Conference 2021 speakers
We're delighted to have had so many experts in education and governance speaking at the conference. Find out more about their background and the sessions they led. You can watch recordings of all the sessions on our website.
Interdisciplinary Programmes Manager - Imperial College
Silje Andersen is the Interdisciplinary Programmes Manager in the Outreach Department of Imperial College London. She set up the School Governors’ Network at Imperial in late 2016, in response to the university’s Societal Engagement Strategy. Since then the network has grown from being an unknown and unconnected number of staff volunteering as governors, to a linked up network of staff, students and alumnus who are actively encouraged and supported by their university to take up governor roles. Imperial works closely with GFS to support ongoing recruitment and training.
Join Silje on 21st September at 13.15 for the session 'Maximising engagement in your university governor network'.
Lead Trainer - Place2Be
Matthew is Lead Trainer at children’s mental health charity Place2Be and has UK-wide responsibility for the quality assurance of training delivery. He works on the development of training and consultation packages for community and education professionals, including Place2Be’s flagship ‘Mental Health Champions’ programmes. He currently leads on the design, delivery and supervision of Place2Be’s cutting-edge Place2Think service.
Join Matthew on 21st September at 16.00 for the session 'Mentally healthy schools: A whole school approach'.
Head of Governance Services - Better Governor
Steve is the Head of the Governance Services at Better Governor and is an experienced and regular speaker at national and regional governor conferences. He has had articles published in National titles and been interviewed as a governance expert on the Radio 4 Today Programme on several occasions. Steve has contributed to many national governance initiatives, including being part of the team commissioned by the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) to develop External Reviews of Governance.
Join Steve on 21st September at 08.00 for the session 'Hot topics in governance, with Better Governor'.
Head Teacher - Coppetts Wood Primary School
Kirstie is the Head Teacher of a Barnet community school with a Children’s Centre and additional resource provision for children with ASC and has over 20 years of teaching experience. As a class teacher, she has taught all year groups from reception to year 6. She feels privileged to have worked in several of the inner London local authorities including Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Hackney. She was the Inclusion Leader, including SENCo, for 10 years at a large, successful primary school in Whitechapel and a Deputy Head Teacher and Head Teacher in Hackney. She has been a member of different governing boards in several local authorities as a teacher and school leader and is now Chair of a multi-academy trust primary school board.
Join Kirstie on 20th September at 16.00 for the session 'What is good governance in 2021?'
Dr Tony Breslin
Public policy analyst and writer, chair at Bushey Primary Education Federation
Tony is a former Chair of Human Scale Education and the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences. He has held various other governance roles across a range of education-focused organisations. In addition, Tony has served as a Chief Examiner at GCSE and a Chair of Examiners at A level and has worked in a range of school improvement, curriculum development and governor training roles. A teacher by profession, he has taught and held management and leadership responsibilities, including Head of Department and Director of Sixth Form Studies at schools in Haringey and Hertfordshire.
Join Tony on 24th September at 16.00 for the session 'Campaign launch webinar: All Pupils, Every Ambition'.
Product Manager for Governance - The Key
As Product Manager for governance at The Key, Ellie works to ensure The Key for School Governors and GovernorHub provide the tools governors need to do their job, grow their skills and evidence their efforts. With a decade of experience working in governor support and as vice-chair of governors at a primary school in Buckinghamshire, Ellie really understands the impact of good recruitment and induction.
Join Ellie on 20th September at 12.00 for the session 'Effective On-boarding of New Governors'
Managing Director - Governor Hub
Neil is managing director at GovernorHub, part of The Key group. He trained as an engineer and has spent 30 years in the software and EdTech industries. He co-founded GovernorHub in 2012 and now runs the Governance Business Unit at The Key which supports over 120,000 governors, clerks and governor services teams around the country with its two products of GovernorHub and The Key for School Governors. Neil is also the chair of trustees at Enrich Learning Trust - a Norfolk based MAT.
Join Neil on 20th September at 08.00 for the session 'Leveraging technology in schools and governance'.
Chief Executive - Confederation of School Trusts
Leora is the Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts – the national organisation and sector body for school trusts in England. She has advised successive governments and sits on several Department for Education Advisory Bodies. She is the vice chair of the Head Teacher Standards Review Group. Prior to establishing CST, she was Director of Policy and Public Relations for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Just before leaving ASCL, Leora established the Commission for Ethical Leadership, on which she served as a commissioner and now sits on the Ethics Committee. Leora spent six years as a Director of Education in two London Local Authorities and has extensive experience at senior executive level of working with schools and trusts to improve the effectiveness and quality of education.
Join Leora on 22nd September at 13.15 for the session 'Multi-Academy Trusts: A case for collaboration with CST'.
Aspiring HRD Programme Lead - CIPD
Leah has been at the CIPD since November 2017, focused on supporting and diversifying the profession via their volunteer and mentoring programmes. She leads on the Aspiring HRD Programme which partners existing people leaders with those looking to develop into future leaders. She is passionate about user-led design and talking to members and volunteers to understand their motivations and barriers - using this insight to develop existing and new programmes to support them. Prior to joining the CIPD, she was Deputy Chief Executive of LandAid. She is also a trustee of local charity Wimbledon BookFest, which promotes reading in young people and engagement in literature for the entire community.
Join Leah on 23rd September at 13.15 for the session 'Professional and personal development through school governance'.
Head of Education Strategy - The Key
Caroline is a former chair of governors and has been a governor for over 12 years. She currently works as Head of Education Strategy at the Key. Prior to that, she worked at the charity Business in the Community- initially in the CEO's team and then managing the Education Campaign. She has also worked in policy at the Charity Commission, as a researcher at Buckingham Palace and she began her career as a teacher.
Join Caroline on 24th September at 12.00 for the session 'Panel discussion: The future of school governance'.
Rose is passionate about changing lives and life-chances for the better. She began her career as a teacher for children with SEND. She’s held a range of curriculum and advisory roles across London and Kent, was DCS in Medway and subsequently supported Walsall, Somerset and Surrey as their DCS. She has also worked as a DfE intervention adviser.
Rose is the Independent Person for her local council, a Samaritans volunteer and chairs two federated local school boards, one consisting of 3 primary schools, the other 2 secondary schools.
Join Rose on 24th September at 08.00 for the session 'Remote governance and your board'.
Head of People and Organisational Development - Celsa UK
James works within the recycling and manufacturing sector as Head of People & Organisational Development for CELSA UK. Covering four support departments of Human Resources, Health & Safety, Environment and Talent Acquisition and Development he currently supports the senior leadership teams as a local authority governor in two comprehensive schools Wales.
Join James on 22nd September at 12.00 for the session 'Benefits of board-level volunteering for businesses in Wales: An interactive discussion'.
Alumni Officer - University of Manchester
Helen is Senior Alumni Officer at The University of Manchester, responsible for managing alumni volunteering programmes. She has worked with Governors for Schools for several years to promote governing opportunities to the University’s alumni community and through this partnership, over 1,000 alumni have been placed into governing roles. Helen has worked at The University of Manchester for 10 years, and prior to this she was a primary school teacher for three years.
Join Helen on 21st September at 10.45 for the session 'Supporting your alumni’s professional development through school governance'.
Director of IT - United Learning
James Garnett is Director of IT at United Learning, a Multi-Academy Trust of over eighty academies and independent schools; currently he is the programme lead for the EdTech Demonstrator Delivery Partner managing the EdTech Demonstrator programme on behalf of the DfE. He began his career in education as a teacher of maths 25 years ago before moving on to lead on IT, EdTech and systems in schools and then for United Learning. He has led their Cloud First strategy and developed the Group Digital Strategy prior to his secondment. James has recently been appointed a Trustee of Sheffield Theatres Trust and the City of Sheffield Theatres Trust. He also volunteers as a school governor and Explorer Scout leader, underlying his belief in the importance of education and wider experience for young people.
Join James on 20th September at 08.00 for the session 'Leveraging technology in schools and governance'.
Widening Participation Officer - University of Manchester
Alison Gregory is a Widening Participation Officer and has led on the school governor initiative at The University of Manchester since its inception 10 years ago. She has worked in a number of HE institutions throughout her career and is a school governor in a secondary Academy in Rochdale.
Join Alison on 20th September at 13.15 for the session 'School governor initiative impact report from The University of Manchester'.
Head - Academy Ambassadors Programme
Emma Gregory is Head of the Academy Ambassadors Programme at New Schools Network - a free, bespoke service matching business professionals with academy trust boards. In her role, Emma brings a vast amount of expertise in executive search; formerly working across the private sector in corporate recruitment roles for companies including Penna and Siemens. Emma developed a deep understanding of education governance, volunteering as a Chair of Governors, as well as leading Buckinghamshire Learning Trust’s Governor Development Programme for ~3000 governors across the region. She continues to volunteer in school and trust governance roles.
Join Emma on 23rd September at 12.00 for the session 'Diversifying governing boards' and on 24th September at 12.00 for
'Panel discussion: The future of school governance'.
Julia has been a parent governor at a local authority 2 intake primary school for almost 6 years. She is from a single parent family and grew up up as a ‘free school meals’ kid, with strong memories of buying uniform in the co-op with someone from the LA. Now living a very comfortable life, with two children who have access to almost any experience or material good, she became a governor to especially impact the outcomes and experiences (educationally and socially) of the pupil premium cohort and those in the ‘squeezed middle’. Julia is passionate about ensuring support is there in a discrete but holistic way. Professionally, she is the director of a Carers’ charity and also ensures that young carers (and staff with caring responsibilities) are considered and supported throughout the school.
Join Julia on 21st September at 12.00 for the session 'Engaging parent governors'.
Schools and Colleges Partnerships Manager - University of Wolverhampton
Angela Hind is Schools and Colleges Partnerships Manager at the University of Wolverhampton. Angela has worked at the university for 14 years in various roles in creative education programmes, school engagement and widening participation activities. Angela joined the UK partnerships team in June 2020. Angela works on the Alumni School Governor Volunteer Scheme with David Wedge.
Join Angela on 21st September at 10.45 for the session 'Supporting your alumni’s professional development through school governance'.
Managing Director - The Eteach Group
Rhys Howells is Managing Director of The Eteach Group, who are committed to driving transformation in education through disruption and innovation and taking a blended approach to recruitment. With a proven track record in working in the staffing and recruiting industry, Rhys firmly believes The Eteach Group’s suite of technology and people services will create better outcomes for education in the world of tomorrow.
Join Rhys on 22nd September at 16.00 for the session 'Headteacher recruitment, with Eteach'.
Student Recruitment Officer - University of Birmingham
Jon joined the Student Recruitment and marketing team at the University of Birmingham in 2017. Alongside his role he has led and established the GfS scheme and relationships with colleagues across the University over the last 12 months. Although a fairly new network, the scheme has grown significantly and aims to continue to grow across the variety of staff members across the University. The network has been a great way for staff to collaborate and also talk through any challenges they may face in their role as a governor.
Join Jon on 21st September at 13.15 for the session 'Maximising engagement in your university governor network'.
Principal Civil Engineer - Mott MacDonald
Jason is a Principal Civil Engineer at Mott MacDonald and is Chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers. He works in the Light Rapid Transit team on the development of transport solutions across the UK and Europe. Jason also has a background in the design, assessment and construction of bridges and heavy civil structures. Jason has had a long relationship with the North West Region of the ICE and volunteering and organising STEM events to promote engineering. Recently, Jason took up the role of a school governor at Bolton St Catherine's Academy and is currently Vice Chair of Governors and Chair of a sub-committee.
Join Jason on 23rd September at 13.15 for the session 'Professional and personal development through school governance'.
Founder - Action for Trustee Racial Diversity
Malcolm is the founder of the campaign Action for Trustee Racial Diversity, which aims to address the significant under-representation of individuals from Black and Asian backgrounds on charity boards. He is a trustee of the Association of Chairs, (the infrastructure support body for chairs of charities in England and Wales), and an independent member of the Ministry of Justice Public Appointments Panel.
Join Malcolm on 21st September at 12.00 for the session 'Engaging parent governors'.
Chief Executive - NGA
Emma is Chief Executive of the National Governance Association (NGA) - the leading charity for guidance, advice, research, and professional development for school governors, trustees, clerks and other governance professionals. Emma is an accomplished writer and speaker on a range of school governance policy and practice topics. She has a particular interest in vision, culture and strategy, accountability, stakeholder engagement, disadvantage, ethical leadership, and diversity and inclusion, and is author of NGA’s Chair’s Handbook. Prior to joining NGA, Emma was joint CEO of the Daycare Trust. Emma was awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year's Honours list for services to education.
Join Emma on 21st September at 12.00 for the session 'Engaging parent governors'.
Customer Marketing Manager - 8x8
Dean is the customer marketing manager at 8×8, leading on customer advocacy in EMEA. He is an experienced marketer with 5+ years in Telecomms, Unified Communications, contact centre and customer experience services. He helps organisations digitally transform, improve their employee and customer experience, and grow. Dean achieves this through a positive focus on amplifying a brand's voice, thereby increasing loyalty.
Join Dean on 20th September at 08.00 for the session 'Leveraging technology in schools and governance'.
Policy Maker - Public First
Jess Lister is a policy manager in Public First’s education practice, where she focuses primarily on higher education projects. Before joining Public First, she worked in the widening participation team at the University of Cambridge.
Join Jess on 20th September at 13.15 for the session 'School governor initiative impact report from The University of Manchester'.
Link governor for inclusion
Cassie is a primary school governor in North-West London, where she is a Link Governor for Inclusion and member of the Finance and Resources, Teaching and Learning, Pay and Performance and ad hoc Leadership recruitment committees. She has extensive experience in HR and mergers and acquisitions across a variety of sectors and is passionate about D&I and social justice. Recently, she has taken a sabbatical from Private Equity, and is working with a non-profit and industry bodies to develop thinking on D&I strategy for the sector. She is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and on the NGA's Leading Governance development programme for Board Chairs.
Join Cassie on 23rd September at 13.15 for the session 'Professional and personal development through school governance'.
Senior Partnership Manager - Arbor
Andrew Mackereth, Arbor’s Senior Partnership Manager, has worked in the education sector for over 30 years. He has been a primary school Governor for over 9 years, secondary Headteacher for 12 years, Chair of the Solihull Secondary Heads Association, Ofsted Inspector as well as an LA School Improvement Advisor. Andrew has an interest in assessment and analytics and works closely with large Multi-Academy Trusts, primary and secondary schools.
Join Andrew on 20th September at 10.45 for the session 'Making use of data and management information systems with Arbor'.
Business Manager - Lloyds
Sam is a Business Manager at Lloyds Banking Group. He has a role on a Joint Academy Council as a remote governor for two secondary schools in his hometown of Middlesbrough. As part of this role, Sam is a link governor for both Careers & Employability and Mental Health & Wellbeing.
Join Sam on 23rd September at 12.00 for the session 'Diversifying governing boards'.
Chief Executive Officer - Education Support
Sinéad spent the first half of her career at KPMG’s financial services business unit. She moved to the not-for-profit sector as Deputy Chief Executive at Social Enterprise London, and subsequently a Director at award-winning social enterprise Women Like Us. Before joining Education Support, Sinéad worked as an organisational development consultant with Systemic Coaching Partners, and was a visiting lecturer at Imperial College London & the Royal College of Art. Sinéad used to have hobbies, but now has young children instead. She is a trustee of The Kaleidoscope Trust, and a governor at a south London primary school.
Join Sinead on 22nd September at 08.00 for the session 'Wellbeing in Welsh schools: The role of governors'.
Head of School Partnerships - ImpactEd
Joe has ten years of experience in youth work, third sector programme delivery and educational project management. Joe was previously Programme Director at social enterprise Volunteer It Yourself and is currently a sitting magistrate. Joe is passionate about improving social mobility and is excited to be using his experience to help improve pupil outcomes with ImpactEd.
Join Joe on 20th September at 08.00 for the session 'Leveraging technology in schools and governance'.
Trustee - Governors for Schools
Dominic McGonigal is a director, entrepreneur, and composer, as well as being a chair of governors in a number of schools and a trustee of Governors for Schools. He has 35 years of experience in the creative industries, as a board director, executive, founder, and creative.
Join Dominic on 24th September at 12.00 for the session 'Panel discussion: The future of school governance'.
Trustee - Governors for Schools
Adrian McLean is a former headteacher and experienced senior leader. Currently he is a Multi Academy Trust lead for Character Education and Personal Development working with staff, students and parents to understand the importance of developing character traits, and how these influence success, both in and out of the classroom.
Join Adrian on 23rd September at 12.00 for the session 'Diversifying governing boards'.
National Director of Wellbeing - SAS
Andy is the SAS National Director of Wellbeing and has over 30 years experience of teaching and leading in the state education system in England. He has taught and led in a range of schools, culminating in 17 years as Headteacher of a 2 form entry primary school in Blackpool, leading the school to Ofsted outstanding in March 2016. Since then he has opened and led the Blackpool Teaching School Alliance and supported the school led system in Blackpool. Andy is a board member for the Blackpool Opportunity Area and the Blackpool School Improvement Board. From May 2018 to May 2019, Andy was the National President of the NAHT. He left headship in December 2019 to become National Director of Wellbeing for Schools Advisory Service, sharing the organisation’s vision for all schools to become wellbeing friendly for both staff and pupils.
Join Andy on 21st September at 16.00 for the session 'Mentally healthy schools: A whole school approach'.
Co-Founder - Trust Governance Professionals
Emma is a highly experienced Governance Professional who co-founded Trust Governance Professionals to deliver effective training and support to those working in governance in school trusts. Emma specialises in delivering external reviews of governance, mentoring and the development of governance teams. She also provides training in academy governance for The Chartered Governance Institute. Emma brings extensive senior experience, notably as Head of Governance for Ark and also working closely with CST to develop the Governance Advisory Service.
Join Emma on 24th September at 12.00 for the session 'Panel discussion: The future of school governance'.
Author - Church School Governance
Mike has served in school governance for over 35 years. His experience has ranged from being on three governance boards to chairing a multi-academy trust of five schools from its inception as well as on occasions chairing Interim Executive Boards. In recent years he has developed innovative structures for a multi-academy trust, as well as supporting individual governance boards, carrying out reviews and investigations, developing bespoke training for specific boards and mentoring individuals. Mike is the author of Church School Governance and is a motivational speaker at Diocesan conferences and CPD opportunities as well as the Diocese of Chelmsford Governance Consultant. As a member of the National Diocesan Governance Group and author/tutor on the Liverpool Hope University online Church School Governance course he is an advocate for good governance in Church of England Schools.
Join Mike on 23rd September at 10.45 for the session 'Becoming and being a church school governor'.
President - Chambers Wales
Paul is the Chair, President and Policy Lead for Chambers Wales. He is obsessed with growing Welsh businesses both nationally and internationally, and promoting Brand Wales. Paul has worked for PLC’s, family businesses, SME’s and public sector and has significant international experience. A Director for Quantuma, Paul heads up their presence in Wales. He brings significant restructuring and advisory experience, focussing on ensuring that businesses survive challenging times, and that the interests of stakeholders are protected.
Join Paul on 22nd September at 12.00 for the session 'Benefits of board-level volunteering for businesses in Wales: An interactive discussion'.
Christie Spurling MBE
Founder & CEO - N-Gage
Christie Spurling MBE is the founder and CEO of Manchester-based youth and children’s work charity N-Gage. He has spent the last 15 years building the charity into a successful organisation that puts the needs of young people at the heart of its work. The charity is involved in schools' work, offering 121 mentoring and small group work for disengaged pupils. N-Gage has a growing team of people passionate who want to see all young people fulfil their potential. Christie was awarded and MBE by the Queen in 2019 for service to children and young people in Manchester.
Join Chris on 23rd September at 12.00 for the session 'Diversifying governing boards'.
Management Consultant - Deloitte
After graduating, Leo completed the Teach First programme as a secondary school science teacher in Sussex. In 2017, he joined Deloitte as a management consultant where he leads the Teach First Ambassador network which includes working closely with Teach First to increase the numbers of governors among participants. During the pandemic, Leo then joined a local board covering two large secondary schools in Sussex as the SEND link governor, with which the great majority of work has so far been remote from London.
Join Leo on 24th September at 08.00 for the session 'Remote governance and your board'.
Primary PE & Sport Officer - Active Sussex
David is the Primary PE & School Sport Officer for Active Sussex, one of 43 Active Partnerships 43 across England who work collaboratively with local partners to create the conditions for an active nation, using the power of sport and physical activity to transform lives. A former coach and PE teacher, David leads on supporting Sussex primary schools receiving the PE and Sport Premium. He promotes initiatives, programmes and local offers that develop PE, sport and physical activity within primary education.
Join David on 21st September at 16.00 for the session 'Mentally healthy schools: A whole school approach'.
Lead Content Editor - The Key
Linda is the Lead Content Editor for The Key for School Governors and has served as a governor for nearly 3 years. Before joining The Key, she taught Year 5 at a London primary school through TeachFirst. Linda started her career as a lawyer in her home state of Texas.
Join Linda on 24th September at 08.00 for the session 'Remote governance and your board'.
Alumni Relations Manager - University of Wolverhampton
David Wedge is Alumni Relations Manager at the University of Wolverhampton. David has worked at the university for over 15 years in student support and international recruitment, before becoming Alumni Relations Manager 5 years ago. David is part of a small team engaging with over 140,000 alumni in 130 countries. David introduced the Alumni School Governor Volunteer Scheme to the university with Angela Hind.
Join David on 21st September at 10.45 for the session 'Supporting your alumni’s professional development through school governance'.
Founding Partner & Director - Yearwood Education
Éamonn is a Founding Partner and Director of Yearwood Education, who provide independent education advice nationally. Éamonn is Co-Director of the London Office and Senior Adviser at the Association of Education Advisers, which provides accredited, independent training for school advisers.
Join Eamonn on 22nd September at 16.00 for the session 'Headteacher recruitment, with Eteach'.
Dr Chris Wood
Head of Research, Publications and Enrichment - Regent College
Chris joined Regent Group as Head of Research, Publications and Enrichment in November 2020, having spent two decades in the civil service, local government, and education. Prior to joining Regent, he was an independent research consultant working with private, public and third sector organisations. He was also lead assessor for the Queen’s Award for Industry Promoting Opportunity Prize. A former adviser to the Chief Inspector for Education and Principal Officer for research publications, Chris drafted ministerial advice notes, authored influential survey reports, contributed to parliamentary inquiries, and has been a keynote speaker at national and international conferences.
Join Chris on 24th September at 16.00 for the session 'Campaign launch webinar: All Pupils, Every Ambition'.
Manager - Enfield Council Governor Support Services
Sujal trained as a Metallurgist and started her career in governance as a parent governor and later Chair of Governors for ten years. Sujal currently manages Governor Services in Enfield and is passionate about raising the profile of clerking and encouraging inclusivity across governance