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Meet our National and Senior Leaders of Education

National Leaders of Education (NLEs) are outstanding Headteachers who, together with other specialists, use their skills and experience to support schools in challenging circumstances. In addition to leading their own schools, NLEs work to increase the leadership capacity of other schools to help raise standards.

SLEs focus on developing leadership capacity. While other roles focus specifically on developing classroom expertise, this role is about developing the capacity and capability of other leaders so that they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice in their own schools.

Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) are middle and senior leaders in positions below Headteacher, including deputy and assistant Headteachers, subject leaders, pastoral leaders and school business managers, with at least two years' experience in a particular field of expertise and a successful track record, supported by evidence of impact, of working effectively within their own school and/or across a group of schools.They work to support individuals and teams in other schools by providing high-level coaching, mentoring and support, drawing on their knowledge and expertise in their specialist area. 

Meet our Senior Leaders of Education

National Leader of Education

John Cornally MBE

I have been a Headteacher for 25 years in three different schools across the  country. I am currently the Executive Headteacher of Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, a large 11-18 secondary school in Greater Manchester.

In 2008 I was appointed as one of the first National Leaders of Education and since that time our school has undertaken considerable outreach work and system leadership in a number of schools across Greater Manchester. I am committed to creating more effective leaders and better teams. I believe in the importance of good communication in managing change and winning the support of staff. It has been particularly gratifying to see the number of former colleagues who have gone on take up leadership positions in schools across the country.

My own professional training has included attendance at London Business School and Oxford University Business School to examine leadership in different contexts and cultures. I am always looking for different perspectives and ways of doing things. I have been a leadership coach for Future Leaders, an organisation that for many years placed senior leaders into schools in challenging areas of the country.

Our school has been engaged in facilitating NPQ qualifications for a number of years and I look forward to supporting colleagues on the NPQSL.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Assessment for Learning 

Stephen Garvey

Stephen Garvey is currently an Associate Deputy Headteacher at All Saints Catholic College and Future Leader with Ambition School Leadership. Stephen’s particular expertise is managing and implementing successful strategies, in challenging circumstances, to bring about cultural change and improve the overall quality of education pupils receive. Stephen is a trained coach and has used this skill successfully to lead on whole school raising standards in teaching, learning and assessment. He has also developed expertise in leadership development through the delivery of highly tailored CPD across a number of schools. Stephen has recently helped lift a school out of special measures to an Ofsted grade of ‘good’ with some outstanding features.

What motivates Stephen in school improvement is his belief that education is the key to social progress. His personal philosophy is that an outstanding education system is the foundation for a fairer society where every child can thrive, no matter what their background is.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Attendance

Jonny Regan & Gus Diamond

Jonny joined the Physical Education Department at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in September 2014. The following academic year, Jonny started working within the pastoral department as a Head of House. This role required him to monitor the attendance, punctuality and behavioural standards of a group of forms ranging from Year 8 to Year 11 to ensure the school’s standards were continuously being met and all pupils had the opportunity to attend and excel in school. As part of this, Jonny has worked closely with pupils, parents and staff to identify barriers to pupils’ attendance and punctuality; then implementing strategies to make improvements in these two areas.

Due to a change in the school’s pastoral structure Jonny then fulfilled the role of Head of Year 11 Progress and Standards. This role built on the responsibilities Jonny had as a Head of House but with a greater focus on the academic attainment of the year group. Whilst completing this role Jonny has had to monitor the academic progress of the year group and help departments put any necessary intervention in place to sustain effective learning among all pupils. For all pupils to achieve Jonny is a strong believer that positive relationships between pupils and teachers are essential and whilst working within the pastoral department he has designed and implemented a variety of behaviour management strategies that help to foster conducive working relationships and improve pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around school. In 2021 Jonny moved on from the Head of Year 11 role to undertake a new role as Assistant Headteacher with a focus on KS4 Progress, Achievement, Behaviour and Standards, whilst continuing to support the new Year 11 pastoral team.

In addition to working within the pastoral department, Jonny has been a coach as part of the school’s coaching department. This has involved Jonny working with NQT, RQT and experienced members of staff, helping them to reflect and improve their own teaching and learning, pedagogy and behaviour management skills. Alongside this Jonny has delivered whole staff CPD focusing on allowing all pupils to make progress and strategies to improve learning and memory in the classroom and how to implement effective behaviour management strategies into lessons.

Since 2019 Jonny has completed the NPQSL and middle leadership courses, with the former focusing on working with specific groups of pupils to support their academic progress and developing his leadership skills within his pastoral role and monitoring academic performance.

Gus is Headteacher at All Saints Catholic College. His previous leadership role focused on Pastoral care and Inclusion. Gus has a proved track record of being a successful Head of Year and Head of Key Stage.

Trained as SENCo, Gus worked in a school which had the second highest number of students with EHCPs in the local authority and managed a team of 20 teaching assistants.  Gus has also spent a year on secondment with a local authority supporting schools with the key changes from the 2014 Children and Families Act and writing EHCPs for the authority.

Throughout his career, Gus has developed the important skills needed to work with staff, parents and outside agencies to get the best for the community.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Behaviour & Discipline

Jonny Regan & Gus Diamond

Jonny joined the Physical Education Department at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in September 2014. The following academic year, Jonny started working within the pastoral department as a Head of House. This role required him to monitor the attendance, punctuality and behavioural standards of a group of forms ranging from Year 8 to Year 11 to ensure the school’s standards were continuously being met and all pupils had the opportunity to attend and excel in school. As part of this, Jonny has worked closely with pupils, parents and staff to identify barriers to pupils’ attendance and punctuality; then implementing strategies to make improvements in these two areas.

Due to a change in the school’s pastoral structure Jonny then fulfilled the role of Head of Year 11 Progress and Standards. This role built on the responsibilities Jonny had as a Head of House but with a greater focus on the academic attainment of the year group. Whilst completing this role Jonny has had to monitor the academic progress of the year group and help departments put any necessary intervention in place to sustain effective learning among all pupils. For all pupils to achieve Jonny is a strong believer that positive relationships between pupils and teachers are essential and whilst working within the pastoral department he has designed and implemented a variety of behaviour management strategies that help to foster conducive working relationships and improve pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around school. In 2021 Jonny moved on from the Head of Year 11 role to undertake a new role as Assistant Headteacher with a focus on KS4 Progress, Achievement, Behaviour and Standards, whilst continuing to support the new Year 11 pastoral team.

In addition to working within the pastoral department, Jonny has been a coach as part of the school’s coaching department. This has involved Jonny working with NQT, RQT and experienced members of staff, helping them to reflect and improve their own teaching and learning, pedagogy and behaviour management skills. Alongside this Jonny has delivered whole staff CPD focusing on allowing all pupils to make progress and strategies to improve learning and memory in the classroom and how to implement effective behaviour management strategies into lessons.

Since 2019 Jonny has completed the NPQSL and middle leadership courses, with the former focusing on working with specific groups of pupils to support their academic progress and developing his leadership skills within his pastoral role and monitoring academic performance.

Gus is Headteacher at All Saints Catholic College. His previous leadership role focused on Pastoral care and Inclusion. Gus has a proved track record of being a successful Head of Year and Head of Key Stage.

Trained as SENCo, Gus worked in a school which had the second highest number of students with EHCPs in the local authority and managed a team of 20 teaching assistants.  Gus has also spent a year on secondment with a local authority supporting schools with the key changes from the 2014 Children and Families Act and writing EHCPs for the authority.

Throughout his career, Gus has developed the important skills needed to work with staff, parents and outside agencies to get the best for the community.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Curriculum & Achievement

Lee Fishwick

Lee is currently Head of School at Blessed Thomas Holford and a specialist Maths teacher. He has been a Member of the senior leadership team at the school for over 10 years leading in Curriculum, Achievement, Middle Leadership Development & Timetabling.

Since his appointment results have risen from to over 80% of pupils achieving a grade 4+ in English and Maths an average progress 8 score of +0.3. Lee is an Specialist Leader of Education for Curriculum Development & Design, Disadvantaged provision to narrow the gap, Achievement for all, and the teaching of Mathematics. He has been deployed across over 10 schools in the North west in schools placed in Special Measures following Ofsted Inspections to provide support and school improvement delivering results. Lee was a Partners in Excellence (PiXL) associate for 10 years working with leadership teams in other schools on improving outcomes and character development.

Lee has facilitated training on Accountability, Leadership, Quality of Education and intervention strategies. Lee has a record of raising achievement in a variety of schools.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on CPD

Emma Taylor

Emma is an Associate Deputy Headteacher at Blessed Thomas Holford Teaching School. Emma is a facilitator for a plethora of National Professional Qualifications and is experienced in co-ordinating bespoke support packages for schools across the North West. Most recently, Emma has been appointed to lead of the implementation of the Early Careers Framework in partnership with the local Teaching Hub across four areas in the North West. As a member of SLT, Emma leads on Staff Appraisal and Monitoring the Quality of Teaching and Learning. Emma continues to teach in the Business Studies department.

Emma firmly believes that in order for each child to succeed, the provision of teaching has to be outstanding. Emma meticulously monitors the quality of Teaching and Learning in school and implements support where required. Emma’s desire is to inspire practitioners to develop in order that all children in their care receive the highest quality teaching in order to improve their life chances.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Curriculum Design 

Lee Fishwick

Lee is currently Head of School at Blessed Thomas Holford and a specialist Maths teacher. He has been a Member of the senior leadership team at the school for over 10 years leading in Curriculum, Achievement, Middle Leadership Development & Timetabling.

Since his appointment results have risen from to over 80% of pupils achieving a grade 4+ in English and Maths an average progress 8 score of +0.3. Lee is an Specialist Leader of Education for Curriculum Development & Design, Disadvantaged provision to narrow the gap, Achievement for all, and the teaching of Mathematics. He has been deployed across over 10 schools in the North west in schools placed in Special Measures following Ofsted Inspections to provide support and school improvement delivering results. Lee was a Partners in Excellence (PiXL) associate for 10 years working with leadership teams in other schools on improving outcomes and character development.

Lee has facilitated training on Accountability, Leadership, Quality of Education and intervention strategies. Lee has a record of raising achievement in a variety of schools.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on School Business

Gill McFadden

Gill is currently the Finance Director at All Saints Catholic College in Tameside. Gill’s expertise lies within Financial Management.  She has been instrumental in transforming the financial management and budget of a school in challenging circumstances.  She has led a root and branches review and implementation of systems and processes, has stabilised a significant budget deficit, whilst maintaining a focus on the rapid school improvement that was required.  As a result of her work, the school has been able to direct resources where it is most needed so that transformation can take place in pastoral care and teaching. Gill was pivotal in leading the school out of a financial notice to improve and supporting the removal of special measures to good.  Gill has worked for over 17 years in education and finance and the last 7 years working directly with schools in financial difficulty in a variety of different sectors.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Teaching & Learning

Melanie Crosby & Jacqui Dennen

Melanie Crosby is currently Head of Science at All Saints Catholic College and part of the extended leadership team. Melanie’s particular expertise lies with developing teaching and learning within a science department. Melanie has completed the NPQSL and is a trained coach who uses skills successfully to help teachers improve the quality of teaching and learning within their lessons.

Melanie has been teaching for over 20 years and has most recently assisted a school out of special measures to a judgement of good. She has a particular interest in promoting the achievement of disadvantaged pupils and is currently working with another school in the North West, developing teaching and learning within the science department.

Jacqui began her teaching career in 2009, after finishing a Mathematics degree, teaching and setting up summer schools in South Africa and Ghana. Since then, she has held posts as Head of KS3 and 4, Head of Maths and now Lead Teacher and Professional Mentor at All Saints in Tameside.  

She recently completed a Masters in Educational Leadership, and her main role involves improving Teaching and Learning through research based methods and high quality CPD and coaching. 

In her most recent role, she began working with the Mathematics department when the school was in special measures, looking at improving curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Recently the school received a “Good” outcome from Ofsted and GCSE 9-4 grades improved by 30% in the same year. 

She is passionate about Mathematics, teaching and learning and sustainable improvements for departments. 

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Teaching & Learning

Jacqui Dennen

Jacqui began her teaching career in 2009, after finishing a Mathematics degree, teaching and setting up summer schools in South Africa and Ghana. Since then, she has held posts as Head of KS3 and 4, Head of Maths and now Lead Teacher and Professional Mentor at All Saints in Tameside.  

She recently completed a Masters in Educational Leadership, and her main role involves improving Teaching and Learning through research based methods and high quality CPD and coaching. 

In her most recent role, she began working with the Mathematics department when the school was in special measures, looking at improving curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Recently the school received a “Good” outcome from Ofsted and GCSE 9-4 grades improved by 30% in the same year. 

She is passionate about Mathematics, teaching and learning and sustainable improvements for departments. 

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Art

Natalie Whatmough

Natalie became a teacher 10 years ago and currently leading the creative Departments as Head of Creative Technologies.  Her motivation is not only for the pupils but the school as a whole as a beacon of excellence in this area, something she wants to share with other schools.

Natalie considers herself to have comprehensive knowledge of the requirements of Art and Design curriculum at Key Stage 3,4 and 5. She has created exemplar material for each KS3 level/band and GCSE grade to help members of the department give accurate feedback on course work progress and how to improve so pupils can attain higher grades.

Natalie can offer advice in the following areas:

  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Improving GCSE and A level results
  • Creating a team ethic within the department
  • Working with the technology team improve teaching SOW
  • Streamlining assessment procedures
  • Baseline tests and interim marking
  • Improving the quality of lessons via observations, feedback and support for staff
  • Improving the quality of marking and feedback
  • Training, support and sharing of good practice

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Computer Science

Alex Dolan

Alex has been Head of Business Studies at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College for three years. Additionally, she has experience in teaching Computer Science and Creative Media and is also second in department in the coaching team. Alex is currently running the good to outstanding programme at BTH, a unique programme put together for each teacher to help become an outstanding practitioner in the classroom. She has been teaching for 8 years, two of which were spent in London at a mainstream school. Whilst in London, Alex also taught at an alternative education establishment. 

During her time as a teacher, she has been able to support and mentor other members of staff within her current school. This includes helping with marking, behaviour management and ensuring every lesson counts for every pupil. Alex has also been able to support external schools, helping prepare for the new GCSE specification for Business Studies.  During her time in London at the alternative education establishment, Alex led GCSE ICT and her results ensured that the students were able to go into further education. Furthermore, Alex has been an EPQ supervisor for two years and all three pupils under her supervision have achieved B and above, allowing them to go to University.

Alex has a record of outstanding results. Since taking over the Business Studies department, results have increased each year at both GCSE and A Level, achieving above the national average. She is currently in the process of completing her NPQSL, which has further enhanced her skills when supporting others. Alex’s experience in a wide range of diverse school establishments, has enabled her to ensure that progress for all students has been achieved throughout her career.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on English

Antonia Butterworth, Leanne Sigsworth & Natalie Gilligan

Antonia was appointed as Assistant Headteacher at Blessed Thomas Holford in 2015 after leading a successful English department since 2011.

The GCSE English results at Blessed Thomas Holford are always significantly above the national average at each measure with up to 90% of pupils achieving a Grade 4 or above when they leave.  This has been a trend for the last four years.  Antonia has met and supported middle leaders in other schools in the North West advising them on the delivery of GCSE English and intervention strategies to improve outcomes for pupils.

Antonia has facilitated a number of sessions to middle leaders within Blessed Thomas Holford and to other North West schools with a focus on developing teaching and learning, raising achievement and implementing strategies to ensure effective management of a department and team.  Antonia has also facilitated sessions on the NPQML and NPQSL since 2017 with a focus on professional development, teaching and learning and managing a team successfully.

In her role as CPD lead at Blessed Thomas Holford her current focus has been on curriculum implementation across the school and modelling best practice through training and curriculum development.

Leanne was appointed the Head of English at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College two years ago after leading whole school initiatives as Head of Literacy. Leanne’s specialism includes teaching strategies aimed at Grade 7+ and leading a department rooted in subject CPD and recall and retrieval activities. Leanne led a successful initiative to improve the provision for More Able English Literature students in achieving Grades 7-9. The programme focuses on critical thinking skills and active monitoring to track progress. Leanne used this data to inform and develop personalised intervention sessions to enhance progress.

Leanne has also assisted in the adaptation of KS3 Literature and Language teaching methods to ensure rapid and sustained progress throughout each key stage. Through undertaking a curriculum review, Leanne has led the department to reflect and realign the English Curriculum at BTHCC to ensure learning is sequenced and built upon at every key stage.

In her former role as Head of Literacy, Leanne has delivered at national PIXL conferences to share her research and impact driven initiatives. She has also supported alliance schools to improve their whole school Literacy provision by identifying key areas of improvement and sharing appropriate research and evidence based practices to support colleagues in the rapid improvement in this area. 

Leanne has also undertaken whole school impact as the Lead in Inspirational Teaching and Learning, a Teaching Coach and Oracy Lead at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College. Leanne teaches KS3, 4 and 5 to a consistently outstanding standard and has coached both experienced Heads of Department and newly qualified members of staff to improve their quality of teaching in a self-reflective and evaluative manner; Leanne encourages staff members to create their own methods of improvement, giving staff ownership of their improvements. Leanne has also completed both her NPQML and NPQSL qualifications.

Natalie is a senior leader at All Saints Catholic College; her particular areas of expertise are: rapidly improving outcomes in English language and English Literature and closing the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils.  Natalie has led the improvement of whole school literacy, with particular focus on Catch-up funding. In addition to this, Natalie has led on whole school marking and feedback with significant impact. Most recently, Natalie assisted a school out of special measures to a judgement of good.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Geography

Tracey Williams

Tracey is currently Head of the Geography department at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College. Tracey’s particular expertise is managing and implementing new dynamic strategies into a challenging Geography department which was under-performing and in decline. She has used her strong leadership skills to support, coach and motivate colleagues to create and deliver high quality engaging lessons focusing on pupils’ progress to achieve their potential. Tracey oversees one of the most successful departments in the school which has achieved excellent results at both GCSE and A Level over the last few years. This has resulted in the A Level department having the highest value added in Trafford LEA and the third highest in the country. 

Tracey has been teaching for over 18 years and believes in forward thinking education to support all pupils in reaching their potential. She is motivated by a supportive and enjoyable learning environment which allows children of all abilities and backgrounds thrive.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on Maths

Lee Fishwick & Jacqui Dennen

Lee is currently Head of School at Blessed Thomas Holford and a specialist Maths teacher. He has been a Member of the senior leadership team at the school for over 10 years leading in Curriculum, Achievement, Middle Leadership Development & Timetabling.

Since his appointment results have risen from to over 80% of pupils achieving a grade 4+ in English and Maths an average progress 8 score of +0.3. Lee is an Specialist Leader of Education for Curriculum Development & Design, Disadvantaged provision to narrow the gap, Achievement for all, and the teaching of Mathematics. He has been deployed across over 10 schools in the North west in schools placed in Special Measures following Ofsted Inspections to provide support and school improvement delivering results. Lee was a Partners in Excellence (PiXL) associate for 10 years working with leadership teams in other schools on improving outcomes and character development.

Lee has facilitated training on Accountability, Leadership, Quality of Education and intervention strategies. Lee has a record of raising achievement in a variety of schools.

Jacqui began her teaching career in 2009, after finishing a Mathematics degree, teaching and setting up summer schools in South Africa and Ghana. Since then, she has held posts as Head of KS3 and 4, Head of Maths and now Lead Teacher and Professional Mentor at All Saints in Tameside.  

She recently completed a Masters in Educational Leadership, and her main role involves improving Teaching and Learning through research based methods and high quality CPD and coaching. 

In her most recent role, she began working with the Mathematics department when the school was in special measures, looking at improving curriculum, assessment and teaching and learning. Recently the school received a “Good” outcome from Ofsted and GCSE 9-4 grades improved by 30% in the same year. 

She is passionate about Mathematics, teaching and learning and sustainable improvements for departments. 

 

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on MFL

Catherine Horrocks

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Catherine is currently Head of Languages at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College. She has been teaching for over 30 years and has been Head of Department since September 2002. She has been one of the school’s Professional Mentors and has been involved with both Schools Direct students and PGCE students. She has also been a long standing Subject Mentor for MFL.

Her leadership skills of the department and thoroughness have moved the department forward. She works in an excellent department who have received some very strong results. A key strength is that of building a strong team, which cooperates at a high capacity and has a shared vision for the quality of teaching and learning to which all pupils are entitled.

She is currently working with her team to develop a new KS3 and KS4 scheme of work as per the new curriculum, allowing the team members to have responsibility for the development of the programme by co-planning.

Catherine has worked with a variety of different Partner schools in different capacities. This type of work has included standardisation of speaking and written assessments or having discussions about the structure of a department. This has always been a very informative process, which has allowed for a lot of sharing between schools.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on PE

Shane Goldrick

Shane is currently Assistant Headteacher in charge of Curriculum Intent and Key stage 3 progress within the school.  He is currently undertaking the Curriculum for Senior Leaders course through Ambition Institute and has led on Curriculum delivery in our school. 

He has been teaching for 12 years and, during that time, has led a large, successful Physical Education Faculty and has had responsibility for KS5 A-Level Physical Education and KS4 GCSE PE.  He has also led on Pupil Premium, led the Science team in the school, been responsible for Heads of Departments and has led on standards and behaviour of year 11 pupils at Blessed Thomas Holford.

Shane has undertaken the NPQML and NPQSL and has been designated an SLE in Physical Education.  He has supported several schools across the North West and has conducted Physical Education reviews for different schools.  He has also developed Pre-Public Examination papers for PIXL that have been used nationally to help pupils achieve in Physical Education.  Over the last few years Shane has facilitated on the NPQSL/NPQML courses and has also assisted in the delivery of coaching sessions across the North West.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on PSHCE

Daniela O’Rourke

Daniela is currently Head of PSHCE, the Edge and Personal Development at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham. Daniela’s particular expertise lies with devising programmes which promote the character and development of the whole pupil. She has led sessions since 2015 on Character; supporting schools in implementing strategies to ensure every pupil fulfils all opportunities the school has to offer; with this ensuring they achieve outside of the classroom and are ready for the challenges that lie ahead of them in modern Britain.

Daniela has been teaching for 16 years and, during that time, has implemented the PiXL Edge – a framework to develop and accredit students with those personal attributes essential for employability and life. This successful programme has encouraged pupils to develop skills in Leadership, Organisation, Resilience, Initiative and Communication; five of the most important attributes to ensure their progress in life and their positive contribution to society. In 2018 she designed and launched the Be Your Best programme at Blessed Thomas Holford; incorporating all areas of opportunity for pupils and students to ensure they are achieving their true potential both in and out of the classroom.

Daniela was designated as an SLE in 2018 and is looking forward to supporting schools in the near future.

Specialist Leader of Education with a focus on SEND

Gus Diamond

Gus is Headteacher at All Saints Catholic College. His previous leadership role focused on Pastoral care and Inclusion. Gus has a proved track record of being a successful Head of Year and Head of Key Stage.

Trained as SENCo, Gus worked in a school which had the second highest number of students with EHCPs in the local authority and managed a team of 20 teaching assistants.  Gus has also spent a year on secondment with a local authority supporting schools with the key changes from the 2014 Children and Families Act and writing EHCPs for the authority.

Throughout his career, Gus has developed the important skills needed to work with staff, parents and outside agencies to get the best for the community.