Wellington Festival of Education 2019 Speaker Profiles


Session 1 - T Levels – how are plans progressing?

Date: Thursday 20 June
Time: 12:20 - 13:00
Venue: Seb Faulks E3 & 4


Suzanne Straw

Suzanne Straw - Deputy Head of the Centre for Policy and Practice Research

With 20 years’ experience undertaking research and evaluation for government, charitable and private sector clients, Suzanne has skills in both qualitative and quantitative methods and expertise ranging from the evaluation of small-scale pilot projects to large-scale multi-stranded programmes. Suzanne leads NFER's work on Education to Employment (E2E) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and has completed a large body of research in these areas. Suzanne also has an interest in teacher and leader professional development; careers information, advice and guidance; and tackling student disadvantage.


Claire Oberman

Clare Oberman - Assistant Principal and Head of Year 13 at Painsley Catholic College Sixth Form, Director of Painsley Teaching School Alliance and Senior Maths Hub Lead

Clare Oberman worked in education for over 25 years. She has been a head of a large MFL department and director of Sixth Form in previous roles. In her current role, she is director of Painsley Catholic Academy Teaching School and Senior Lead of the North Midlands and Peaks Maths Hub as well as Pastoral Lead for Year 13 and Assistant Principal. In addition, she is the regional lead for the West Midlands Women Leading in Education, a Pupil Premium Review trainer and conducts Pupil Premium reviews across the country. As part one of the first T Level providers, Clare is a member of the academy’s T Level implementation strategic group.


Suzanne Hall

Suzanne Hall - Head of Technical and Professional Qualifications at Pearson

With over 17 years Awarding Organisation experience Suzanne is an extensively experienced and goal-oriented Qualification Product Manager with a demonstrated track record of success. Passionate about the development of opportunities through the delivery of high quality vocational products and services Suzanne’s drive comes from seeing student’s flourish and progress in their life long journey.

She’s now a member of Pearson’s leadership team responsible for the strategic development, management and implementation of a broad portfolio of qualifications, including Functional Skills, Entry – Level, Post 16 Level 2, AEB and work skills.

She is Pearson’s strategic lead on T Levels, responsible for the critical analysis of government policy, market data, and leads on the procurement process for the Technical Qualification. Plus, the leadership of the team responsible for design and development of Pearson’s Technical Qualification and provider support proposition.


Session 2 - What reading tests tell us - Implications for teaching and learning

Date: Thursday 20 June
Time: 14:15 - 14:55
Venue: Seb Faulks E3 & 4


Anne Kispal

Anne Kispal - Senior Research Manager in the Centre for Assessment

Anne is a Senior Research Manager in the Centre for Assessment at NFER with 25 years’ experience in national curriculum assessment in reading.


Jemma Coulton

Jemma Coulton - Research Manager in the Centre for Assessment 

Jemma is a research manager in the Centre for Assessment at NFER, leading several reading assessment development projects for years 3-5, years 1 and 2, and year 6, as well as leading on projects providing item writing services to STA.


Session 3 - Flexible working in Schools – how to make it work

Date: Thursday 20 June
Time: 15:05 - 15:45
Venue: Seb Faulks E3 & 4


Jack Worth

Jack Worth - School Workforce Lead

Jack is an expert on the teacher labour market. His research and analysis aims to understand the changing teaching profession and identify ways of improving teacher recruitment and retention. He gives evidence to the Education Select Committee and is a member of the DfE's Teacher Supply Model technical group. Specialising in the analysis of large datasets, Jack uses advanced quantitative techniques to gain insights for policy and practice. Experienced in quantitative policy evaluation and value for money analysis, he has led a number of impact evaluations using randomised controlled trials and quasi-experimental designs and developed EEF's guidance on cost evaluation.

Theodora Nickson

Theodora Nickson - Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School

Theodora is in her fifteenth year of Headship and is presently Co-Headteacher at Bishop's Hatfield Girls' School in Hertfordshire. She taught in and did advisory work for the London Borough of Brent for 25 years, her main teaching subjects being English and Drama. She is Honorary Secretary on ASCL Council and is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching. As an experienced timetabler, she understands fully the constraints that flexible working can impose on teaching and learning in a school; however, over half her teaching workforce are part-timers.