Education Executives: workshops 2021/22

Education Executives is our new membership for those responsible for leading improvement across, or overseeing, multiple schools. Membership includes a range of activities and resources, to help you develop as a confident executive leader.

As you are aware there are three virtual workshop sessions each year, a full day in-person event, and four coaching sessions with Forum’s top team of executive coaches. The coaching sessions will be arranged directly between you and your coach and focus on areas identified by you (working with your coach). Members will also gain access to our weekly (term-time) briefing services and our membership website.

The workshops

The content of the termly workshops has been planned and outlined below and the national full day face to face event will fit between these three sessions. There will be a book group discussion session at each workshop. We will ensure that a copy of the book is posted to you in good time prior to the workshop and we will highlight one or two key chapters which we will discuss. Key resources from Forum’s website and wider, will also be highlighted to you throughout your membership.

Autumn Term 1 Workshop – Successful strategies and defining ‘quality improvement’

Wednesday 6th October 6pm – 7pm & Thursday 7th October 9am-12pm

Our first workshop will be an excellent opportunity to meet each other, share priorities and hopes for the membership and to start as we mean to go on, with a focus on strategy and big picture thinking. The night before the workshop we will have an hour together to meet each other and to hear from an inspirational speaker who has had considerable impact across system leadership. This will give you food for thought for the next day.

In our first session we will look at school improvement strategy and consider how academy trusts can shape, refine and verbalise their improvement strategy. One of the challenges of working in a school improvement role can be aligning the vision held by school leaders with the vision presented by the board and executive – clear, effective strategy is a vital in helping to achieve this. Paul Ainsworth will lead the introduction to this session. We will also be joined by two expert speakers – one from the world of education and one from a different field who will both explain how strategy and defining quality improvement has enabled them to bring about positive change. We will also have our first book group session, where we will unpick a couple of chapters of Alistair Campbell’s ‘Winning’.

Key questions

  • What does success look like for our trust?
  • How do we translate that into practical strategies and measures of success?
  • How do we ensure ‘buy in’ and alignment behind our definition of quality improvement and improvement strategy across the organisation?

Autumn Term 2 Workshop – Implementation

Monday 6th December 9am – 12pm

Our second workshop will build on the ideas from workshop 1 and will dovetail with your current work. We know that whilst improvement strategy is key to system leadership, you then have to be skilled in how you implement this across your organisation, not least through the training, development and deployment of others and through scalable systems and processes.

In system leadership, at times your role may be blurry and you need to be skilled in how you work with and through people to bring about school improvement. Paul Ainsworth will give his perspectives on this before we are joined by two colleagues from within and outside of education who will share their experience of implementing strategy and influencing change. There will also be an emphasis on the role of project leadership and management at scale with Alice Gregson.

We will have our second book group, where we will focus on the key learning in ‘Nudge’ by Thaler and Sunstein.

Key questions

  • How does an education executive succeed in enabling improvement at scale?
  • What are the key tools and approaches that help to drive improvement across localities and settings?
  • How do we use and embed a coaching approach to drive change at scale?
  • How do we manage underperformance and toxic cultures?

Spring Term full day event

Thursday 10th March 2022 9am – 4pm

After the last eighteen months the thought of meeting in person is truly exciting and we hope this interaction will help you to build relationships with colleagues who act as peers and can prove truly valuable throughout your career. We will engage a range of speakers to inspire and deepen your learning. One of whom will be Michael Pain, the founder of Forum Strategy and the author of the book ‘Being the CEO’. Our other speakers will build on the theme of leadership, development and continuous learning. We will also have a book group session and this time it will include the author of the work too (book and author to be confirmed nearer the time).

Summer Term Workshop – Review and evaluation

Thursday 23rd June 2022 9am – 12pm


The final workshop will focus on how you can review and evaluate the progress your school improvement strategy is making. We will consider the differences between a learning culture that continually reflects on successes as well as failures and those more toxic cultures that focus on blame and ‘what went wrong’ and go on to explore how you might create an open, honest learning culture across the Trust. We will consider the different metrics you can use to show strategic progress and how you can share this with a range of stakeholders including your board. There will be a focus on the role of peer review and leading peer review models in embedding and distributing an ongoing culture of review for formative learning.

 Our two expert speakers will share their thoughts and insight on these topics, including effective communication with Trustees. Our final book group session is likely to look at ‘Black Box Thinking’ by Matthew Syed and again we will select some key chapters to discuss.

Key questions

  • How do we embed and sustain a learning culture, not least through leading and overseeing high quality peer review models?
  • What is the role of strategic external partnerships in enhancing opportunities for ongoing learning and innovation?
  • How do we report on progress and improvement measures in a way that informs and drives a continuous process of improvement?

Education Executive Membership

For full details of the Education Executive membership and the application form click the button below