Closing the Attainment Gap for Disadvantaged Learners - Speakers

Tuesday 19 Mar 2019
Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel


Sam Butters – Chair, CEO, Fair Education Alliance

Sam is CEO of the Fair Education Alliance, a coalition of over 100 of the UK’s leading organisations from business, the third sector and education whose aim is to close the gap between the most disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers to ensure we have an education system where no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.


Amanda Pugh, SENDCO, Abbott Community Primary School

Amanda has spent the past 5 years teaching, predominantly in Key Stage 2, at schools that have been in highly disadvantaged areas. Whilst at these schools her role has focused heavily on parental engagement and the longevity of this. Currently Amanda is working as a SENDCO and Parental Engagement Coordinator, working towards the LPPA at Abbott Community Primary School.

Bradley Busch, HCPC-registered Psychologist and Director, Innerdrive

Bradley has worked with over 200 schools, running workshops for staff, students and parents with a view to using psychological research to improve mindset, motivation and learning. He is the author of ‘Release Your Inner Drive’ and his next book, ‘The Science of Learning: 77 studies every teacher needs to know’ is due for release in Spring 2019. Bradley writes two blogs for the Guardian and works with elite athletes that include England international footballers and members of Team GB to help develop resilience and the ability to perform under pressure.

Daniel Sobel, Founder and CEO, Inclusion Expert

Daniel is an internationally respected leader in inclusive education and has advised the DfE, the EU and governments abroad. Daniel is a well-known speaker, writes regularly for publications including Headteacher Update and The Guardian, and is the author of several books including Narrowing the Attainment Gap..

Dr Pooky Knightsmith, Mental Health Advisor, Author, Speaker and Educator

An internationally respected face of child and adolescent mental health, Pooky works tirelessly to ‘be the change she wants to see’. She develops and shares practical, evidence-informed approaches to promoting mental health. Pooky has a PhD in child mental health from the Institute of Psychiatry, is the author of five books and is the current vice chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.

Jimmy Cartledge, Curriculum Leader and Pupil Premium Coordinator, Woodchurch High School

A Senior Teacher at Woodchurch High School, Jimmy has worked as part of a team coordinating provision for disadvantaged students since 2013 with a focus on identifying and tracking ‘priority groups’ within the school. He is responsible for promoting engagement, particularly working with parents and enabling them to be involved in the education of their child.

Megan Dixon, Director of Literacy, Aspire Educational Trust and Research School Developer, Education Endowment Foundation

Megan divides her time between her role as an Education and Curriculum Director for a multi-academy trust based in the North West, running a Research School and working for the Education Endowment Foundation. She has been a teacher, consultant, a senior leader and a specialist literacy teacher and trainer with expertise in teaching children who find it hardest to learn.

Nigel Bishop, National Trainer and Consultant

In his role as a national trainer and consultant, as well as a recently qualified counsellor, former primary headteacher Nigel brings his wide experience of school-based learning and leadership to bear on a variety of current issues, notably data analysis, the pupil premium and learning support. His warmth and gentle humour combine with enthusiasm to revive those who learn with him, as well as equipping them to continue moving mountains.


Tom Fay, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning at Pontefract Academies Trust

Tom has extensive Senior Leadership experience across Primary, Secondary and Sixth Form educational settings. Tom’s passion is ‘teaching and learning’ and enabling teachers to tweak their pedagogy to maximise their impact upon the students in their care.

Steve Baker, Behaviour and Attendance Consultant

Steve was a teacher in Sheffield for 17 years. He then worked as a behaviour and attendance consultant for Wakefield Local Authority before joining the National Strategies as a regional advisor for behaviour and attendance. After a 30-years career in Yorkshire, Steve now resides in Anglesey and makes his living as a freelance trainer.