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                                                                                                                                                     10, 11, 12 November 2021

More speakers to be announced shortly

Jo is Chief Executive of Shaw Education Trust which celebrates learners aged 2-25, across 26 primary, secondary and specialist academies. Jo joined the Trust from Ofsted where she worked as the Regional Director for the North West and National Director for Initial Teacher Education. Previously Jo held three secondary headships. Currently she is an NLE, and works extensively in system leadership.

Stephen has a background in strong educational management, now working with several organisations across the country, as well as being CEO of a high performing Trust.  He is a Fellow of the ISBL. He completed his MBA with a thesis on Improving the Quality of Management in Education.  Stephen is an accredited SRMA, supporting schools across the country, and helping schools put into place action plans which improve the use of resources and focus on ensuring better provision of services to children. Stephen is an advocate of the Sustainable Schools System, ensuring that Excellence in Teaching and Learning is paired with Operational Effectiveness and Financial Efficiency.

Natalie is an independent Education Consultant specialising in SEND and school improvement.  She develops and delivers a wide range of training and support to schools and multi-academy trusts. She works closely with 2 MATs in the East Midlands to support strategic development of SEND and is also a trustee of Learn-AT multi-academy trust in Leicestershire. She was involved in the development of the WSS MAT SEND Review and is a member of nasen’s 0-11 Advisory Group. Natalie is the author of The Perfect SENCO and The Teacher’s Guide to SEN.

Matt is the founder and the Principal at Oak National Academy. He is a qualified teacher, founder at Ambition Institute, trustee at The Brilliant Club, Chair at Bay Leadership Academy in Morecambe and an independent adviser on teacher professional development to the Department for Education.

John is the Finance Director of Robin Hood Multi Academy Trust and has been since September 2017. John has a rich financial background in schools and has worked across the West Midlands region in local authority schools, faith schools and academies including several other multi academy trusts. He oversees MAT operations as well as lead on academy conversions. John’s experience means that he has a wide overview of the educational landscape and finances and has spoken nationally on issues related to academy finances. He is a member of Solihull Schools’ Forum, sits on the Board of Members of another MAT and is also a governor at two schools including the post of Chair of Finance.

Steve is the CEO of Robin Hood Multi Academy Trust. He has a strong leadership background in education and, as well as being an NLE, has worked at a national level on a number of initiatives as well as at an international level. During the Coronavirus shutdown of schools, Robin Hood MAT (under Steve’s leadership) created #TheLearningProjects - a national editable set of resources for any school in the country to build upon and improve. Steve and the Robin Hood MAT team are interested in open, transparent leadership and collaboration within the education sector and have committed to sharing EVERYTHING the MAT does for others to use as a base to build from.

Simon O’Keefe recently retired as CEO of The Stour Academy Trust.  Appointed as a substantive headteacher in 2002, his school successes include recognition as the second most successful school in the UK, amongst the top 100 schools nationally for sustained improvement and, following the creation of his MAT in 2012, being identified as one of the top performing trusts in the country.

Matthew is chief executive of Embark Federation which is a trust of 9 schools across Derbyshire. He was designated a National Leader of Education in 2017 for the work he has done as a system leader. Matthew supported over a dozen schools across Derbyshire who are now all judged to be good or better by Ofsted. He believes that schools are ‘stronger together’ and enjoys sharing practice whilst also learning from others and helping to improve the federation. He also believes that schools should be at the heart of their communities whilst providing their children with the best possible education. All schools in the federation have an exciting curriculum which is accompanied by a rich diet of wider opportunities in Music, Sport, Science and the Arts. The trust has used sponsorship opportunities and grants to fund aspirational events for the children. 

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Laura McInerney is a columnist for the Guardian and the former editor of Schools Week. She co-founded Teacher Tapp, the successful daily survey app answered by 8,000 teachers’ lives. She was also once taken to court by Michael Gove for asking difficult questions!


Hugh is an award-winning international business leader with over 20 years’ experience enabling education and learning organisations. Over the last five years he has built the Elliot Foundation from concept to one of the most successful primary academy sponsors in the country. Over the same period he has helped other academy trusts with their organisational design and has contributed to the Bloodhound SSC project which aims to inspire a generation to study STEM subjects with an attempt on the world land speed record.

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Leora is the CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts (CST).  She was recently Director of Policy and Public Relations for the Association of School and College Leaders. She has six years of experience as a Chief Education Officer in two London Local Authorities. Leora has a wide range of experiences that reflect her passion for making a difference in the lives of children and young people. She is a committed educationalist who has extensive experience at senior executive level of working with schools to improve quality of provision and standards.

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Rosie studied acting at Liverpool John Moores University before receiving the Sir John Mills scholarship for the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. She has five years’ experience of event co-ordinating and management and has organised a number of high-profile events for Embark schools. Rosie is proud to be representing Embark as the four core beliefs mirror what she stands for. She has a passion for providing children with opportunities they may never have experienced. Having brought in over £50,000 of income into the trust during her first year through sponsorship and grants, Rosie is playing a key role in helping the trust and schools achieve their vision and adding to what is already a rich curriculum.

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