2019 Conference Speakers

David Clarke


I am passionate about and have been committed to education throughout my life. I started my teaching career in Sydney, Australia after graduating from Macquarie University. I moved from Sydney to the outback of Australia in the Northern Territory where I taught all age groups in a remote community. After arriving in the UK, I taught in a range of Councils and phases starting in Brent before moving to Suffolk, Berkshire and then as Headteacher of two primary schools in Wiltshire both with Special Resource Bases. After over a decade as Headteacher I joined Wiltshire Council as Senior Headteacher Advisor for schools of concern and then as Head of School Improvement. Currently, I am Deputy Director of Education in Oxfordshire County Council and am privileged to be able to work in collaboration with you to achieve the best outcomes for all children and young people in Oxfordshire.


Andy Buck

A geography teacher by trade, Andy went on to become a headteacher for thirteen years at two schools in east London.  In his second headship, his school was judged outstanding and he was designated a National Leader of Education.  In 2009, he was appointed as a director at the National College for School Leadership and in 2012 was made Managing Director at one of the largest academy groups in the UK.  

Andy has subsequently founded two organisations: Leadership Matters and #honk.  Both aim to improve the educational outcomes for pupils by supporting great leadership development for leaders at all levels in the system. 

He has written five books on educational leadership, including the best-selling ‘Leadership Matters’. In 2018, Andy was invited to become a Founding Fellow of the College of Teaching.


Floyd Woodrow

"We sometimes assume that success is bestowed on the lucky few, but the truth is that success is much less about luck or chance than hard work."


When you get a message from a long-time Associate and experienced headteacher saying she has just been on the best leadership training course she's ever, ever been on, then you know you're on to something special and need to find out more about what made it so good.


And when you find out that the person running that course, Floyd Woodrow, is a decorated former SAS major and head of the counter-terrorism unit and the training programme was about values and being human, you know it is even more special than you thought.


What makes Floyd stand out isn't that he was one of the youngest ever recruits to the Special Air Service where he then spent over 20 years, that he received the Distinguished Service Medal for his work in Iraq and an MBE for his work in Afghanistan, or that he led the UK's Counter Terrorism Unit and has 'Hostage Negotiator' on his CV.


It isn't even that his clients these days include organisations such as the Welsh and Scottich Rugby Football Unions or the English Cricket Board.


What makes Floyd stand out is that he has done all of this with a clear focus on values, integrity and compassion and it is this that comes through loud and clear in his work on leadership with adults and on achievement, aspirations and motivation with young people.


'I was given many leadership roles at a young age,' he says, 'but I never really understood what leadership actually was until my mid-thirties.  I wish I had been taught some of the things I now know much earlier in my life.'


Rikki Arundel


Rikki Arundel is a highly engaging and humorous speaker and diversity expert. The founder of the UK Professional Speaking Association, her career as an international sales and technology speaker ended abruptly when she changed gender in 2002. Facing considerable discrimination, she was compelled to completely change her career. 

She enrolled at the University of Hull where she completed an MSc in Gender Research and began speaking regularly at universities around the UK. On leaving university, Rikki became very active in equality and diversity both regionally in Yorkshire and nationally working with the Equality and Human Rights commission.

In 2007, Rikki established a social enterprise, GenderShift, providing support for trans people and training and consultancy on equality, particularly transgender awareness. She worked extensively across the public and voluntary sectors including many colleges and universities. 

GenderShift closed in 2012, due largely to the austerity programme, and since then Rikki has continued to focus on delivering keynote presentations and workshops on Gender issues including two TEDx talks. Since 2015, a sharp increase in trans and non-binary media attention occurred which led to a significant increase in young transgender people seeking support, and schools taking a more positive approach to LGBT+. 


As a result, Rikki has found herself in increasing demand as a speaker at schools, colleges and universities.  Drawing on her own experiences and those of the people she has supported, Rikki helps audiences to better understand the difficulties and life choices faced by transgender and non-binary people.


Luke Bramhall


Luke is the Poverty Proofing Lead at Children North East where he has worked for almost six years. Founded in 1891, the charity has over 120 years' experience of developing responses to tackling child poverty in the region. The charity has a mission that all north east children grow up healthy and happy. 


Luke manages the schools work and is the national lead on ‘Poverty Proofing the School Day,’ a nationally celebrated programme that removes barriers to learning for disadvantaged pupils. The project has given evidence to the Children’s Commission Inquiry into the cost of the school day, select committee, looking at the impact of poverty on education.


Luke has worked for over 15 year with children and young people to ensure their views and experiences inform policy and practice. He is a qualified teacher with vast experience at delivering training and work programmes in areas of disadvantage. 


Luke's passions are tackling structural inequality and championing children’s rights.


Becky Parker


After a physics degree and research at the University of Chicago, Becky taught in a variety of schools and found when she offered genuine research opportunities to her students they thrived in the subject, girls and boys alike.  She set up the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS) to scale up this approach and is its director.  IRIS is based at the Science Museum and Becky’s teaching base is in Sheffield.  


Becky was awarded an MBE in 2008.  She is visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London.  In the summer of 2016 she was awarded the Kavli Education Medal from the Royal Society.


Adrienne Duggan


Since 2012, Adrienne has been Senior Lecturer in Drama in Education at Oxford Brookes University where she has taught the use of drama in education to students of primary ITE as well as on the MA in Education. Before this,  Adrienne taught drama at secondary level for a number of years then moved on to work as a freelance drama practitioner, leading workshops from Early Years through to Key Stage 5. The focus of her work has been to use drama strategies to explore concepts and ideas which engage and build confidence and understanding in English, English  literature, PHSE and history and science. Since being at Brookes, she has been involved in research into how drama can help children to learn science and this work has been disseminated internationally at conferences and symposiums. 


Rachel Payne


Rachel Payne - Biography
Dr Rachel Payne has worked at Oxford Brookes University since 2004 as a Senior Lecturer
in Art Education. She leads the Artist Teacher MA in Education. Rachel is the President for
the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) and is a member of the All-
Party Parliamentary Group for Art in Education.

Dr Rachel Payne has worked at Oxford Brookes University since 2004 as a Senior Lecturer in Art Education.  She leads the Artist Teacher MA in Education. Rachel is the President for the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD) and is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Art in Education.


Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West & Abingdon


Layla Moran is a Physics teacher by profession, formerly working in a state secondary school, as a Head of Year in an international school and latterly with an Oxford-based Education organisation.


She read Physics at Imperial College and holds an MA in Comparative Education.  She is a school governor at a primary school in her constituency. Layla was inspired to go into politics by her passion to see that every child, no matter their background, should have a fair chance of making the best of this world. She overturned a 9,500 vote Conservative majority to win Oxford West & Abingdon in June 2017.  She is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Education, and sits also on the Public Accounts Select Committee. 


Layla has an international background; she has lived in many countries including Belgium, Greece, Ethiopia, Jamaica and Jordan and speaks French fluently along with some Spanish, Arabic and Greek.


Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE DL


Baroness Floella Benjamin, OBE DL was born in Trinidad in 1949 and came to England as a 10 year old child in 1960. She left school at 16 with the aim of becoming Britain's first ever black woman bank manager but changed direction and became an actress, presenter, writer, independent producer, working peer and an active advocate for the welfare, care and education of children throughout the world. She has also headed a successful film and television production company. 
She has been in show business for 48 years appearing on stage, film, radio and television. She became a household name through her appearances in the iconic children’s programmes Playschool and PlayAway. After 42 years she still appears on children’s television, her greatest love.


She has written over 30 books and in 2016 her book ‘Coming to England' was chosen as a 'Guardian Children’s Book of the Year’.  Her broadcasting work has been recognised with numerous awards, including an OBE in 2001, a Special Lifetime Achievement BAFTA Award in 2004 and the J.M Barrie Lifetime Award in 2012 for her lasting cultural legacy. In 2013 she was made a Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and last year she was appointed as President of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. 
She was Chancellor of the University of Exeter for 10 years and became famous for hugging every graduate imploring them to 'change the world’. When she stepped down as Chancellor the University put up a statue of her in recognition of her contribution to the City of Exeter.


She was the first woman Trinidadian to be elevated to the House of Lords in 2010 and speaks on children's, diversity and media issues and recently was successful in getting the government to bring in legislation for commercial broadcasters to provide UK made television programmes. This year she was granted Honorary Freedom of the City of London and the Prime Minister appointed her Chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee to create a lasting memorial to celebrate the contribution to Britain made by the Windrush Generation.

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