Our partnership

The Diverse Academies Learning Partnership (DALP)  was founded in September 2011. It consists of two trusts linked by a formal partnership agreement: the Diverse Academies Trust (DAT) – a multi-academy trust – and the National Church of England Academy Trust (NCEAT) which is a single academy trust.
Our organisation consists of 14 academies – seven secondary, five primary and two special – across Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. We also have two shared sixth form centre facilities – one in Hucknall and another in Retford. The National Church of England and Queen Elizabeth’s are faith academies under the Church of England, and are rooted in a Christian ethos. They work in partnership with the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham to provide an education that is distinctively Christian, and are inclusive for students from all backgrounds.

Governors form a crucial part of an academy’s success, offering peer support and challenge to leadership teams. Our governors are highly valued and encouraged to work closely with us, defining academy vision and direction alongside those that lead and manage them.
As a charity and company limited by guarantee, our over-arching trust board ensures that all legal and statutory responsibilities are carried out, and sets the overall strategic direction of the partnership. Each academy has a Local Academy Board (LAB) whose governors’ oversee the running of the academy on behalf of the partnership. Our LABs work closely with their principal to monitor the day-to-day running of the academy, ensuring the improvement plan is carried out to the highest standards. The chairs of each LAB meet in a central partnership forum, feeding directly into the trust board.
The Diverse Academies board meets twice termly. All DAT trustees and three nominated trustees from NCEAT form the board. The chairman of the board is John Rolph – a highly experienced governor. John is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and a retired accountant, having held a number of director level roles in the commercial sector. He is supported by vice-chair of the board, Kathryn Mitford – an equally experienced governor and National Leader of Governance, a role which also strategically supports governing bodies outside of the Diverse Academies.

Board trustees
  • John Rolph – chair and chair of DALP finance resources committee
  • Debbie Clinton – acting chief executive officer and accounting officer
  • Margaret Blore – vice-chair of DAT and safeguarding link trustee 
  • Michael Quigley – LAB appointed trustee  
  • Kathryn Mitford – chair of NCEAT, vice-chair of DALP and JCNC member
  • Gemma Johnson – NCEAT trustee
  • John Dickens – Local Academy Board representative
  • Simon Jones – DAT Trustee 

The partnership’s Growth Strategy details our five year plan for sustainable growth and performance improvement. This plan is reviewed annually by trustees.

Communication between the board and local academy boards
Diverse Academies board trustees have local academy board link responsibilities and they are in contact with the chair of governors at each of their allocated academies on a regular basis. A chair of governor’s trustee is appointed as a trustee on the DAT board and one academy chair of governors is also elected to represent other chairs on the Diverse Academies board on an annual basis. Each of our DAT academies has the following constitution.

Type of member


Term of office

How they are elected



Executive Principal / Principal / Academy Director in each academy (as appropriate)





Staff governor (either teaching or support staff)



4 years

Ballot of all staff in the academy

Parent governors



4 years

Parent election – ballot to be organised by the relevant academy

Appointed (community)  governors



4 years

Appointed by members of the local academy board according to skills required on the board

Clerk to the local academy board




Appointed by the senior leader / chair of governors and head of governance services

The chair of governors will be appointed by the local academy board. The appointment is subject to approval by the DALP board at its next meeting. NCEAT trustees are all governors on the local academy board to comply with their Articles of Association. The board has a mixture of parent, foundation, community and staff representatives.