Professor Toby Salt is an experienced CEO and non- executive director. His present clients include the Ed Tech company Zen Educate and he is senior advisory director for AQA, Thomas’s Schools and Academies Enterprise Trust. He also provides coaching and mentoring for a number of CEOs in the schools sector. Until recently he was the group CEO of AQA the largest exam board in the UK. AQA also has a number commercial subsidiary companies and an international joint venture. He was previously Chief Executive of Ormiston Academies Trust, which sponsors 37 academies across England, with responsibility for 26,000 students and 3,500 staff. Prior to that, Toby was Deputy Chief Executive at the National College for School Leadership, an executive agency providing leadership development and policy advice for schools and ministers. Toby’s teams led on programmes such as teaching schools and national leaders of education. Toby has worked in a variety of education leadership roles, including as Executive Head of a federation of three schools, and has led schools (across the phases) to achieve ‘outstanding’ gradings under Ofsted. In 2000, he was appointed by the Prime Minister as Director of the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit to lead innovation in school practices and structures. He has also held a number of voluntary and non-executive director roles including appointment to the Cabinet Office Innovators’ Council and as a board member of UCAS. He is a visiting professor of education leadership at the University of Wolverhampton; a member of All Souls Group, Oxford; and a member of the Windsor Leadership Trust Chief Executives’ working group. He is a governor emeritus of Chichester FE College and trustee of Southern Pro Musica. Toby is the chair of the Teaching Awards Trust and senior adviser to the board of the British Exploring Society.
Geoff studied English and Linguistics at the University of Lancaster, then trained to teach at Leicester University. From 2002 to 2017 he was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, a comprehensive school of 1650 students.
He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and writes for a range of newspapers and journals. He has worked with various organisations, including the Department for Education, on leadership and literacy.
Geoff was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, former chair of its Pedagogy Committee, is Patron of the English and Media Centre, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He became General Secretary of Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in April 2017.
Dr Tesca Bennett is an Executive Principal and School Improvement Partner for the Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South and leads Haberdashers’ Knights Academy a large 11-18 school in London.
She is a Trustee of Astrea Academy Trust, chairing the Education and Inclusion Committee and sitting on the Finance and Budget Committee. She is a Local Leader of Education, coach and facilitator for various leadership development and educational improvement programmes.
Tesca is a member of the steering committee of Reconnect London, mentor for the charity ‘The Difference’ and a judge for the Fair Education Alliance Innovation Awards.
Tesca joined the profession through the NCSL Fast Track Teaching programme, teaching the sciences in inner London schools. She has a strong interest in organisational culture, leadership development and is committed to social regeneration through education, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Mandy Coalter is the author of the successful book ‘Talent Architects; how to make your school a great place to work’, published in 2018. Previously, she was Director of People at United Learning, one of the largest school groups in the UK. Before that, Mandy worked in senior HR roles in local government, the NHS, the voluntary sector and schools and is a very experienced board director and advisor on aspects of corporate governance.
HR magazine listed Mandy in the top 40 HR Most Influential Practitioners in 2017 and she was shortlisted for the HR Excellence Awards ‘HR Director of the Year’ in 2018.
Shane is the managing director of Lsect, an education publishing and events company operating across the UK. He is the publisher of the leading education news outlets Schools Week & FE Week.
He joined the organisation to launch FE Week in 2011. A dedicated newspaper for the further education and skills system in England. In 2014 he launched Schools Week, covering the education system from early years through to secondary education.
Shane is also the director of the prestigious Festival of Education at Wellington College. He became a trustee of the Teaching Awards Trust in 2020.
An entrepreneur and educator at heart, Jon is passionate about building ‘bigger’ people and organisations.
Having spent much of the last 30 years in professional services, he has built his career around helping both blue-chips (Merrill Lynch & Credit Suisse) and start-ups (Redington) grow and develop their businesses around engagement, alignment and relationship development.
Today, as Co-CEO and Co-Founder of 4 Habits Consulting, Jon helps leaders and teams build ‘Relational Intelligence’ to improve wellbeing and productivity, and develop heathier, happier, more inclusive cultures. As part of his give back, Jon co-founded Soulmates Academy Foundation to help people in schools, colleges and communities develop the skills to do relationships well, on purpose.
Together with his wife Andrea, Jon talks about the importance of proactively developing ‘The 4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships’ in their TEDx talk and book of the same title.
David Weston is the founder and Chief Executive of the Teacher Development Trust, the national charity for effective professional development. He Chaired the Department for Education’s Teachers’ Professional Development Expert Group and advises the Department on Early Career Teachers and school leadership. David taught maths and physics for ten years in two schools in London and the South East. He is a Council Member and Fellow for Chartered College of Teaching. David speaks and writes frequently for the education sector and national media and has had a number of radio and TV appearances around teaching, teacher development and LGBT issues.
Corrienne Peasgood is President of the Association of Colleges, the national voice for England’s colleges. Corrienne took up the role in October 2022 after more than 25 years in Further Education.
Corrienne trained as a plumber after leaving school at 16 and by the age of 21, she had completed an apprenticeship and joined her family business in plumbing and heating. In 1996, the opportunity came to join City College Norwich as a sessional plumbing lecturer and over the next 15 years Corrienne moved on to become a full-time lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Director, Vice Principal, and Deputy Principal. Thus, gaining insights into the many different departments at the college. Corrienne then served as CEO and Principal at City College Norwich for a decade, before retiring in July 2022.
Corrienne was appointed an OBE in 2020 and was Vice Chair of Norfolk’s Children and Young People’s Strategic Alliance and FE Board member of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (NALEP). Corrienne is Chair of the NALEP Agri-Food Industry Council.
Retired Civil Servant, formerly Director General for Schools at the Department for Education
Andrew retired in 2023 after a long career at the highest levels of the civil service: 26 years as a senior civil servant in the Department for Education and its predecessors, the last 12 of which he was the Director General on the Leadership Team of the Department responsible for the school system. His wide range of policy roles during the Labour governments 1997-2010 included the establishment of a cross-Whitehall unit for children and young people’s outcomes, responsibility for school standards, the teacher workforce agreement, and cross-Whitehall delivery programmes in support of vulnerable young people. His leadership roles under the Coalition and Conservative governments 2010-2023 included the academies and free schools programmes, school funding reform, safeguarding in schools, the teaching workforce and school curriculum and qualifications.
He received an OBE in 2001 for public service and was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 2019