MAT Leadership Programme: Driving Improvement through Teams - Course leaders and guest speakers

Tuesday 11 Sep 2018 - Tuesday 30 Apr 2019

The course will be delivered jointly by:

Andy Samways, Director of the Research School and the Teaching School, Unity Schools Partnership

Andy is a member of the Executive Team of the Unity Schools Partnership (formerly Samuel Ward Academy Trust), a multi academy trust currently comprising 22 primary, secondary and special schools located in the east of England. 

Andy has extensive experience of school and system leadership gained from senior leadership in secondary schools over the past 20 years and most recently through his work as Teaching School Council EENEL Local Lead for Suffolk, and through leading the Research School. These roles are increasingly drawing on the need to establish effective collaboration and partnership working within evidence-based school improvement activity in a variety of scales and contexts.

Leading the work of one of the EEF/IEE Research Schools, Andy has a particular interest in the relational aspects of network growth, as well as utilising the underpinning evidence around effective implementation at a variety of scales (from classroom to region) within the school improvement cycle.

Andy will lead Module 1: Making the transition to MAT leader, Module 2: Strategies for School Improvement and Module 6: Strategies for Sustainable Growth.


Tim McCarthy, CEO, Aurora Academies Trust

Tim has been CEO of Aurora Academies Trust (AAT) since July 2012. Aurora started out with four very dysfunctional and poorly performing primary schools but by 2016, they became the number one performing MAT that operates primary schools solely in the SESL region for progress in reading, and also the number two MAT for maths progress.

Tim has worked in education for 36 years and was one of the first 50 academy principals in the country. He has exceptional experience of school improvement through working as a Headteacher in a Local Authority school, in an academy and running groups of schools internationally and in the UK.

Three years ago Tim participated on a MAT Leaders course and used that opportunity to work closely with other CEO colleagues in order to devise a different governance structure and revised financial systems necessary for Aurora to grow. He is looking forward to share these experiences throughout the course!

Tim will lead Module 4: Improving governance and Module 5: Finance and the 3 E's.

Dr Jon Salkeld, Director of Partnerships, Lord Ashcroft International Business School.

Within his role at the Lord Ashcroft Business School, Jon has had oversight of highly successful leadership training programmes with Harrods, Crawford & Company, The British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, Essex County Council, Suffolk County Council, Essex Fire & Rescue Service, Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, Willmott Dixon. Systech International, Basildon University Hospital and Mid Essex Health Economy.

Jon has also had oversight of all Anglia Ruskin University UK partnerships within the Business School, including London College of Accountancy, Arden University, Kaplan, London School of Commerce, Institute of Export and London School of Marketing.

Jon is a Principal Lecturer within the Business School and specialises in teaching Executive Leadership, Change Management, Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship & Innovation.

Jon will lead Module 3: Leadership and Organisational Cultural Change


Our guest speakers include:

Helena Mills, CEO, Burnt Mills Co-operative Academy Trust

Helena Mills, CBE, joined Burnt Mill School as Head Teacher in January 2010 and led the rapid improvement of the school from 27% 5 A – C grades to 86% in 2014. In November 2012 the school was judged by OFSTED to be outstanding in all categories. Helena led Burnt Mill through its conversion to an Academy in December 2011 and became the CEO of Burnt Mill Academy Trust in September 2015.

In July 2013 Helena became a National Leader of Education. As an NLE she offers support to a range of Head Teachers both nationally and locally. Helena is also a lead and team inspector for Ofsted. Helena remains a passionate teacher, teaching English at GCSE.

Helena will be the guest speaker at Module 1: Making the Transition to MAT Leader.


Joanna Hall, Regional Educational Director, E-ACT

Joanna will be the guest speaker at Module 2: Strategies for School Improvement.


Tim Coulson, CEO, Aurora Academies Trust

Tim will be the guest speaker at Module 3: Leadership and Organisational Cultural Change.


Dr John Stephens, CEO, Bright Futures Educational Trust

Dr John Stephens, CBE, was appointed Chief Executive Officer of BFET in January 2017.  The Trust is a partnership of schools based in the North West and is dedicated to providing a first-class education for all.

Formerly a headteacher and director of children’s services, John spent five years as a senior civil servant in the Department for Education.  He was responsible for teaching schools and system leadership, including National Leaders of Education and National Leaders of Governance.

Throughout his career, John has engaged in research into pedagogy, inclusion and leadership. He has undertaken post graduate study at the Universities of Leicester and Manchester and at MMU. John has served as a school governor in primary and secondary schools for over 20 years, 10 of them as Chair. He was also a director of an academy trust. He is a volunteer with St John Ambulance working on the regional safeguarding team and chairs a community charity in East Manchester.

John will be the guest speaker at Module 4: Improving governance





Julian Drinkall, CEO, Academies Enterprise Trust

Julian Drinkall, CBE, joined the Academies Enterprise Trust as Chief Executive Officer in December 2016. AET is the largest multi-academy trust in the country with 64 academies currently within the group.

Julian was previously CEO of Alpha Plus Group, one of the largest groups of independent schools in the UK and the largest in London. Prior to that he was President and CEO of Cengage Learning, EMEA and India. Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, software and services company for the academic, schools, professional and library markets. Educated at Eton with an Oxford degree in PPE, Julian also has an MBA from Harvard and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s JFK School of Government, where he holds a Littauer Fellowship.

Having pursued an early career involving strategy consulting and corporate finance, Julian became Head of the BBC’s Financial and Commercial Strategy in 1998. Since then Julian has been in general management roles in media and international education companies including IPC Media and three years as CEO of Macmillan Education. He worked with OC&C Strategy Consultants as an Operating Partner in their media and education practices prior to his role at Cengage Learning.

Julian will be the guest speaker at Module 6: Strategies for Sustainable Growth.