Education Debate Attracts High-level Expert Panel

Posted on the 21 November 2016

Education Debate Attracts High-level Expert Panel

Leading figures from the education and business worlds will be taking part in a high-level expert discussion hosted by law firm Ward Hadaway next month.

Former CBI Director General and current Transport for the North chairman John Cridland and well-known North East businessman and academy sponsor pioneer Sir Peter Vardy are amongst those on the panel for the event on December 5.

As well as spending more than 20 years at the CBI, John Cridland is also a non-executive director of Ofsted and takes a keen interest in the interface between education and business, particularly in terms of the skills agenda and the importance of preparing the workforce of the future.

Sir Peter Vardy is the former chief executive of Sunderland-based motor dealership group Reg Vardy and has always taken a keen and active interest in education.

He was at the forefront of academisation from its earliest days with his sponsorship of the Emmanuel College group and subsequent sponsorship of another three academies and was awarded a knighthood in 2001 for services to education.

John and Sir Peter will be joined by another education expert, Northern Education Trust chief executive Ian Kershaw, for the event, which takes place at the Newcastle office of law firm Ward Hadaway and will look at the role of multi-academy trusts – those organisations operating across sometimes a large number of schools - in improving education outcomes for children.

Tim Care, Partner, Public Sector and Academies, at Ward Hadaway will also be taking part in the discussion, which is aimed at senior leaders in academies and multi-academy trusts and will be chaired by Ward Hadaway Commercial Partner Frank Suttie, who has widespread expertise across the education sector.

Tim Care said: "We are delighted to have secured such a superb line-up of guest panelists for this event - it is a real coup to be able to bring three such eminent and highly experienced people together to discuss the issues facing the education sector and multi-academy trusts in particular.

"Between them, John, Sir Peter and Ian have a wealth of insight into the many different facets of education and are ideally placed to get our audience talking and debating on the crucial questions faced by education providers.

"With the delivery of quality education outcomes now increasingly in the hands of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) we feel that this is an excellent time to review the direction of travel that our education system is taking.

"Our expert panel will address a number of key topics including how MATs can play an effective role in improving educational outcomes, the advantages MATs can exploit, the benefits and drawbacks of growth and consolidation, the focus on career guidance that MATs can deliver to help reduce the  skills gap, the introduction of greater powers of pupil selection and the potential resurgence of grammar schools.

"It promises to be a lively and informative discussion where key players in education and the academies sector can share their experiences, opinions and insights."

The panel discussion – "Delivering Quality Outcomes in Multi-Academy Trusts" – takes place from 6pm on Monday 5 December.

Further information on the event can be found at