John d’Abbro until August 19 was the Head of the New Rush Hall Group, an organisation made up of 6 special educational provisions that works with children experiencing social, emotional and/or mental health difficulties (SEMH). A committed educationalist, John ensured that there was a continuous process of school self-improvement. Leading the charge of this group for 28 years, his dedicated efforts resulted in 8 ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgements across the Group and 5 consecutive ‘Outstanding’ Challenge Partner judgements in the School.
Having helped to create chances for young people who have pushed the boundaries far beyond acceptable standards, John d’Abbro’s mission is now to help teachers with techniques and approaches which continue to inspire young people and give them the chance to take on a life they deserve.
From all-age special schools, pupil referral units, adolescent psychiatric units, outreach teams and early years’ provision, John has been at the core of their scrutiny and development - extracting the good, the bad and the ugly issues and turning them into positive developments for specialist education as a whole.
As a result of his exceptional contribution to education, John has been awarded an OBE and Honorary Doctorate for services to Special Education, is a National Leader in Education and an Apple Distinguished Educator. He is highly regarded within the education network as an expert in delivering the highest standards of education within the restrictions of demanding and challenging learning environments.
John has been a valued advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee and a member of several DfE working parties. Most recently he has advised the EEF Guidance Report on “Improving Behaviour in Schools”.
CEO, River Tees Multi-Academy Trust
Christina Jones is the CEO of River Tees Multi-Academy Trust. The Trust has four Alternative Provision Academies across Middlesbrough and Gateshead, as well as delivering Home and Hospital Teaching Services. Christina is a maths teacher with an MA in Education and a qualified SENDCO. Originally from Cornwall, she has a background in Careers Education and Guidance and is strongly committed to ensuring that disadvantaged learners have the support to make successful transitions and career choices in the future. River Tees Multi-Academy Trust has high aspirations for every learner at the heart of their ethical, evidence-based approach
Regional Standards Lead
I am the Regional Standards Lead for River Tees Multi Academy Trust. In this role, I drive forward the standards of teaching and learning and support the development of staff through quality CPD.
Prior to this role I have been Assistant, Deputy and Acting Head for a local Pupil Referral Unit. At the start of my appointment this school was judged to be 'requiring improvement' by Ofsted and we were successful in achieving a 'good' grading whilst I was in the role of Acting Head.
I have also had teaching experience in a local Primary Special School and mainstream primary schools.
In addition to this, I am a Team Teach Trainer and SLE for behaviour and vulnerable learners.
Thrive Trainer & Headteacher, RTAG
Adele is Head Teacher at an Alternative Provision Academy in Gateshead. Having trained as an Actress, she worked as a drama teacher and Head of Faculty for 6 years and then found her calling in the special and alternative education field and has never looked back. Creativity still lies at the heart of much of Adele's work.
Regional Director of Learning Centres, Witherslack Group
John began his career in teaching in 1983 at a community college in East Sussex, followed by a post in London. John returned to the North East to work at a residential school in County Durham where he worked for fourteen years, before joining a special needs school in Darlington, where he worked for eleven years. For the past five years, he has worked for the Witherslack Group, the UK’s leading specialist education provider, initially as a Head Teacher, then Executive Headteacher and more recently as a Regional Director overseeing the Integrated Learning Centres in North East and Yorkshire.
Referral Gateway Coordinator, Reducing Parental Conflict Programme North East
Kim has worked for Gateshead MBC for the past 10 years in a variety of posts including, youth & community worker, family support worker and is now leading the regional response to supporting parents experiencing conflict. This entails partnership working with both the DWP and with Local Authorities and other organisations. Kim has a particular interest in the interface between Domestic Abuse provision and the specialist interventions being offered to Reduce Parental Conflict.
Regional Integration Lead, Reducing Parental Conflict Programme, DWP
Di has worked in her current position for the last 2 years, brokering relationships between the national programme and local strategic leaders. Di is seconded from Newcastle City Council where she was managing a Family Support Team. Previously she has also worked as a substance misuse commissioning manager and a secondary school teacher.
Behaviour and Learning Specialist
He was the Head teacher of the Centre Academy from 1996 -2002, which was the first specialist school in the UK for students between the ages of 7-19 specialising issues related to ADHD, ASD and ODD.
He is an associate lecturer for Leicester University, the National Association of Special Needs, the Institute of Education, the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre and the former Vice Chairman of the UK ADHD Network and of the European ADHD Alliance.
He has written a number of books and published articles on the subject of ADHD, ODD and a range of Learning, Behaviour and Socialisation issues.
Fin now works as trainer and consultant both nationally and internationally with regards to supporting schools, children and families with SEND and behaviour issues.
Founder and Lead Consultant, Future Behaviour Ltd
Greg Perry from Future Behaviour Ltd has worked with over 500 schools nationwide over the last 10 years, supporting both primary and secondary schools with behaviour management. His simple, research-driven, multi-tiered approach improves behaviour for all, using universal, whole-school approaches, alongside targeted and intensive behaviour interventions.
Deputy Head Teacher, Kingsmeadow Community School
Mark Barrett is deputy headteacher at Kingsmeadow School in Gateshead. He has 10 years of whole-school and senior leadership experience at three different schools across the Northeast. He has only ever worked at schools in catchment areas with high levels of deprivation. His background is in the leadership of Teaching and Learning, and he is passionate about the power that education can have in increasing the opportunities of our most needy and vulnerable children.