Westminster Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or call +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Next steps for the school system in England - assessing plans for an MAT-based structure, progress on faith school trusts, and improving collaboration

Morning, Monday, 1st November 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference follows the recent call from the Education Secretary for the school system to move to a single model that uses multi-academy trusts (MATs) as its foundation.

It will be an opportunity to consider this proposal and assess practicalities and next steps as well as evaluate its potential for supporting and improving underperforming schools - including the ‘try before you buy’ scheme to allow maintained schools to trial membership of a particular MAT through Trust Partnerships.

We also expect discussion on governance in MATs, best practice in their management and operation, and their role in driving up standards.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions on core issues, including:

  • Considerations for creating an academy trust-based school system - from Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive Officer, Confederation of School Trusts
  • The faith academy trust pilot programme and supporting high achievement in faith schools - from Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer, The Church of England Education Office
  • Policy priorities for the school system going forward - from Dominic Herrington, National Schools Commissioner, Department for Education


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords and officials from the Department for Education; the DWP; the Government Legal Department; the National Audit Office; and Ofsted. Also due to attend are representatives from Agora Learning Partnership; Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council; Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council; Brachers; Castle View Enterprise Academy; Diocese of Chichester Education Dept; East Riding Of Yorkshire Council; Forbes Solicitors; GL Assessment; HCR Legal; Herts for Learning; LDBS Academies Trust; London Borough of Merton; Luminate Education Group; NAHT; NFER; Norfolk County Council; Oxfordshire County Council; Pearson; Plumcroft Primary School; RC Diocese of East Anglia; Royal Society of Chemistry; Salisbury Diocesan Board of Education; Steyning Grammar School; The Church of England Education Office; The Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust; Tribal; and Youth Sport Trust.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from schools, colleges, multi-academy trusts, universities, academics, local authorities, think tanks, qualification and training providers, sector skills councils, businesses, education suppliers, awarding bodies, exam boards, learned societies, advocacy groups, law firms, education consultancies, publishers, charities, teaching unions, parents groups, SEND groups, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials are made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Dominic Herrington

National Schools Commissioner, Department for Education

Leora Cruddas

Chief Executive Officer, Confederation of School Trusts

Keynote Speakers

Robin Bevan

former President, National Education Union and Headteacher, Southend High School for Boys

Nigel Genders

Chief Education Officer, The Church of England Education Office

Leora Cruddas

Chief Executive Officer, Confederation of School Trusts

Dominic Herrington

National Schools Commissioner, Department for Education

Mark Blois

Head of Education, Browne Jacobson


Jonathan Gullis MP

former Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education

Baroness Garden of Frognal

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Independent Education


Chris McShane

CEO, Learning 3D

Mark Kent

Chief Executive, Potteries Educational Trust

Tom Arbuthnott

Deputy Head (Partnerships), Eton College

Philip McLauchlan

Headteacher, Werrington Primary School, Stoke on Trent

Francesca Fraser

Researcher, Onward

Gillian Kemp

Trust Leader, University Schools Trust

Councillor Hannah Clare

Deputy Leader and Chair, Children, Young People and Skills Committee, Brighton and Hove City Council

Caroline Barlow

Headteacher, Heathfield Community College, East Sussex

Paul Stubbings

Headmaster, Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Kensington

Ming Zhang

Service Director for Education, Participation and Skills, Plymouth City Council

Emma Knights

Chief Executive, National Governance Association