Inquiry Focused School Improvement

Steering Committee

Steering Committee

Member Name Member Profile
Julia AlisonJulia Alison

Julia been a headteacher for over 10 years; firstly as a teaching head in a small village C of E primary school and presently at a large two form entry semi-rural primary school. Prior to headship she had a wide ranging teaching carer including: leading the Foundation Stage in a large town school from which she was seconded to support and moderate the standards of other EYFS practitioners, and teaching in a school with over 50% EAL pupils in an area of high social deprivation.

Julia has led Irchester Community Primary School through three Ofsted inspections from requires improvement to good in April 2014, which the school maintained in February 2018. Last year the school became a leading founder member of the Nene Valley Partnership and Julia is leading a curriculum progression and planning project with the secondary school

The school is becoming a centre of excellence for primary science with a dedicated science lab (Lab 13) and a PSTT Fellow and SLE science lead delivering CPD for local schools. The school has recently been awarded the PSQM Outreach Award. Linked to this work I have been part of the Wellcome Trust Strategic board developing the ‘Explorify’ resources for schools. Julia was part of the DfE partnership project with headteachers in Singapore, having the opportunity to visit schools there and report findings on excellence in STEM to the DfE.

Julia has worked as an NCC partnership head supporting other schools in her role as a Local Leader in Education (LLE) and she is a member of the Enigma Maths Hub Strategic Board.

James BirkettJames Birkett

James Birkett is Headteacher of Wollaston School and CEO of the newly formed Nene Valley Partnership Multi Academy Trust.  This is a partnership of 3 schools, established in April 2019 which aims to provide excellence in education for the local community.  James was previously a Headteacher of a middle school in Cambridgeshire and has been a senior leader of schools in Bedfordshire. He has leadership experience in schools in every Ofsted category, from Inadequate to Outstanding and has a track record of successful school improvement.   James is widely experienced in professional development for teachers, having previously been a director of a Training School in Bedfordshire and worked on secondment to the University of Bedfordshire, leading all PGCE students within the Local Authority.    He is a Drama specialist and is passionate about the power of a broad and creative  curricular education to inspire young people to achieve their aspirations.  James is an experienced coach and mentor and is a Local Leader of Education (LLE). He is currently completing his NPQEL with the Institute of Education at UCL.

Lorraine CullenLorraine Cullen

Lorraine is an experienced Headteacher who has worked across many Local Authorities.  Her knowledge of strategic leadership has been strengthened by her role as National Leader of Education; this has been enhanced by a doctorate in Educational Leadership focused on Leading curriculum change.  Working locally and regionally, Lorraine has supported the leadership of many  schools, in challenging circumstances.  Her awareness of business finance and strategy has been developed through her role as the Chief Executive Officer of a successful Teaching school.  She has also served as a non-executive Director for an academy Trust and as an Accounting Officer for another.  Lorraine was an employee representative member of the Pilot TEF for the Office for Students.  She maintains her interest in educational research and development in her current role as a School Improvement Director.

Ann DaveyAnn Davey

Educated in Yorkshire, Ann subsequently attended Birmingham University graduating with an English and Philosophy degree. She then worked in sales and recruitment consultancy for several years before returning to education to complete her PGCE at Leeds University. Ann has completed the National Professional Qualification for Headship.

Ann has taught throughout the primary age range at a number of schools in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. She started her career at Stilton Primary School as a Reception/Year 1 teacher. Whilst bringing up her own family she worked as a supply teacher and part time SEN support teacher at a number of schools in Northamptonshire including Barton Seagrave Primary and Latimer Secondary School. She then joined Thrapston Primary School as SEN Coordinator and whilst there taught year groups from Reception to Year 4 and carried out roles of PSHE Coordinator, Literacy Coordinator, Governor and Assistant Head Teacher.

Having successfully completed her National Professional Qualification for Headship, she joined Trinity Lower School at Aldwincle as Head Teacher and Year 4 teacher. She then moved to Havelock Infant school as Head Teacher and was instrumental in setting up Montsaye Community Learning Partnership in 2013. In May 2015 she became Executive Head Teacher across Havelock Infant and Junior school as the two schools federated under one Governing Body. Under her leadership, the Infant School gained an outstanding OFSTED judgement in 2015 and the Junior School moved from Requires Improvement to Good.

In 2016 Ann became Acting Chief Executive for  Pathfinder Schools in addition to being Executive Head Teacher at the Havelock Schools. Since September 2019 she has been full time CEO for the Trust.  

Alison HarveyAlison Harvey

Alison Harvey is the Headteacher at Bridgewater Primary School in Northampton. She has led the school as it expanded from two to three-form entry, growing teams within a streamlined leadership structure, where children’s learning and wellbeing is at the heart of every decision. As an IQM Flagship school, inclusion and nurture are well established and woven within the values, ethos and aims.  Formative assessment is constantly evolving where challenge through differentiation takes place in fluid, mixed ability groups underpinned by school research teams. The school secured Erasmus funding for several years, which has provided inspiring experiences for staff in Europe, which they embed back at school. The school strives for a well-planned, vibrant and research based curriculum which builds rich schemas of knowledge and a passion for learning.

Alison is an LLE (Local Leader in Education) and has worked as a Partnership Head in Northamptonshire: supporting Head Teachers new to the role, carrying out school to school support and Pupil Premium reviews.  She has wide experience coaching others and supports them to identify ways forward and build their confidence. Alison is on the West Northant’s Steering Group, which aims to provide quality speakers and collaboration for local schools.  She works in partnership with the University of Northampton supporting and encouraging new teachers in to the profession.

Ashley Izzard-SnapeAshley Izzard-Snape

Ashley Izzard-Snape has been in a senior leadership role for the last 10 years and is currently the Executive Headteacher of the Rothwell Schools (Rothwell Victoria Infant School and Rothwell Junior School).  Prior to this role Ashley worked as the Headteacher of Loatlands Primary School in Desborough overseeing the schools transformation from a single form to two form entry primary school as well as moving the school from its long standing OFSTED satisfactory grading to good.  He is a local leader of education working to support schools on a range of issues.  Ashley has interests in assessment, peer review between schools acting as the partnership lead for the peer process within the Pathfinder Schools Academy Trust as well as exploring school systems to improve teaching and learning.  Ashley is excited to be a member of ASK and is looking forward to the exciting opportunities this will provide for schools.

Jamie PardonJamie Pardon

Jamie joined Hartwell Primary School as headteacher in September 2017. Since Jamie’s appointment, the school has continued to maintain standards that are well above the national average at the end of Key Stages 1 & 2. Jamie’s belief is that all children can make good progress, whatever the individual child’s starting point; ‘as educators and care-givers, we hold the key to unlock this potential’.

Prior to joining Hartwell, Jamie was headteacher a large primary in Luton, which included a specialist behaviour provision. As her first headship in a school with challenging circumstances, she knows the value of effective mentoring and school to school support. After 18 months, the school gained a good Ofsted rating, moving from requires improvement where data had previously been well below the national average. It is because of this experience that Jamie is able to support others in developing a school ethos where staff and children can flourish.

Jo Sanchez-ThompsonJo Sanchez-Thompson

Joanne Sanchez-Thompson is Executive Headteacher and Chief Executive Officer of the Learning for Life Education Trust.

Over the past 30 years, Joanne has developed a very wide range of experience and skills working within education.  She has worked in eight different schools in the UK and the US, teaching every age group from Reception to sixth form. For two of those schools Joanne took on the role of headteacher.

Joanne’s experience also includes time as a local authority school improvement partner, an independent education consultant and she has had the privilege of visiting schools on inspection. Before joining the Learning for Life Education Trust, she was a school governor in three schools.

Joanne works alongside with a team of teachers, support staff, directors, governors, parents and carers, who are all passionate about ensuring that all our pupils receive the very best educational opportunities and achieve the best outcomes. 

Our Address


c/o Learning for Life
College Street

Phone Contacts

Operational Lead

Sarah Thomas :  01933 654921 Option 4 (Learning for Life Trust)

Chair of Trustees

Dr Lorraine Cullen : 07866 631 929

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