Education Team and Board of Education

Education Team & Board of Education

Through the Education Team, the DBE oversees and supports the work of all 71 of the Church of England schools in the diocese. Among these 71 schools, we have Voluntary Aided Schools, Voluntary Controlled Schools, and Academies. The Academies are either Single Academy Trusts, or one of a number of schools within a Multi Academy Trust.

Your Education Team

Liz Townend
Director of Education
Liz has wide experience of working with a range of schools, starting out as a teacher and senior leader in primary schools in England and abroad, before working with an LA in school improvement and professional development. She was an Ofsted inspector and NCTL trainer.

As the Director of Education for the Bristol Diocese, Liz supports all CE schools in the diocese through many roles including developing leadership, safeguarding, academisation and the promotion of church school vision, helping schools to become places where children and staff experience 'life in all its fullness'.
Contact Liz

Ali Driver
Governance and Schools Support Officer
Ali supports all the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) Officers, providing support for DBE Board Meetings, all training events, governor appointments and the administration of the SIAMs Inspection process.
Contact Ali

Rachel Brohier
DBE Administrator
Rachel provides administrative support to the Diocesan Board of Education Officers.Rachel Brohier
Contact Rachel

Laura Harris
Deputy Director and Schools Adviser

Laura is responsible for providing strategic oversight, support and training for Religious Education, Collective Worship and all matters to do with Church School Distinctiveness, including supporting the SIAMS Inspection process. Laura is a trained and qualified SIAMS Inspector and is RE Adviser to Bristol and Wiltshire SACREs.
Contact Laura

Julia Watts
Schools Adviser
Julia WattsJulia supports Church of England schools and academies and their parish communities to enable them to provide a distinctively Christian education; including encouraging church, school and family relationships through the Church and Schools Partnership Award and through the SIAMS framework. She is also an RE Adviser for all primary, secondary and FE schools, colleges and academies through South Gloucestershire and Swindon SACREs.
Contact Julia

Jo Willis
Schools Officer (Governance and Admissions)
Jo supports and advises schools and Academy Trusts on all aspects of governance including school admissions, oversees the appointment of foundation governors, and is Company Secretary for the Diocese of Bristol Academies Company.

Sarah Wattley
Strategy Enabler for Under 18s

Sarah leads the development and delivery of our strategy that will enable children and young people across the Diocese to thrive, knowing they are loved and have support to flourish socially and spiritually. She supports those working on behalf of churches in the Diocese with children, young people and families and growing this provision.

Diocese of Bristol Diocesan Board of Education

Members of the DBE work as a statutory body as part of the governance of the diocese to support and challenge schools and promote high quality education across the diocese. They work closely with the DDE, Education Team and oversee the monitoring and review role of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Company which works with all academies. One of their key roles is to work alongside schools to in developing a Schools Capacity strategy to ensure sustainability for all schools, growth through new schools and increased pupil numbers, and partnerships to avoid failure or isolation, for example through rurality or small size.

Members represent as wide a mix as possible of people who want to see children and young people flourish across the diocese, and include a bishop, an archdeacon, vicars in parishes, ex and current headteachers, parish workers, church congregation members, diocesan synod members and those with expertise in education and other useful fields of work.

The Diocesan Board of Education is a statutory body governed by the Diocesan Board of Education Measure 1991 and the Bristol Diocesan Board of Education Measure 1997. Its purpose is to oversee and support church school education, including supporting the provision of RE for all pupils across the diocese.

It comprises:

  • The Bishop and her two senior staff nominations, in this case our suffragen Bishop and one Archdeacon
  • Laity from each archdeaconry elected by the Diocesan Synod
  • Clergy from each archdeaconry elected by the Diocesan Synod
  • Members co-opted by the Board with experience of church schools and/or other relevant experience

The Board also operates two sub-committees and an academies Company to progress specific functions of the Board, all of which are supported by Diocesan officers.

Additional DBE working groups are formed as necessary to carry out specific project work. 

Strategy Committee

Key responsibilities:

  1. Strategic plan of DBE
  2. Resourcing and budgets
  3. School organization, planning and policy, including academies planning in partnership with the Diocese of Bristol Academies Company
  4. School buildings and estates
  5. Educational/ moral/ theological insights
  6. Governance including foundation governor appointments
School Effectiveness Committee

Key Responsibilities:

  1. Support and challenge for Christian distinctiveness of schools
  2. Support and challenge for educational performance and governance of schools
  3. Section 48 inspections (SIAMS)
  4. Review of the Schools Risk register
Diocese of Bristol Academies Company (DoBAC)

DoBAC is a separate incorporated company limiting liability to the diocesan Board of Finance. In effect, it is a committee of DBE and works to the DBE remit.

Key Responsibilities:

  • To be a corporate Member of each Church-led Multi Academy Trust (MAT) and CE Single Academy Trust (SAT) and through these Members to hold schools to account for these responsibilities:
    • the Christian Distinctiveness and SIAMS outcomes of their CE schools.
    • key educational performance outcomes;
    • financial outcomes and 3 year forward projections;
    • legal compliance of their CE schools.
  • To oversee due diligence checks on proposed Church-led MATs or converting CE schools joining existing or Church-led MATs and agree or prohibit change.
  • To appoint Foundation Directors, Members and Local Board Foundation Governors to schools in Church-led MATs and CE SATs, within the terms of the Articles of each Company.
  • Ensure engagement with appointments of Church-led MAT Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and Principals in CE Academies and Members as outlined in the Articles of each Company and any Memorandum of Understanding/Diocesan guidance.
DBE Documents

DBE Measure - 1991

DBE Order - 1997

Diocesan Board of Education code of conduct

Diocesan Board of Education Standing Orders

DBE School effectiveness committee -Terms of reference 

DBE Strategy Committee - Terms of Reference

RE Statement of Entitlement for Church Schools

Members of the board

Bishop Neil Warwick (Chair of the Board) 

Prior to ordination Neil worked in business and the charity sector mostly on bringing positive change to organisations and their strategies. Since ordination, he's been a parish priest, always passionate about working with local schools. Neil has been a school governor. For ten years he was the trustee and a practitioner for an innovative charity, Reinspired, who enliven the RE curriculum by connecting local schools and churches. Neil was Archdeacon of Bristol from 2019 until his consecration as the Bishop of Swindon in October 2023.

Adam Beaumont (Vice Chair of the Board) 

Adam is a member of the Archdeacons’ team working across the Diocese. Previously he was a Rector of eight rural parishes, and before that a Team Vicar for whom part of his role was as a Deanery Missioner for Schools, Family, and Children. Prior to Ordination he was a Secondary Science Teacher and Head of Year in a large comprehensive school. Adam has served as a school governor in secondary, primary, and special schools and academies, including in the role of chair. He has served on the Diocesan Board of Education for the past five years, most recently as acting chair. This broad experience of education has grown out of his deep-seated passion to want to see young people flourish. Adam still maintains that in his decade as a teacher there wasn’t a day that went by without a young person making him smile. Adam is married to Sheona, an academic and artist, and they have two primary-aged children – a ballerina and a musician – but he is probably most like their Labrador, Gus, who eats anything and on the whole is pretty loyal.

Canon David Cain

David is a Licensed Lay Minister, Canon Treasurer and Chapter Member at Bristol Cathedral, Member of Bristol Diocesan Synod, Member of Bristol Diocese Audit and Risk Committee and Lay Chair of Swindon Deanery. David is a Chartered Accountant with a true zeal for education reflected by more than 35 years’ experience as Governor including 18 years as Chair of Governors in four Secondary and seven Primary schools. Most of these have been church schools and many of them in Bristol Diocese. In his secular career he has been an adviser to the UK Government and was seconded into high level posts including HM Treasury, a large East London NHS Trust and the Ministry of Defence. His advisory work took him to schools and education departments across the UK. David’s skill sets include Finance, Governance, Project and Programme Management, Risk Management, Property and Estate Management, Facilitation, Negotiation, Contract Management and many elements of Law.

Fiona Dorman

I trained as a secondary English teacher at the Institute of Education in 1995. Since then I have worked in London, Leeds and Bristol. Alongside teaching English I have held various positions in schools including SENCO, Head of English and worked as a senior teacher with responsibility for teaching and learning. Following time out to have my own children, I worked part-time for the DoE with the London Challenge – set up to address the issues in London schools – looking specifically at school leadership. I have latterly used this experience to launch my own leadership training company, now in its 7th year, and worked with over 10 large Multi Academy Trusts in London, South West England and Switzerland and with charities, churches and small businesses. I also have a part-time job with Bristol Cathedral as their Education Officer coordinating trips and visits to the cathedral. My family and I currently worship together at St Nicholas and I am also a member of the Foundation Community at Cotham Parish Church.

Chris Dursley

Chris has 30 years’ experience of leadership, in both Church and Community Primary Schools in North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Her final post gave her the challenging, but exciting privilege as Headteacher, of opening a new, two form entry primary school. A committed Christian, Chris has always played an active part in the life of the local and wider church. She is an LLM at St. Martin’s Church in Knowle, where her ministry is particularly focussed on Families, Children and Young people. She is also a member of Bristol South Deanery Synod and Diocesan Synod. Now serving her second term of office as a Trustee and Director of DBAT, Chris is a member of the Main Board, Chair of DBAT’S Education Committee and sits on the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee. This has enabled her, to continue to have an insight and in depth understanding of the challenges, being faced by our schools today! Chris is passionate about education and believes that schools should be places where all children can flourish, growing and learning happily and in safety together.

Owen Upton

I have two teenage boys who attend a state comprehensive in Chippenham. I’m married to Kathryn, a psychiatrist working for the NHS in Wiltshire. I work for a leading UK hedge fund, looking after the many computer systems that we use to run the business. I was a foundation governor at By Brook Valley C of E Primary School up to and during the most recent Ofsted and corresponding SIAMS inspections, when the school’s rating went from “Good” to “Outstanding”. I learnt a huge amount about how a good primary school runs and how the leadership, governing body and clergy went about making it even better. I'd like to see the DBE develop its governance support for schools; support clergy and volunteers to be part of school communities and align capital spending on schools with the wider Diocesan aims stated in the TC.T strategy.

Jill Yeomans

I am currently a member of the DBE and have been for several years. I am a member of the Strategy Committee and part of the group that considers applications for Education Foundation grants. I have been a Governor, Chair of Governors and Vice Chair of Governors at 2 VC primary schools in Bristol and am currently a Foundation Governor at a VC school in South Gloucestershire. I have been a Director of DBAT. I am a retired JP and a retired social worker. I have two children now both in their 50s and 4 grandchildren who are so wonderful that I should have had them first. I love theatre, opera and ballet and putting the world to rights over lunch and a glass of red with friends.

Lucille Charles

I am a retired headteacher with over 40 years’ experience of primary school education. This experience covers a variety of socio- economic communities and cultural backgrounds, in the cities of Bradford, Leicester and Bristol. Since retiring in July 2019 I have served on the Diocesan Board of Education and would welcome the opportunity to continue to do so. I have been a member of Redland Parish Church for the last twenty years and is passionate about the role of church schools and the values and spiritual development and support they provide for their pupils and wider community. I am also actively involved in supporting several charitable organisations which I find extremely rewarding. They include TLG coordinator and coach at Easton CE Academy and Trustee on the Board of ‘Encounter Christianity’ (EC). I am also a reading volunteer at St Barnabas CE Primary School (Bristol).

Karuna Duzniak

Karuna Duzniak is an Assistant Headteacher at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School. She leads worship across the school and is also responsible for communication and links with the community. She has been in education for over 11 years and is a Chemistry teacher. She worships at Cairns Road Baptist Church with her husband and two young children. When she is not at work, she loves spending time with her family. In the small amounts of spare time that she has left, she enjoys seeing friends and reading. Karuna is happiest when she is in her pyjamas at the end of long day, reading bedtime stories to her son.

Rashida Hartley

Rashida currently works as the Racial Justice Officer for Bristol Diocese. Before stepping into the role of Racial Justice Officer, she worked for thirteen years’ as a classroom teacher in the US, Middle East, Hong Kong and the UK. She spent six years working within various senior leadership teams culminating in her final role as an headteacher. Rashida has worked on many educational initiatives, and equity training such as Teaching with an Equity Lens and Culturally Responsive Teaching, to advance equality, diversity and inclusion for Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students. She also works as the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Project Officer within the University of Bristol School of Engineering. In addition, she provides leadership training in areas of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within multiple sectors. When she is not at work, she coaches disaffected young people within the communities who have been excluded from mainstream education or are at risk of being permanently excluded.

David McGregor

David has been constantly involved in Education in a variety of teaching, leadership and governance roles including being a physics teacher, secondary headteacher, governor in local schools, Diocesan Director of Education for 2.5 years, DBE member and a member of Bishop’s council for 5 years. He was a DBAT Director highly involved in the setting up of the trust and its bids for new schools and policy for the diocese. David has always been highly committed to the flourishing of children and young people in education and more widely. He is trying to slow down in retirement but his family life, grandchildren, church life and lawn bowls make this delightfully impossible.

Tom Morgan

Tom was a secondary school teacher for 12 years, holding a variety of roles. He has been a member of a primary school local governing board primary school and is currently the Diocesan Corporate Member of a Multi-Academy Trust Board for a MAT in a neighbouring diocese. He also has various youth work experience. Tom is currently a Curate at Pattern Church and St Augustine’s Church in Even Swindon.

Mark Solomon

I have been very fortunate to be a member of the Diocesan Board of Education for the past three years and I have loved every second of the opportunity. The board is a well structured and purposeful organisation and I very much enjoy adding to this mix. As a serving Headteacher of a Bristol Diocese Primary school, I feel perfectly placed to support the board in its next stage.

Malcolm Strange

Malcolm is currently the Rector of the Fromeside Benefice of Churches, within the benefice are Four Church of England Schools and Four Local Authority Schools including the Winterbourne Academy, all of which he is actively involved with. Malcolm joined the Fromeside in 2016 formerly having been Assistant Principal of St Bede’s Catholic College Lawrence Weston where he was Head of Sixth Form. He has been ordained for 37 years and in his past ministry has served on the Board of Education of both Newcastle and Salisbury Diocese, been Chair of Governors of two Church Schools, has been a Part Time Tutor at Westminster College Oxford, Area Youth Advisor, School Chaplain and a teacher of RE for 16 years. Malcolm is currently a member of South Glos SACRE and is the Diocese Of Bristol representative on the South Glos Educational Forum. He has also recently been appointed to the South Glos MAB (Maintained Architecture Board), working on strategies for MATS in the Local Authority area. He is totally committed to developing the relationship between the local Church and all the schools it serves.

Nick Adams

I have a professional theatrical background, having trained at RADA as a Stage Manager and then working freelance up and down the country. Subsequently I became Priest in Bristol diocese, serving in East Bristol, Soundwell and Cotham and St Pauls. During this time, I worked on several arts community projects whilst studying and completing a MA Arts and Health, these included a large-scale lantern procession and a project to engage ‘hard to reach children’ through drama. I then became a Pioneer Priest working in Monmouth Diocese where I worked closely with schools and their wider communities. I have now returned to Bristol working part-time as Associate Chaplain at UWE. I am particularly interested to build on my knowledge and experience bringing arts, wellbeing, and spirituality into schools. I hope by joining DBE I can bring this ministry to the wider diocese.

Dan Watts

Dan was born in Dorking in Surrey and grew up in a tiny village near Gatwick. After working as a church-based Youth and Children’s worker for 10 years in Surrey and Kent, Dan spent 2 years at Wycliffe Hall before he was ordained in 2006. For the last 13 years he has been Associate Vicar at St Mark’s Harrogate. Dan is married to Julia, they have 2 grown up children. He is passionate about mission and discipleship and helping people understand their gifting and calling and seeing people released into serving God where ever he places them.


A Prayer for the Diocesan Education Team and its Board

Generous God, source of all knowledge and wisdom,

Thank you for the precious gift and opportunity of learning

and for the schools and colleges across our Diocese.


Hear our prayer for the staff and governors who serve them,

For the children and young people who grow within them,

and for the diverse families and communities they represent and bless.


We pray for our schools and colleges in all the challenges and opportunities they face,

Remembering particularly those with close links to the Diocese,

as well as each member of our Education team.


In the name of the Great Teacher, our Lord Jesus Christ,

may our work together sustain and build relationships which serve communities,

nurture excellence, and are authentically Christian.  Amen.

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