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Keynote speakers - New and aspiring heads' conference 2020

Bernadette Hunter, Chair of the New and aspiring heads' conference working group


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Dr Andy Cope, the Art of Brilliance

Dr Andy Cope is a qualified teacher, author and learning junkie. He is the UK's first 'Doctor of Happiness' having completed a PhD in Positive Psychology at Loughborough University. Andy is also a best-selling author; he writes the 'Brilliant' range of self-help books for adults and teenagers, and pens the successful children's 'Spy Dog' series for Puffin Books.

Keynote synopsis

It makes no odds what you already know. No matter how many PhDs you've got, educational leadership is going to challenge you. School can be awesome, but it can also be cruel, relentless and unforgiving. There will be times when it feels like it's trying to break you.

This is your time-out. I believe leaders need to be challenged in an entertaining and humane way. If they can gain insight and chuckle at the same time, then learning becomes fun. If there was no bull, big words or psychobabble, even better.

Enter, centre stage, 'Brilliant Leadership', a rip-roaring tour through the essentials of leadership as it needs to be RIGHT NOW.

My aim is to inspire and rejuvenate by removing the yoke from the leader's neck.

So chill, it's only chaos. Here's the plot spoiler - Your job as leader is NOT to inspire people - Your job as a leader is to BE INSPIRED.

Simon Smith, Head teacher

Simon has worked in teaching for 27 years, and for the last 6 years as a Head teacher. He took the scenic route to headship, after years of saying 'I don't blummin' want that job; he is now a firm believer that it is the best job in the world. Simon is a proud father of two boys with a very tolerant wife.

Keynote synopsis

A skip through 7 key lessons learnt in 6 years as a school leader. Trials, tribulations, errors and successes. Looking at what really makes the difference when you are looking at improving a school.

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Rae Snape, Head teacher

Rae Snape has been a Head teacher since 2007 of The Spinny Primary School and recently Milton Road Primary School, Cambridge. She is a National Leader of Education of The Kite TSA, Cambridge. Rae is the founder of @MyCambs a Cultural Education Partnership and the Programme Designer of The Cambridgeshire Festival of Education, celebrating teachers and teaching, and inviting them to be #flamingosofhope and not lemmings of despair. You can find her tweeting @RaeSnape and her mantra is #OnlyConnect.

Keynote synopsis

Optimism is the main focus as a value to drive continued school improvement, secure positive outcomes for all learners and to sustain your leadership.

paul whiteman

Paul Whiteman, General secretary, NAHT

Paul Whiteman took over as general secretary of NAHT in September 2017. NAHT represents the majority of school leaders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Paul leads all of the NAHT's campaigns to improve schools for everyone, including the campaigns to increase funding for schools and to lift the per cent public sector pay cap.

Prior to taking over as general secretary, Paul was NAHT's director of representation and advice, a post he held for five years. The representation and advice team includes regional officers, organisers, the advice team and the legal team, helping to promote NAHT's voice across the country while providing highly-regarded assistance and protection to members when needed.

Before joining NAHT, Paul spent a decade as a national officer at the FDA, the union for civil servants. He has a first-class grasp of educational issues as well as many years' experience in the wider trade union movement.