Education team

The Diocesan Board of Education operates with a small team of officers in support. Our current staff members are:

SARAH SMITH Diocesan Director of Education

Sarah came to the Diocese in February 2015 from her post as Executive Head Teacher of St John’s CE Primary School in Sparkbrook, which she led for 11 years. A National Leader of Education, she has been involved in supporting schools on their journey of school improvement, and served as Chair of Birmingham Local Authority Primary Forum. Sarah’s focus currently includes developing the CofE Birmingham’s Multi-Academy Trust and working on growing new church schools through the Department of Education’s Free Schools Programme.

Contact Details: Telephone: 0121 426 0421 Email:

PETER FRENCH Assistant Director of Education

Peter has been involved in governance for many years. He has been a Primary school chair and is now chairing a Secondary school which is sponsoring a local Primary school. In addition he is a National Leader in Governance. Peter also has responsibility for supporting schools over buildings issues, recruitment, admissions and church school ethos as well as links to the local church. Peter also helps to deliver Diocesan training around church schools, governance and admissions and plays a full role in supporting all our sponsored academies.

Contact Details: Phone: 0121 426 0418 Email:


With experience in teaching in the Primary and Higher Education sectors with CPD as well as Initial Teacher Training, Jill has for many years been an advocate of religious education. She serves on four Standing Advisory Councils on Religious Education (SACREs) as well as organising conferences for subject leaders and leading training in schools. Jill regularly leads worship in our schools and provides training for staff and for clergy in leading worship. Support is also provided for schools wishing to develop their Christian character. She manages Section 48 Inspections (SIAMS).

Contact Details: Phone: 0121 426 0422 Email:

CHARLOTTE WARD LEWIS Head of School Effectiveness

Charlotte has recently joined the Diocese as Head of School Effectiveness.She comes from 12 years of headship in a Church of England School in Leicestershire where she was the head of an outstanding school and involved in school to school support and school improvement across the Diocese of Leicester. Charlotte is also a governor in an outstanding secondary school in Leicestershire. She has been in education for 23 years and is very much looking forward to getting to know our schools within the Diocese, particularly after doing her teacher training in and around Birmingham all those years ago.

Contact Details: Mobile: 07341 733557 Email:

SUSAN CROSTHWAITE Education Support Manager

Susan joined the Diocese in 2012 after many years in Local Government working with Education senior leadership.

She is responsible for the effective operation of office communications and administrative support and is the first port of call to help schools seeking timely advice and guidance. Susan co-ordinates the Diocesan Board of Education’s service to our schools and administers the DBE and BDAT Boards and several of their Committees.

Contact Details: Phone: 0121 426 0419 Email:

RACHEL RAFTERY Education Support Officer

Rachel joined us in March 2014 on a part-time basis and is now a full-time team member. Her specific responsibilities are arranging and clerking Admissions and Appeals processes, one to one support to the RE Adviser and administering a number of the Board’s Committees. She also manages many of our key training events. Rachel has a legal and primary and language teaching background.

Contact Details: Phone: 0121 426 0417 Email: