General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders
Geoff has appeared on more than one list of ‘most influential people in education’, and has built insights and influences over the years by listening to and supporting teachers, Headteachers and business leaders. His outward-facing approach to education is often seen as unique - shaped by multiple projects domestically, and in China, Iraq, Rwanda and with Apple in the USA. 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 11-18 school of 1650 students. He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and patron of the English & Media Centre. He was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, founding chair of its Pedagogy Committee, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He was elected as General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017. Since then he has been a pioneering figure in challenging, championing and supporting education through the Covid era, and always brings a unique perspective on the future of education.
General Secretary, ASCL
We are delighted to welcome Kate Green OBE MP The Power of Partnership Conference and IFL movement. Kate has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education since 2020. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for "services to welfare work" as part of the 2005 New Year Honours, where her work in the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and membership of the National Employment Panel was recognised.
She was elected in 2010 as MP for Stretford and Urmston, and In October 2011, was promoted to shadow Minister of State for Equalities at the Government Equalities Office. Following a reshuffle of Labour's shadow ministerial team in October 2013, Green became Shadow Minister for Disabled People, and has held posts as Shadow Minister of State for Disabled People under Ed Miliband from 2013 to 2015. In 2020, Kate Green was appointed Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities (working alongside Yvette Cooper). Following Jeremy Corbyn's election as Leader of the Labour Party, she was promoted again to the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet serving as Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities. However, in a March 2016 speech, Corbyn advocated the decriminalisation of the sex industry, to which Green commented "without any discussion or consultation with his shadow cabinet, with me as his shadow minister for women and equalities, with women in the PLP or, to the best of my knowledge, with anyone in the wider Labour Party". She resigned from this position on 27 June 2016. She returned as Shadow Minister for Child Poverty Strategy under Keir Starmer’s leadership, in June 2020, she was appointed as Shadow Education Secretary.
Background prior to entering parliament
Kate was employed as Director of the National Council for One Parent Families between 2000 and 2004, then taking up the post of Chief Executive of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) until 2009. Alongside this, Green was a member, then chair, of the London Child Poverty Commission from 2006 to 2009. She also served as a magistrate in the City of London between 1993 and 2009.
OBE MP, Shadow Education Secretary
CEO, Confederation of School Trusts
The Confederation of School Trusts is the national organisation and sector body for school trusts in England.
Leora has advised successive governments and sits on several Department for Education Advisory Bodies. She is the vice chair of the Head Teacher Standards Review Group. Prior to establishing CST, she was Director of Policy and Public Relations for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Just before leaving ASCL, Leora established the Commission for Ethical Leadership, on which she served as a commissioner. She now sits on the Ethics Committee. She believes education is for the common good. Leora has six years of experience as a Director of Education in two London Local Authorities. She has extensive experience at senior executive level of working with schools and trusts to improve the effectiveness and quality of education.
CEO, Confederation of School Trusts
Dr Nikos Savvas
Principal and CEO, West Suffolk College
Nikos is the CEO and Principal of Eastern Colleges Group, which includes West Suffolk College, ONE Sixth Form and Abbeygate Sixth Form - with the ECG supporting more than 15,000 students across the Eastern Region and beyond.
Nikos Savvas comes from a family of teachers that go back generations. Born in Greece he was educated in Athens and Manchester University where he initially gained a PhD in high energy particle physics before pursuing his teaching career.
He began to teach in Greater Manchester and became a Centre Principal at Eccles College part of Salford City College before moving to Bury St Edmunds to become Principal of West Suffolk College in September 2013.
Nikos passionately sees education as the factor that he can influence to transform lives for the better. He has moved to Suffolk with his wife and two young daughters and loves the county, particularly the wonderfully inspirational Suffolk skies.
Nikos came to West Suffolk College in 2013 as Principal and CEO and took responsibility for re-shaping its culture and strategy to create a financially stable, high-quality institution with its students and the local community, at the heart of all decisions. This direction has seen the college grow its breadth of provision at all levels from entry-level to apprenticeships and degrees as well as our core offer of higher-level technical courses. The college is now the leading provider of apprenticeships in the region and the largest further education college in Suffolk.
Under Nikos’s leadership, the college became a founding partner of the University of Suffolk and sponsored the creation of Suffolk Academies Trust, which has an outstanding sixth form in Ipswich and is building a complementary sixth form in Bury St Edmunds, to further support high-quality education for the entire region. West Suffolk College is also currently transforming a local landmark factory in Bury St Edmunds into a state-of-the-art engineering and STEM centre, and building a Construction Innovation Centre; and has just hosted the International Festival of Learning East with esteemed speakers from the business and education worlds – to inspire and celebrate innovative partnerships between industry and education.
Principal and CEO, Eastern Colleges Group
Emma Ratzer MBE
CEO, Access Community Trust
Over the last nine years, I have developed the organisation from a small localised charity supporting the Homeless, to a Sunday Times Top100 Employer with a team of over 150 people. The entire workforce serve to support those at risk of social isolation across four core themes: Health and Wellbeing, Education, Community Social Enterprises and supported Accommodation.
With an extensive understanding and experience in Mental Health and Strategic Business Management, my leadership style has allowed the organisation to grow significantly across most of East Anglia, doubling the charity’s turnover to £4 million per year, whilst providing dedicated support to tens of thousands of people annually.
In 2019, I was honoured for my contribution to the county of Suffolk with an MBE. Most recently I have been recognised as the 2020 CEO of the Year by the Third Sector, after successfully devising and delivering a number of unique initiatives, including PINK Orange in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEO, Access Community Trust
Catherine Sezen, Senior Policy Manager FE, AoC
Catherine joined AoC in June 2015 after working in further education for 14 years as a teacher and manager for 14-16 partnership provision including careers, LLDD foundation programmes, English and maths and was 14-19 strategic lead.
Catherine is currently working on the implications of the Sainsbury review of technical education, Skills Plan, T Levels and the T level Transition Programme and qualification reform. Her work also involves a focus on Careers information, advice and guidance and English and maths as well as working on the impact of the pandemic on qualifcations.
AoC Senior Policy Manager
CEO, Waveney Valley Academies Trust / Leader, Chief Executive Officer network (in the Eastern Region)
Jeremy is Chief Executive Officer of the Waveney Valley Academies Trust, having been Headteacher of Sir John Leman High School for eight years, from 2008-2016. He is the author of 'Sorting out Behaviour, a Headteacher's Guide' and leader of the CEOn (Chief Executive Officer Network in the Eastern Region).
He combines his 20 plus years of teaching and headship experience with traditional values, and a realistic perspective, to put into practice an effective method of management that has previously helped him become a successful head teacher and public speaker. Jeremy has regularly written articles for a range of magazines and online publications, and he has also worked with PiXL and a range of schools and multi-academy trusts. He believes that implementing simple but effective rules for school conduct results in a happy and successful school.
During his time in headship, Jeremy worked with a dedicated Leadership Team to ensure that the school consistently achieved exam results which were amongst the best in the county, made some of the best progress in the country, became over-subscribed and achieved national recognition for student behaviour. Importantly, despite national trends, teachers at Sir John Leman High School remained and flourished both within the school, and the profession.
In the past three years Jeremy has been seconded to Sewell Park Academy, Norfolk and to Alde Valley Academy, Suffolk, both of which saw significant improvements in GCSE results. Jeremy also works as Executive Principal for three secondary schools, is the PIXL Deputy Regional Leader for the Eastern Region and works as an Ofsted Inspector.
In addition to these roles, Jeremy has served on ASCL Council, and been invited to present on raising exam results, leadership and improving behaviour at a range of national conferences and events. He is also the author of ‘Sorting Out Behaviour’, published by Crown House.
Married to an English teacher, and with four children, Jeremy does not have much spare time. His hobbies are occasionally playing badminton (badly!) and watching Norwich City.
CEO, Waveney Academies Trust & CEOn Lead
A former Assistant Headteacher & Director of Partnerships, Rob has led numerous strategic and ground-level initiatives in teaching and learning, event management, strategic marketing and digital website and communications in the UK, China and Iraq.
Rob now specialises in digital collaboration systems - focused on increasing efficiency, improving wellbeing and efficiency - and helping organisations to become ‘happier places’ because of, rather than in spite of their digital communications.
Host and Director, Real World Education
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