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Governance within a multi-academy trust

Bristol Brunel Academy is part of the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust that is responsible for a number of academies across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.  Governance for a multi-academy trust operates at two levels.  At trust level, there is a Board of Directors.  The directors are accountable to the Department for Education and external government agencies, including the Charity Commission, for the quality of the education the trust provides and the effective use of the associated academy funding. They are required to have systems in place through which they can assure themselves of quality, financial probity, safety and good practice. The Board is provided assurance on a number of these areas through various sub-committees, as shown in the diagram below. For further information about the Board, please click here

At a local level, each academy has an Academy Council comprising of up to 13 Academy Councillors.  Academy Councils are responsible for holding Principals and their leadership teams to account for the quality and effectiveness of the academic experience of the students under their care with the aim of securing effective school improvement.  They do this through monitoring performance against an annual academy improvement plan, through monitoring risks and responses to risks, and by overseeing systems and processes for the safeguarding of children and the health, safety and wellbeing of academy staff.   


Chair of the Bristol Brunel Academy Council


 Nicky McAllister  Chair, Bristol Brunel Academy Council



c/o Bristol Brunel Academy, Speedwell Road, Speedwell, Bristol, BS15 1NU

Academy council Members 


Similar to a Governing Body, the role of the Academy Council is primarily to support and scrutinise the activities of the Academy to ensure the highest standards are achieved for students and staff alike. Each Academy Council plays a full role in monitoring the delivery of outstanding teaching across the Federation. We are very fortunate to have on the Bristol Brunel Academy Council  a dedicated team of colleagues from a range of backgrounds who are passionate about supporting the Academy.

Jon Jones, Principal

Sally’s career began in Manchester teaching English, and she has worked in several schools with challenging contexts. In 2011 she moved to Bristol and joined the Cabot Learning Federation as Vice Principal at Bristol Metropolitan Academy, a school she went on to lead as Principal before leading John Cabot Academy as Executive.

Sally now works as Executive Principal within the 3-19 team as part of the wider Cabot Learning Federation Executive. Her key areas of responsibility lie in secondary strategy and Alternative and Specialist Provision across the trust. She is passionate about disadvantage and about the cultural and systemic changes that need to occur within and beyond schools in order to ensure equity for all. She also sits as part of the South West Regional School’s Commissioner Headteacher Board and has a role as a trustee of an academy trust local to where she lives.

Sally Apps, Chief Executive Officer






Vacant Position, Teaching Staff Councillor







Vacant Position, Student Advocate


Prior to starting my employment at BBA I was a school governor for New Horizons Learning Centre, in Kingswood between April 2015 and December 2016. I had a lead role for Alternative provision and Mathematics across both Secondary and Primary phases. I gained vast amounts of experience and expertise within my role as a school governor. It was a pivotal role, which I felt very passionate towards. Due to logistics and the timings of the Governing body meetings I was unable to continue my role once I had joined Bristol Brunel.

However, I have been extremely delighted with the announcement of the Support Staff Councillor vacancy. I am very keen to be involved with wider aspects of the Academy

Sophie Elsbury,  Support Staff Councillor



I am a mum of two boys who both attended BBA and have left in recent years.   I became a school governor at their infants’ school and have become interested and enjoyed being part of their schools journey of improvement.   I have been on the school council at BBA for nearly seven years now, there have been many changes and I continue to see improvements.   I have a particular interest in teaching and learning and support and challenge the school in its journey to outstanding.  

I feel it is important that all our children have the opportunities in school to help them reach their full potential, whatever that may be. I live and work locally and take pride in hearing the good things that the students of BBA are achieving.

In my spare time I enjoy running and going to a good music gig.

Nicola Pearce, Sponsor Councillor

Dr Pascoe has a PhD in Chemistry and an MSc in Educational Leadership.  She is currently the Deputy Head at Clifton High School and has previously held leadership positions in other leading Independent Schools.  She is actively engaged in educational issues and has an excellent track record in leading improvement in Quality Assurance, Assessment and Teaching and Learning.  Dr Pascoe joined BBA as a Councillor to support the excellent work that the school is doing to benefit young people in her local community.

Dr Helen Pascoe, Sponsor Councillor

I am a local resident and mother to two sons, one of whom attends BBA and one who attends a local primary school. Prior to having becoming a parent I worked for the Local Authority in Homelessness and Rehousing Policy but curtailed my career to raise my family and to give something back to the local community. I am passionate about education, especially literacy and spend my time volunteering at my youngest son’s primary school, regularly listening to children from KS2 read and sitting on a ‘parent council’ – a group of parents who liaise with the school staff and governors to improve communication and work together to develop and improve children’s education and  experiences. I am also the treasurer at my son’s local cub pack. I have been an Academy Councillor since 2016, with a particular focus on Teaching and Learning and Children in Care. I am part of a dedicated team who strive to improve and challenge the school experience and learning outcomes of all students. Additionally I have recently joined Bristol Schools Forum . This a statutory body made up of head teachers and governors/academy councillors, independent of Bristol City Council but supported by it, who meet regularly to discuss the allocation of the Designated Schools Grant – a grant given to Bristol City Council by the Department of Education, for funding education across the city. When I have a moment, I like to keep fit, garden and read.

Emma McAvoy.  Sponsor Councillor

I have an HR & training background and have worked in Bristol primary and secondary schools for over 15 years, and an inner-city school in London.  I am a single parent of two amazing BME children and am passionate about all children learning to their best ability, and supporting children in their wellbeing while they are in the school education system. 

I like to encourage other parents to be passionate about their children’s school education.  As well as being passionate about children’s education, I am also keen to ensure that the wellbeing of the staff who work in our school is a focus at all times.

Rahana Davis, Parent Councillor

I’ve been in business successfully for twenty-three years and I am involved in lots of community issues. I was Governor at a Primary School, and now I am an Academy Councillor at BBA. I am passionate about fairness and I am interested in helping the disadvantaged, especially in education and the workplace. I think that guideline and discipline are very important for children.

Lensford Richards, Parent Councillor

Charlotte Seavill, Clerk



BBA Councillors 2019-2020 Register of Pecuniary Interests

BBA Councillors 2018-2019 Register of Pecuniary Interests

BBA Councillors 2017-2018 Register of Pecuniary Interests

BBA Councillors 2016-2017 Register of Pecuniary Interests

BBA Councillors 2015-2016 Register of Pecuniary Interests


CLF is governed by a board of directors who are responsible for, and oversee, the management and administration of the trust and the academies run by the trust. Our Board is made up of 12 directors (6 appointed by each of our sponsors) and these directors are accountable to the Department for Education (DfE) and external government agencies, including the Charity Commission, for the quality of the education that CLF provides and the effective use of the associated academy funding.

For more information, please follow this link.

Meet the Board