Effective Operations of Multi-Academy Trusts - Speakers

Thursday 30 Jan 2020
IBIS, ILEC Conference Centre, London

Nick MacKenzie, Partner, Browne Jacobson LLP (Chair)

Nick is independently ranked as a leading lawyer for education nationally. He has significant experience advising on the creation and development of academy groups, joint ventures and collaborations in the education sector, establishment of trading vehicles and providing governance and strategic advice to Boards. He also sits on Browne Jacobson’s board. 


Ian Buss, Managing Director, Education Banking Consultancy

Ian is the Managing Director of the “Education Banking Consultancy”. His previous 30 Years in the Banking industry with over 15 years focused on the Education and Not for Profit Sector (with the last 10 years focused exclusively on the Academy and Independent School sectors) has given Ian a unique insight into the Academy sector. He built the Education team and proposition for Academies at a major Bank in 2010 and lead the team to grow market share from 12% of Academies in 2010 to over 70% by the end of 2018. His expertise can significantly improve financial efficiencies, returns and risk management in Multi Academy Trust’s.


Sarah Chambers, Manager, Education, Cooper Parry

Sarah has been involved in the education sector for about the past 15 years, starting out with her village pre-school and ending up at a large primary academy. During her time there she went through academy conversion and some major infrastructure projects. She has also worked with a number of multi-academy trusts and schools providing peer review and consultancy. Her earlier career involved varied finance roles in industry, post qualification, which gave her a solid background in budgeting and financial management; all very relevant to anyone working within the constraints of a flat funding environment and constant cost pressures.


Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services, Browne Jacobson

Emma is the Head of HR Services and manages the team responsible for providing HR consultancy services to a range of clients across multiple sectors.


Stephen Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer, Spencer Academies Trust

Stephen is the Chief Operating Officer of Spencer Academies Trust, with 16 schools, across both primary and secondary with a budget of £90m. His MBA focused on improving the quality of management in schools, identifying 5 key traits which lead to success. He has delivered training programmes for the UN, EU and World Bank in 17 counties.


Kelly McKay, Education and CPD Consultant, Best Practice Network 

Kelly has over 20 years experience in education from early years to FE, having worked in a wide range of roles, firstly as a teacher then moving onto headship and MAT executive leadership.  She has been involved in a variety of projects with different stakeholders, including the DfE, local authorities and businesses to plan and lead change which has resulted in rapid, sustainable improvement.  She has created and delivered training programmes in outstanding teaching, school improvement, middle to executive leadership development and was successful in applying to the British Council to lead international research visits for senior leaders across Europe.  


Patrick Ottley O’Connor, Executive Principal, North Liverpool Academy & Northern Schools Trust

Patrick is the Executive Principal of North Liverpool Academy, part of the Northern Schools Trust. He has been a senior leader for 25+ years, including 16 years as a Principal/Executive Principal in secondary, primary and special schools.  Patrick leads and facilitates a variety leadership programmes, including the NPQ programmes ranging from Middle to Executive Leadership courses.  He is a DfE coach for the Women Leading in Education initiative. Patrick is also a Trustee of the Watergrove Trust and founding Director of Collaborative Leadership Ltd.


Edward Thomas, Estates Director, Academy Transformation Trust

Edward moved into education when he joined us in September 2012.  His current role involves implementing our forthcoming estates strategy, alongside securing, managing and disseminating capital funding across our academies. He is also responsible for ensuring our academies manage their buildings and sites effectively, whilst complying with statutory requirements, to provide a stimulating learning environment for all our pupils and staff. Since October 2013, Edward has secured in excess of £10million of capital funding and has written successful bids for both the ACMF and PSBP2 programmes.


Tom Wallace, Senior HR Consultant, Browne Jacobson LLP

Tom specialises in educational HR, with a particular focus on academies. Managed and led on a variety of change management projects including restructures, workforce reductions and pay reviews.