Christine Bayliss, Roger Pope, Chris Jansen, Rees Withers

Christine Bayliss has been appointed chief executive of Prima Learning Trust, a new academy trust based in Bristol.

A civil servant for 15 years, she led school improvement initiatives and spent time as head of education strategy and performance for Manchester City Council. Until the summer, she headed the Department for Education’s South East and South London free school delivery team.

Ms Bayliss says in its first year Prima plans to develop three schools and to have a “world class pedagogy” in place.

“We want this to be a trust that delivers outstanding teaching as well as valuing and bringing on our staff.

“To achieve this we will introduce a scheme called the Prima Guarantee, three hours of good quality training for every member of staff every fortnight.”

Ms Bayliss left school with the equivalent of one GCSE and worked for the police and in the hotel business before realising she wanted to work in education. In her mid-thirties she studied social policy and administration at the London School of Economics.

Roger Pope, principal of Kingsbridge Community College in Devon, and chief executive of Academies South West, is the new chair of the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL).

He replaces Charlie Taylor, who left the organisation in August. Mr Taylor now works in the Ministry of Justice, under former education secretary Michael Gove.

Mr Pope, a national leader of education, has a 25-year career in schools that started with teaching English in the south of England and Hong Kong.

He formed a teaching school alliance of more than 25 schools and was a member of the NCTL’s group in Shanghai examining maths and science practice.

In his new role, Mr Pope says one of his priorities will be ensuring the college can “continue to attract new people into the profession.

“Our new range of tax-free bursaries and scholarships for 2016/17, as well as our new recruitment campaign, will, I hope, help us to show that teaching is a rewarding and fulfilling career, and will encourage even more great people into the profession.” He hopes to encourage more people to return to the profession.


Chris Jansen replaces Rees Withers as the new chief executive of Cognita, a private company that runs 66 independent schools across the world.

Mr Jansen, the former managing director of British Gas parent company, Centrica, starts his new role on December 1.

He has been a governor of St George’s College, an independent prep school in Weybridge, Surrey, since 2012, and also sits on the corporate board of Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Mr Jansen says he is “delighted” to join Cognita and is “excited about the potential of our schools”.

“Under Rees’s leadership, Cognita has developed into a worldwide group with educational excellence at its heart, and I look forward to building on his considerable achievements.”

Mr Withers, who has retired, was the founding chief executive of the company when it opened in 2004.

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