CEO, Confederation of Schools Trust (CST)
Leora Cruddas is the CEO 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. She now sits on the Ethics Committee. She believes education is for the common good. Leora has six years of experience as a Director of Education in two London Local Authorities. She has extensive experience at senior executive level of working with schools and trusts to improve the effectiveness and quality of education.
CEO, Teacher Development Trust
CEO, Focus Trust
Helen is the Chief Executive of the Focus-Trust, a charitable multi-academy trust established in 2012. With over twelve years' experience as head teacher of a school judged outstanding in all aspects, Helen was proud to join the Trust at the outset in 2013, as Academy Improvement Officer. Having grown steadily, Focus-Trust now has fifteen primary schools in the North West and West Yorkshire.
Since becoming Chief Executive in March 2015, Helen works in partnership with academy leaders, governors and academy teams to create a sustainable learning organisation, where the learning of all children and adults is valued and promoted for positive impact on pupil outcomes. Helen has strong values which underpin the ethos of collective efficacy she has developed and embedded in Focus-Trust. Having spent over 29 years in education, Helen is passionate about the difference a high-quality education in a Focus-Trust academy can make to their children, staff, families and communities, many of whom live in disadvantaged communities.
Principle, Fieldhead Primary Academy
Chief Executive Unity Schools Partnership
Dr Tim Coulson is Chief Executive of Unity Schools Partnership, a multi-academy trust of 25 primary, secondary and special schools based mainly in Suffolk. He was previously a headteacher in London, national director of the national numeracy strategy, director of education for Essex Council and a Regional Schools Commissioner.
Bohunt Trust - SEN Framework
Establishing a consistent and inclusive SEND framework across a MAT is a challenge to which Simon is striving to achieve. 'He has established three Support for Learning departments, worked with MAT SEND Leadership Programmes and most recently the MAT review framework with Whole School SEND.' As a firm believer that 'All teachers are teachers of SEND', Simon will describe the systems that make up the successful SEND strategy within the Bohunt Education Trust and how it can be implemented across other MATs.
Chief Education Officer (Stoke, Staffordshire & Merseyside) Co-op Academies Trust
Mark Williams joined the Co-op Academies Trust in January 2017. In his current role as one of three Chief Education Officers, he works with leaders of Trust academies in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Wirral to help them achieve best possible outcomes for pupils, including in their personal development. Mark's current responsibilities in the Trust include oversight of the CPD programme and links with a range of partners including The Bell Foundation and the Schools Co-operative Society.
Born in Birkenhead, Mark qualified as a teacher in 1985. He taught in a number of schools on The Wirral before becoming headteacher of two schools in that local authority. Following headship, Mark joined Ofsted in 2005 as one of Her Makesty's Inspectors and inspected the full range of schools and age ranges, ITE partnerships and local authorities. He also held the position of National Lead for Academies and Free Schools Senior HMI.
Mark is married with two children in their mid-twenties. He lives on the Wirral and is a keen golfer requiring improvement, love walking the Welsh hills and supports Tranmere Rovers Football Club.
CEO, The Evolve Trust
Claire-Marie Cuthbert is the enthusiastic CEO of The Evolve Trust and has over 15 years of leadership experience in some of the country's most challenging schools including both primary and secondary contexts. She granduated from Sunderland University with a first class honours degree in education and began her teaching career on Tyneside. From there Claire-Marie became a trouble shooter for failing schools across the country and also advised the DfE and QCDA on innovative curriculum models and personalised pathways for students. In addition to this she also worked for Ofsted and has over a decade of inspection experience. Claire-Marie is nationally recognised for her commitments to social mobility and improving life changes of young people through first teaching and outstanding leadership.
She has co-authored books and many articles and journals on Teaching and Learning as well as various pieces on transformational leadership. She is a multi-award winner and has numerous accolades for her work including Female CEO of the Year 2019, EMWA Award as well asa GESS International Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education.
Director of School Improvement, The Evolve Trust
Carl studied music in Colchester and completed his PGCE at Bretton Hall. He started teaching in 1998 and has held a number of secondary school middle and senior leadership posts, including Head of Year, Head of Specialism, Deputy Head and Headteacher. Carl achieved Distinction at The Guardian East Midlands Teacher of the Year Awards in 2007 and was awarded Achievement for All Ambassador at the House of Loards in2014.
He joined the Brunts Academy in 2009 (part of The Evolve Trust since 2014) as an Assistant Headteacher, secured the Head of School role in 2013 and became Headteacher in May 2016. Whilst Carl was Headteacher, The Brunts Academy was judged as being a Good school in all categories by Ofsted. Since then, The Brunts Academy has continued to enjoy significant sucess including no NEET's, 70% going onto university pathways and being the most popular, oversubscribed academy in the area.
In September 2018, Carl joined the Trust Central Team as Director of School Improvement where he oversees the professional learning pathways, pupil premium, evidence informed teaching, learning and research, as well as undertaking specific work to support development needs in the Brunts, Beech and Brambles Academies.
Senior Partner, Avec Partnership
Carole is a senior finance partner at Avec Partnership and has over 30 year education experience. As a qualified accounting technician, Carole spent twenty-one years working in various financial roles with Durham County Council which included seven years as an LA education auditor, regularly leading school financial systems audits.
Carole then spent five years in the role of School Business Manager in a Durham secondary school which was one of the first in the region to convert to academy status. After academy conversion she then headed up the finance team, successfully implementing robust systems of internal control.
Since 2010, Carole has successfully led the finance team at Avec Partnership and specialises in driving value for money and identifying quantifiable efficiency savings in schools and academies. She regularly interacts with colleagues at the Education and Skills Funding Agency and, due to her deep and extensive expertise in school funding, is often asked to provide feedback on their finance documents. Organiser of out termly Finance Director forums, Carole thrives on responding to clients' needs and takes great delight in leading the finance team to support and advise in all areas of school and academy funding aligned to effective curriculum planning and school improvement strategies.
Carole also project manages academy conversations and mergers utilising her funding knowledge to promote establish effective MAT systems across HR, finance, and governance. Carole also provides strategic leadership advice to a number of MATs across the region and is highly regarded by the CEOs and CFOs she works with.
Carole has been Chair of Governors at a primary school in the region for a number of years and therefor fully understands the critical role governors play across the system.
Senior Partner, Avec Partnership
Diane is a highly experienced education professional having worked at three multi academy trusts at a senior level as Director of Finance and Operations, HRD and Chief Operating Officer and previous to these roles as a senior education officer within a local authority. Diane is a former teacher and lecturer who is passionate about education and remained in the sector following a change in professional direction in 2002. Diane holds a Bachelor of Education (Hons) Degree, has been a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) since 2011, is MCIPD qualified, is a qualified School Business Director with the National College and is an accredited Schools Resource Management Adviser (SRMA).
Diane has an extensive and diverse knowledge and experience of a wide range of educational issues is able to present complex information confidently to CEOs and Trustees which is aligned to creative and solution focussed strategies. An outstanding leader and manager, Diane is highly skilled at building teams having brought together three primary schools into a MAT in 2013 where she established effective MAT systems. Diane has the ability to work flexibly to meet the demands of the range of areas and issues that fall under the responsibility of COO in a calmly efficient way. Her deep knowledge and understanding of education, finance, governance and HR aligned to her professional qualifications ensures confidence in financial planning and management alongside HR policies and processes.
Partner, Clive Owen LLP
Chris is a Partner at Clive Owen LLP which has worked with academy trusts for over ten years. Last year they were auditors to forty-eight academy trusts including over a hundred schools across the North East and Yorkshire. Chris has been one of the lead authors of the Kreston Benchmark Report for the last six years. This year’s report included the results of nearly 700 schools, and has been quoted in numerous publications including by the BBC.