Professor Barry Carpener CBE, OBE, Phd
Professor of Mental Health, Oxford Brookes University
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Barry has held the leadership positions of Academic Director, Chief Executive, Principal, Inspector of Schools and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. He is the author of over 150 articles and many texts on a range of learning disability/special needs topics. Barry lectures nationally and internationally and is the co-founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education.
Director, Whole School SEND
Simon Knight is Director of Whole School SEND, a consortium of organisations committed to enhancing the quality of education for learners with special educational needs and/or disabilities. He was formerly the Director of Education at the National Education Trust and prior to that was a Deputy Headteacher at Frank Wise School. He has sat on DfE panels developing both the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants and the Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development.
Executive Principal, The New Bridge Group
Graham is the Executive Principal of the New Bridge Group, based in Oldham, where he leads a team of 220 staff. He is the Chair of the Special Schools Academies Trust (SSAT) SEN headteachers’ steering group. He is a Local Leader of Education within Greater Manchester and is also a member of the National Headteachers’ Steering Group. He has a passion that all young people should be able to progress and achieve within excellent, 21st century schools. He fervently believes that young people should be given the skills and attributes to enable them to contribute and participate in communities, and society as a whole.
Headteacher, Swiss Cottage School
Vijita joined Swiss Cottage School in 2012, leading it as a member of the Executive Team into its fifth Outstanding Ofsted grade. 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.
Deputy Headteacher, Fountaindale School
Steve Phillips is the Deputy Principal at Fountaindale School and has led the development of a new approach to curriculum design and assessment. This approach led to a restructuring of the school from leadership roles to how class teams are organised. He has extensive experience in delivering training across the country, providing bespoke training to special schools on curriculum, assessment and change management as well as speaking at conferences. He recently wrote two papers for a training organisation; one reflecting on the Rochford recommendations for semi-formal learners and a second on the fundamental right to play.
Gill Robinson OBE
Chief Executive Officer, ICAT
Gill is the Vice Chair of the Teaching Schools Council and has been a headteacher for 24 years. She became an NLE and a Teaching School Head in Cohort 3. As a headteacher, Gill has had four consecutive ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgements. Currently a tutor working with Emerging and Aspiring Leaders in Special Schools and PRUs, Gill has been leading on this for 9 years.