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Keynote speakers - Early Years and Primary conference 2020

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Ruth Davies NAHT national president, NAHT Cymru president, peer inspector for ESTYN and experienced school leader

Ruth Davies is currently NAHT’s National President and has sat on the Association’s national executive committee since 2013.

Ruth embarked on her teaching career in 1986. Following this, she worked for a local authority's education advisory service for four years.

However, her heart has always remained in school based practice and she returned to this setting shortly before taking up headship at Waunarlwydd Primary School in Swansea.

Ruth is a peer inspector for ESTYN and has served on UNICEF’s standards committee since 2016.

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Judy Shaw, Immediate Past President, NAHT

Judy Shaw is the Immediate Past President of NAHT and Head Teacher of an Infant and Nursery School in West Yorkshire.

She graduated in English and Linguistics at Lancaster University then completed her PGCE in Primary Education at St. Martin’s College, Lancaster.

She began teaching in 1988 and has taught throughout the primary age range specialising in Literacy and Early Years.

Since 2016 Judy has been Chair of NAHT’s Early Years Council.

The Council’s work raises the profile of Early Years Education and informs NAHT’s policy and representation across the sector.

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Andrew Hammond, Senior Director of Learning @Discovery Education

Andrew served in schools for over 20 years, as Class teacher, Head of Department, Deputy Head Teacher and Head Teacher.

A prolific author, Andrew has written over thirty titles for a range of educational publishers, including Teaching for Creativity (John Catt) and the horror-fiction series CRYPT (Hodder Headline).

He has a BA (Hons) QTS from Bath and an MA from King’s College London. He is currently studying for an Ed.D at Buckingham.

Andrew joined Discovery Education in September 2019 as Senior Director of Learning. He designed the Pathway Programme and is series editor for its content. He is passionate about supporting teachers’ personal development as well as their professional development.

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Joe McCulloch , Executive Producer BBC - Tiny Happy People

Joe is passionate about representing seldom heard voices across the UK and is never happier than when he’s collaborating – opportunities that Tiny Happy People offers in abundance.

He absolutely believes Tiny Happy People will bring about positive behaviour change in parents and help children to thrive.

Joe’s background is in television; he series produced BBC Proms, Marrying Mum & Dad for BBC Children’s, and was Deputy Editor on Blue Peter.
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Paul Whiteman, NAHT General Secretary 

Paul Whiteman took up the role of general secretary of NAHT in September 2017, bringing with him a wealth of trade union knowledge, as well as hands-on experience of the vast range of challenges faced by school leaders.  Paul joined NAHT in 2012 as a director of representation and advice with overall responsibility for the directorate that provides advice to members on management, legal and employment issues.

Having stated out in retail banking, Paul soon got involved with the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union.  His enthusiasm for trade unionism grew, and between 2002 and 2012, he held the position of national officer for the FDA civil service trade union.

Born in Croydon, Paul was educated at John Ruskin High School in Croydon.  He completed an MA in industrial relations and employment law at Keele University in 2000.

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Professor Jess Deighton

Jess is Professor in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing at UCL, Director of Innovation, Evaluation and Dissemination at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Director of the Evidence Based Practice Unit.

Her expertise focus on: 1) the evaluation of interventions and multifaceted programmes to support mental health and well-being in children; 2) factors that promote resilience in children and young people; 3) the interplay between mental health and educational outcomes.

She leads the national evaluation of the National Lottery Community Fund’s HeadStart programme and the Department for Education funded Children and Young People’s Mental Health Research and Evaluation Programme.  She also co-leads the early intervention theme for the Department of Health’s Child Policy Research Unit.

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Natalie Perera

Natalie is the Executive Director and Head of Research at the Education Policy Institute, an independent research institute which she co-founded in 2016.

Prior to that, Natalie worked in the Department for Education where she led on research and policy interventions including on narrowing the gap between disadvantaged children and the rest and reform of the school funding system. Between 2014 and 2015, Natalie was seconded to the Cabinet Office where she worked in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office.

Natalie is also a Director of a Multi-Academy Trust in South London and a Trustee of the charities, The Fair Education Alliance and Causeway Education.