust’s operations; including Finance, HR, Operations & Governance and IT.

He is passionate about ensuring DCAT is providing a first-class service to its schools and ensuring that this has a positive impact on the outcomes for children.

Trust Senior Education Leaders

Jo Djora

Senior Education Leader: Cathedral Hub (Full time)

Jo joined the Trust from her previous position as Headteacher at an Outstanding school in London. Prior to this, Jo has had extensive experience in leading schools. Jo is a passionate educationalist who is highly ambitious for the children and communities that she works with.


(part-time with Centre Team)

Katharine Hurd

Senior Education Leader: Continued Professional Development (2 days a week)

Katharine is one of the Trust’s Headteachers at All Saints CE Junior Academy in Hastings. Katharine is working 2 days per week as an SEL supporting St. John’s Meads and Sedlescombe CE Primary school. Katharine is also responsible for the Trust CPD.

Justin Smith

External Consultant – School Improvement

Benedict Joy Leadership Services will be supporting the Trust by providing external evaluation and support to the school improvement capacity of DCAT. Their consultant, Justin Smith, has experience of MAT leadership and developing systemic school improvement processes. He has led two outstanding schools. He will also be undertaking specific projects in consultation with the Trust leadership team in areas of school improvement, financial modelling and delivering growth as required.


Trust Leads

(part-time with Centre Team)

Mr Tom Glenn

Trust Assessment Leader (1 day a week)

Tom Glenn is DCAT’s Trust Assessment Leader based in Eastbourne. Tom is currently Head of School at St Paul’s CE Academy and has been part of the leadership team who have transformed St Paul’s KS2 outcomes in the last 2 years. 

Key roles:

  • Trust assessment systems
  • Quality assurance 
  • Staff development 


Mrs Katie Ward

Trust Leader of English (1.5 days a week)

Katie Ward is DCAT’s Trust Leader of English and based in Eastbourne. Katie has taught in all key stages, KS1-4. She is also a KS2 Local Authority writing moderator. She is currently Head of Key Stage 3 at St Catherine’s College.

Key roles:

  • English
  • Moderation
  • Staff development


Trust Centre Staff

Dominique Lewis

Head of HR (full-time)

Dominique is DCAT’s Head of HR. She is responsible for supporting the Trust with the strategy and delivery of the HR function across the DCAT academies. She has worked in education for the past 10 years and prior to this worked within the recruitment sector.


Mrs Jo Saunders

Head of Operations and Governance (4 days a week: Monday-Thursday)

Jo Saunders is DCAT’s Head of Operations. Jo has extensive experience in governance and operations. Prior to this Jo worked in banking at a regional level.

Key roles:

  • Compliance, Health & Safety
  • Human Resources
  • Governance and clerking
  • Induction of new academies
  • Internal communication


Mrs Tania Little

Head of Finance (4 days a week: Monday-Thursday)

Tania Little is DCAT’s Head of Finance. Tania has worked in school finance for 11 years both primary and secondary. Prior to this, she worked in commercial finance for 10 years.

Key roles:

  • Trust financial compliance
  • Academy finance support


Tom O’Connor

Trust Estates Lead (full-time)

Tom O’Connor has an extensive background in facilities management and health and safety, which included being involved in major change management, in restructuring the Estate requirements and reviewing the Site Support team’s performance and the transition for schools from a Local Authority to becoming an Academy. Tom joined the Trust Centre team from St. Columba CE Primary School.


Miss Joanne Hood

Senior Administrator (Full time)

Joanne is the Senior Administrator for DCAT. Prior to this role she worked as a Management Information Assistant for a company that provided an insurance replacement service for multiple insurance companies’ home contents claims.


Leanne Holmes

PA to the CEO (Part time)

Leanne is PA to the CEO. Prior to this role she was PA to a managing director for 6 years, and has 10 years administration experience within the manufacturing and financial services industries.

Leanne Holmes


Mrs Laura Stevens

Academies Business Officer (Part time)

Laura is an Academies Business Officer. Laura has previously worked in banking and provides support to St. Paul’s, Christchurch and St. Leonards academies.


Mrs Michele Fairhall

Academies Business Officer (Part time)

Michele is an Academies Business Officer and will be supporting a number of the Trust’s schools. She has previously worked as an Accounts and HR Manager for a nursery for a number of years. Michele has also been a Governor for the past 12 years at the primary school her children attended, undertaking a number of roles.

She has also been through the process of conversion to an academy and has extensive knowledge of school management.


Mr Neil Carroll

Finance Assistant (full time)

Neil Carroll is a Finance Assistant for the Trust. Neil has worked in Multi Academy Trust finance for the last 4 years. Previously, he gained a wide range of knowledge in the banking and insurance industries during a 22 year period.



Archdeacon Luke Irvine-Capel

Chair of Trustees

Luke is the Archdeacon of Chichester, and also Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education.

Nick Taunt

Chair of Education Strategy and Standards Committee

Nick is the former CEO and Headteacher of an ‘Outstanding’ secondary school (including sixth form) in Chichester, and is the Trust’s nominated link Safeguarding Trustee.

Tim Manly

Tim is the Headmaster of Hurstpierpoint College, an ISI ‘Excellent’ independent all-through school in West Sussex.

Trevor Cristin

A former primary Headteacher, Trevor is now the Director of Education for the Diocese of Chichester.

Angela Hamill

Angela is the Headteacher of an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ two-form entry primary school in Bexhill.

William Payne

William is a retired civil servant who worked in prisons and on criminal justice policy. He is a trustee of two other charities.

Philip Hepburn

Phil is a retired Senior Manager with 30+ years experience in Operations and Facilities management of business and properties services for an international blue chip fmcg company and then latterly in a private health care. He has led and developed teams of in-house and contract staff to deliver a wide range of support services. He has been responsible for project managing building refurbishments and delivering new plant and infrastructure services.

Sharon Phillips

Vice Chair

Sharon is an HR specialist with 35 years experience at Board level, in facilitating organisations to support innovation, development, growth and change. This is within the context of a variety of sectors, having held leadership roles in Commercial, Higher Education, Further Education and Charity environments.

Sharon has previously been a Trustee of the Sussex Community Foundation for 9 years, was a Director of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce for 6 years and is a Trustee on the Enterprise Board at Salisbury Cathedral, a Trustee of Family Support Work (established in 1890) and a lay member of the Chichester Diocesan Synod.

James Stanbridge

Fortune 100 Technical Leader, Consultant & Coach

With 20+ years of experience in hiring some of the most successful diverse and inclusive teams in multiple countries, developing and hiring back returnees to the workplace.

The ‘Go To IT Guy’ having led engineering, technical and operational teams across Asia & Europe, for 14 yrs as General Manager with Microsoft’s cloud business and a further 2 years as Vice President of Cloud Infrastructure with Oracle, James runs his consulting and coaching business from his office in Tangmere

James has served on the Tangmere Parish Council since 2016, is the Election Agent for the Chichester and Bognor Green Party and coordinates the Tangmere Community Speedwatch team

Reg Webb

Chair of Audit and Risk Committee

Reg, a chartered accountant, retired as a partner of PwC having served on the management board and as chairman of the supervisory board in Central and Eastern Europe since when he has served as a non-executive director of a listed company and is a trustee of another charity.

Reverend Nicol Kinrade

Reverend Nicol is currently the Priest-in-Charge of All Saints, Highbrook & St Margaret’s, West Hoathly, a rural Benefice in West Sussex. She is a governor for the local primary school, and also sits on the Diocesan Education Finance Committee. She is an ADDO (Assistant Diocesan Discernment Officer), a Liturgical Chaplain for the Bishops, and has recently been elected to Diocesan Synod.

Nicol completed her curacy at Ditching, Streat and Westmeston, on the South Downs, and was a co-opted governor for the local primary school. Before ordination, she worked in the museum field, for the RAF Museum (Hendon), The Tower of London, Parham House, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She also spent time working for PricewaterhouseCoopers (first in the Education Department and then for Partner & International Desk for Business Recovery Services). She was a Magistrate for 6 years.

Associate Members

Mrs Jan Meyer

Education Strategy and Standards Committee

Mr Neil Morris

Audit and Risk Committee

Mr Keith Pailthorpe

Associate member of the Education Strategy and Standards Committee

Mr John Proctor

Chair of LGB Chairs’ Hub as an associate member of the Trust Board

Accounting Officer

Mark Talbot

Accounting Officer/CEO


Mr Bernard Adkins

Additional member by consent of Diocesan Board of Education

Mr Philip Bowden

Diocese of Chichester Education Trust Authorised Representative

Archdeacon Luke Irvine-Capel

Chair of Trustees

Miss Gabrielle Higgins

Appointed by Diocese of Chichester Education Trust

Rt Rev Will Hazlewood

Representative of Bishop of Chichester

Our Performance

Centre Team


  • Average
  • Above Average
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Maths

DCAT’s KS2 progress scores are above average in all areas. They put DCAT in the top 20% of all Trusts nationally and 2nd out of all Church of England Trusts.

Reading Writing and Maths at expected standard
National Average = 65%

Reading Writing and Maths at higher standard
National Average = 10.5%