About Our sponsor – The Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT)

At Fishponds Church of England Academy, the Local Board reports directly to a Multi Academy Trust, which is called the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT).   

The Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT) was founded in 2012, enabling the Diocese of Bristol’s Board of Education to sponsor academies. It currently sponsors a number of primary academies in the region.

At the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust, our academies work together in the same way that a family works together, sharing good ideas and resources with everyone’s best interest at heart. Everyone on our team – including staff, teachers and governors make sure every child knows that they will be supported and challenged to achieve their very best. We will work quickly to get results and we won’t waste time – we know that children only get one chance at their education and we are committed to making every lesson count. Our goal is to make the academy ‘Outstanding’ as soon as possible.


We believe in offering a Christian education which is accessible to children of all faiths and none.  Our pupils and staff should have the very best in their teaching, learning, leadership, management and safety.  All our academies and schools share experiences and skills to make sure that everyone learns from each other constantly and that pupils and staff all benefit from each other.


Core Aims of DBAT:


  • Focus on improving the educational experiences, employment prospects and life chances of young people, especially those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

  • Demonstrate that children’s life-chances are improved when their formal education is within the context of an academy that is founded in the Christian tradition, establishes an ethos that is distinctively Christian and embraces the very best practices in teaching, learning, leadership, management and safety.

  • Accelerate students’ levels of attainment and achievement, and raises student, teacher and parental aspirations and ambitions.

  • Help to create more cohesive communities enhancing opportunities for social mobility by striving to eliminate the attainment gap between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and young people who by circumstances of birth and inheritance take for granted their automatic right to a good education.

  • Transform the overall performance of underperforming schools in deprived areas, helping to improve and innovate in all aspects of teaching, learning and leadership and promoting the development of future leaders.

Here are links to a few of our important documents, to find out further information about the Trust, please view the policies or business information.

DBAT's Scheme of Delegation

Articles of Association

DBAT register of interests 2017-18

Directors Attendance at Meetings for 2016-2017.docx 

Annual Account 15/16

Financial Statements Annual Report 2016-17.pdf




Diocese of Bristol Academy Company 


Multi Academy Trust:

Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust


Local Board:

Fishponds Church of England Academy

  • Five Members appointed by the Diocese
  • Four Members appointed by the school including the Principal, two parent Members and one staff Member

Local Boards of other Academies:

Christian Malford CE Primary School, Wiltshire

Easton CE Academy, Bristol

St Peters CE Academy, Chippenham

Tadpole Farm CE Academy, Swindon

Seagry CE Academy, Wiltshire

Somerfords’ Walter Powell CE Academy

Lydiard Millicent CE Primary Academy, Swindon

Ridgeway Farm CE Academy, Swindon


Directors of DBAT


John Swainston Ex Officio CEO

John Swainston is the Chief Executive Officer of DBAT and the Director of Education for the Diocese of Bristol.

Previously John was Assistant Director of Children’s Services in Cumbria County Council, a DfE Adviser and a Project Director in inner-city Newcastle. For 29 years prior to that John was a teacher and Head teacher in 3 schools in Northumberland and Newcastle. He is passionate about School Improvement and Effectiveness, and currently chairs the PCC in his local church.



Richard Parker Chair of the Board



Richard Parker is Chair of the Board of Directors.

At present, in his professional role, Richard is Head of Consultancy in the Institute for Education, Bath Spa University. He has been a youth worker, a researcher, and a teacher in London. He worked for many years in local government within education and children’s services, in a number of different authorities. He has a particular interest in the education of children in care, and has been involved in a range of activities to promote emotion coaching and attachment awareness in schools and initial teacher education, at both local and national level

Richard is a trustee of the Attachment Research Community, and a Lay Representative for NHS South West, overseeing the training of junior doctors.









Andrew Gubbins


Revd Andrew Gubbins is Priest-in-Charge at St Peter’s Church in Chippenham. Prior to training for ordination in 1996, he managed Unemployment Benefit Operations and then Research and Evaluation functions for North Yorkshire Training and Enterprise Council.Andrew is a Governor of community and Church of England schools and, as Chair at St Peter’s Primary, oversaw the school’s transition to an academy within the DBAT family (2014). He has served on the Diocese of Bristol Board of Education since 2010 and is most passionate about the significant shared purposes of school and church for contemporary life in Bristol Diocese’s local communities.




Lynda Fisher


Lynda has spent many years working in senior management positions in social care, including managing residential services for looked after children in local authority care. She has co-ordinated a number of community services for children with disabilities and their families.Now retired, she has increased her knowledge of the education sector through her membership of the Diocesan Board of Education and her role as a Foundation Governor in a primary school in Swindon. She is very involved with her church community, both as a member of the PCC and many of the church leadership groups. Lynda is passionate about seeing children develop their unique gifts and qualities in environments where learning for life is embraced.



Iain Craig

Iain is an accountant by profession, and a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.He spent over 30 years of his career working in various financial management roles for Vodafone plc both in the UK and abroad. Recently retired, he has become more active in his village and church communities, serving as churchwarden at All Saints Church, Sutton Benger in Wiltshire. Although not previously involved in education, he brings a wide range of financial experience (specifically around company start ups and transformation) to the Board of Directors.




Adrian Hill

Rachel Clark

Christine Dursley

Tanya Arkle

John Morison





In 2012, when  Fishponds CE Academy became an Academy, DBAT commissioned the Cabot Learning Federation (CLF) to work with Fishponds Church of England Academy to deliver School Improvement Services for a 3-year period, funded by a grant secured by the Diocese from the Department for Education (DfE). Although this formal relationship has now ended, the Academy still works very closely with local schools and their staff to ensure the best possible experiences and provision for children, for example when children move to secondary school.

Since that time and working together with other local primary and secondary Academies and their staff within, the Academy has gone from strength to strength, and the relationship between the Academy and the CLF has enabled much work to be celebrated.


For more information about the Cabot Learning Federation, click here.