Movers & Shakers, Politics

Movers & Shakers: Mark Lacey, Gill Doyle and Tom Knott

Mark Lacey, a former primary head, is the new chief executive of the Diocese of Salisbury academy trust.

The 41-year-old was head of Parson Street Primary, Bristol, where he spent the past 14 years. He was also chair of the Malago Learning Partnership for the past four, an experience that he says has set him up for his new role.

“It has been a big wrench in letting go of a school like that [Parson Street] and going into a slightly different role, but the time felt right.

“I’m now responsible for seven primary academies across Wiltshire and Dorset. The main goal is to make the performance of those seven as high as we can.

“To do this we have to look at making sure we have a coherent assessment framework in place across each of the academies.”

Mr Lacey will also oversee the deployment of a team of headteacher consultants who will manage the improvement journey for each school.

“What we’re all about is tailored school improvement support. The consultants will be the eyes and ears that take the message out there and help to make things happen.”

Mr Lacey moved into teaching after studying business at the University of Bath. He decided to complete a PGCE straight after he graduated but says he had to “persuade” universities that his degree was relevant to primary teaching. He was even turned down by a couple on the basis that it wasn’t related.

“The crazy thing is now I’m basically running a business so it shows it was relevant. It’s funny how things work out.”

Gill Doyle has moved from Roydon Primary School to become the new headteacher at Takeley Primary School, Essex.

Her immediate goal is for the school to be judged good by Ofsted, something that she aims to achieve by honing a “total commitment to excellent teaching and learning”.

“We want to enable our children to make good progress and achieve highly, robust safety, a dedication to children’s wellbeing and strong, reflective leadership.

“Our children have only one chance at primary education, it is our duty to ensure that it is the best it can be.”

Ms Doyle graduated with a social science degree from Kingston University before completing her PGCE at the University of Leeds.

Tom Knott, former head of leadership at SSAT, the Schools Network, has made the move back into the classroom, joining Ark Globe Academy in London.

The 28-year-old, who says that he can’t wait to get back to the chalk face, will lead the school’s 14 to 16 school.

“I love working in education and loved my year at SSAT, but I realised that I love being in the schools and teaching side of it. SSAT just didn’t have the key bit, which is the kids.”

Mr Knott was previously a teacher and middle leader at Oasis Academy Shirley Park, training through Teach First.

He also spent some in management consulting to find out whether the grass is greener on the other side. It isn’t, he says.


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