Our People

‘Credible leaders with a shared commitment to transforming pupils’ life chances’


Chris Abbott

Chair of Trustees

I have been a Headteacher for over 20 years and am former CEO of The Education Alliance. I am the Teaching School Representative for South Yorkshire and Humber. I am Chair of the outstanding Yorkshire Wolds SCITT and a former member of the Headteacher Board for East Midlands and the Humber. I am committed to ensuring all children, from whatever background, get the very best education and that all staff are given the support and training to excel. I am proud to be Chair of Inspiring Leaders, with its focus on collaboration, high quality and ethical leadership.

Andy Burns


I have been Principal of The Redhill Academy since 2004, an NLE since 2009 and am currently Executive Principal of The Redhill Trust.
I believe that school leadership is all about leading the extended team of staff towards a clearly defined core purpose of raising student achievement. Everything else must be peripheral to this. Yet to accomplish this goal, our future leaders will need a complex range of skills including clear communication, decision making, emotional intelligence and trust-building. I am confident that the Inspiring Leaders programmes will deliver these skills and more to participants.

Chris Wheatley (OBE)


I am Chief Executive of the Flying High Trust, having previously been headteacher of Cotgrave Candleby Lane School for over ten years and an NLE. I am also the East Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside representative on the Teaching School Council, coordinating the collaborative school led system.
I personally believe that effective school leadership is the single most important factor to achieving a successful school. I am determined to ensure that Inspiring Leaders create talented school leadership for the future. School leadership is safe in our hands.

Rebecca Meredith (OBE)


I am Chief Executive of Transform Trust and TSA. Before this I was Head at Sneinton CofE from 2002 and took the school from special measures to outstanding. I was then appointed Executive Head of two other primaries in Nottingham and have extensive experience of improving under-performing schools in the Trust and beyond. I am also a Professional Partner and on the Challenge Partners board.

Liz Anderson


I am CEO of Djanogly Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust based across Nottingham and Derbyshire. A former headteacher and NLE, my mantra is “we always put children first” and all decisions at every level are filtered through this belief. It is my passion to make a difference and ensure that all children get the same opportunities to succeed at a high level. 

Paul Stone


I am currently CEO of Discovery Trust, containing 15 schools in Leicestershire. Prior to this, I was a Headteacher for 16 years in two small rural primaries and lastly Kibworth CE Primary School. I believe developing high-quality leaders is essential for schools and trusts to move forward and ultimately for children to reach their potential. 

Julie Rosborough


I am the MBA Portfolio Lead at Nottingham Trent University. The Executive MBA is underpinned by the Senior Leadership Masters Degree Apprenticeship and supported by the Chartered Management Institute, much of my time is spent managing those partnerships. During my 11 year academic career, I have designed, recruited students, delivered and assessed courses at Masters level. 


Central Team

James Brown

Director of Strategy

I have been working in schools since 2007 working in a range of contexts across the region. My work has been focussed on developing educational partnerships ranging from working with children and families in local communities to working with teachers and school leaders to coordinate school improvement activity. I helped establish a cohort one Teaching School Alliance, been a Deputy CEO of a successful Multi Academy Trust and established the Inspiring Leaders Teacher Training (SCITT). 

Paul Goodman

Strategy Consultant and Deputy CEO at Flying High Trust

I am Deputy CEO at Flying High Trust and the strategic support lead for Inspiring Leaders. I am committed to improving outcomes for children and firmly believe that effective school leadership holds the key to this. I passionately believe that the best leaders must be utilised to support and develop the leaders of tomorrow and that through the passion and the commitment of our schools and partners, we have a real influence on improving the outcomes for all children.

Graeme Robins

Director of Programmes

As Director of Programmes within Inspiring Leaders, I have oversight of content design and delivery at all levels, ensuring that we are responsive to DfE requirements and regional needs. It is my responsibility for the quality assurance of provision and delivery at all levels. Alongside our Lead Facilitation and practitioner teams, I oversee the development of new partnerships and programmes, in line with the strategic direction of the partnership.

Ben Jordan

Inspiring Leaders Coordinator

I  currently have responsibility for the day to day running of all the NPQ programmes. My role involves supporting all participants operationally in their journey with Inspiring Leaders from beginning to end. I also arrange and liaise with our school partners, venues, programme leaders and facilitators supporting them to deliver high-quality training sessions.

Dirk Smith

SCITT Programme Director

I am passionate about the outcomes and lives of children. I believe that my role overseeing our teacher training programme provides me with the best platform to have the greatest impact. I strive to ensure that our programme is innovative and sector leading, with a structure of quality assurance that secures the best standard of provision for our trainee teachers.

Jo Venables 

SCITT Partnership Manager/ EYFS Professional Tutor

As ILTT Partnership Manager and Professional Tutor for – Discovery I am committed to ensuring children, pupils, and colleagues are welcomed and have a safe space to share their preferences, personalities, and spirituality. I have over 20 years of experience working in EYFS settings and am curently working towards my Masters degree in Education.

Bronagh Sumner

Marketing Officer

As Marketing Officer for Inspiring Leaders, I am responsible for sharing SCITT communications on social media, designing branded materials and planning creative ways to reach aspirant teachers. My role also involves supporting trainee teachers throughout applications and induction onto the course. I have a Masters degress in Marketing and experience of working in schools which helps me to be successful in my role.


Associate NLEs

Our associate NLEs come from partner trusts from across the country. They support several pieces of work for Inspiring Leaders and are valued partners.

Sir Andrew Carter

Andrew was the Vice Chair of the Teaching Schools Council from 2011 till 2015 and now serves as Peer Member, supporting the Council.

Amanda Bennett OBE

Having previously been Headteacher and senior leader at The Greetland Academy for over 20 years Amanda is currently Executive Principal and CEO of her MAT.

Sarah Bennett

In July 2016, Sarah became CEO of the newly-formed Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL), an ambitious and growing Multi-Academy Trust of primary-aged schools in and close to Milton Keynes.

Mike Donoghue

Mike currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the John Taylor Multi-Academy Trust, the Accounting Officer for the National Forest Teaching School and the John Taylor SCITT.

Amanda Parry

Amanda has been a senior leader for the past 14 years over a wide range of schools both in Australia and the UK. For the past 11 years she has been the Deputy Headteacher at Thornden School.

John Hardy OBE

John became the headteacher of St. John Vianney Primary School in Hartlepool in January 2004. The school welcomes learners from nought to ninety and beyond through early education, nursery, school, family learning and adult education.