Education Exchange Conference: ‘Preparing for Growth’

The Education Exchange Conference, held at The Principal in York, ignited a two-day dialogue on sustainable and effective growth for school trusts across the UK. From January 25th to 26th, delegates delved into insightful talks, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities, equipping themselves with invaluable tools and strategies.

We can positively impact 172,230 children with the #EdExConference. This is the combined number of children from all schools, academies, and Trusts who had CEOs and leaders attending the conference; all learning from each other and forging professional friendships.

“The Education Exchange is like discovering an untapped seam of educational gold I never knew existed. Thank you for an amazing event, warmth and meeting new friends”

  • Setting the Stage: George Panayiotou, Castleford Academy Trust, welcomed attendees and outlined the overall vision of The Education Exchange and why it exists.
  • Experienced Experts: Practical sessions were held on due diligence (Jane Wilson, Northern Education Trust), TUPE measures (Helen Ruddle, Delta Academies Trust), and ICFP implementation (Andy Barnett, Delta Academies Trust) providing delegates with essential frameworks for informed decision-making.
  • Restructuring with Heart: Anna Rooney (Delta Academies Trust) shared insights on minimising staff disruption during Trust restructuring, followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion on sustainable school improvement models led by Jo Cross, Julian Appleyard (Pontefract Academies Trust), and Dave Gurney (Cockburn Multi Academy Trust).
  • Leadership at Scale: Tom Banham (HCAT) and Kate Rowley (Delta Academies Trust) discussed cost-effective strategies for cultivating exceptional leaders at both primary and secondary levels.
  • Empowering Every Child: Sir John Townsley (The GORSE Academies Trust) emphasised the importance of removing learning barriers and ensuring equal opportunities for all.
  • Future Forward: Sam Freedman (Institute for Government) captivated the audience with an insightful presentation on the evolving education landscape, touching on recruitment trends and potential shifts in funding.

“So many inspirational speakers have given us lots to think about”


Building Lasting Connections: Beyond the informative sessions, the conference fostered a spirit of collaboration through an evening networking meal after the first day of the conference, allowing delegates to build professional relationships and exchange ideas.

Day two, hosted by David Lord (Together Learning Trust), commenced with Simon Witham (Venn Academy Trust) offering guidance on securing growth funding and showcasing the remarkable transformation of Milton School through collaborative leadership.

  • Insights from the Top: Baroness Barran, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, engaged in a Q&A session with Paul Tarn (Delta Academies Trust), shedding light on government education plans and addressing pressing questions.
  • Shared Expertise: Nick Hurn (Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust) and his team emphasised the power of collaboration in cost-saving and mutual support across the education sector.
  • Closing on a High Note: Richard McCann (iCan Academy) delivered a powerful and motivational keynote, leaving attendees feeling empowered and inspired to overcome challenges.

“I know this sounds like a cliché but we learnt so much from the presentations from start to finish and have come back to school with lots of takeaways”


The Education Exchange Conference 2024 proved to be a transformative event for knowledge sharing, professional development, and fostering a collaborative spirit within the education sector. With its engaging format, expert speakers, and diverse topics, the conference successfully equipped attendees to navigate the ever-evolving education landscape and cultivate sustainable growth for their Trusts whether fully-established or newly developing.

We are excited to see the next developments for The Education Exchange and what our Professional Partners can accomplish.

“Privileged to be a small part of this amazing day. To be involved in impacting the lives of over 170k students is truly humbling. Great collaboration and sharing of ideas”


Thank you to our main sponsors for the conference: UYRReading Solutions and The Ark.

We would also like to thank our Marketplace exhibitors which offered our delegates visited throughout new innovative ideas for academies and Trusts including sustainable solutions and digital products. These included: Generation JuiceProspectus Plus, UYR, Tiffin Sandwiches, The Ark, Reading Solutions, Estio ApprenticeshipsEducation MutualSchools Mutual Services and Education Commercial Services.