OAT Conference 2021

On the 18th and 19th of November, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) hosted their annual conference for the first time in two years.

The conference was a huge success and was a chance for staff and pupils both past and present to share stories and experiences of their time at OAT.

Past pupils were invited to present awards to their principals, celebrating their contributions to education and attendees got an insight into alumni’s impressive career journeys!

The conference also featured various keynote speakers such as Ormiston Forge Academy’s head girl Madison Homer, giving a speech on privilege and acceptance. She was included in various speakers invited to educate the audience on issues of equality diversity and inclusion.

This included diversity strategist Hayley Barnard educating attendees on “moving from unconscious bias to conscious inclusion”; a keynote speaker from the University of Birmingham School, Bec, Tigue, on Charter Education and its grounding in “children flourishing”; and the closing speaker Bennie Kara, author of ‘Diversity in Schools’.

Another exciting aspect of the convergence was the launch of #WeWill, a student social action project for all academies in the Trust where the OAT National Student voice presented the #WeWill initiatives to principals, senior leaders and governors and who will be leading the decision on the projects academies take on.

Nick Hudson, CEO said: “It was a real pleasure to have everyone together in one room again and to be able to chat with so many of members of our community.

“What makes OAT special is the strong community that we share, both in individual academies and across the Trust more widely. Events like this give us the chance to strengthen these networks, ensuring our academies, staff and pupils can be a source of support, encouragement, and creativity for one another.

“I was also so impressed by the quality of the speakers we had, who helped to unpack OAT’s overarching vision around equality, diversity and inclusion. These values are a cornerstone of our culture, and this Conference offered an opportunity to focus on that, celebrating our achievements up to this point but always thinking about what more we could be doing.”

To read more about the conference visit the Ormiston Academies Trust website here. 

James is the Chief Executive officer of Ormiston Trust. He has worked as an organisation advisor in the private, public and voluntary sectors, helping organisations to grow sustainably over the medium to long term. He has helped charities for over 20 years in the fields of strategic development, partnership setup, programme and project delivery.

Poppy is the Youth Engagement and Partnership Officer at Ormiston Trust, responsible for coordinating our team of Young Advisors and developing effective working relationships with external organisations. She is currently studying ‘Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development’ at Warwick University and previously worked as Board Advisor for a non-profit youth-focused organisation in Croydon. She has experience in activism work – attending COP26 with environmental education company Force of Nature and had been a member of the UK Youth Parliament for many years, speaking on environmental issues in the House of Commons for its ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign.

Tom heads up Comms and Youth Engagement here at Ormiston Trust. His role focuses mainly on helping run the Youth Advisory Council, as well as heading up our social media accounts and planning events. His creative roots lie in journalism, music and theatre as well as horticulture and creative producing, having been involved in a variety of workshops and projects. Tom is passionate about the environment and politics and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Birmingham in International Relations.

Fiona is the Grants Assistant at Ormiston Trust and in her role she supports the Grants team. Previously, she worked in the City for 10 years, firstly as a dealer on the floor of the London Stock Exchange and then as an equity salestrader.  

Samia is a business and ICT Teacher with over 20 years of leadership experience in Education, working with leaders from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5. Her experience has ranged from working as an Acting Head Teacher to a Deputy for an Education Trust. Some of the key highlights from her education career have included building schools and setting up education provisions, including a teaching school, and winning several National awards. Samia is passionate about ensuring the young people in her care have the best possible experience and has always led by example by sending her own children to the schools she has been a part of.

Ray leads the youth engagement, partnerships and fundraising work streams at Ormiston Trust, in particular having strategic oversight of how we as an organisation can embed the voices of our young people in everything we do, and how we can work with partner organisations to maximise shared outcomes and opportunities.

His background is in community project development and funding, having worked with charities, schools, and local authorities in East Anglia to develop a plethora of projects including primary-secondary school transition, award-winning youth amateur theatre, social prescribing in rural GP practices, and youth commissioning boards, for which he was recognised as a Prime Minister’s Point of Light.

Ray is a global health and medicine graduate, alongside his work at Ormiston, he is a hospital doctor and public health academic. He is also an #iWill Ambassador and national #iWill Partnership Board member.

Anne is Finance Manager at Ormiston Trust and has worked for Ormiston Trust for over 30 years, overseeing the property portfolio and asset management. She combines her work at the Trust with voluntary community work and has raised thousands of pounds to enhance leisure and education opportunities for young people in disadvantaged communities. 

Karlene is Finance Manager at Ormiston Trust and has been handling the Financial Management of Ormiston Trust since 2014. Her background is in Financial Services with 20 years working in the industry and she has a passion for systems, processes and spreadsheets to enable good finance management. 

Aneela is the Head of Education at Ormiston Trust. Prior to joining Ormiston Trust, she was Head of Professional Development and School Improvement at Beaconhouse Group, overseeing the professional development of over 8000 teachers and implementing systems for school improvement across 200 international schools, in the Southeast region. Prior to this, she worked at Universities in the UAE, where she taught on the Bachelor of Education and Diploma programmes, and previous to this she was a Lead Advisor for Nord Anglia Education services, working with head teachers and principals to raise educational standards across schools in Abu Dhabi.

Melissa is a Programme Management Officer at Ormiston Trust. In her role she supports the #WeWill programme management, and works closely with the monitoring & evaluation, social action toolkit & skills, and youth engagement teams. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Development at the University of Sussex, and her postgraduate degree in Global Health and Development at UCL. Over the last eight years, she has dedicated much of her time to working with non-profit organisations in the UK, Nigeria, China, and Tanzania.