AKN blogs

Kindness – the tough choice

By | May 18, 2021

We talk a lot about being kind. But less about what this means in how we behave. As we face increasing tensions – in our organisations, in society and in our personal lives what does it mean to be kind? And why do we view kindness as an act of weakness? A short personal view on 9 practical steps to be kind. #charity #leadership #kindness #society

Locked Down and Local

By | January 10, 2021

Lockdown is hard. Harder than the summer. Let’s not pretend that it isn’t. Some of the challenges are common to us all. Others are unique to our own homes and families. And we don’t all have the same capacity to… Read More »

OS Outdoor Champion

By | April 9, 2020

Oh the irony. Being announced as an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion in the week the entire world is being told to stay indoors. And stay in we must – the latest government guidance is clear on Stay In: Protect NHS: Save Lives. So what is the role of a Get Outside Champion in lockdown?

Accessing landscapes – the Glover challenge

By | February 6, 2020

I was fortunate to be at a presentation on the Glover Review with input from the review lead himself. Much to like. And – as someone who leads on access and inclusion – the call to action to make ensure that public assets – the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – are truly ‘for all’ was welcome. But when asked a question on how to open access the panel were heartfelt in their desire to affect change but limited on the solutions.


By | November 22, 2019

‘Hard to reach’. ‘Disadvantaged’. ‘Lacking aspiration’. ‘Poverty of ambition’. Bored. Bored of the stereotypes. The judgements and the deficit model. The lazy assumptions about communities by postcodes. My boys playing in the garden of one of those postcodes. The house… Read More »

Pin the tail on the blame donkey

By | May 13, 2019

It’s been a series of rapid releases in education. I have had a lot of requests to write a response and to date I have struggled. And it’s taken me a while to figure out why. I have realised it’s because the general response from the education system has been – well – broadly ‘pin the tail on the blame donkey’.

Freelancers – education’s gig economy

By | February 8, 2019

There’s one group of people who are likely to provoke a lively response in a teacher led pub debate. No not HMIs. Not even Education Ministers. Consultants. For some on social media it has become the ultimate ad hominin. To read articles you’d think contractors and consultants were single handedly bringing down education.

Supporting Teachers to Lead Practice

By | June 26, 2018

Last week I attended the last session of this year’s A New Direction Advocates. This programme supports teachers of the arts to lead learning in both their own schools and across the system. As this group of Advocates – some of whom I had the privilege to have worked with for 3 years – presented their work I was struck by quality, passion and impact of their projects.

How many men does it take to steal the credit from a difficult woman?

By | June 14, 2018

I thought hard about writing this blog. I really did. I’ve been warned – a lot – not to stick my head above the parapet. To keep my head down. Not to make any waves. And – honestly – I considered it. Being labelled a difficult woman – a trouble maker – is career threatening. Even more so perhaps when like me and over a million women you are self employed and reputation is what you trade on.

Whole School SEND

By | April 2, 2018

The current Department for Education SEND Workforce Contract ends this week and the new contract holder is to be announced. As a consultant I am remarkably proud of the part I played in securing and delivering this work with and on behalf of both London Leadership Strategy and NASEN. £5million is a considerable consultancy fundraising win and successfully implementing something of this scale to effect such change is something I am glad to have led.

Is Exclusion Education’s Haiti?

By | February 19, 2018

“Yes we know it happens. ‘They’ choose the children who get the best results and ‘they’ find ways to lose the others. But that’s just the way it is. They are being pragmatic. It’s not something that can change and nobody will sign up to this. Besides schools are allowed to select in some ways.”

Young Academy

By | February 2, 2018

It is both a privilege and great learning to sit on the Young Academy Investment Committee. The aims of the Academy are simple: …

The Communication Trust – what next?

By | January 30, 2018

With the news in recent days of the of potential closure of The Communication Trust (TCT) – a consortium that I led the set up of in 2007 – I have been reflecting on both the challenges and successes of the Trust over the last 10 years.

Is Inclusion Over? six months on

By | October 7, 2016

‘Inclusion’ seems like an easy idea to quantify when placed next to ‘exclusion’. Trying to explain the term without doing so is a little harder but, as Anita Kerwin-Nye said in her introduction to the Is Inclusion Over? Conference, if they don’t, education sector specialists end up just talking to themselves

Is Inclusion Over?

By | April 19, 2016

I’ve worked with young people with SEND my entire life. From volunteering to take young people with Muscular Dystrophy climbing when I was a teenager; through specialising in SEN in my teacher training;  to working on literacy in prisons and… Read More »