Trust Central Team

Amanda Bennett is the CEO of The Great Heights Academy Trust, an NLE and Executive Principal of The Greetland Academy. She strategically leads a core team of dedicated leaders and managers who run the Trust (formally The Greetland Academy Trust) and mentors current and future leaders across the Trust’s Academies: Bowling Green Academy, Carlinghow Academy, Raynville Academy, The Greetland Academy and West Vale Academy. Amanda has enjoyed working at The Greetland Academy (formally Greetland Primary School) and within the Greetland community since 1996. She now spends most of her time on her Trust CEO and Accounting Officer role, supporting and guiding both Trust academies and others in need of support: using her experience to guide developments and support the agreement of bespoke visions and goals to meet to the evidenced needs of children, parents and staff across a wide range of settings.
During her 14 years as The Greetland Academy’s Headteacher, Amanda lead the school from successfully serving its local village to becoming a consistently high-achieving, outstanding school. Moving the school continuously forward included Amanda’s leadership of its conversion to academy status in 2010, one of the first outstanding converters in the region. Having established effective and robust curricular practices, with strong staffing and management structures, Greetland became increasingly able to offer outreach support to other schools. Driven by the school’s desire and preference to be at the forefront of the academic landscape, to lead and benefit from change, over the last five years, Greetland has successfully bid to host and run multiple nationally recognised designations: National Support School; Teaching School (Teamworks TSA); SCITT (AA Teamwworks); Multi-Academy Trust lead school; Research School (the Oldham Research School) and an English hub school (Teamworks English Hub at the Greetland Academy). Further accreditations have included Investors in People status, Arts Mark and regional Pupil Premium awards. The academy has supported many regional and national initiatives, including the ‘Effective use of Teaching Assistants’ EEF project, RQT targeted support, EYFS projects, Workload initiatives and the Early Career Framework.
Following Greetland’s conversion to academy status Amanda has supported other school leaders and Governors through their academy conversions. Having restructured her own trust’s business model, she has helped to develop governance and accountability structures within other schools and designations. Amanda contributes locally to forums and boards via the ‘West Yorkshire Strategic Partnership’ and continues to provide school support and guidance through Greetland’s Research School designation within the ‘Opportunity Area’ of Oldham. Amanda has held the positions in various organisations including being vice-chair and then chair of the Calderdale Primary Headteachers forum. She is a member of the UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium Governance Board, giving input alongside the contributions of Greetland’s Research School and makes time to share her experience outside of Great Heights as an active member of the Local Governing Body for Lightcliffe Academy within the Abbey Trust.
Amanda became an NLE in 2013 and a Pupil Premium Reviewer. She has been part of cross-regional school support, including in ‘cold spot’ areas and areas of high deprivation. She has worked on several Teaching School projects and provided both additional capacity and due diligence work to other MATs. She has provided school to school support for schools in West Yorkshire and most recently supported schools with the national COVID-19 recovery offer, providing case studies of success for the DfE. Amanda has supported supporting network meetings, conferences and induction events for NLEs and Teaching Schools. As a member of the ESFA Financial Steering Group she has provided system leadership input to this national strategy group.
Over the last 5 years Amanda has supported Teaching Schools across Lancashire and West Yorkshire (LWY). She is the representative for LWY on the Teaching School Council (TSC) and over the last 3 years has created and lead an effective regional delivery team to support system leaders and Teaching Schools: managing school to school support processes and providing updates and links to national and local priorities. She is a member of the NW/LWY School Improvement Partnership Board connecting local leaders to the work of Teaching Schools. Amanda takes a national role of the TSC supporting the school Improvement agenda and has supported the planning and delivery of NLE national training.
The roles of CEO, Executive Principal and TSC Regional Representative are always challenging and ever-changing. Amanda finds inspiration from the positive outcomes achieved by coaching and mentoring stakeholders and partners to reach their full potential and most importantly seeing all trust pupils and staff achieve the same whilst enjoying their time within all of Great Height’s schools.
Amanda was honoured to be awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, for her services to education in West Yorkshire, in January 2021.

Nicola Foulkes worked as the Assistant SENDCo at The Greetland Academy until her appointment as PA to the CEO, Amanda Bennett in April 2019.She has worked at The Greetland Academy for over 16 years.

Previously, Nicola has worked in the sales and marketing profession within the insurance sector and other commercial businesses for over 12 years before a change in career following family commitments. Her children attended The Greetland Academy where she began her support of the school in a voluntary capacity, supporting pupils.

During her 16 years at The Greetland Academy, she qualified as a HLTA and supported across both Key Stages specifically with Year 6 pupils.
She also has experience of representing The Greetland Academy as part of the School to School Support programme providing guidance to other teaching assistants from outside of the local authority.

In 2014 Nicola completed her Advanced Diploma in SEND to support her new role as the Assistant SENDCo. For the past 6 years she has worked closely with both parents and outside agencies to ensure all pupils’ needs were met.

Her present role as PA to the CEO and as administrative support for the COO of the Trust is a rewarding and exciting new challenge.

Jayne Firth is the senior leader responsible for the Trust’s corporate and operational functions. Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) serving as an integral member of the MAT Team.

She has lead operational responsibility for strategic management and leadership of business management planning of the Trust including HR, Estates Management, H&S, Risk Management, Legal Services & Project Management including the delivery of new academy conversions. Jayne plays a key role in upholding, promoting and modelling the vision and values of the Trust at all times and providing a high level of service to customers. Jayne has worked in education for over 20 years and was enrolled on the first pilot of the Certificate of School Business Management for the National College, attaining this in 2004.

Jayne has supported over 15 schools in their transfer to Academy status, leading a Carnegie Conference for academy transfer for West Yorkshire head teachers and Chairs of Governors. She also leads our local cluster group and has been a mentor of other SBMs. Jayne is an SLE in Academy Conversion and Academy Administration.

Jayne is very used to supporting schools in her areas of expertise including visioning events with staff and Governors; assisting in pupil premium reviews and tracking; full admin staffing audits as well as H&S whole staff training sessions.

Jayne has been a guest speaker at a regional School Food Trust Seminar to showcase how our school tackled the introduction of the UIFSM Plan and has been a member of a strategic group at the Dept of Health led by the Minister for Health on the Obesity Strategy. Jayne has also secured funding for a number of Condition Improvement Fund bids amounting to over £1 million as well as successful bids for Sports England Funding and a number of community grants which have ensured the ongoing improvements to the Trust’s ground and buildings.

Amanda has worked within education for seventeen years. She has worked at The Greetland Academy since 2011 where she is responsible for all aspects of financial management within the Trust. She is AAT qualified (Association of Accounting Technicians), as well as having successively completed the Certificate of School Business Management via the National College.

Amanda’s background includes 11 years as a Finance Manager at Marks & Spencer. She moved into education as the Bursar for the Halifax Excellence Cluster in 2001, which worked with 26 schools in Calderdale ‘facing challenging circumstances’. She has been a Governor (including Chairing the Curriculum and Standards Committee) for approximately 12 years and was one of the Members of the Academy Trust when the school converted to an academy in 2010. She also has extensive governing body experience via another Calderdale school, judged to be outstanding for a third consecutive time. Amanda is a designated Specialist Leader of Education. As such, she has been deployed to carry out due diligence checks on schools potentially due to convert to academy status; review the finance operation and structures of a through school; and is regularly utilised to deliver academy peer review external assurance checks, as part of meeting the Academy Financial Handbook requirements. She has also been commissioned by the local authority to deliver training on academy finance and assurance processes to Calderdale governors, as well as participating in sub-groups to support the work of Schools Forum.

She has also actively supported local schools considering the move to academy status, making presentations to their Governing Bodies and, in one instance, also reviewing a maintained school’s financial position and the impact that academy status would have on this. As part of the Academy Chain Bursar group she has provided support to other academies on their financial reporting requirements and to their Principals with regard to key financial information.

Nationally, Amanda is part of the ESFA’s Academy Financial and Assurance Steering Group; within this role, Amanda Chairs one of the three Working Groups that report into the Steering Group. The particular focus of the Working Group she Chairs is on financial reporting and assurance. This includes oversight of the production of the Academies Accounts Direction, which all academies and their auditors utilise to produce their Annual Accounts.

Jonathan Pascall supports MAT Communication (websites, social media etc) and other members of the MAT team. He also teaches at The Greetland Academy, as he has since 2012, providing release time for the management team and other teachers.

Jonathan first came to Greetland Primary school as a pupil in the 1970s. Following a degree at Oriel College, Oxford University, he took a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds University. Part of this PGCE was spent learning best teaching practice at Greetland Primary School in 1993. He then spent seven years teaching year 5 and year 6 classes at Northowram and West Vale Primary Schools.

Ten years as an educational ICT Consultant for Calderdale Council then followed. During this time Jonathan worked in most of Calderdale’s schools, both Primary and Secondary. He also worked with the DfE, supporting the roll-out of interactive whiteboards in schools, producing teaching resources for both the National Numeracy and Literacy Strategies.

Jonathan is a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) for Computing and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.