Collaboration to Support Student Attainment - Speakers

Tuesday 26 Mar 2019
One Park Crescent, London


Fiona Carnie, Director, Alternatives in Education

Fiona Carnie is an educationalist and writer interested in educational transformation to put children first. Her focus is on building the democratic voice and participation of young people, teachers and parents in creating schools and other educational settings which will foster the skills, values and attitudes to contribute to the creation of a fairer and environmentally sustainable world. She is Director of Alternatives in Education and Adviser to the European Forum for Freedom in Education.


Dr Paul Armstrong, Lecturer in Education, University of Manchester

Dr Armstrong’s research interests are educational leadership, management and policy. He is also interested in the growing influence of business practices in education. His doctoral research comprised a multi-perspective, mixed-methods study exploring the emerging role of the school business manager (SBM) in the English school system. He is currently leading a project exploring the professional identity formation of SBMs in England.

Jo Ballantine, Director of Development, The Royal Latin School

Jo began her fundraising career by working on a £27m capital campaign at Birmingham Children's Hospital, before becoming a Corporate Fundraising Manager and Regional Campaign Manager for the NSPCC's £250m Full Stop Campaign. In 2010, she became Director of Development at The Royal Latin School in Buckingham, a 600 year old outstanding but underfunded state school. Here she established the development function and initiated a ten year capital campaign - the 600 Campaign – which generated £6million in the first three years, with a £3m second phase launched in 2016 and a final £5m+ phase launching in 2020/21.

Professor Becky Parker, Director, Institute for Research in Schools, Visiting Professor School of Physics and Astronomy, Queen Mary University

After a physics degree and research at the University of Chicago, Becky taught in a variety of schools and was Senior Lecturer in physics at the University of Kent.  She is now Director of the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) based at the Science Museum and she teaches physics in Sheffield.  IRIS supports school students and teachers doing authentic research through a wide range of projects in STEM. We support the teacher as researcher and also those in academia and industry to have a sustained engagement with schools.

Rob Faure Walker, PhD Candidate and Tutor in MA Education, UCL

Rob Faure Walker has been a school teacher in London since 2005. He is also a PhD candidate at the UCL Institute of Education where he is investigating the impact of counter-extremism discourses in educational settings and on the democratic process. He became interested in this area when he saw the impact that new counter-extremism policy had on his students in the secondary school in East London where he was teaching. He also compiles a monthly digest of media and commentary on Prevent, ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ which is circulated to journalists, academics and policymakers.


Simon Hepburn, Director, Marketing Advice for Schools

Simon Hepburn is the founder of Marketing Advice for Schools. He learned recruitment marketing at Reed and helped companies including Vodafone improve their employer brand. After retraining and spending 11 years as a full-time teacher, he now combines teaching with consultancy and training for schools and related organisations in all aspects of marketing.

Tom Arbuthnott. Director of Outreach and Partnerships, Eton College

After leading a research programme for a foreign policy think tank, Tom taught at Kings College for the Arts and Technology (Guildford), Park Hall School (Solihull) and George Dixon International School (Birmingham). Moving to King Edward’s School, Birmingham in 2010, he set up a major outreach programme linking to over 200 state-maintained schools, winning the TES Best Independent-State School Partnership award in 2015. He started work at Eton in September 2016.



Steven Baker, Executive Headteacher, The Aspire Schools Federation

Steven Baker is currently the Principal of two outstanding schools in Merseyside catering for children aged 5-16 with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties. Both schools use non-confrontational approaches to behaviour management and the secondary school is a sanction free zone.Steven has held a range of leadership positions and is a former Ofsted inspector. He develops school leaders for Ambition School Leadership and is on the advisory board of the think tank Learnus.  Steven currently sits on the panel of judges for the Teaching Awards and works with prisons nationwide as they look to adopt a culture of rehabilitation.


Kelly Hannaghan, Wellbeing Leader, Lessness Heath Primary School

Kelly is the Wellbeing Leader at Lessness Heath Primary School and has spent her professional career passionately focusing on enhancing the opportunities and life chances of pupils, staff and families in education. Through the power of her mental health training and therapeutic relationship skills, she has successfully led on the “Wellbeing Award for Schools” process, resulting in the school being the first to achieve this. Kelly has over 10 years’ experience in working with the most vulnerable of families with positive outcomes. Her role as Wellbeing Associate for the Primary First Trust involves steering many projects for positive wellbeing in education for all stakeholders. She is a wellbeing author and keynote speaker, to raise awareness of emotional health in education. Kelly founded and facilitates the successful Family Matters empowerment programme.


Kate O'Connor, Headteacher, Lessness Heath Primary School

Kate has taught in and led schools in challenging circumstances throughout her career spanning a twenty-year period.  She strongly believes in positive relationship school cultures that look after and protect the wellbeing of the whole school community. Kate believes in nurturing a culture of trust and autonomy in her school to ensure she gets the very best outcomes for children. 

Kate is the head teacher of a three form Primary school in the South East.