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Wisdom for life


Meet the central team

David Etherton - CEO 

Chief Executive Officer / Accounting Officer

David Etherton was appointed CEO of the Bishop Otter Academy Trust in 2022. It was David’s pioneering work that led to the formation of the first church school-led multi-academy trust in the diocese, which was incorporated in 2018.  David successfully led a bid to open a new ‘Free School’ and, although this was halted when pupil numbers unexpectedly fell, it provided some start-up funding to establish the trust. David has successfully applied for further capacity building grants for the trust.  

David has nearly 20 years of headship experience and took one school from RI to ‘outstanding’.  Under David’s leadership, two schools have been awarded a ‘Bishop’s Commendation’ and one school was judged outstanding in two SIAMS inspections.

David has supported a wide range of schools and academies across three local authorities on a consultancy or long-term secondment basis. This has included schools facing a whole range of serious and significant challenges particularly around school improvement, governance, leadership, re-structuring, premises, finance, compliance and safeguarding. Local Authorities, the Diocese of Chichester, South Coast Alliance, Ofsted, governors and senior leaders all recognise the positive impact that David has had on other schools. 

David’s passion is for children to love learning and to be loved – particularly those who are vulnerable or facing challenging times. David recognises the essential partnership of parents, professionals, the church and wider community to serve our children well. 

David is a creative, strategic and innovative leader who enjoys both the granular detail and exciting school to school projects.  David has produced countless online assemblies, which demonstrate his creativity, sense of humour and Christian commitment. Subject specialisms include science, art (sculpture) and music; he enjoys playing the piano and double bass in worship.  David supports Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club but keeps fit off the pitch through cycling, squash and dog walking.

Wendy Cooke - CFO 

Chief Financial Officer

Wendy has extensive experience in school governance and administration.  She has significant experience in policy development and project management including premises, IT, risk management, systems and processes. Wendy is familiar with all aspects of school finance and HR and the processes involved in helping a school convert to academy status. As CFO, Wendy has taken a leading role in establishing all the finance, HR and other systems for the trust.

Qualifications include: BA (Hons) in Management and Business Administration, Associate Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (now called the Chartered Governance Institute).  Previous employment included the role of Assistant Company Secretary for a large company.

Caroline Byrne - PA/Clerk 

PA / Clerk to Trustees