ASCL ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2024

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Programme

ASCL Annual Conference 2024 will include a range of opportunities for senior and aspiring leaders regardless of their role.:

Keynote addresses
Hear from policymakers, educationalists and inspirational leaders from other sectors.

Workshops
Get involved in individual sessions or follow one of our workshop themes including sessions focused on business leadership, primary, post-16, and diverse leadership. The full programme will be announced shortly.

Conference Hub
Get practical updates from our partners and supporters and insight into the latest developments to support you and your school, college or trust.

Conference programme is subject to change. More details will be available shortly

ASCL President 2023-24 and CEO, The Compass Partnership of Schools

John Camp OBE is CEO of The Compass Partnership of Schools, a charitable trust of eleven primary schools and one all-through special school advancing education for the public benefit across Greenwich and Essex. 

He is a Trustee of The Endeavour Partnership Trust, The Danes Educational Trust and an Advisory Board Member for the Centre for Research and Enterprise in Language, University of Greenwich.

John started his career in the London borough of Southwark in 1991 and moved to Greenwich in 2001 as a deputy head. He became Headteacher of Deansfield Primary School in 2008 and has been Executive Headteacher and then CEO of the Compass Partnership schools since 2011. 

John is a committed system leader who believes passionately in collaboration as a lever for deep and lasting change. He has a deep interest in organisational culture and firmly believes that leaders should focus on habit of mind and habit of action as they build institutional growth and resilience.

John's theme for his Presidential year is 'Interconnected Leadership: Past, Present, Future', find out more about his plans as ASCL President here

HMCI Ofsted

Sir Martyn Oliver started as His Majesty’s Chief Inspector at the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills in January 2024. He has worked in education since 1995 starting as a teacher and joined Outward Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) in 2009 where he became Principal of Outwood Grange Academy and then a National Leader of Education (NLE). In 2016, Sir Martyn was appointed Chief Executive and Accounting Officer for OGAT, a role he held until he started as His Majesty’s Chief Inspector. Sir Martyn has also previously held Trustee positions for the Office for Students (OfS), Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), Confederation of Schools Trusts (CST) and for the David Ross Education Trust (DRET), was a board member of the Department for Education’s (DfE) Opportunity North East and has advised both the government and the DfE on a number of groups.

Secretary of State for Education 

Gillian Keegan was appointed Secretary of State for Education on 25 October 2022.

She was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office from 7 September 2022 to 25 October 2022.

She was previously Minister of State for Care at the Department of Health and Social Care between 16 September 2021 and 7 September 2022.

Writer, speaker, coach and consultant

James Kerr is a bestselling writer, speaker, coach and consultant who helps create high performance cultures for elite teams and organisations. He is the author of the global best-seller Legacy which provides a unique insight into the most successful sporting team, the All Blacks, and has worked with some of the world’s most exceptional organisations, from Tier One Special Forces to Formula 1 teams, Premiership football managers to Olympic teams, Google to Spotify to Boeing.

His forthcoming book, Where the Earth Meets the Sky, travels to Mount Everest with the Gurkhas to understand what it takes to overcome adversity to ‘reach the top’. It covers themes including adversity and resilience, purpose and pressure, leadership at every level, decision-making and the art of delegation, and the formation of strong, self-directed teams that get the job done. For this project, he spent a month embedded with the legendary British Gurkhas in Everest Base Camp as they attempted to summit.

He asks: What do all great teams have in common? What is the Being of Team? How does change happen? How can you create a culture of initiative, innovation and adaptation? How have we got leadership upside down? How do leaders create leaders? How do they create common cause? How do you prepare for and perform under pressure? How do you make your teammates better? How can culture create competitive advantage? And – what will your legacy be?

A superb presenter and a natural storyteller, his sessions are a mixture of sports psychology, leadership practice, organisational science, and compelling storytelling, and act as a powerful catalyst for change within organisations, and the individuals within them.

Kerr has advised US and UK Special Forces, Formula 1 teams, America’s Cup crews, Premier League football managers, Olympic Performance Directors – as well as many corporations from Google to PayPal, Vodafone to Dyson, HSBC to Roche, Red Bull to Unilever, Shell to Boeing. His next book, Spearhead, explores ‘the principles of war for the business of leadership’, providing a fresh framework for leaders looking to turn culture into a ‘force multiplier’ for competitive advantage.

Faisal Sameja, ASCL Senior Solicitor
Lauren Hilton, ASCL Solicitor

 
From LinkedIn to X (formerly known as Twitter), to Instagram to Tik Tok, social media is becoming embedded in our day-to-day lives. Inevitably, social media use can seep into the workplace and school leaders are increasingly being required to manage social media-related allegations involving their staff or are being quizzed about their own social media use by their employer. This session aims to equip school leaders with what they need to know about this rapidly developing area in relation to employment law.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding what social media is.
  • Understanding the ways in which social media can be relevant in the workplace.
  • Providing hints and tips to avoid obvious and common pitfalls.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Charley Fowler, Area Manager and UK Education Lead, Unifrog
 
The Unifrog careers and destinations platform is used by 1.7 million students and over half of schools and colleges across the UK. Unifrog is able to provide leaders in education with unique data insights of student behaviour and interests, including aspirations and the factors they’re considering when choosing their post-16 or post-18 pathway. Over the course of the last academic year alone, over 100,000 work experience placements were processed, and over 300,000 apprenticeships were shortlisted on Unifrog. In this session, we’ll focus on data insights from the work experience and apprenticeship elements of Unifrog, and what this means for supporting students to move onto their best next step after school or college.

Unifrog is an ASCL Premier Partner and event sponsor of ASCL Annual Conference 2024.
 
Learning outcomes

  • Insights into work experience placements across 1,000 schools, including a breakdown of trends in what students from different socio-economic backgrounds are undertaking for work experience. 
  • Analysis of the apprenticeships students are considering and the factors that are informing their decisions.
  • Suggestions for how to use these trends and insights to better support students to move on to their best next step after school or college.
Target audience:
  • Secondary
  • Assistant Headteachers
  • Deputy Headteachers
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Rachel Macfarlane, education consultant, author and Lead Adviser for Underserved Learners at HFL Education

This workshop will share the work and findings of HFL Education advisers who support school leaders in examining the costs of the school day for parents and families and look to eliminate any unintentional economic exclusion that may result.

The session will:

  • address the stigma of poverty and share the experiences and feedback of pupils, staff and parents who are living in poverty and/or struggling financially (about what they find stressful and what they find helpful)
  • examine the cost of school uniform and the stigma around pre-worn uniform and share impactful, inclusive practice
  • look at school meals, inclusive lunchtime provision and how to ensure that no one goes hungry
  • share strategies for reducing the cost of enrichment and school trips and visits
  • consider ways of supporting staff who may experience economic exclusion.
Learning outcomes:
  • Practical tips for implementation/adaptation.
  • An understanding of key messages from Eliminating Economic Exclusion audits in a wide range of schools.
  • Inspiring case studies/examples from other schools.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Andrew Caffrey, CEO, Canopy CIC

This workshop empowers school senior leaders with practical strategies to leverage Google AI's cutting-edge tools and enhance efficiency across your institution. Discover how these technologies can:

  • streamline administration: automate routine tasks like scheduling, calendar management, and report generation, freeing up valuable time for strategic focus.
  • personalise learning: utilise AI-powered adaptive learning platforms to tailor educational pathways for each student, optimising engagement and boosting academic progress.
  • empower educators: enhance lesson planning with AI-generated content suggestions and feedback tools, allowing teachers to personalise instruction and address individual needs effectively.
  • bridge the communication gap: foster open communication with parents and students through AI-powered translation tools
  • data-driven decisions: gain deeper insights into student performance and school-wide trends with AI-powered data analysis, optimising resource allocation and decision-making for continuous improvement.
Learning Outcomes:
  • How to reduce administrative workload with Google AI technology.
  • How to maximise time management and personal productivity with Google AI.
  • How to empower your teachers using Google Bard and Duet.
Target Audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Gary Moore, Headteacher, Regent High School, Camden

School improvement is more than ‘fixing’ one thing such as curriculum or behaviour; schools are large, complicated organisations with many moving parts. This session will look at a journey of school improvement through the lens of a mixed, diverse comprehensive school. Improvements in many areas will be looked at including Year 11 data, SLT, budget, parental engagement and middle leadership.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding that school improvement is more than the sum of its parts.
  • Gathering a knowledge of how to prioritise when you “can’t see the wood for the trees”.
  • Understanding that there is no single strategy that results in holistic school improvement and as always, context is everything.
Target audience:
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers

*Limited places available*

Tyronne Lewis, Deputy Headteacher, Copthall School


The notion “teachers are likely to improve within a supportive professional environment, where trust and high standards are maintained” (DfE, 2020) encapsulates interconnected leadership. We need strong links between support and performance (in all its facets) to truly grow and retain staff.

In this interactive, research-informed session, Deputy Headteacher Tyronne Lewis will share good practice on how the overlapping of appraisal and CPL can harness the continual improvement of teachers in our settings, which is of course integral to securing positive student outcomes and maintaining high standards across various domains (including, for example, behaviour and assessment).

Attendees will also have the time and space to consider what next steps could look like in their contexts and the tools to implement/refine systems.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • A clearer understanding of how current research linked to CPL and appraisal highlights the importance of interconnectedness.
  • A greater awareness of strategies to help link support/high standards within CPL and appraisal systems (and across leadership domains).
  • Consideration of how interconnectedness strategies can be further promoted in our contexts, drawing on the examples shown and up-to-date research.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Karen Wespieser MBE, Chief Operations Officer​, Teacher Tapp

We asked more than 8,000 teachers on Teacher Tapp to numerically rate morale in their school, and to tell us in their own words why morale was high or low. The results suggest that making the school work better boosts morale. That's encouraging, if unsurprising. In this session we will take a detailed look at the results, and discuss how leaders can boost morale though a focus on building feelings of trust, support and collaboration.

Learning outcomes:

  • To build high morale schools, we must overcome three barriers to low morale: (student) behaviour, (staff) workload, (school) communication.
  • In each case, leaders must pinpoint the issue. Knowing what’s causing the stress, exactly what behavior is proving challenging, or what information staff are missing is the key to overcoming the barrier.
  • Leaders must know what's going on in order to make targeted improvements.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Margaret Mulholland, ASCL SEND and Inclusion Specialist

School and trust leaders are experiencing a rapid increase in the numbers of young people identified with SEND and barriers to learning. The cost and the expertise required to meet those needs is rarely sufficient to support the increased attention and support required to ensure success. This session will explain how leaders can address these challenges through refining whole school systems and processes. Many schools are working hard to strengthen ordinarily available provision and often focusing on adaptive teaching but historic systems and processes that shape leadership and expectations pose significant barriers to whole school change and can thwart success. This session will look at how leaders can unlock the full potential of the accessible curriculum and pedagogy that they are working hard to establish.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Enable all staff to have the confidence and relevant knowledge to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.
  • Have a clear understanding of distributed models of leadership for SEND and how to remove barriers to distribution.
  • Have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities in relation to improving outcomes for children with SEND.
Target audience: 
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Richard Gill CBE, CEO, The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership
Kathryn Morgan, Senior Capacity Improvement Adviser, Teaching Schools Council


This workshop will focus on the work and impact of Teaching School Hubs (TSHs), identifying, sharing and advocating for collective expertise and wisdom from across the country. The session will look at the synergy between hubs being knowledge deliverers (golden thread of teacher development) and knowledge receivers (empowering local intel) to build a connected and cohesive understanding of national needs and how these fare at a local level.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Learn more about the breadth and depth of the golden-thread suite of national professional development.
  • Gain concrete examples of how the golden-thread suite could be used to support local needs and schools.
  • Learn more about the opportunities for support and collaboration from your local TSH and the wider network of the 87 hubs.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Alex Atherton, former secondary school headteacher, leadership coach and Gen Z expert

Recruitment and retention have been key issues for schools and colleges for some years. Recent figures show that despite all efforts, considerable challenges remain.

Generation Z is the most significant generational shift so far. Many organisations are struggling not only to recruit and retain, but also to engage and motivate the youngest generation in the workplace.

As the oldest members of the generation move into management positions it has become even more important to meet Gen Z’s needs and aspirations.

Former secondary school headteacher, leadership coach and Gen Z expert Alex Atherton will identify their key characteristics, and the solutions which schools and colleges can implement to ensure future prosperity.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Key characteristics of Generation Z.
  • The challenges presented by Gen Z most relevant to teaching.
  • Actions schools and colleges can take to recruit and retain the best of this generation.

Target audience:
Anyone who is in a position to make decisions about recruitment.

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Laura Kay, School Improvement Partner, School Improvement Liverpool

Getting reading right can be transformational for a school and its learners but effective reading development stems from leadership understanding the size of reading and knowing that reading does and should impact every leader's workstream. For example, can your leadership talk about how reading interconnects with attendance, behaviour and pupil premium?
 
Too often schools copy another seemingly successful school without considering whether they are aiming high enough. Will the reading strategy in your school eradicate weak readers? If not, why not?
 
In this session, we will consider schools that have ‘done the math’ and invested in colleagues in order to implement rapidly effective intervention for all learners that need it. When they plan wider school reading activities they ‘do the math’ again, knowing that frequency and duration of reading sessions matter to effectiveness and enjoyment. In these schools, operational synergy is high and reading truly is everybody's business.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Know whether maximum benefit can be gleaned from your existing planned reading activity.
  • Recognise the operational implications of meeting need of all weak readers.
  • Explore realistic ways to boost operational synergy so the wider school supports and reinforces what happens in intervention and develops the reading of all layers of reader.
Target audience:
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, ASCL Senior Advisor, College Leadership
Fadia Clarke, Deputy Principal, London South East Colleges
Karen Roberts, Assistant Principal, Cheshire College South and West


Local skills improvement plans have introduced the imperative for education and skills providers to work closely with business and local authorities to identify skills needs and provide solutions. Since the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022, colleges providing technical education have been required to work with representatives of business, such as Chambers of Commerce, to ensure that their offer is aligned to local skills needs. Colleges are also required to publish annual statements on how their offer meets local needs.

Colleges have developed a number of examples of good practice which have been successful in identifying and meeting local skills needs and thereby helping to improve productivity in their local areas.

This workshop will highlight examples of projects which have worked closely with business and local authorities to provide skills solutions. Presenters will outline their projects and the strategies used to develop them. They will also suggest ways in which participants may develop their own successful strategies for work in their own areas.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore examples of good practice in working with business and local authorities
  • Understand what strategies work best when working with businesses and local and regional government
  • Be prepared to develop strategies which work in own settings

This will be an interactive session whereby presenters will offer up insights into their own working practices and answer questions about what may be successful for others.

Target audience:

  • Secondary
  • College Leaders
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Sarah Cleveley, Director of Development, Speakers for Schools

Work experience opens the door to future careers, builds confidence and raises salary potential, and yet 66% of state-educated young people miss out on this critically important intervention. For too long, access to work experience opportunities has been dictated by where young people live or whom their parents know. This need not be the case. There are an ever-increasing number of organisations that can democratise the process, and remove the burden on educators.

This session aims to demonstrate how evidence-led, high-quality work experience is both achievable and implementable for all schools. We will draw on practical lessons from the past and explore what quality work experience should look like as well as the levers that need to be pulled to make it a reality.

We will also open the discussion to the floor, where attendees can share challenges and solutions for providing work experience for young people and share examples of best practices.  

Learning Outcomes:

  • Outcomes of impactful work experience.
  • What does the evidence show: a practical guide to impactful work experience.
  • How to deliver successful work experience.
Target Audience:
  • Secondary
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Carolyn Harkness, SIO Attendance, School Improvement Liverpool (SIL)
Iain Robinson, Vice Principal, North Liverpool Academy
Jamie Wilson, Headteacher, Banks Road Primary School

School attendance is a complex, multi-faceted mass of ever-changing issues.

Clarity of roles and responsibilities in addressing these issues is the key to effective management of the Support-Support-Challenge model used to respond to the DfE’s Working together to improve school attendance guidance (May 2022)

Working alongside SIL's SIO for Attendance, both schools have developed robust, clear, manageable processes and procedures which have led to huge improvements in both data and culture.

School leaders will share their improvement journey, which began with a full understanding of the context and scale of the problems faced. By identifying what worked, their attendance teams were able to define impactful processes and build on success. Their effective “drilling down of data” has now ensured that support and intervention is offered at the earliest point.


Learning outcomes:
  • How to respond to the “Working Together” guidance and ensure that the first response is an impactful process, not just a data collection exercise.
  • Drill down into data so that the support/intervention is offered at the earliest point.
  • The importance of margin data.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Headteachers
  • Deputy Heads
  • Senior Leaders with responsibility for attendance

*NB This workshop is now full* 

Dr Keven Bartle, Director, Mind Your Head Education Consultancy

Like most helping professions, schools are being asked to do more, to a higher standard, with fewer resources at a time of profound uncertainty and instability. Unlike most helping professions, schools are less likely to provide supervision to help leaders and staff to manage these demands. There is, however, a growing interest in reflective supervision as an approach that aligns with the demands of education to keep students and their needs in focus. Reflective supervision has formative normative and restorative functions, helping school staff to professionally develop, meet expected standards and manage the challenges of their roles effectively.
 
In this session, Keven will give an overview of recent research that points to the need for supervision processes in education, before outlining some key theoretical insights about reflective supervision. The session will include an opportunity for delegates to consider how they might go about building a reflective supervision culture within their schools and across their trusts.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand what reflective supervision is and how it can support school leaders.
  • Consider how reflective supervision can enhance leaders’ effectiveness in challenging times.
  • Explore how schools and trusts can build a culture of reflective supervision for their staff. 
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders 

Kevin Gilmartin, ASCL Post-16 and Colleges Specialist

The future of the post-16 landscape has never been more turbulent and uncertain. How can a school plan its sixth form curriculum in a world where government policies seem confused, illogical and subject to ministerial whims? Are A levels really going to be chopped around and subsumed within a sixth form baccalaureate, aka the Advanced British standard, with maths and English for all (maths and English now with new minimum teaching hours and harsh condition of funding rules). What about T levels – will they continue to grow, stagnate or collapse? And what about BTECs (and other AGQs) – will the defunding process, which starts in earnest this September, really proceed as planned?

And what might happen with a change of government – what does Labour’s commitment to “pause and review” the defunding process actually mean?

This workshop will attempt to make sense of the future, clarify policy from myth and give delegates confidence to navigate the changing landscape.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Gain a clear understanding of present polices and the implications for their own sixth form.
  • Be well-placed to interpret likely future polices and their impact on student numbers.
  • Confidence in recommending curriculum strategies for their own sixth form
Target audience:
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Kelly Potton, Advocate Director, Education Mutual

This workshop delves into the critical topic of school business leader (SBL) health and wellbeing within the workplace. Based on the comprehensive 2023 research piece conducted by Education Mutual, this engaging and informative session aims to empower education leaders with practical strategies to enhance the wellbeing of their SBLs.

Education Mutual is an ASCL Premier Partner and event sponsor of ASCL Annual Conference 2024.

Learning outcomes:

  • Practical tips for leaders to support their SBLs
  • Practical tips for SBLs to support their own mental health and wellbeing
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Headteachers
  • Deputy Headteachers
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Marie-Claire Bretherton, Deputy CEO, Waterton Academy Trust
 
In this seminar, we will delve into the ‘Imperfect Leadership mindset’ together and apply it to ourselves as leaders and those we lead. Most of us know that even when we have been a leader for a long time, we are still learning. Cultivating an imperfect leadership mindset helps us recognise this about ourselves, and it reminds us that becoming a better version of ourselves is a life-long pursuit.

Leaders who embrace the imperfect leadership mindset continue to learn how to manage their ego, how to be the kind of leader who asks for help, and how to be a leader who views mistakes as learning opportunities. Having an imperfect leadership mindset also helps us recognise leadership in others, even when it is not yet fully fledged. This has never been more important than it is now. We need to encourage others to step into leadership roles, and create space for colleagues to bring their imperfect, embryonic, unrefined contributions – with your support and mentorship, creating learning organisations which bring the best out in others.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • An overview of the imperfect leadership mindset.
  • Practical tools to enhance self-awareness and team-awareness.
  • Understand the importance of managing one's ego, asking for help, and viewing mistakes as opportunities for growth, not just for themselves but as a standard for their teams.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Alex Scharaschkin, Executive Director of Assessment Research and Innovation, AQA

Educational assessment is both the basis for awarding qualifications and an integral part of teaching and learning. So, it is essential that we understand the opportunities and risks that artificial intelligence presents for assessment. The recent rapid development of generative, large language models has profound implications for teaching and learning, for the design of assessments, and for the appraisal of assessment information. AQA has been researching the application of AI to assessment for some time. In this workshop, Alex Scharaschkin will discuss some of the findings of this research and explore what AI-enabled educational assessment could look like in the next five years.

Learning outcomes:

  • Learn about the various types of AI, its intelligence and use in educational assessment
  • Address the ethical concerns around the use of AI in educational assessment
  • Gain insight in the work AQA have been doing to trial the potential opportunities of AI in educational assessment
Target audience:
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Emma Knights, Co-chief Executive, NGA

Accountability to stakeholders is a vital component of good governance. The DfE trust quality description for governance and leadership opens with “The board and executive leadership team anchor the trust’s strategy in the needs of its schools, the communities they serve and the wider educational system in line with its charitable objects.”

We will explore what this means in practice: how can executive leaders, trustees, and local governors be best connected to each other and to their communities to improve the education of pupils? We will draw on NGA’s unrivalled experience of MAT governance and the learning from the successful two-year National Leaders of Governance programme. The benefits of local governance are now well understood by many in the sector, but its practice has to be regularly reviewed to ensure the latest knowledge is being harnessed to deliver good governance. If you are not aware of the 4S’s of local trust governance, this is the workshop for you. 
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand how governance has and will continue to shape and influence the MAT development story.
  • Understand the part senior executive leaders and headteachers need to play in ensuring trust governance, including local governance, works well.
  • Understand the learnings from the National Leaders of Governance and consider how they relate to your trust.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Matthew Cooke, Chair Of NAVSH
Stephen Munday, CEO of CAM Academy Trust
Andrew Wright, ASCL Council and Chair Of ARC
Sue Johnson, Vice Chair of NAVSH


The session will be led by national leaders across the education system and for Virtual Schools. It will provide clarity of the role and remit of the Virtual School Head Teacher and how this position has been extended since its introduction in 2014, making significant improvements in outcomes for targeted groups of children and young people.

The session will illustrate how collaborative leadership and practice with schools and other sectors/organisations has effectively improved the outcomes and life chances of some of our most vulnerable learners. There will be identification of case studies across the country reflecting good practice at Early Years, primary, secondary, post-16 and in special/PRU settings.

The session will enable delegates to reflect on their own systems of interventions to identify how they might become more effective within their own working context. The case studies will help clarify the role of school leaders in this work and how other sectors and organisations might be engaged to provide extended support for vulnerable learners and help with workforce development.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Identify and understand the extended role of the Virtual School Head Teacher
  • Develop an understanding of the bridging role of Virtual School across education, health and social care and the criminal justice system through effective case studies
  • Identifying a menu of interventions for vulnerable learners
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leader

Paul Edmond, Chief Finance Officer, Heart Academies Trust
Julie Rowlandson, Sustainability Officer, St Bart’s Multi Academy Trust
Dr Meryl Batchelder, Subject Leader for Science, Corbridge Middle School
Dr Rachel Manning, Head of Youth Networks, Global Action Plan


Effective leadership is paramount for fostering sustainability in education. Leadership skills, knowledge, and experience are critical in steering educational institutions towards a sustainable future. Leaders must possess the ability to envision long-term goals, formulate strategies, and mobilise resources. Leaders must be adept at cultivating a culture of innovation, adaptability, and collaboration, essential for addressing complex sustainability challenges. Additionally, leaders need to be well-versed in the principles of sustainability, understanding the interconnectedness of social, environmental, and economic factors.

This workshop will help leaders make informed decisions that prioritise sustainable practices within and across the educational system. Without these qualities, educational institutions may struggle to integrate sustainability into their curricula, operations, and overall mission, hindering the development of environmentally conscious and socially responsible citizens for a sustainable future.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the nature of sustainability leadership and how it can contribute to transformational change.
  • Identify the key characteristics of sustainability leaders.
  • Understand the skills we need to effectively manage carbon reduction and delivery of net zero.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Dr Nick Capstick OBE, Chair, The School Food Reform Working Group
 
Preparing every child from EYFS to post-16 for the next stage of their education, both academically and socially, sits at the core of what we do.

This session will show through empirical evidence from the UK and across the world, how a successful school food culture, with a fully funded, delicious and nutritious meal each day at its heart, has improved academic outcomes (up to 4-6 weeks in English and maths), social and learning behaviours as well as improving attendance while reducing internal truancy. 

The School Food Review is a combined group of over 36 organisations including education unions such as ASCL, charities, nutritionists and chefs in school, who collectively campaign to bring about a fully-funded, hot and nutritious school food offer which will not only supports school leaders and their staff but pupils and students of all ages together with their families and the wider local community. 
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Why great food is crucial for reducing inequalities, improving outcomes and transforming your school.
  • How the current system is holding your pupils back.
  • What school leaders can do to make the necessary change happen.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Donna Stevens, Chief Executive, Girls’ School Association

As ASCL celebrates its 150th anniversary, formed from a movement to provide education for girls (some 1,000 years after boys were first educated), we look at what equality for women and girls looks like today. This anniversary marks an important milestone in girls’ education and a moment to acknowledge the vital historical and future role girls’ schools play in creating a fairer world for all.  

Donna Stevens from the Girls’ Schools Association will take us on a journey through these 150 years and present new research unpicking perceptions of equality for schoolgirls in areas such as business, politics, sport and the home. She will ask if we have come far enough, explore the ways that educational leaders can play a galvanising role in young women’s lives, and discuss how schools can act as a catalyst for positive societal change through empowering every young woman.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • An understanding of the history in the education of girls.
  • An understanding of the latest research on gender equality in areas such as business, politics, sport and the home.
  • An understanding of the girls’ schools sector today.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

CEO of the Diana Award

Dr Tessy Ojo CBE is a passionate Civil Society Leader who has spent over two decades driving change for children and young people in the areas of social justice, youth leadership and social equity.
 
She is also the Founder of Tessy’s Brunches (www.tessysbrunches.com), a mentoring forum for female self-improvement.
 
In 2020, Tessy was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a CBE – Commander of The British Empire for her services to children and young people.
 
She is the Chief Executive of The Diana Award – the only charity that bears the name of Diana, Princess of Wales and through it has developed internationally recognised programmes that give young people skills to thrive and create positive change in their communities globally.
 
Tessy has had the honour of working with Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex for over 20 years, who both support the charity. She was also privileged to be a Chapel guest at the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
 
With over twenty-two years in third sector leadership and expertise in redefining outcomes for with young people, Tessy played a founding role in the building and sustainability of the charity, bringing strategic clarity and innovative approaches leading to a 360-degree turnaround of the charity’s growth and global industry recognition. 
 
At the heart of Tessy’s work is the belief that, with the right support and investment, young people have the capacity to drive and achieve sustainable change for both themselves and society.
 
Her innovative approach to youth leadership and driving systemic change has been recognised internationally, resulting in Tessy becoming the very first British National to be honoured with The Prestigious Martin Luther King Award in Atlanta, in recognition of her innovative approach to leadership and humanitarian work.  
 
In the same year, she was also named by British Airways, alongside other key notable leaders, as one of the top 100 British Leaders https://www.britishairways.com/100.
 
In 2015, Tessy has also been awarded an Excellence Award by Eva Longoria through her Global Gift Foundation.
 
She is a sought-after speaker and TV commentator who regularly comments on issues around young people, youth culture and insight as well as diversity and inclusion. Here is a clip from her appearance on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: Tessy Ojo on Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan - YouTube

More of her interviews can be found on her Instagram page, which has good following of over 13,000 (www.instagram.com/tessyojo)

Tessy seats on a number of non-Executive boards including Chair of the #iwill Fund, launched in November 2013 by HRH The Prince of Wales after an independent review into how different sectors could help more young people to make a positive difference.
 
Tessy also hold NED roles at Comic Relief, Makers, The BBC’s Appeals Advisory Committee, The Royal Taskforce on Cyberbullying and the UK Council For Child Internet Safety.
 
She is married and has two children.

Please bring your dinner ticket.

ASCL General Secretary

Geoff studied English and Linguistics at the University of Lancaster, then trained to teach at Leicester University. From 2002 to 2017 he was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, a 11-18 school of 1650 students. He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and patron of the English & Media Centre. He was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, founding chair of its Pedagogy Committee, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He was elected as General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017.

Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Bridget is the Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, one of three constituencies in the City of Sunderland. She was first elected to the seat on 6 May 2010, and was re-elected at the 2015, 2017 and 2019 General Elections. She has served in Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Education since November 2021.

Nicola Jones, Headteacher, Clifton Green Primary School

Thrust into headship in a large primary school with a LA Warning Notice and a 'requires improvement' Ofsted judgement, this session explores one school’s leadership journey and their tales of school improvement from September 2019 to date. By focusing on the theories of change management and strategy implementation, developing a professional culture and investing in people, leaders in the school have empowered children and staff to thrive in the ever-changing and ever- challenging educational climate. This workshop aims to share some of the lessons learnt and strategies used to move this school from requires improvement to securing a 'good' overall judgement, with outstanding personal development, utilising evidence-informed practice and lightening the mood with a few funny anecdotes along the way! 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand change management and implementation theories.
  • Explore effective strategies for school leadership.
  • Reflect upon your own school improvement journey and develop priorities for the future.
Target audience
  • Primary 
  • Secondary 
  • Independent 
  • Business Leaders 
  • Assistant Heads 
  • Deputy Heads 
  • Headteachers 
  • CEO/Trust Leaders 

John Murphy, Education Leadership Mentor, Adviser and former CEO

In this session, John Murphy will explore what it really means to be a CEO in the current education landscape. Having successfully led one of the largest MATs in the country for the last ten years and now mentoring numerous CEOs in the UK, he will explore the lessons learnt - from what it means to go from being a successful school leader to running one of the fourth largest trusts in the UK.

John will explore how his own life story has informed and driven all aspects of his work. He will explore in detail how he on-boarded 41 schools and managed to ensure that 45 schools in areas of very high challenge and disadvantage moved from ‘special measures’ to ‘good’ or better.

He will evidence how intentional design is a key lever for the systematic success and sustainability across a trust, and will look in detail at the mistakes made along the way and pitfalls to avoid.

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore what authentic leadership means.
  • Explore the principles of how leaders can develop and grow a trust.
  • Evidence the lessons learnt from system leadership that lead to creating a sustainable organisation.
Target audience:
  • Trust Leaders
  • Deputy CEOs
  • CEOs

Tracey Campbell, Director, Together Transforming Behaviour and Author
 
The post-Covid classroom calls for a different approach to the leadership and management of behaviour. With rising levels of mental health problems among children and young people, leaders need to be able to cultivate the kind of culture where students feel safe, and staff feel supported.
 
This workshop seeks to help leaders understand how to make lasting impact on behaviour culture, through the building of robust systems and provision of high-quality support. Come and hear how to position your school to be among the best in the country for building cultures of care where students are loved as they learn and forgiven when they fail.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Identify the skills needed to be a competent and compelling leader of behaviour.
  • How to support colleagues to reduce sanctions, suspensions and exclusions.
  • Understand how to embed effective behaviour policy into everyday behaviour practice.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Emma Harrison, ASCL Business Leadership Specialist
Julia Harnden, ASCL Funding Specialist


Building upon the newly implemented Business Leaders' Online Forum, this session will be the first as a face-to -face session for business leaders. It will be interactive between the policy specialists and attendees. The target audience is only business leaders.

There are three pre-selected topics: pay and conditions with a focus on business leader pay (including ASCL survey results and action), funding, with a focus on SEN notional spend and all operational considerations for 2024 and beyond. There will also be an open session for horizon scanning and challenges and opportunities that business leaders wish to discuss.

The session is targeted at all business leaders, from entry level to executive roles.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Explore the key topics and challenges that school, trust and college business leaders are facing now in the future
  • Discuss the challenges and opportunities of leading through the current context, sharing some examples of lessons learned and best practice from peers.
  • Takeaway advice and tips to support business leaders in preparing and responding to the current context. This will also include information and guidance on how to request a salary review, if needed.
Target audience:
Business Leaders

Faisal Sameja, ASCL Senior Solicitor
Pritika Rughani, ASCL Deputy Senior Solicitor
 

This session is aimed at school leaders who have oversight of, and involvement in, school disciplinary processes. Disciplinary processes must be carried out reasonably and fairly. It is essential for school leaders to ensure that fair processes are followed to avoid unfair dismissal claims and potential liability for large compensation sums. Carrying out a fair and proper investigation is integral to this. By the end of the session, school leaders will be armed with helpful hints and tips on how to avoid common pitfalls associated with commissioning and carrying out a fair investigation.

 Learning outcomes:

  • Understand why there is a need for a fair investigation.
  • Be able to identify what a fair investigation looks like.
  • Become familiar with essential practical considerations where investigations are being conducted.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Sir Ian Bauckham CBE, Chief Regulator, Ofqual
Manny Botwe, ASCL Vice President and Headteacher, Tytherington School
Tom Middlehurst, ASCL Curriculum, Assessment and Inspection Specialist

 
Sir Ian became Ofqual’s Chief Regulator in January 2024. In conversation with ASCL Vice President Manny Botwe, and ASCL’s Tom Middlehurst, Sir Ian will outline his priorities for the coming year, and what school and college leaders can expect from the summer exam series.

With the two-year transition to pre-pandemic grading complete, 2024 will see normal grading arrangements continue for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Sir Ian will remind delegates of how grading works, as well as challenging myths or concerns about grading and qualifications more generally. He will also discuss Ofqual’s work to secure parity of treatment for students taking different qualifications. Sir Ian will reflect on Ofqual’s role in qualifications reform, including the government’s proposals for a new Advanced British Standard qualification, and what Ofqual’s recent equalities analysis on the 2023 results can – and can’t – tell us about the education gap post-pandemic.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Hear directly from the new Chief Regulator.
  • Understand the approach being taken to 2024 grading.
  • Learn about Ofqual’s priorities for the coming year.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Amjad Ali, Try this Teaching
 

In a world that is increasingly interconnected, the theme of anti-racism is of paramount importance, requiring dynamic and interconnected leadership to drive change. This workshop seeks to inspire leaders from all walks of life to tackle racial injustice with urgency, empathy, and unity.

This workshop explores the past, present, and future of anti-racism efforts, emphasising the interconnectedness of these phases. Participants will delve into historical contexts, understanding the roots of racial discrimination, and learn how to apply this knowledge to the present. Strategies for inclusive leadership and empathy-driven decision making will be cultivated.

The workshop is designed to equip leaders with the skills and insights necessary to foster collaboration, challenge stereotypes, and dismantle systemic racism, creating a brighter, more inclusive future. It encourages leaders to recognize that the fight against racism is a collective responsibility, woven into the fabric of interconnected leadership, transcending boundaries, and shaping a more equitable world.
 
Learning outcomes:
  • Enhanced leadership skills: develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of racial inequality and discrimination. They will acquire leadership skills focused on promoting inclusivity, empathy, and collaboration. As a result, they will be better equipped to lead anti-racism efforts in their organisations and communities.
  • Empathy-driven decision making: learn to make decisions with empathy as a guiding principle, fostering a culture of respect and equality. They will be more effective in addressing racial disparities and injustices, contributing to more inclusive and harmonious environments in their respective spheres of influence.
  • Collaborative action for systemic change: encourage participants to form a network of interconnected leaders dedicated to anti-racism initiatives. As a result, they will be better prepared to work collectively, challenge stereotypes, and actively dismantle systemic racism. The expected outcome is a more united and powerful front against racial injustice, with lasting impacts on policies and practices in their communities and organisations.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Lisa McCall, Head of School, Wales High School
 

When students are given the opportunity to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, it creates a sense of ownership and empowerment. It allows students to actively participate in decision-making processes that directly affect their education. By listening to student voices, leaders can gain valuable insights into what works and what needs improvement within their school. Moreover, student voice helps create an inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated and respected. Each student brings unique perspectives and experiences that contribute to the richness of the learning community. Most importantly, by valuing student input, leaders demonstrate respect for their opinions and ideas, which boosts self-esteem and confidence. By embracing student voice, educators can ensure that all voices are heard regardless of background or ability.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Use student voice to embed an inclusive environment, where diversity is celebrated and respected.
  • Ensure leaders have a culture that respects thoughts, ideas and concerns from students, ensuring they feel heard and valued.
  • Create a shared vision that engages students in policy and practice resulting in increased motivation and students taking ownership of their learning.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers

Jacques Szemalikowski, ASCL Conditions of Employment Specialist I Pensions

The Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) may be the best there is, a key benefit that many colleagues may take for granted. Yet, in truth, it is a cornerstone of the reward package within the profession. With many ASCL members busy running schools, understanding their pension and how it works is often pushed to the backburner until they start considering retirement.

ASCL members pay a percentage of their salary into the scheme. But there is no pot of money, so where does it go, how does it work and how can you max it out?

This presentation, intended for members still some way off retirement, will explain the nuts and bolts of the TPS. Attendees will develop a clear understanding of how retirement benefits build up, the associated complementary benefits and the flexibilities available in the scheme.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand how your teacher’s pension works, including the Transition Remedy.
  • Actions in order to take control of your pension and maximise its benefits as early as possible.
  • How to plan for the future.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Anna Leaman, Director, EAL Inclusive Limited

Rejecting the misconception that EAL is the responsibility of specialist EAL and/or English teachers, this session emphasises the need for school leaders to equip all teachers with the tools and support to teach linguistically diverse classes.

Aimed at senior and middle leaders across primary and secondary settings, the workshop will explore how to initiate the shift in perspective to encourage educators to see their curriculum through the eyes of EAL learners and understand how strategies like scaffolding and explicit academic language teaching, whilst essential for EAL students, benefit all. Through this session, we aim to support school leaders to ensure every teacher can confidently lead linguistically diverse classrooms, fostering the confidence, knowledge, and skills that make them all leaders of language.

Let’s spread and embed the understanding that it is everyone's responsibility to scaffold curriculum language, ensuring equitable outcomes for today's learners while remaining adaptable to the evolving educational landscape of the future.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand what a whole-school approach to EAL looks like, why this is important and take away a self-evaluation tool for further reflection.
  • Explore ways to support teachers of all subjects to be more consistent when scaffolding the language of their lessons for EAL and non-EAL learners.
  • Understand the importance of embedding a whole-school academic language strategy and take away practical ideas and resources.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

*Limited places available*

Shaun Brown, Programmes Director, The Difference


There is much current interest in and sometimes criticism of 'relational practices', such as trauma-informed practice, and restorative practice. There is also lots of CPD on offer, both free and paid, to develop relational practices in school. This session will explore the interconnection between practices we might value, who we want to use them and how. It will support leaders to make informed and impactful decisions about professional development in their schools.

During the session, we will explore a model for defining relational practice that supports leaders to unpack and robustly test the different flavours on offer. We will also introduce a helpful framework for school leaders who need to identify where relational practices can deliver improved outcomes. The session will finish by presenting key components of meaningful, accessible CPD, with a particular focus on sustainability and amplifying impacts.

Learning outcomes:

  • A clear definition to identify four key components of effective relational practice.
  • A framework for identifying where relational practice can really make a difference.
  • An illustration of meaningful, accessible and impactful relational practice CPD in schools. 
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Fiona Law, Head of Teaching and Learning, Canopy Education CIC 

This workshop tackles harnessing the power of technology in your school, guided by solid research, not fleeting trends. Join us as we delve into the evidence-backed benefits of integrating EdTech, empowering you to make informed decisions for your organisation.Technology can create a future where every student can thrive.

  • Boosting achievement: witness how adaptive learning platforms personalise students’ paths, and accessibility tools that ensure no child is left behind
  • Engagement unleashed: explore studies demonstrating how interactive experiences improve retention rates
  • Closing the gap: discover how AI-powered systems can provide targeted support, narrowing the achievement gap for disadvantaged students
  • Craft a data-driven strategy: identify key areas where EdTech can address your school's unique challenges.
Join us to move beyond the hype and harness the true potential of EdTech, informed by research and driven by data.

Learning Outcomes:
  • A critical lens for evaluating EdTech solutions.
  • Concrete evidence to build a compelling case for technology in your school.
  • A roadmap for implementing EdTech strategically, maximizing its impact on student learning.
Target Audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

In conversation; Past Present and Future

Ed Balls
Broadcaster, writer and economist

Ed Balls is a broadcaster, writer and economist. He is a regular presenter on ITV’s flagship breakfast show, Good Morning Britain and the co-host of Political Currency, the economics-focused podcast he presents with former Chancellor George Osborne. Ed’s latest TV series, Inside the Care Crisis with Ed Balls, aired on BBC2 in November 2021. He is Professor of Political Economy at King’s College, London, a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and co-Chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation. He is a former member of Parliament, Shadow Chancellor, Cabinet Minister and Chief Economic Adviser to the Treasury. He cooks, sails, plays the piano and is a Norwich City Vice-President and Club Ambassador. He is married to Yvette Cooper MP and they have three children. 

Justine Greening
Former Minister for Women and Equalities of the United Kingdom
Between 2011 and 2018, Justine served as a UK Cabinet Minister, including as Education Secretary from 2016-18. Justine put social mobility at the heart of the Department for Education’s strategy through the Social Mobility Action Plan, and alongside introducing Opportunity Areas, the Early Careers Framework and Gender Pay Gap reporting. She left Cabinet to fully focus on her Social Mobility Pledge campaign with employers in the private and public sector and universities. It is now the largest social mobility campaign in the country and aims to ensure employers have specific plans to drive equality of opportunity through their own opportunities.

Caroline Lowing, Interim Head of School, Thornden School

If it is not right, do not do it, if it is not true, do not say it.” Marcus Aurelius.
 
Modern school leadership is rapidly changing, ever evolving and has become incredibly fast-paced with all of us working in hectic school environments. As leaders we need to keep our heads and respond but how do we retain our sense of selves and how do we approach the modern dilemmas we face in schools? By using the wisdom of the ancient Stoics, this workshop takes a light-hearted look at leadership with some ready-made and pertinent leadership lessons to take away with you.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand what authentic and stoic leadership means and why it is important for modern school leadership, with links to academic research, writing around the subject and personal experience.
  • Hear from leaders on what it might mean for them, how it might be achieved, and how it might enable you to be a more effective leader.
  • Reflect on steps that you can take in your own leadership to develop authentic and stoic leadership and how it might work in practice.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Steve Playford, former Headteacher, Trustee of the Institute of Leadership,  accredited resilience trainer, and ASCL consultant 

Leaders in education have worked above and beyond throughout these last few years and developed many resilient behaviours. Applying them will require expertise and capacity.

This workshop is about you and how you can flourish at work, maintain a sense of perspective, and have good wellbeing.

The emphasis will be on providing you with a toolkit needed to master stress, adapt to change, be proactive and recognise the signs of burnout. In particular we will explore the globally validated Resilience at Work (R@W) framework and other models.

Learning about resilience will help you feel stronger and confident so that your leadership can be sustained allowing you to flourish, be creative, lead with agility, and mutually support others.

The workshop is interactive giving time and the opportunity to both share your leadership challenges and to offer your ideas to help people.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • To understand resilience can be learnt.
  • To develop a toolkit to enable you and others to be robust and flourish.
  • To share and explore your thoughts and ideas.
Target audience:
Suitable for all leaders leading teams or organisations

Bennie Kara, Education Consultant and Co-Founder, Diverse Educators

A session exploring how the stories we tell in schools demonstrate our commitment to diversity, equity and incusion (DEI) for our young people. This session covers the psychology of storytelling across the world, and questions whether we can tell the ‘truth’ about our past and provide marginalised groups agency. It goes on to explore how language impacts on the way a story is received. It covers problematic narratives on race, LGBT, women and disability, before going on to look at how we tell better stories. It finishes with a look at the ‘stories of subjects’ and why it is important to know them.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the importance of ‘storytelling’ on identity.
  • Explore problematic narratives and their impact.
  • How to tell better stories to build a culture of DEI.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers

Reza Schwitzer, Head of External Affairs, AQA
Adam Foley, Head of On-Screen Assessment Strategy


Digital exams will be one of the biggest changes to assessment in the next decade. They offer significant opportunities for the future of assessment and beyond. We have the chance to make exams more accessible for disadvantaged students, increase digital fluency amongst young people ready for employment and even make exams more environmentally sustainable.

Join AQA, the largest provider of GCSEs and A levels, to hear how they will make digital exams a reality and discuss with them what you think should be done to make them fair, equitable, and beneficial for the future of assessment.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand what AQA digital exams will look like.
  • Understand the motivation for exams going digital.
  • Learn about the support on offer to schools to be able to deliver AQA digital exams.
Target audience:
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Dame Alison Peacock, CEO, Chartered College of Teaching
Carolyn Roberts, Head, Thomas Tallis School

 
We will talk about the work and aims of the broad-based Ethical Leadership Alliance (ELA), launched by ASCL, CCT and NGA in 2023 with support from all other professional organisations, to develop the impact of the framework for Ethical Leadership in Education. 
 
Why is ethical leadership important? How can leaders support one another in difficult decision-making? How can ethical leadership bring better recruitment and retention? How important is the example we set to children and young people? How do educators of all kinds model a better world? How do we contribute to a fair and just society? 
 
The session will encourage questioning and discussion from the floor in order to inform the work of the ELA. It will encourage school leaders to draw upon the vision and commitment of their staff to build happy, stable schools.   
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand and contribute to the work of the Ethical Leadership Alliance.
  • Reflect on the role of clear ethical standards to support complex and challenging decision making.
  • Use an explicit commitment to ethical leadership to recruit and retain good teachers.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Neil Renton, Headteacher, Harrogate Grammar School
Julie Wellacott, Director of HR, Red Kite Learning Trust


This interactive session considers the very real challenges of recruitment and retention of teachers (and other roles in schools) and how establishing a culture of flexible working can provide a significant and positive solution. We will explore the range of flexible working practices, and navigate some of the challenges and perceptions, providing practical examples and case studies to support change.

Using some of the resources through our Flexible Working Ambassador MAT and School (FWAM) work, we will bring into the session opportunities for reflection. This will encourage an honest and self-critical look at leaders’ current position and how to take the first steps in moving through the flexible working maturity curve.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Define flexible working and why it’s fundamental to the success of our schools.
  • Share our own story so far and provide practical ideas and solutions.
  • Help leaders in how they can use their influence to create positive change and build a flexible working culture.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
About Neil and Julie:
Neil Renton is the headteacher of a large comprehensive secondary school of over 2,100 students in North Yorkshire. Julie is an experienced Director of HR in a large trust, with over 20 years’ experience of delivering HR strategy. Both Neil and Julie are project leads as the appointed Flexible Working Ambassador MAT and School (FWAM) for the Yorkshire and Humberside Region.

James Heale, Executive Leadership Coach; Founder of Flywheel Learning, Director of Leadership and Development, Tower Hamlets Education Partnership

As an Executive Coach and leadership expert working with headteachers and CEOs across the country, James has gained unique insights into leadership in a wide variety of contexts and the common elements found in successful teams and organisations. Trusts and schools are teams of teams but why is it that some teams with seemingly similar talent and ambition outperform their peers? 
 
In this workshop we will explore how the most successful leaders grow, develop, and nurture their teams. We will use James’ C.I.D framework to share practical tools and takeaways that help distinguish the very best teams from all the rest. James will share his experiences of working with hundreds of school leaders and high-performing organisations beyond the world of education, including London Air Ambulance, British Airways, Google, and the Royal College of Music.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand how we can develop high-performing teams through the framework of conscious, intentional and deliberate leadership (C.I.D)
  • Identify everyday behaviours that build the trust, constructive challenge, decision making and overall effectiveness of teams.
  • Leave with practical tips and takeaways that can be used in your context next week.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Jenny Graham, Director of Research, Impact and Influence at The Difference
 
Internal AP is provision often set up within mainstream schools to reduce exclusion and/or re-engage students struggling to learn in mainstream classrooms. To date, there is limited research or guidance to support school leaders in making this provision more effective. This session will draw on research carried out by The Difference for EEF and YEF (in partnership with NFER) ​alongside the experiences of leaders from our partner schools. We will consider three key components of effective internal alternative provision: purpose, provision and pathways in and out. The session will draw on both the research and specific school examples of practice, looking at variations in how schools address the same leadership challenges.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Be clear on the strategic purpose of internal AP.
  • Understand the key leadership challenges in establishing effective internal AP.
  • Hear different examples of how these challenges have been effectively addressed.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Rich Atterton, Assistant Headteacher, The Marlborough Science Academy
William Richardson, Former General Secretary, HMC


This session will look at ASCL’s Blueprint for a Fairer Education, examining how its key building blocks of curriculum, teachers and leaders, assessment and qualifications, resources and structures have been encountered by previous generations of leaders. This is a whistlestop tour of 150 years of the pioneers who went before us. Their challenges were our challenges, and their endeavour offers both inspiration and practical advice in navigating our present and future. 

This session is not a trip down memory lane but a thoughtful look at why education so often feels like déjà vu. ASCL leaders, and those in its predecessor associations, were able to move beyond the tribalism of the disputes that divided them and work together, despite grave misgivings, to ensure a fairer education system. ASCL has held in tension high-minded principles with common sense pragmatism for 150 years. This is its story. 
 
Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the history of ASCL.
  • Understand the cyclical nature of challenges in education.
  • Navigate these present and future challenges.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Marc Rowland, Pupil Premium and Vulnerable Learners Adviser, Unity Schools Partnership
 
Essentially, because we are still not seeing shifts in outcomes for our pupils from low-income backgrounds, we need to do more with less, but more effectively. 

We need to think of addressing educational disadvantage as something that runs through all aspects of school life, not just how we spend the Pupil Premium. 
 
Based on learning from over 1,000 school visits nationally, the approach is based on:

  • culture, expectations, inclusivity
  • getting the climate right for implementation
  • assessment of need
  • understanding low family income
  • responding: in the classroom, targeted academic support, personal development, pastoral care
  • implementation and coherence
  • dispassionate impact evaluation
  • understanding drivers
The workshop will support leaders in how to do this in a practical approach, underpinned by research evidence and the lived experiences of schools.

Learning outcomes
  • Practical approaches to help leaders address educational disadvantage across the whole school.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Dr Kate Chhatwal OBE, CEO, Challenge Partners
Paul Watson, CEO, Preston Hedges Academy Trust


As we approach the election, this session will examine what it will take - in the next five to ten years - to lead the system to excellence and equity. It will provide an opportunity to shape the debate by exploring with your peers what a truly excellent and equitable education could and should look like. It will also identify what we can do, without permission, to lead the changes we want to see for our pupils and communities.

Based on a series of workshops and discussions with school and trust leaders across Challenge Partners, we will present four emerging Big Ideas - and examples of where they are already being implemented - for challenge and refinement. There will be plenty of space for new ideas too.
 
Learning outcomes:

  • A chance to look beyond immediate challenges and consider how we can better serve our children and communities - including what more you could do in your own school or trust.
  • Engage with colleagues on the big questions of education.
  • Provide feedback to develop the Big Ideas and shape the debate as we approach the election.
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

*Limited places available*

Colin Foley, National Training Director, ADHD Foundation, The Neurodiversity Charity

Research evidence suggests that a significant number of neurodiverse children and young people underachieve in our education system. This workshop will explore how schools can effectively support the learning needs of learners with neurodiverse conditions. This will include the importance of recognising and understanding co-occurrence and overlapping features and presentations of various conditions as well as outlining the principal overarching strategies that teachers can include in their practice to best meet their needs.

The workshop will make reference to ADHD, autism, dyspraxia and dyslexia as well as other key considersations in the field of neurodiversity, including the under diagnosis of girls and young women and the particular mental health vulnerabilities associated with neurodiversity.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the centrality of co-occurrence in neurodiversity.
  • Develop a toolkit of strategies to support colleagues in meeting neurodiverse learners’ needs in classrooms.
  • Develop understanding of female neurodiversity and learner anxiety. 
Target audience:
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Independent
  • Business Leaders
  • Assistant Heads
  • Deputy Heads
  • Headteachers
  • CEO/Trust Leaders

Rob Robson, ASCL Trust Leadership Consultant
Julia Harnden, ASCL Funding Specialist
Steve Howell, Chief Financial Officer, Red Kite Learning Trust
Christine Ellis, COO, Cranmer Education Trust


This workshop will look at a range of MAT-centralised funding models. Centralised funding models offer both opportunities and challenges in their approach to funding and resource allocation. Rob Robson and Julia Harnden will be joined by a panel of trust leaders who have moved their trusts to a centralised model. As well as hearing about the context of each trust and the mechanisms they use to ensure that public finance is used equitably and transparently, each of the panel will explain their thinking and the moral purpose that drove their decision making.

We will also take stock of the funding landscape, both now and looking forward to the next spending review period which begins April 2025.

We hope there will also be time for questions but Julia, Rob and the panel will be available for any follow up you might have.

Learning outcomes

  • Explore the trend towards increased centralisation of funding within multi-academy trusts (MATs) to enhance operational efficiency and support school improvement efforts.
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages associated with centralising funding within MATs.
  • Consider which areas within MATs may benefit most from school-level autonomy and which are better served by collaboration initiatives.
Target audience:
All leaders interested in trust finance whether currently working in a trust or in the LA maintained sector.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education

Munira Wilson is an experienced senior businesswoman with a professional, political and social track record, living in Whitton.

Munira previously worked for a science and technology company leading on Brexit and health policy between 2016-2019. Before that, Munira has worked for health and children’s charities, as well as the NHS, and holds a modern languages degree from Cambridge University.

Munira has lived in Twickenham since 2005, and now lives with her husband and young family in Whitton. Munira is a former Twickenham councillor who helped to secure road safety improvements, tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and worked to protect the local environment.


Anu Manthri, Head of New Customer Engagement, England & Scotland - Google for Education

Anu focuses on the new customer experience when onboarding Google technology to transform learning and teaching. Anu supports school Senior leadership teams, Multi Academy Trusts and Local Authorities with strategic digital transformation programmes with Google to effectively transform learning and teaching. Anu has worked in education for 15 years, starting her career in the classroom she brings an understanding of classroom practice and technology via her role at Google for Education.

Marcus Wareing, Celebrity Chef

Marcus Wareing, acclaimed Chef, Restaurateur and Judge of BBC TV cooking contest, MasterChef: the Professionals, and author of nine cookery books.

Marcus grew up in Southport, after leaving school at 16 he followed his older brother into cooking and found his niche. Marcus began his catering career in London at the age of 18 at the Savoy Hotel before working at some of the best London restaurants. Best known for Pétrus and Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, he has several accolades under his belt including two coveted Michelin stars. Marcus recently closed his final restaurant to give him the opportunity to focus on his TV career and other projects, including the Forward Programme with Compass, a programme designed to support and develop young compass chefs. He also has some other restaurant plans in the pipeline. Marcus is a keen supporter of Speakers for Schools; he knows he was lucky to find his niche and flourish at catering college and he recognises the importance of the role Speakers for Schools plays in helping young adults access employment opportunities across the UK to find their niche.

Nick Brook, Chief Executive Officer, Speakers for Schools

Nick Brook became Chief Executive Officer at the social mobility charity, Speakers for Schools, in March 2023. Before his appointment, Nick was Deputy General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) for seven years, during which time he chaired highly influential commissions on improving school accountability and school improvement.  Prior to this, he ran his own successful educational consultancy and held senior civil service positions, including at Ofsted, the Home Office, and the Teacher Training Agency. Nick started his career as a primary school teacher, working in disadvantaged schools on the south coast of England. He is chair of the DfE’s Strategic Tutoring Advisory Group, providing advice to Ministers on actions to improve the impact of tutoring on the achievement of disadvantaged pupils.

Main sponsors

ASCL ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2024