Douglas Archibald

Whole Education

Douglas is director of Whole Education. Prior to this, Douglas was a partner at Whole Education Unit and a manager on Accenture's Human Performance practice in London, as well as leading the Knowledge and Innovation Network at Warwick Business School. His focus is on supporting education transformation through peer to peer networks. 

His work on networks has been published in Harvard Business Review and he advises on the Global Education Leaders Program for the Innovation Unit. Through Whole Education, he is committed to helping schools in England access a range of innovative projects that help prepare young people for life and work in the 21st century. 

Gary Aubin

Future Academies

Gary Aubin is the Director of SEND for Future Academies (Pimlico Hub), working to improve outcomes for students with SEND across a Multi-Academy Trust. He is in his third year as Head of Inclusion/SENCO at Pimlico Academy, having previously worked as a Drama teacher at schools in London, Cambridgeshire and Hong Kong. He runs an Inclusion Department that supports and challenges students with SEND to have high aspirations and to be fully involved in all aspects of school life. He is interested in the ways in which students with SEND can learn to self-advocate, preparing them for independent lives as adults.

Andre Bailey

The Bridge AP Academy

Andre Bailey is Principal Designate at Nightingale School, an all through school for boys experiencing SMEH issues situated in Wandsworth. Prior to this, Andre served as Head of School at The Bridge AP Academy following academy conversion and led the school to a second ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating in 2013. The school continues to set the standard for alternative provision and was recently involved in the highly successful BBC television documentary ‘Excluded: Kicked out of School’. hroughout his time in education Andre has been drawn to organisations that support young learners with special educational needs. He has served on the management committee at The Clement James Centre in North Kensington, The Challenge Partners Special and AP board and The Children & Young People’s Mental Health Task Force among others. 

Andre has supported the work of the Youth Justice Board to investigate and develop monitoring and assessment opportunities to improve education outcomes for young people in the secure estate and has consulted schools and authorities across the UK, in the Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, the USA and Australia with their systems development for the support of learners in challenging circumstances.

Bethany Barnsley

Devonshire Junior Academy

Beth is currently Assistant Head Teacher and SENCo across Devonshire Infant Academy and Devonshire Junior Academy in Sandwell - both of which are outstanding schools. Her role includes managing a focus provision for pupils with autism. As part of this role she offers outreach support to local schools and delivers training to both school staff and trainee teachers. Before teaching in mainstream schools she worked in a specialist secondary provision for pupils with SEMH and additional needs. Beth is currently completing a masters in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion, specialising in autism and is a local Makaton tutor. 

Dr Penny Barratt

The Bridge School

Dr Penny Barratt is Executive Headteacher of The Bridge School in London and The Bridge Integrated Learning Space. The Bridge School caters for students with autism and/or severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties. It has a primary and secondary site catering for 186 pupils. The Integrated Learning Space caters for 25 pupils between the ages of 7 and 19 with complex needs and accompanying challenging behaviours. In addition, The Bridge is a Teaching School and has a very well respected outreach service.

Penny has worked in the field of special education for over 30 years, both in the USA and in England. She has held a wide variety of roles working with children and young people of all ages, in both mainstream and specialist settings. Penny is a founder member and sits on the executive of Special School’s Voice. She is also a founding trustee of the College of Teaching.

Darren Barton

Nova Hreod Academy

Darren Barton is Principal of Nova Hreod Academy. Darren joined Nova Hreod Academy, part of the United Learning Trust Academy chain in 2014. Since arriving he has introduced a 'Binary Behaviour' Policy, Intervention Programmes and a rigorous Marking and Feedback policy. These new measures have led to a huge improvement in outcomes for Nova Hreod's SEND students: these include a 10% rise in the number of SEND students achieving 5 or more GCSE A* to C including English and Maths and a 26% rise in SEND students achieving EBacc. This success has prompted praise from Sir David Carter - National Schools Commissioner, Bradley Simmons - Regional Director, South West, Ofsted and Lord Nash - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools - as well as visits from various schools up and down the country.

David Bartram OBE

London Leadership Strategy

David is Director for SEND at the London Leadership Strategy. He has visited and worked with over two hundred SEND departments since March 2009, working collaboratively with London Challenge, NCTL and the Department of Education to support targeted schools. He is responsible for SEND Leaders, a practitioner-led programme that uses SEND peer reviews to support schools to identify areas for improvement within their SEND provision and help embed a focus on SEND into normal school improvement practices. David has sat on a number of SEND consultations at the DfE and gave oral evidence at the Public Bill Committee on the Children and Families Bill. He has presented at ministerial roundtables on SEND reform and he worked closely with the Department of Education on the new Code of Practice.

David has reviewed SEND literature for the Times Educational Supplement and published a number of articles on effective SEND provision. He is a regular speaker at national SEND conferences including the TES SEN Show and the Academies Show. He has also spoken at international conferences in India, Abu Dhabi, Poland and South Africa. David is SEND advisor to the Seychelles government, expert adviser to the GLA and sits on the Leadership Faculty of Teaching Leaders. He has led outstanding SEND provision in London schools for over 15 years. He was previously Assistant Headteacher at Lampton School, where his department won the Inclusion Award at the National Business Education Awards, the same year the school received its third consecutive outstanding judgement.

David has recently taken up the post of Director of SEND for Future Academies, a small family of schools in South Westminster. David was awarded an OBE for services to Special Educational Needs and Disability in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.

Amanda Batten

Contact a Family

Amanda joined Contact a Family as Chief Executive in May 2014. Amanda was previously director of external affairs at the National Autistic Society (NAS). Whilst there she led a multi-award winning campaign to secure the Autism Act, the first ever condition-specific legislation. She played a key role supporting the development of autism strategies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Amanda studied economics and politics at Birmingham University and holds an MSc voluntary sector management (distinction) from Cass Business School. She is a board member of the Every Disabled Child Matters campaign and the Council for Disabled Children.

Alison Beane

Mary Rose Academy

Alison is Executive Headteacher of 3 special schools in Portsmouth: Mary Rose Academy, Cliffdale Primary Academy and Redwood Park School.  Mary Rose Academy is a National Support School and Alison is an NLE.  Mary Rose is the lead school for The Solent Academies Trust, the Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance and the Challenge Partners Hub.

 Alison has been a successful school leader in the special school sector for over 20 years and a headteacher for 15 years in 4 different schools (3 in Portsmouth).  She has been a Lead Practitioner for the SSAT – SEND team, focusing on curriculum development which is a particular interest of hers along with the management of change and developing leaders.  As leader of a National Support School, Alison regularly facilitates leadership immersion days and residencies for special school leaders and aspiring senior leaders.  Alison has worked successfully with a number of special schools facing significant challenges as well as supporting mainstream schools to be as inclusive as possible.  Alison also enjoys working with groups of parents and carers  to provide support, training and information.    


Dave Beards

The Oaks Collegiate

Dave had worked as a physics teacher and senior manager in schools for 22 years before being appointed to co-ordinate the formation of The Oaks Collegiate Academy in September 2002. A group of six secondary schools in South-West Birmingham had been brought together by Tim Brighouse as part of the DFE Diversity Pathfinder project. Working with Tim and the Gatsby Foundation, Dave led on this project to explore how schools could work together as an alternative to forming a Federation. Dave has continued to co-ordinate the development of The Oaks over the last 14 years which has seen it expand to 11 secondary schools, create a joint sixth form, become a Teaching School Alliance and more recently form a collegiate of Primary Schools. 

Michelle Bolton

The Lambeth Academy

Michelle has been working in mainstream and special educational needs schools in South London for twelve years. Michelle started her career training as an English teacher and have continued to teach English and, at Lambeth Academy, became Head of English for two years. In that time, the school continued to be recognised as an  Outstanding department by Ofsted and SSAT. Fortunately, Michelle has always been able to interweave her passion for SEND teaching and has specialised in Literacy Intervention and working with students with ASD. Michelle is currently Assistant Principal for Inclusion (SENCO) at Lambeth Academy.


Cassie Bryson

Dunraven School

Cassie Bryson is the SENCO and deputy Director of Inclusion at Dunraven School in Streatham.  Since she joined the large Inclusion Department in 2010 she has seen the school through: successfully completion of the Building Schools for the Future; the transition to an All-through School; and establishing Lambeth's Speech Language and Communication Centre onsite.  Cassie successfully lead the whole staff through the 2014 SEND reforms and she was instrumental in gaining the school's Ofsted Outstanding in October 2014.  She has excellent interpersonal skills which facilitates highly successful inter and multi agency working. 

Dunraven has a culture of sharing practice of Inclusion with other schools and Cassie is integral to this. She has a range of teaching experience both in mainstream and special schools, as well as experiencing SEND as a student when she was statemented with Dyslexia at primary school.  

Andy Buck

Teaching Leaders

A geography teacher, head of year and head of department, Andy was a headteacher in east London for thirteen years. In the last year of headship, his school was judged outstanding in all categories and Andy was designated a National Leader of Education. In 2009 he become a Director at the National College for School Leadership, leading on the London Challenge programme. He was subsequently responsible for setting up the government's flagship Teaching Schools programme.

In 2012, he was appointed as Managing Director for Academies at United Learning. In 2014, Andy established Leadership Matters, an organisation that focuses on providing strategic advice on educational leadership as well as practical input through executive coaching, leadership team development programmes and training. Andy combines this with a part-time role as Dean of the Leadership Faculty at Teaching Leaders.

Andy is a Fellow of the RSA. He has also been a Board member for various organisations including the Teacher Training Agency, the National College for School Leadership and Partnerships for Schools. He is currently a Trustee for the Teacher Development Trust and the Teaching Awards.

Rob Carpenter

Foxfield School

Rob Carpenter is Executive Headteacher of the Inspire Partnership in Royal Greenwich, made up of five local primary schools serving disadvantaged communities. Rob has been a Headteacher for over ten years and has experience of school leadership in a range of contexts.

As a National Leader of Education, Rob supported schools in challenging circumstances including those in special measures. He has a track record for rapid transformation and is passionate about school-to-school support. Rob’s schools are rapidly improving and Foxfield Primary School is one of only 5 schools nationally to move from an OFSTED category of ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’ in just 4 terms. He is also currently working with the Teaching Schools Council and the DfE as part of their review team to ensure best practice in Primary Education.

Katie Causon

Montgomery Primary School

Katie Causon is the Assistant Headteacher at Montgomery Primary Academy in Birmingham. She has been part of a core team which lead rapid improvement in her own school and now, as part of her role, is supporting other schools to improve standards and outcomes for children. Katie also co-leads the 'Talk for Writing' training centre in Montgomery Primary Academy which supports schools to help improve outcomes for Literacy.

Stephen Chamberlain

Challenger Multi-Academy Trust

Stephen has recently been appointed as the Chief Executive and Trustee of the Challenger Multi-Academy Trust (CMAT). CMAT is a DfE approved sponsor and will initially sponsor three schools in Bedfordshire. Stephen was, until recently, the Regional Director of Education for the East of England for the Academies Enterprise Trust where he oversaw the work of fifteen primary, secondary and special academies. He was previously the Executive Principal of Clacton Coastal Academy as well as undertaking other EP roles for the AET. Clacton Coastal Academy was one of the top 15 most improved academies nationally in 2010, in the top 3 in the Eastern Region and is now 'good'​ with outstanding features. As a result of working closely with his team of principals and consultants, 2 primary academies originally in special measures before joining the trust, have been now been removed from a category with one academy moving to ‘good’ in just five terms. Two secondary academies have now been graded ‘outstanding’ and one is now a teaching school. In addition one special school is also graded 'outstanding'​.

As part of his role Stephen has recruited and appointed a number of principals and SLEs. He is currently working with a number of teaching schools on the 'Improving Teacher' & OLEVI Accredited Outstanding Teacher Programmes as a facilitator as well as directing other leadership programmes and the Associate Head Programme.

Anne Constable

Healthfield Community School

Anne trained as a primary school teacher and has held the role of SENCO in a number of Somerset schools.  After gaining a PGDip SpLD, and looking for new challenges, she moved to Heathfield Community School, an outstanding mainstream secondary school, as a specialist teacher working predominantly with students with language and literacy difficulties.  In September 2012 she took on the role of Head of Learning Support and has worked to develop the department to prepare for and adapt to the SEND reforms.  She is also a secondary representative working with the local authority to ensure school views and experiences feed into county policies and practices.

Maria Constantinou

St Mary's Primary School

Maria is a Specialist Leader in Education for SEND and Deputy Head and Inclusion Leader at St Mary's in East Barnet, Hertfordshire where Inclusion is recognised as an ‘Area of Excellence’. Alongside her role on the Senior Leadership Team at St. Mary’s, she is a Primary SEND Consultant for the London Leadership Strategy, a non-profit organisation led by outstanding head teachers across London. In addition, during 2014/15 she was a member of the SEND board at Challenge Partners, which led the strategic development of SEND programmes across 265 schools in the UK. She regularly presents at the ‘Securing Good’ national conferences and has worked with head teachers and senior leaders on this programme in Norfolk, London and Medway providing practical school to school support resulting in rapid change and school improvement.

Maria has also co-written the SEND primary training materials for Teaching Leaders. In addition, her work at St. Mary’s Primary School was recognised in DfE training materials for school leaders on the SEND reforms. Most recently, she has been selected to deliver SEND support on the part DfE funded programme SEND Leaders and is working with secondary mainstream schools to further develop SEND practice. Maria is now working as a member of the Institute of Education’s Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants practitioner team contributing to continuing school improvement.

Lesley Cox


Lesley Cox joined Ofsted in 2012 as an HMI. She has taught across all phases of education, including in early years and further education, and has achieved the National Professional Qualification for Headship and further leadership and management accreditation. Prior to working for Ofsted, Lesley was a headteacher of a large pupil referral unit judged to be outstanding and has been a middle and senior leader within secondary schools, with a teaching background in creative arts. Lesley has significant experience in wider partnership working, as well as particular expertise in the support of SEND students within specialist and mainstream settings, whole school behavior and inclusion strategies and alternative educational provision . She is currently a National Lead for Disability and Special Educational Needs within Ofsted.

Laura Cunningham

Laura Cunningham is a policy and strategy consultant, a former civil servant with extensive experience in delivering policy and change in education and children’s services, and a Visiting Fellow at London Southbank University. A consistent focus of Laura’s career has been education reform to transform outcomes for more vulnerable pupils and communities. Whilst at the Department of Education, she helped to shape the Government's SEND reforms, including leading the design and implementation of the Achievement for All programme. Her current focus is a ground-breaking new project working with selected schools and an award-winning technology company to develop the educational use of communications technology in schools.

Steve Davis

Lampton School

Steve Davis has been a Headteacher at Lampton Academy, an Outstanding converter academy and Teaching School in Hounslow, for one year. Lampton is the lead school in the London West Teaching School Alliance and a Senior Partner and hub leader of the Challenge Partners – supporting over 40 primary and secondary schools. Steve has served on the leadership team at Lampton since 2004, serving as an as Associate Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher before taking on the role of Headteacher. Prior to this, Steve was a Secondary National Strategy Consultant at the Hounslow School Improvement Service and a Head of year at Westminster City school. He holds an NPQH in Educational Leadership and Administration and a SCITT qualification. 

Amanda Desmond

Southfields Academy

Amanda is a former Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion and SEND, who has returned to the classroom to put her policies into practice at Southfields Academy. She has worked in EAL and SEND for over 20 years, supporting teachers and young people in securing outstanding outcomes. She is committed to sharing best practice and is an enthusiastic practitioner of school-to-school work, staff training and on-going professional development and learning.

Kat Dockery

Greenwood Academy

Kat is a SENCo in a mainstream secondary Academy in Birmingham. Formerly a science teacher, Kat became Head of a Specialist ASC Resource Base with her setting before taking the role of SENCO. She has been deployed as a Specialist Leader in Education for the Academies Enterprise Trust and the London Leadership Strategy supporting the School-to-School SEND Review. Kat has worked with schools locally providing peer to peer support for provision development.

Susan Douglas

The Eden Academy

Susan has spent nearly 25 years working in the educational arena including 15 years as a teacher and headteacher in West London. In 2006, she left headship and has since held key roles with a wide variety of national and international organisations including the British Council, Teaching Leaders, the National College of Teaching and Leadership (the NCTL, an executive body that is part of the Department of Education), and the Eden Academy Trust.

In her position as Senior Adviser at the British Council, Susan provides sector expertise and advice to a wide number of educational programmes involving ministries of education, school leaders, teachers and young people across approximately 60 countries worldwide. She currently has responsibility for leadership and professional development programmes and conferences in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa and works with headteachers and ministry officials throughout these regions. Susan has also contributed to national policy in England most recently being part of the Expert Group writing the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers (published January 2015).

Simon Faull

Somerset Challenge

Simon Faull is Director of the Somerset Challenge. The Somerset Challenge is a practitioner led partnership of 38 secondary and middle schools with the goal of raising standards of achievement for young people in Somerset. Our ambition is to improve examination outcomes, close the gaps between different groups of young people and to create a self-improving system led by schools.

Prior to this Simon was Head of School Improvement with Somerset County Council working with over 260 primary, secondary and special schools. Simon held a number of Local Authority Adviser posts including Senior Secondary Adviser. Simon started his career as a history teacher and worked in a number of schools in urban and rural contexts latterly as Deputy Headteacher in a large urban secondary school.

Professor Philip Garner

The University of Northampton

Philip Garner is Professor of Education within the School of Education, University of Northampton, England. He is involved in teaching and research on aspects of special and inclusive education, especially emotional and behavioural difficulties and issues relating to school violence. Philip has published extensively in these areas. He is the Editor of Support for Learning, The British Journal of Learning Support and is the Director of Behaviour2Learn (, a social enterprise which provides free, practical resources relating to classroom management.

Philip is a British Academy Fellow. He has undertaken research and consultancy on matters linked to the social behaviour of school-children/young people in a diverse range of settings, including Malaysia, the United States, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia and China, where he is currently directing a 3-year UNICEF-sponsored programme on ‘Social and Emotional Learning’ in 4 provinces. He has undertaken funded research and consultancy on behalf of a range of sponsors, including UNICEF, the European Commission, the Training and Development Agency (England), the National College of Teaching and Leadership (England) and the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). His latest book, the Second Edition of The Sage Handbook of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (with Professor Jim Kauffman & Professor Joe Elliott) has recently (January, 2014) been published.

Mark Goodchild

Challenge Partners

Mark Goodchild is co-founder and Managing Director of Challenge Partners, a partnership of over 300 schools nationwide, focused on improving the outcomes for all children - particularly the most disadvantaged - through effective collaboration. Prior to this Mark spent 6 years with Accenture in management consultancy and outsourcing sales in Financial Services. Before which, he taught at an independent secondary school in Oxfordshire. Mark is also a trustee of the Refugee Support Network, which enables children affected by conflict or displacement to access, remain and progress in education. He is on the advisory boards for Action Tutoring and Team Up, charities working with volunteers to provide free tuition to GCSE pupils in urban schools in challenging circumstances. He is a fellow of the RSA and has a degree in Engineering Science from Oxford University.

Chris Holmwood

Shenley Brook End School

Chris Holmwood is Senior Deputy Headteacher at Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes and Principal of the school’s Leadership and Training Centre. Chris has experience as Acting Headteacher and Associate Headteacher and is also an SLE. Passionate about leadership development and its impact upon high quality teaching and learning, school improvement and student attainment, Chris has been an NCSL Consultant Leader since 2004 and is also a trained NCSL Facilitator. He has led training nationally for a number of providers and undertaken leadership consultancy work at local and regional level. His present Teaching School focus is very much upon establishing the Leadership and Training Centre in order to support successful leadership development at all levels in schools.

Karen Hooker

Downside Primary School

Karen Hooker opened Downside Primary School, a five form entry primary school in Luton, in September 2011 . Karen was previously Headteacher of a junior school in Luton. Prior to Headship, Karen was a SENCo in two different schools and worked hard to ensure both schools were fully inclusive and staff trained to deal with all areas of SEN. Karen spent much time researching Autism as a SENCo and prior to leaving one school, began the process of opening a SCD provision.

Lara Hughes

Frank Wise School

Lara Hughes is Assistant Headteacher at Frank Wise School in Banbury, a multiple ‘Outstanding’ school for children aged between 2 - 19 with Severe or Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. She has been a teacher at the school for over 13 years and has taught across all age phases. Her delivery of outreach work has involved supporting students in mainstream early years, primary and secondary mainstream settings and she has been responsible for delivering training to teaching assistants, teachers and trainee teachers across a range of sectors. She was also Director for SEND within the Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance in which she fought for equity of provision for all students with SEND and is a member of the Special Teaching School Network.

Dame Sue John

Challenge Partners

Dame Sue was formerly the Headteacher of Lampton School, a National Teaching School judged as outstanding by Ofsted on three consecutive occasions. Dame Sue has held directorships at the DFE, Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders and is currently Executive Director at Challenge Partners in addition to her role as secondary Director of the London Leadership Strategy. Dame Sue is a member of the Sutton Trust Education Advisory Group, a member of the Royal Society's Education Committee and is Chair of Trustees of the Brilliant Club.

Angela Kendall

Pakefield High School

Angela has spent the last nine years as a SENCo within two different settings. She has been deployed as a Specialist Leader in Education for the Academies Enterprise Trust and the London Leadership Strategy supporting the SEND Leaders pilot in Birmingham. She is the Head of SEND Faculty at Pakefield School in Lowestoft.

Anita Kerwin-Nye

London Leadership Strategy

Anita is Founder and Director of NotDeadFish – a social enterprise supporting work between schools and third sector organisations to improve outcomes for children and young people. With a particular interest and expertise in bringing together new collaborations, Anita has a track record of creating models of working that break down traditional barriers and increase impact for all involved.

Working with NotDeadFish, Anita helped establish Musical Futures as a national not-for-profit organisation driving forward music learning for all. Previously an initiative of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Musical Futures is now a thriving not-for-profit and Anita is delighted to have taken on the role of Chair.

Anita is Managing Director of London Leadership Strategy – a not-for-profit body run by serving headteachers supporting school-to-school support across England. Anita has helped the organisation move from being part of the DfE to being a stand-alone business with sustainable income streams. This stability has allowed LLS to deliver a consistent model of school improvement that builds both those schools providing support and those receiving it. Over the last year, working with David Bartram OBE and the talented Steering Group, Anita has built the SEND Leaders programme – a model to improve outcomes for children and young people with SEND through school-to-school support and challenge.

Previously, Anita founded The Communication Trust – a collaboration of over 40 charities working in the field of speech, language and communication. These – often traditionally competing – charities worked together under Anita’s leadership to develop and deliver a UK-wide programme of support to schools, parents and young people including: the ‘Hello’ Campaign - National Year of Communication; resources for schools and parents on identifying speech and language difficulties; programmes for young people in youth offending and the development of a whole area approach to early language development, ‘Talk of the Town’.

Bethlyn Killey

Bethlyn has spent 10 years working within Local Authorities, predominantly in Education (non-teaching) and Policy and Research and spent six years as a Senior Management Consultant specialising in Education and Children’s Services. She is a parent of a son with moderate-severe autism who has attended eight educational Primary placements covering Mainstream, Special School, ASD Unit within Mainstream and Home Education.

Bethlyn is halfway through four year term as SEND Parent-Governor of large Primary Academy and Teaching School with ASD Unit. She is also an Executive Committee Member of Educational Rights Alliance (a national, grassroots organisation committed to advancing equality in education for children and young people with disabilities) and has spent two years as a Class Representative.

Simon Knight

Frank Wise School

Simon Knight is Deputy Headteacher at Frank Wise School in Banbury, a multiply ‘Outstanding’ school for children aged between 2 - 19 with Severe or Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. He has more than seventeen years of experience of teaching children with SEND and has served as part of the DfE group developing the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants and as part of the DfE group looking at Professional Development. He is an Associate Director of the National Education Trust and involved with a number of national SEND organisations.

Emily Martin

Ecclesfield School

Emily is currently Assistant Head Teacher and SENCO at Ecclesfield Secondary School, Sheffield's largest 11-16 school with an above average number of students with additional needs. The Support for Learning Team strives to ensure students with addition needs are included in all aspects of school life and is developing new ways of engaging, involving and supporting parents and carers. She is also an Area SENCO for her locality, as part of Sheffield Local Authority's programme of distributing high needs funding whilst improving SEND provision across the city.

Terry Molloy

Claremont High School

Terry Molloy has had 36 years experience in education and during this time he has had a track record of being a successful teacher and leader in seven schools; two in Leicestershire and five in various London boroughs. This has given Terry experience of working in a boys secondary modern and six very large comprehensive schools. He has been a Headteacher for the past 16 years and is designated as a National Leader of Education. Terry was appointed Headteacher of Claremont High School in 1999, and after many years as a Grant Maintained School and then a Foundation School Claremont became one of the early Converter Academies in 2010 after the school was graded ‘Outstanding’ by HMI Ofsted. In 2015 the academy achieved outstanding in all categories in an Ofsted inspection.

Terry is a Core Team member of The London Leadership Strategy and he has supported a number of schools across London, in Norfolk and in South Gloucestershire where he has been the project lead. He has worked on the New Headteachers’ programme, Gaining Ground and the VIP programme. Terry has been a very active participator and supporter of the Good to Great and Going for Great programmes and a Headteacher mentor in the Securing Good programme. He is also the London Leadership lead on the GLA Knowledge Mobilisation programme. He has carried out a number of Pupil Premium reviews.

Margaret Mulholland

Swiss Cottage School

Margaret Mulholland is Director of Development & Research at Swiss Cottage School and leads the Swiss Cottage Teaching School Alliance of mainstream and special schools. Previously she led school-led ITT at the Institute of Education. During the London Challenge she was seconded to the SSAT to lead a Pan London networking programme for newly appointed head teachers and continues to drive pan London leadership strategies. Subsequent to the Carter Review, Margaret was selected to join two DfE independent expert groups to develop framework proposals for ITT Content and Behaviour. She is passionate about the role SEND settings can play to improve understanding of inclusive pedagogy for all teachers. She sits on the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) Executive Committee and will take up a new role in the new academic year as the SEND Representative on the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Council.

Sarah Naylor

Ash Field Academy

Sarah Naylor is Vice Principal at and the subject co-ordinator for movement at Ash Field Academy, a Special School in Leicester. 

Jarlath O'Brien

Carwarden House Community School

Jarlath O'Brien is Headteacher of Carwarden House Community School, a special academy in Surrey. Jarlath has worked in comprehensive and selective independent schools and in three different special schools serving children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, moderate, severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties. Jarlath has extensive experience of Ofsted inspections, having experiences seven in the last nine years as a special school leader. Jarlath is a National Education Trust Leading Thinker, a board member of Wellington College’s Teaching School and is a member of Headteachers’ Roundtable. Jarlath writes regularly for the Times Educational Supplement and his first book is due to be published in 2016.

Natalie Packer

Natalie Packer Educational Consultancy

Natalie has had experience as an Interim Executive Headteacher in a Primary School. Prior to that, she worked for the National Strategies SEND Team as a Senior Adviser for Achievement for All, supporting the development of a highly successful programme aimed at improving outcomes for pupils with SEND. Natalie has been a Local Authority SEND Adviser and Advisory Teacher, working across primary, secondary and special schools to support the strategic and operational development of SEND. Before her Local Authority work, Natalie was a primary teacher and SENCO. Natalie is a member of the Academies Enterprise Trust SEND Team and an Associate Consultant for nasen. She is an expert for Optimus' SEND Hub and for The Key for school leaders. She is also the author of 'The Perfect SENCO' publication.

Matthew Parker

Woodfield School

Matthew Parker is Deputy Headteacher at Woodfield Special School, a Teaching School in the London Borough of Brent. He has completed school-to-school support in the areas of the new SEND legislation, provision, pedagogy, and progress for mainstream and special schools as a Specialist Leader of Education for the National College and Challenge Partners.

Vijita Patel

London Leadership Strategy / Swiss Cottage School

Vijita Patel is the Principal of Swiss Cottage School Development & Research Centre, a 2-19 Special Needs School in the London Borough of Camden. Vijita joined Swiss Cottage School in 2012, leading it as a member of the Executive Team into its 5th Ofsted Outstanding. Vijita is a proponent for effective inclusion of learners with SEND and promotes this agenda through a system leadership model. She believes inclusive philosophies and specialist pedagogy drive sustainable change towards aspirational outcomes.

Vijita works with Mainstream and Special School Headteachers, Senior Leaders, SENCOs, and Local Authority teams on a range of priorities, particularly leading locality and provision developments as the complexity of need increases. She works with Post-Graduate students on personalised learning through research on cognitive processing. She has completed SEND Reviews for mainstream and specialist primary and secondary schools, advocating an ongoing relationship to drive meaningful change which leads to the development of enhanced provisions.

Vijita is a Director of the London Leadership Strategy and works on SEND initiatives such as SEND Leaders. She is also involved in DfE Consultations for SEND Policy and Reform.

Gary Phillips

Lilian Baylis School

Gary Phillips is headteacher of a mixed inner city secondary school based in North Lambeth. The school has a distinctive intake of 74% students claiming free school meals (FSM), 8% of key stage three students start with a statement of special educational needs (SEND) and 89% are from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. The vision for Lilian Baylis school is to work hard to meet the needs of all students and to be the first choice school for the local community. The school endeavours to achieve this vision through working in partnership with a number organisations who support their work with other schools.

These organisations include The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and the Community Empowerment Network which help raise aspirations. With ten years of successful headship experience, Gary Phillips has been engaged with the London Leadership Strategy since 2007, supporting other headteachers in London through his role as a Local Leader of Education to drive forward improvement and build capacity to ensure that improvement can be sustained. Lilian Baylis Technology school and staff have benefited enormously through working collaboratively with other schools. Partnership support offered by the school has involved coaching and mentoring for headteachers, inclusion leadership support to leadership teams, training and development workshops, subject leader support and the delivery of a behaviour immersion programme.

As a result of sharing school strengths, fresh ideas and good practices, both schools in a partnership have been able to improve outcomes for their students. Gary is an advocate of system led support. Now a National Leader of Education, Gary Phillips has designed and delivered the behaviour programme ‘Better Behaviour" on behalf of the London Leadership Strategy. The programme, trialled at Shene school (now Richmond Park Academy) has helped the school to move out of special measures.

Charlotte Rains

London Leadership Strategy

Charlotte has oversight of all of LLS' programmes. She directly project manages Whole School SEND and SEND Leaders, amongst LLS' other school improvement programmes

Charlotte has been managing projects in the third sector for over five years. Prior to joining LLS, she worked with a homeless charity in East London managing education and life skills programmes for people with entrenched substance misuse, mental health and offending histories. For the last 14 years, she has regularly volunteered and fundraised for social clubs for adutls, young people and children with SEND.

She is a PRINCE2 Practitioner and read Law with Politics at Queens University, Belfast.



Malcolm Reeve

Academies Enterprise Trust

Malcolm is Executive Director for SEND & Inclusion at Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) - the UK’s largest academy chain. He has worked in the field of SEND for 30 years and in that time has worked in adult provision, mainstream schools and special schools. He has worked in with children throughout the age range and with learning difficulties ranging from moderate to profound. Malcolm has been a Headteacher of three schools and one federation. He is a National Leader of Education, a Member of the National SEND Forum and Patron of the Centre Algarve holiday centre for people with special needs.

Diane Reynard

East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre

Diane has been a special school Headteacher for 15 years and is currently the Principal of the East SILC - which includes John Jamieson Special School, the city-wide Physical Disabilities and Medical Service, and the Medical Needs Teaching Service. Diane is currently a National Leader of Education where she has supported both mainstream secondary and special schools. She is also a member of the National Teaching School Council, an additional Ofsted Inspector for Secondary, Primary and Special and an educational representative on the Local Authority Child Death Overview Panel. Diane is also a chair of the North Yorkshire Special School Strategic Education Steering group and a member of the SEND Leaders Steering Group. Diane represents SILCs on the LA Strategic Education Board, Children’s Trust Board, and the Complex Needs Board.She has also worked as a senior local education officer for children and families (18 month secondment) and continues to carry out work for the LA.

Rob Shadbolt

Wood Green School

Rob Shadbolt is Headteacher at Wood Green School in Witney. 

Jacquie Smith

Lampton School

Jacquie Smith trained originally as an EAL teacher and began her teaching career in West London. She led the development of the Training School at Lampton from 2000 and the development of the Teaching School from 2011. She held the position of Associate Headteacher at Lampton School and is now the Director of the London West Teaching School  Alliance, a Challenge Partner hub and  alliance of 40 schools from the primary, secondary and special sectors. It has just gained SCITT status. Jacquie is also the proud parent of Madelaine - who has Dravet’s syndrome. Maddie has severe ASD and is non verbal, and her smile and laugh light up rooms. 

Phillipa Stobbs

Council for Disabled Children

Philippa is the Assistant Director (Education) at the Council for Disabled Children. A trained teacher and occupational therapist with a Masters in the education of children with special needs, she began her career working in mainstream and special schools, before joining the Inner London Education Authority as an inspector.
She has led a number of national developments in the education of disabled children and children with SEND, including partnership projects bringing together providers, parents and children and young people themselves. She has led policy work for the Special Educational Consortium since 1992 and the development of national support to parent partnership services. She was the principal author of the original Disability Rights Commission Code of Practice for schools and the Department for Education's guidance on implementing the Disability Discrimination Act in educational settings. She trains, writes and provides consultancy on SEND and disability issues for schools and local authorities.

Philippa was seconded to the Department for Children, Schools and Families for two years where she managed the Lamb Inquiry into parental confidence and Department for Children Schools and Families work with the National Strategies on SEND progression and the development of RAISE online to incorporate SEND data. During her time at the Department of Education, she was the principal author of the Code of Practice setting out schools’ duties when the Disability Discriminations Act was extended to include education. Philippa is also trustee of an Autism charity and is Chair of Governors of a non-maintained special school.

Claire Taylor

Oasis Academy Mayfield

Claire is currently the Associate Principal of Oasis Academy Mayfield in Southampton and has led rapid improvements across all areas to secure a Good OFSTED judgement within a 2 year period. She has significant experience of leading school improvement including 7 years as Senior Vice-Principal with responsibility for SEND and Inclusion in a challenging inner-London academy.  She is highly skilled in working collaboratively to capture and share best practice, coupled with effective systems leadership and organisational change management. Claire has a particular interest in meeting student needs through quality first teaching and curriculum development. She holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies. 


Rob Webster

Institute of Education

Rob is a researcher and joint professional development co-ordinator at the UCL Institute of Education. He leads the Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants initiative for SENJIT, and delivers the MITA school improvement course for school leaders. Rob has worked on a number of research projects focusing on the use and impact of teaching assistants, including the ground-breaking Deployment and Impact of Support Staff project and its follow-up study, the Effective Deployment of TAs project.

He has co-directed the Making a Statement study and now leads the SEND in Secondary Education study, both of which focus on the educational experiences of students with SEND. He has written extensively on these topics and my publications include: the Education Endowment Foundation's Making the Best Use of Teaching Assistants guidance report (June 2015); two acclaimed books: Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants and The Teaching Assistant's Guide to Effective Interaction; and numerous papers, many of which can be downloaded via the research pages on the MITA website. Rob has also had five years’ experience of working as a TA and as a local authority SEND Officer, managing the statutory assessment process and school placements.

David Woods CBE

London Leadership Strategy

David Woods has been a teacher and senior leader in schools, a teacher trainer and a local authority adviser in two LAs. He was the Chief Education Adviser for the City of Birmingham before joining the Department for Education as a Senior Education Adviser working closely with Ministers to develop educational policy and subsequently becoming Head of the Department’s Advisory Service. He joined the London Challenge programme from the beginning as the Lead Adviser and became the Principal Adviser for the City Challenge and the National Challenge and then Chief Adviser for London Schools and the London Challenge. He has written and spoken extensively on school improvement and related education matters and his latest books, Co-authored with Tim Brighouse are The A-Z of School Improvement with Tim Brighouse (2013) and The Story of London Challenge – (2015).

Currently David is an Education Consultant working with schools, local authorities and Academy chains as well as being a Visiting Professor at Warwick University and at the London Institute of Education. He is also the Chair of the London Leadership Strategy (successor body to the London Challenge) as well as being a member of OfSTED’s expert panel.