Heather Rushton was previously a Director at the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes (C4EO) in Children & Young People's Services. C4EO is a UK based organisation set up to help those working in children’s services improve the life chances of all children and young people, in particular those who are most vulnerable.

Heather was responsible for Performance and Planning at C4EO and worked closely with the Department for Education along with over 50 other organisations in children’s services field including NICE, Department for Health, National Children’s Bureau, National Foundation for Educational Research Social Care Institute for Excellence, Research in Practice, National College for School Leadership and the NSPCC.

Heather has led the development of data collection, implemented protocols to reduce duplication of effort from the fiscal purse, managed and developed several new functions, products, services and initiatives which have been welcomed by the children’s service sector including knowledge gathering and dissemination, cost effectiveness and programme evaluation.

Heather is a child centred practitioner with over 30 years’ experience serving children and young people in areas where services and education have to make a significant difference. Enabling children to build their resilience, to address the challenges of life, to have established their self worth, self respect and to have the right skills to enable their aspirations, hopes, and dreams to make a positive contribution to society has been the vision for her career. Heather started her career as a school teacher rising to become one of the youngest head teachers in England in an area of high social depravation and child poverty. During this time Heather was instrumental in establishing Nottinghamshire’s pioneering provision for the integration of pupils with complex educational needs into mainstream schools during the 1980’s. Whist Head Teacher of an infant and nursery school, in challenging socio economic circumstances, she managed and co-ordinated the integration of pupils with severe and complex educational needs for the local secondary school and its nine feeder primaries.

For the last 15 years Heather has held a series of Director level government advisory posts  with a focus on improving schools, improving children’s services and engaging the voices of children living and learning in areas of significant deprivation to make sure policy and decision makers listened to their needs.  These include: Director for school improvement at Education Bradford (SERCO group), Senior Adviser at Derbyshire County Council and Children’s Services Adviser at the Government Office.

Robin Woodhead
With over 30 years teaching experience and most recently that of being a Head Teacher at an outstanding primary school, Robin has a wealth of experience in bringing improvement into the classroom. Under Robin's headship his school was noted for the following achievements:

  • Every Child Matters Quality Mark  
  • Creating a “Life Balance Charter” for all staff
  • Dianna Awards for Young People
  • Foundation Stage pilot school
  • Lead Attendance and Behaviour Management School
  • Phonics lead teacher
  • Moderating school for Key Stage 1 attainment
  • QiSS   Quality in Study Support at Established level
  • QES    Quality in Extended Schools  at Established Level
  • Assessment of Pupil Progress : Priory was a Local Authority  “APP Pathfinder School”
  • FMSiS Financial Management Award for leadership and Governors
  • Healthy Schools Gold Award
  • ECO Schools Award 
  • Dyslexic Friendly School Quality Mark
  • Young Enterprise Registered Establishment
  • Pastoral Care Charter Mark

David Connor has extensive experience of working in Children’s Services within the public sector, particularly in Education but also in commissioning, partnership working and integrated services.

David's experience includes over twenty years in teaching including Headships in three schools, university lecturing with a specialism in Early Years education and work in Eastern Europe developing systems and structures for the delivery of effective education.

 Following his work in schools, David joined a Local Authority advisory service, initially as an adviser for primary education and then as a senior adviser with responsibility for a team of forty advisers and consultants before eventually becoming Chief Adviser for a large Local Authority with over 430 schools.

 After a spell as Deputy Director of Education, he was promoted to the post of Strategic Deputy Director of Children’s Services with responsibility for departmental planning, evaluation and quality assurance (Education and Social Care), information and data, external partnerships, commissioning – public, private and voluntary sectors, oversight of schools and workforce development.

Since 2010, David has worked as an Independent Consultant undertaking commissions for the Centre for Excellence, National Children’s Bureau, National College and Children’s Improvement Board. This has included evaluations of Local Authority structures and services and assessment against the Test of Assurance, support to Local Authorities to develop new systems and structures for Children’s services and school improvement systems, a scoping study for the development of a Knowledge Transfer Centre in Northern Ireland and the provision of support to aspiring leaders in Children’s Services.

Helen Hornsby is a Froebel trained Early Years teacher with over 22 years teaching with Foundation Stage children in mainstream Nursery and Infant classes and over 7 years as Early Years Specialist Teacher working with children with severe and complex social and communication difficulties and Autism in the home, mainstream and private settings.

Helen offers Parent workshops with advice and hands on modelling to parents, teaching staff, teaching assistants, midday supervisors around specific children with complex social and communication difficulties and Autism.

Pauline Kershaw: (BAHons) PGCE MA is a teacher with recent national and regional experience working as an Associate with C4EO and Research in Practice, leading on two main strands of sector led support:

  • accreditation of C4EO and LA Sector Specialists from a  range of subject areas
  • national & regional learning  events to support sector led evidence based practice.

Prior to joining C4EO was Service Development Adviser for Parenting with NAPP and Regional Development Manager offering bespoke support to local councils on the development of evidence based approaches to work with parents. 

Pauline has over 25 years Local Authority experience. She first trained as a Secondary teacher, focusing on Special educational needs and the impact on attainment of work with parents. She studied Management of Teaching & Learning at Masters Level.  Pauline is an experienced practitioner and facilitator of groups with additional 10 years management experience of Local Authority Family Learning & Parenting provision.  She has held lead responsibility for parenting strategy & has significant experience in developing multi-agency partnerships to work with families.