Specialists | newschoolsnetwork.org

Specialists

NSN works with a range of external specialists who provide education, governance and financial advice to groups on our Development Programme including the following:

Anne has over 30 years of education experience as  a teacher, Principal, Local Authority officer and senior civil servant. Her career spans education and industry. Anne is Director of her own company, ACE limited, an educational solutions company supporting MATs, free schools, universities and school boards; she is also a part-time DfE Education Adviser and adviser to the London leadership strategy. Before taking up her role with Academy Ambassadors and New Schools Network, Anne was Deputy Director to the RSC (Lancashire and West Yorkshire) developing the education landscape of the region, challenging underperformance, assessing free school capacity and working with academies and trusts on governance and growth strategies. From 2013-2016, Anne was the Principal for the UTC in MediaCityUK, taking it from vision to oversubscribed reality. 

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Aredi Pitsiaeli is an experienced project manager who has been involved in offering advice, support and project management expertise to more than 21 new Free Schools and Academies over the last 12 years. More recently, following a successful period working as a consultant for Chapel St Multi Academy Trust, Aredi has been employed by the trust as their Project Director for the development of new Academies and Free Schools. Aredi has a wealth of expertise in leading and shaping strategy and creating capability for project management delivery and excellence in stakeholder relationships. Aredi can provide advice on navigating the key milestones of the application process, Funding Agreements, Readiness to Open, Pre-registration Ofsted visits, as well as managing buildings and site.

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Carol has experience teaching and leading in a range of different institutions, including FE, prisons, Pupil Referral Units, Alternative Provision, Special Education and primary.  She possesses a strong knowledge and skill base when it comes to developing education provision in a variety of settings, including Headteacher in PRUs and managing multi-skilled teams to respond to Alternative Curriculum needs. Most recently this was seen in strategically developing a new cluster of Independent Special schools for secondary pupils with BESD. Carol also undertakes interim roles as head teacher or in Local Authority strategic teams and has extensive experience of reviewing and remodelling alternative provision to meet local needs. Carol is a qualified (PQSI) OFSTED Inspector and supports schools in an advisory capacity and in developing early intervention solutions. 

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Antony is an experienced school improvement specialist, headteacher and a regional maths leader.  He is an accredited Ofsted inspector, who regularly inspects free schools.  He understands what an excellent free school looks like and what characterises exceptional leadership of a free school from the moment of opening. He advises governors on how to plan effectively prior to opening and works with free school governing bodies on how to hold senior leaders to account so that surprises are avoided and improvement is sustained.

He is tenacious in the pursuit of excellence and is not afraid to challenge free school governors and senior leaders about systems and processes so that attendance, persistent absence, staff performance and pupil performance are ‘nailed’ from day one. This is because not all free schools have provided immediate interventions to emerging problems in their first two years of opening.  By the third year of opening, these unaddressed problems have become ‘significant.’  He has helped free schools address these barriers to achievement.  Between 2004 and 2010, as Executive Head, he led Harrop Fold school in Salford, from deep failure to success. This is because he has an eye for detail, which is also key to his work as a copy and galley proof editor for research journal articles and theses.

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Rowie Shaw worked in 5 inner-city secondary schools, including as headteacher in two large schools in Tower Hamlets and Bradford going on to be Deputy General Secretary at the NAHT. She was subsequently the first CEO of NASS, the national association for all non-maintained and independent special schools, successfully building the association from scratch to be the main national voice for special schools. She has been a governor at maintained, non-maintained and independent primary and special schools for over 12 years and until December 2011 was chair of governors/Trustee at TreeHouse, a non-maintained special school for children and young people with profound autism and remains an expert advisor to Ambitious about Autism. She was also until April 2014 a Trustee at Beyond Autism and chair of governors at their school, Rainbow School.  Rowie is Chair of the Educationalists’ Panel at Mosaic, a charity founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, whose mission is to create opportunities for young people of all backgrounds growing up in our most deprived communities. She has been a specialist advisor at NSN for five years. She is an experienced coach and facilitator and has carried out five governance reviews for education charities. 

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Emma Perkin is a school governance specialist with 20+ years' experience working with free schools, academies and the maintained sector. Emma has a strong track record of working with schools to establish and develop tailored governance arrangements. Emma works as lead education governance consultant at The Constant Group. Prior to founding this consultancy, Emma was Head of Governance at leading academy group Ark Schools, directly supporting academies and free schools within the Ark network and leading the organisation to become a recognised leader in academy governance.

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George has over twenty years’ educational leadership experience in a broad range of primary school settings serving communities with the most diverse needs and opportunities in Greater Manchester and London.

He has been Headteacher of a specialised school providing fully inclusive education and care for children with SLD within a mainstream primary setting as well as Headteacher of a large and oversubscribed suburban primary school. Most recently, he was the founding Principal of a two form entry primary free school in the heart of city centre Manchester which opened in 2013 and was judged to be Outstanding in all areas in its first Ofsted inspection. Prior to his initial teacher training, he worked in a residential special school for boys aged 7-16 with SEMH needs.

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Graeme has significant experience of School Business Management at a senior level, having over 20 years experience as Assistant Principal (Business Management) & Clerk to Governors at Lutterworth College. He regularly speaks at conferences and leads training on governance and school business management as well as contributing materials, articles, and case studies published at a national level. He has particular expertise in strategic financial planning, human resources and governance. He provides additional consultancy services for schools including reviewing and developing their governance and Business Management functions and provides an internal audit service for both single and multi academy trusts. 

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Jane is an experienced School Business Manager with over 22 years’ experience working across all phases from Primary to Upper Schools. Her career path includes the posts of Assistant Principal (Resources) and Operations Director in a Trust. She is an accredited Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) in Business Management and has been deployed frequently to provide school to school support, including governor support. She has managed complex academy conversions, sponsorship negotiations with the DfE/EFA and led on major projects such as merging two schools and rebranding.  She has worked on due diligence, sponsorship and is an experienced Project Manager. With a background in the building trade and Estates she is passionate about the learning environment and has managed over £14 million of building projects over the last 12 years and bid successfully under the EFA bidding programmes.

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Justin originally has a background in teaching and school leadership. Moving from working on Excellence in Cities for a Local Authority he has since worked on new school development since the first academies. As Director of Academies for two of the DfE project management framework companies he has a wealth of experience in supporting all types of groups with the development of their vision, curriculum and governance. Presently working on a range of support projects for schools he has successfully supported a number of Free School groups from the submission of their proposal to opening.

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Linda is currently the Executive Principal of Eden Girls’ School Coventry, a Free School within the Tauheedul Education Trust. She previously led the Trust’s first Free School, Tauheedul Islam Boys School in Blackburn to an Ofsted judgement of outstanding across the board. She has extensive knowledge of Free Schools having written successful Education Plans for two Primary and seven Secondary schools, all of which are now open and full. Linda has worked as a specialist for the New Schools Network since 2011 and has contributed to the design and delivery of several events including ‘Getting Started’ and ‘Leading your Free School’.

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Lisa is a communications specialist. Her latest project was for The Charter School East Dulwich, a large new secondary school, delivering a six-times oversubscribed application pool and full founding cohort of students from day one. She brings particular expertise in the crucial pre-opening phase, including: Section 10 consultation delivery; pupil recruitment drive; school-based admissions arrangements; targeted community engagement; applicant database development; and admissions infrastructure (for first year admissions outside of managed LA process). 

Lisa’s experience spans over 20 years in professional marketing and project management across various sectors from City law to property and charity. She turned to the education sector in 2007, qualifying with a PGCE and has worked with free school founders since 2014. Lisa’s proactive, clear, engaging and professional approach are cited as material factors in achieving application and student enrolment success.  

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Mark Whitby has a wealth of experience as a former Executive Headteacher and Principal at numerous schools and colleges, with particular expertise in Alternative Provision and Special Education. As former Principal of the Brighton based Alternative Centre for Education for 12 years, he led a 5-16 SEMH Special School through 3 ‘Good’ Ofsted inspections, all with outstanding features.  Mark is currently providing freelance consultancy as Director of Acuity Education Ltd that includes being Associate CEO for Orchard Hill College Multi Academy Trust, Regional Director for Future Leaders and a Specialist Adviser for NSN.  He has also written successful Free School Applications, approved by the DfE, and has used this knowledge, alongside his extensive history, to support multiple successful submissions from other groups.

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Philip Moss is an experienced Assistant Director with comprehensive knowledge of the policy and legislative framework of schools, Academies and Education and Children’s Services. He has a proven and successful track record of leading education commissioning and school transformation – in particular through the development of a number of innovative academy proposals and school improvement initiatives. He is currently a self-employed interim manager, project manager and consultant for a range of clients. He is a strategic thinker with demonstrable ability to achieve results across schools, education services and children’s services and the wider corporate framework.

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Steph held various positions whilst at The Royal Wolverhampton School for over 21 years, culminating in his roles as Director of Studies, Deputy Head Teacher and Headteacher from 2002 - 2011. During this time he demonstrated excellent performance at every level and saw the school through two highly successful inspections with Ofsted and the ISI in 2009 and 2011 and along with the Governing Body, he was also responsible for setting up the elite National / International Swimming programme at RWS. After leaving the school he has worked as a BCI school inspector with ISI and is the Director of a specialist education consultancy. He possess considerable experience in marketing schools at all levels, from local to national and international significance. He has been working very successfully with NSN on primary, secondary and 16-19 mainstream applications since 2012. 

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Stephen has great passion for learning and has been teaching and involved in education since 1981. He has significant experience of Senior Leadership, having been a Principal of two large secondary schools both of which were noted for school improvement and outstanding value added. He also led a school out of special measures. Stephen has been working as an education consultant for a variety of schools and organisations including DFE, Studio Schools Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Learning Futures, and QCA as well as individual schools.

He has an interest and expertise in innovative curriculums, school transformation, values education, project-based learning, parental involvement in learning, school improvement, and student motivation.

He has worked with New School Network since October 2013 as a specialist adviser on free school applications. 

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With a background in retail and human resources, Susan entered the higher education sector in 2004 as a lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, quickly moving into outreach and widening participation work. Since 2011 she has been involved with the free school movement, as a founding member of Hatfield Community Free School, which was judged ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2014. Susan is also a director of West Herts Community Free School Trust, having opened their three primary schools as Project Manager. Susan has project managed successful free school applications, and currently works as a consultant supporting future applications and free school projects in pre-opening, including primary, secondary, and through-schools. 

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