1 Day Conference
Shaping special schools for the future

The opportunties provided by academisation and free schools’ now.

eden-academy-equals-logos-c The Eden Academy, in association with EQUALS, held a national conference in London on the
7th July 2017. Both organisations have a strong history of actively developing and supporting the work of schools and professionals working with children and young people with special needs. This leading-edge conference was of particular interest to special schools’ senior leaders and governors who were considering academisation or forming a MAT and/or opening a free school.

It was a valuable opportunity for delegates to understand the dramatically changing educational landscape and to help guide them into making an informed decision about their school’s future.

During the course of the morning, delegates had the opportunity to hear from renowned, expert speakers and in the afternoon, professionals from a range of academies will lead four different workshops.



Morning speakers

Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner
‘Hubs and Spokes’: The development of a national network of special MATs and academies
John Ayres OBE, Principal of the Eden Academy
Case Study 1: The development of a special MAT and lessons learned
Seamus Oates CBE, CEO of TBAP MAT
Case Study 2: The development of a special MAT and lessons learned


Afternoon Workshops

(Delegates could choose two from the following workshops)

  1. Processes, pitfalls and benefits of opening a new special free
    school (led by Cassie Howe – New Schools Network)
  2. Financial requirements and risk management in a MAT (led by Sudhi Pathak, Head of
    Finance & Resources – Eden Academy)
  3. Establishing central services. What makes a MAT add value?
    (led by John Ayres, Principal – Eden Academy)
  4. Leadership & Governance of a MAT (panel discussion
    comprising leaders from mainstream and SEN MATs, chaired by
    Susan Douglas, CEO – Eden Academy)


Plenary Session

Where we go from here?
Setting up a mutual support and information network for schools considering becoming a MAT


EQUALS is currently planning further conferences and is considering potential topics and venues. Suggestions/Requests are always welcome. Please email admin@equalsoffice.co.uk