Growing and Developing a Trust - London - Speakers

Tuesday 15 Mar 2022
ILEC Conference Centre, London

Nick MacKenzie, Partner, Browne Jacobson LLP (Chair)

Nick is an education lawyer, executive coach and board member. He has significant experience of advising executive teams and boards in the social housing, corporate and, for over 10 years, education sectors. Nick works with boards and executive teams in the education sector to help them navigate the landscape together with helping them spot and take opportunities. Clients comment that “Nick is a strategic thinker and an experienced lawyer, but above all he is a problem solver”. The most recent Legal 500 included the following testimonial, "his knowledge of the sector … is second to none. He is able to add value in any conversation and is a trusted, wise counsel." In addition to providing corporate and governance advice to education institutions, Nick also provides executive coaching support as a qualified executive coach. Nick sits on the firm’s board and in 2019 was invited to join the board of the Foundation for Education Development.


Charlotte Antoniou, Partner, Browne Jacobson LLP

With 10 years’ experience in the education sector, Charlotte has recently joined Browne Jacobson LLP to head-up their London-based education practice. Charlotte specialises in advising maintained schools, academies, multi-academy trusts and their sponsors on an array of legal matters, including collaborative structures, re-brokerages, governance, data protection, admissions, exclusions and special educational needs issues. She is ranked by Chambers and Partners as a notable practitioner and has advised on over 300 academy conversions and 60 free schools to date.


Lorraine Ashover, Director, Minerva Procurement Consultancy Services Ltd.

Fulfilling a long-standing ambition to be her own boss, Lorraine Ashover set up Minerva to help schools reduce cost, streamline procurement practices and save time. Minerva enables schools and MATs to conduct their procurement activities compliantly and ensures a ‘value for money’ outcome. The company offers guidance on all aspects of school procurement including full support for tenders which require a process under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. When not working, Lorraine acts as a taxi service for her teenage daughter, escapes into a good crime novel and bemoans the demise of her beloved Nottingham Forest!


Matthew Clements-Wheeler, Education Leadership Consultant, Keystone Knowledge

A former Chair of the Institute of School Business Leadership, Matthew has twenty years’ experience of school leadership and improvement and is a respected authority on the non-teaching aspects of running schools and trusts. Matthew has supported some of best schools and trusts in the country as well as playing a significant role in turning around a number of the most challenging settings.


Matthew Crawford, CEO, Embark Federation

Matthew is chief executive of Embark Federation which is a trust of 12 schools across Derbyshire. He was designated a National Leader of Education in 2017 for the work he has done as a system leader. Matthew supported over a dozen schools across Derbyshire who are now all judged to be good or better by Ofsted. He believes that schools are ‘stronger together’ and enjoys sharing practice whilst also learning from others and helping to improve the federation. He also believes that schools should be at the heart of their communities whilst providing their children with the best possible education. All schools in the federation have an exciting curriculum which is accompanied by a rich diet of wider opportunities in Music, Sport, Science and the Arts. The trust has used sponsorship opportunities and grants to fund aspirational events for the children.


Tommy Cullen, COO, The Stour Academy Trust

After beginning his career in 2009 as a Finance Assistant whilst studying accountancy, by 2016, Tommy was acting as Finance and Business Manager for a 9 school MAT. In 2017 Tommy was appointed as Chief Operating Officer at The Stour Academy Trust, a top performing Multi Academy Trust based in Kent. He has an extensive track record in academy conversion and rebrokerages, as well as taking part in pilot schemes such as SAT to MAT suitability inspections. Tommy has been commissioned to provide additional support and mentoring for failing Multi Academy Trusts and is an active member of the ESFA School Commercial Team User group.


Lee Miller, Deputy CEO, The Thinking Schools Academy Trust

Lee is an experienced Business Manager/Finance Director with nearly 15 years' experience supporting both primary and secondary schools. Recently, as a Specialist Leader of Education, he has been deployed in a number of trusts that have required support or intervention. He was recognised in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to education. A qualified chartered accountant, Lee has also completed a PGCE in business management. Through his work, Lee has become well versed in some of the challenges facing the education sector in areas including: financial planning, HR management, site and IT strategies, and legal issues. Lee created a traded subsidiary, Thinking Solutions for Education, that provides these services to other schools and MATs in a cost-effective, giving schools an opportunity to outsource while retaining funding within the sector.


Stephen Mitchell, Director, Keystone Knowledge

Stephen has a background in strong educational management, now working with several organisations across the country, as well as being CEO of a high performing Trust.  He is a Fellow of the ISBL. He completed his MBA with a thesis on Improving the Quality of Management in Education.  Stephen is an accredited SRMA, supporting schools across the country, and helping schools put into place action plans which improve the use of resources and focus on ensuring better provision of services to children. Stephen is an advocate of the Sustainable Schools System, ensuring that Excellence in Teaching and Learning is paired with Operational Effectiveness and Financial Efficiency.


Simon Smith, CFOO, The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership

Simon qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant in 2004 and has significant experience as Finance and Operations Director across the public and private sector, including Children’s Services, Economic Development and Probation Services. He has worked in and around schools for over 11 years and has established high performance teams through a shared services model as well as achieving commercial success through teams that delivered payroll and financial management for schools. He is committed to improving support services that help deliver better outcomes and life chances for all children and young people and is a particular advocate for improving social mobility for those children from disadvantaged backgrounds.


Dr John Wm Stephens CBE, CEO, Bright Futures Educational Trust

Dr John Stephens was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Bright Futures Educational Trust in January 2017. 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. John 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. In 2016 John was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours recognising his contributions to education and charity.


More speakers to be announced soon!