Statement from NSN's Trustees

The Trustees of New Schools Network today announce that Unity Howard will be leaving her role as Director. Unity’s successor as Director will be Sophie Harrison-Byrne, currently Director of Programmes at NSN.

The Trustees are grateful for Unity’s work over the past seven years at NSN and wish her all the very best in her future endeavours.

Unity Howard, outgoing Director at NSN, said:

“When I joined NSN as an Intern seven years ago, I never imagined I would one day be leading the team. NSN is such a fantastic organisation and I feel incredibly proud of the work we have done together. I want to thank all the amazing school and trust staff NSN has worked with, and of course the brilliant team I have had the honour of leading.

“It has been a privilege to work with so many in the education sector, all connected through their commitment to ensuring the very best for children across the country, and I will miss the role greatly. Sophie will be a fantastic Director, and I look forward to watching NSN continue to grow from strength-to-strength over the coming years.”

Sophie Harrison-Byrne, incoming Director at NSN, said:

“I am delighted to be taking up the role as Director of NSN. Having been here for several years, I know the positive impact new schools and strong trusts have on communities, and I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the team as we continue to drive and deliver improvement in the sector.

“It’s been fantastic to work closely with Unity over the past six years and I want to thank her for everything she has done, particularly throughout the pandemic. She will be missed by everybody at NSN and I know our network will want to join me in wishing her the best.”

David Ross, Chair of Trustees at NSN, said:

“The Board is grateful to Unity for all that she has done during her time at NSN, in particular her steadfast and resilient leadership during the pandemic and driving forward NSN’s mission during that time. She has been an integral part of NSN for many years now and she will be missed.

“I am delighted Sophie will be taking up this role. Like Unity, she has been critical to NSN’s success for many years and will continue to take the organisation to new heights as the sector recovers and the Government reverts its focus to levelling up opportunity for all families in the country.”


Unity will step down from her role as Director in September.

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