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Our Academy Councillors


Knowle DGE Academy Council


Kate Lee-Wells                  Head Teacher, KnowleDGE Academy

Sophie Smith                     Chair of KnowleDGE Academy Council

Aga Kowalska                    Academy Councillor

Jenny Hughes                    Teaching staff Representative

Asha Abdi                           Support Staff Representative 

Julie Atherton                     Link Councillor for Finance 

Vacancy                              Support staff representative

Stephen Bradshaw            Interim  CEO, Learn@ MAT

Caroline Down                   Link Councillor Children in Care / Young Carers, Pupil Premium and Safeguarding


KnowleDGE Academy Link Councillor Roles
Role Name
Chair Sophie Smith
Vice Chair Vacancy
Children in Care / Young Carers Councillor Caroline Down
Finance Councillor Julie Atherton 
Health & Safety Councillor Sophie Smith
Parent Representative Sophie Smith
Pupil Premium Councillor Caroline down
Residential Care Councillor Vacancy
Safeguarding Councillor Caroline Down
Special Educational Needs & Disability Councillor Sophie Smith
Support Staff Representative Asha Abdi
Teaching Staff Representative Jenny Hughes

To contact the Clerk to the Governing Body, please telephone 0117 456 6513  or email using

The Chair of the Academy Council, Sophie Smith can be contacted using




Kate-Lee Wells, Headteacher

Appointed by Learn@ MAT Board, Ex-Officio

Kate is newly appointed  Headteacher at KnowleDGE.

She studied Psychology and then Teaching in Bristol and Devon and has worked in Special Education for the last 15 years. Kate lives in South Bristol with her husband, toddler and cat. Kate is passionate about ensuring that pupils coming to KnowleDGE have a positive experience and make progress socially, emotionally and academically and that staff is happy and healthy.

When not at school, Kate enjoys family time, walking, reading and visiting nice cafés for tea and cake. 


Sophie Smith

KnowleDGE Chair of Academy Council

Appointed by Learn@ MAT Board from 10 November 2020 - 09 Novenber 2023


      Sophie has over 15 years experience of working in schools ranging from private sector to specialist provisions in both a front line and managerial roles.

Whilst having to take a career break she is currently studying a Law Degree.

Julie Atherton

KnowleDGE Academy Council

Appointed by Learn@ MAT Board from 01 September 2020 - 31 August 2023

Founder of the social media advisory and marketing consultancy Small Wonder, Julie specialises in advising organisations on embedding social media in their strategic development and growth. With a breadth of board level experience in the commercial and 3rd sector she is committed to supporting and improving access to educational opportunities for all. Julie has been involved with Learn@ since 2015 and is a previous member of the Learn@ board and chair of Knowle DGE. She currently sits on the boards of the Union of Brunel Students and FEES Fund and is a T-levels ambassador


Agnieszka (Aga) Kowalska,

KnowleDGE Academy Councillor

Appointed by Learn@ MAT Board from 27 February 2020 - 26 February 2023

Aga is a passionate educationalist who wants to make a difference, SEN/ Autism theorist and specialist, a supporter of inclusive and restorative approaches in bridging the gaps in legislation, theory and practice in educational field(s).

Currently working at University of the west of England as Associate Lecturer in Psychology, Sociology and Criminology. Research interests and completions in the fields of: restorative approaches, homelessness, Autism and SEN, sexual harassment and exploration, Inclusion versus Integration in the Education (UK), domestic violence and behavioural strategies/ interventions: challenging behaviour. Aga is also a PhD student at UWE exploring the challenges and the realties behind the implementation of  restorative approaches in educational settings (UK) in relation to embeddedness of ‘behaviour for learning policies’ in secondary schools.

She is also a Director responsible for training and education at Autism Independence Organisation supporting the individuals from ethnic minorities in accessing the information, knowledge exchange and services for those who are diagnosed with Autism.

Aga was invited to contribute to the MSc Program at University of Bristol; School of Education where I am supporting the final year dissertation project students as their research supervisor.

Aga has an extensive knowledge of Special Educational Needs, and within this terrain, Autism and other hidden disorders, and have maintained my expertise through a platform of ongoing engagement with the field. Her own son has been undergoing a diagnosis of Autism, which has opened up opportunities for her to further her understanding of the complexities of Autism’s management across educational and medical settings.


 Jenny Hughes,

KnowleDGE Academy Councillor

Teaching Staff Representative

Elected by Staff from 27 February 2020 - 26 February 2023

Having trained at York St John University, Jenny moved to Bristol where she was head of PE. Having taught there for a few years, she then moved to Qatar where she was Head of Year 3. Jenny returned to the UK to train as a children’s counsellor before working at KnowleDGE. When Jenny is not teaching, she enjoys playing hockey and golf as well as travelling



Caroline Down

Safeguarding Councillor

Appointed by Learn@ MAT Board from 18 July 2022 - 17 July 2025

Caroline has 30 years experience as a teacher. Most of her career was served in East Bristol where she also opened an Alternative Provision Free School. For the last three years she was head of an SEMH school in Swindon, before taking early retirement.

She has a passion for children who struggle with mainstream settings and an in depth knowledge of trauma and SEN.

Caroline is also a trained therapeutic foster carer and enjoyed the challenge of fostering teenagers.

She now works for the NHS on the COVID vaccination programme and enjoys travel, reading and playing tennis in her spare time.

Asha Abdi

[Awaiting Bio]

Elected by Staff from 21 March 2022 - 20 March 2025