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.

To find out further information about the Trust, please view the policies or business information.



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

David McGregor

David McGregor image



David chairs both the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT) and its parent the Diocese of Bristol Academies Company (DoBAC), which together oversee the quality of education in the Church-sponsored academies and which are accountable to Government for the finances and progress of its schools.

His teaching career has included teaching physics and outdoor pursuits before taking up the Headship of two secondary schools from 1988 to 2005. His leadership was described as outstanding by inspectors before he moved to be Bristol’s Diocesan Director of Education for 3 years.

In semi-retirement David has remained active as an adviser to local Secondary Headteachers and as a Governor in a Church of England Primary Academy.

The Church of England has provided David with a range of opportunities for sharing his leadership experience as a member of Bishop’s Council and Chair of Bristol West Deanery. He is a regular worshipper in Westbury-on-Trym where he is Chair of Finance on the church council.

As a grandparent and avid rugby supporter he lives a very busy life!


John Swainston





John Swainston is Chief Executive Officer of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust (DBAT), and of the Diocese of Bristol Academies Company (DoBAC), as well as 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 Headteacher in 3 schools in Northumberland and Newcastle. He is passionate about School Improvement and Effectiveness, and currently chairs the PCC in his local church.
 Watch a video interview with John
 0117 906 0100



Joy Farrell




Joy is currently Headteacher at St Francis CE VA Primary School in Swindon. She took up this post in January 2012. The school was established in 2004. It is now a two form entry school, which Ofsted judged to be Outstanding in March 2012.   Joy was previously Headteacher at Aston Rowant CE Primary School in Oxfordshire which she led from good to outstanding. Joy grew up in Stoke on Trent and trained and taught in Birmingham.   A Bachelor of Education from Birmingham University, Joy was awarded NPQH in 2004. She is married to Tim and has two married daughters and two grandsons.



Richard Parker 






Richard Parker is the Director of the Centre for Education Policy in Practice at Bath Spa University and is a member of the DoBAC. He has been a youth worker, a researcher, and a teacher in Inner London. He worked for many years in local government within education and children’s services, in a number of different authorities.

Richard is a governor at a large Church of England Primary school just outside Bath, and a Lay Representative for the NHS Severn Deanery, overseeing the training of junior doctors. His main interests are in supporting disadvantaged groups, enabling children to have an effective voice, and encouraging schools to engage with their local communities – all of which are strong feature of Fishponds Church of England Academy.



Stephen Parsons




Stephen is a committed Bristolian chairing a specialist Electronics Engineering Business, Redcliffe Magtronics Ltd and some local charities. Educated at Bristol Cathedral School and Leeds University Stephen is Chair of Governors at the Academy Bristol Cathedral Choir School and Cathedral Primary (a Free School). He also chairs Quartet Community Foundation and The Social Enterprise Sector Group of the West of England LEP. He is Chair of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals Charitable Trust, Vice Chair of DBAT and DoBAC. Stephen is a Merchant Venturer and Commandeur de Bordeaux.



Lynda Fisher

Lynda Fisher





Lynda has spent much of her adult life working in senior management positions in social care.  She has managed 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. Lynda has been a Foundation Governor for five years in a primary school in Swindon. She is very involved with her church community, both as a member of the PCC and coordinating 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.



               Andrew Gubbins




Revd Andy Gubbins has been in Chippenham since 2009 as Priest-in-Charge of St Peter’s and Deanery Missioner for two ‘Flame of Hope’ Festivals of Faith(2012/13). Originally from Kent, Andy has spent the majority of his working life in Yorkshire. He managed Unemployment Benefit operations in Dewsbury, then Research and Evaluation functions for North Yorkshire Training and Enterprise Council, before training for ordination with the then Diocese of Ripon & Leeds(1996).

Since 2000, Andy has been a governor of community and Church of England schools most recently overseeing the voluntary transition to Academy status in DBAT of St Peter’s Church of England Academy(2014). He has served on the Diocese of Bristol Board of Education since 2010. Andy is most passionate about the significant shared purposes of school and church for contemporary life in Bristol Diocese and in our local communities



Iain Craig

Iain Craig Image 



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 wide financial experience (specifically around company start ups and transformation) to the DBAT board.




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.