What to expect

There’s no doubt you became a headteacher to develop the best school for your children and community. As rewarding as this job is, I’m sure you agree, it’s a journey of constant learning and growth. 

Are you learning from the best? 

Every year since 2012, we’ve been bringing together recently outstanding headteachers at this flagship conference to share best practice with other headteachers. 

How many outstanding headteachers and schools have you met in the last 6 months?

Come and meet six in one day!

Our speakers are truly inspiring. They have moved their schools forward under exceptionally challenging circumstances and they have received an ‘outstanding’ badge under the new framework (even though that’s not why they do what they do).

Our flagship event is extremely popular – in the last three years tickets sold out in 2 weeks!

See for yourself what the day is like with these highlights videos of previous conferences:

Who should attend:

This event is perfect for Primary school (including Infant and Junior):

  • Headteachers
  • Deputy Headteachers
  • Assistant Headteachers
  • Senior Leaders
  • Middle Leaders

How good is it?

What do your colleagues have to say about ‘Moving to Outstanding: Best practice from recently outstanding headteachers’?

It’s brilliant!

Your headteacher peers have rated the day 8.9, 9.4 and 9.5/10 for the last 3 years.

“Thanks for another brilliant day of learning. You always provide the most wonderful speakers who are an inspiration to us all”. McClenaghan  Headteacher, Crowlands Primary, Essex

Once again I’ve collected some professional nuggets of gold”. C Jones – Headteacher, Hearsall Community Academy, Coventry 

“Absolutely loved the practical, inspirational speakers. Great to see it isn’t heads of schools with just amazing data. A real privilege to hear their journey” S Webb – Headteacher, Redgate Community Primary School, Liverpool


Beth Dyer, Headteacher- Nine Acres Primary, Isle of White

Click on the image to hear what Beth has to say about Moving to Outstanding 2019


Rebecca Harris- Headteacher, St Alban CofE Primary and Nursery & James Humphries- Headteacher, Kentish Town CofE Primary, London

Click on the image to hear their experience of Moving to Outstanding 2019



See for yourself with our ‘Moving to Outstanding 2019- highlights’ to get a feel for how good the day is:

Former speakers

We’re busy selecting the very best speakers for our next conference right now.

We search the country for headteachers that have created the most amazing schools so they can share their stories and tips with you.

Previous speakers include these outstanding heads:

Binks Neate-Evans, Headteacher, West Earlham Infant and Nursery School, Norwich

Vulnerable families and challenging parents - A Balancing Act: Leading and succeeding in areas of high deprivation

West Earlham Infant and Nursery School, Norwich, is an infant and nursery school set in an area of high deprivation; they have typically 50-60% pupil premium, high SEN and on entering nursery 87% of children have significant language delay.

Within this highly dynamic community there is very high levels of social care involvement. The postcode is one of the highest nationally for prevalence of domestic and substance abuse as well as mental health issues, known as the ‘toxic trio’.

Getting parents to support and recognise the impact of some of the circumstantial challenges they face has required a strategic, kind and tenacious approach but one Binks and her team have succeeded in. As noted in their inspection report:

‘Parents describe the school as ‘brilliant’ and ‘really supportive’. One parent stated, ‘The school helps me to help my son with his behaviour and learning.’ Another commented: ‘I can’t fault the school, you can talk to anyone without them judging you. The teachers are very patient. I can see lots of positive changes in my children.’

This isn’t at the expense of the team, quite the opposite; in a recent county wide staff well-being survey West Earlham and Infant and Nursery was the highest scoring school.

It wasn’t always that way and Binks shared how she and the West Earlham team created such a community:

- Ground zero: clarity around what she could and couldn’t do with parents and the community.

- How she extended the school’s culture into the community and vice versa.

- Establishing and managing expectations for parental conduct.

- Building psychological resilience in her team to manage the impact of the challenges.

- How they help children and families in crisis.

Christopher Blunt, Headteacher, Spring Vale Primary School

The journey to outstanding, October 1999 – October 2019

Spring Vale’s children receive exceptional education: since 2017 attainment has been around 90% and progress was in the top 10% of schools nationally. All this in a school which has grown in size and in the top 10% of deprived schools in the country with high SEN, EAL and mobility.

But it hasn’t always been this way…

In 1999 Spring Vale Primary School was put into ‘special measures’, under threat of closure with barely 150 pupils. At this point, the improvement journey began. Twenty years later, the school was judged ‘outstanding’, only the fifth school in the country to receive this rating under the newest Ofsted framework.

Chris Blunt joined the school as Deputy Head in 2006 and became the Head in 2010 - it’s fair to say he’s been a key part of this journey.

The exceptional nature of the school has been crafted over time by the team and Chris.

Chris shared:

- How they built outstanding learning by changing the curriculum and focusing on three key drivers.

- How they led their inspection by planning for the phone call and having no regrets.

- Where they go from here, including next steps and reflections of the staff and children.

- The challenge of changing the mindset of children, staff and parents to make outstanding possible for all school stakeholders.

- Curriculum and Ofsted-ready resources.

Nicola Noble, Joint Headteacher, Surrey Square Primary School, Southwark

Why stop at outstanding? Surrey Square: building a lasting legacy

Nicola Noble and Liz Robinson are joint heads of Surrey Square a school with high diversity, high EAL and high levels of special needs. Judged outstanding in December 2016 the heads have set about making the school sustainably outstanding. Previously an Infant and Junior school, the schools merged in January 2011 and the two heads went on maternity leave soon after; on returning they realised the school was not as strong as when they left it. As a new all-through primary school they secured Good at the next inspection but the co-heads knew they wanted the school to be outstanding whether they were there or not. They set out about being outstanding in a on-going, lasting way:

‘Our vision is summed up in our mission - ‘Personal and academic excellence; everyone, every day.’ For us, the ‘and’ is absolutely critical; high attainment in core skills is a pre-requisite for success in secondary school, and beyond. However, just as important are the other skills – the ability to ‘self-manage’, to communicate clearly with others, to know who you are and to have ambition. We define this as ‘personal excellence’ and actively teach our pupils these skills, sing the core values as a framework.’

Nicola shared how she, Liz and their team:

• Ensured both personal and academic excellence are achieved

• Securec values and character development through systems

• How they are using secondary data to track pupils’ progress and develop their primary provision

Amanda Webb, Headteacher, Talavera Junior School, Aldershot

How do you make an impact on achievement and progress when you have children for an average of 2 years?

Amanda Webb joined Talavera Junior School in 2015, the school had previously scraped a ‘Good’, and prior to that it had previously moved in and out of ‘Requires Improvement’.

Talavera is a larger school with several unique challenges which mean they typically have children with them for 2 years, in fact their 2017 Y6 class had only 25% of pupils who started with them.

75% of their children are from service families, meaning they often leave the school 2 years after joining, and many have English as an additional language.

On top of that the feeder infant school takes children up to year 3, meaning they don’t join Talavera Junior School until year 4.

And yet the secondary school they feed into come back and tell them their pupils arrive at the level they would want them to be.

So how do Amanda and the team achieve attainment of 79% (local authority = 68%) and progress that is well above average?

Amanda shared how they:

- ensure high quality teaching and learning

- close the gaps and ensure high progress and attainment

- created a no excuses culture

- make sure every second counts

- ensure amazing CPD for everyone

- create leadership in all staff

- develop learning support assistants who are so good they are indistinguishable from teachers

Darren Woollard, Executive Headteacher, Blenheim and Temple Sutton Primary Schools

Crafting an exceptional school over time - taking the quick wins and investing in the longer term gains

Darren Woollard joined Blenheim Primary School in 2004 as a class teacher, and was promoted to deputy before becoming Headteacher in 2012. Since September 2020 he became Executive Head of Blenheim and Temple Sutton Primary Schools.

Blenheim is a large school, serving mainly British community, with a high proportion of pupils eligible for pupil premium and a high number of pupils with EHCPs, yet their attainment is 81% and progress is well above average. Leaders at the school attribute this success to their strong culture and values, and a vision for every child to be the best they can be.

Darren shared how, over the years, he and his team have:

- created a culture focused on why they do what they do identified and put in place quick fixes

- focused on longer term, meaningful solutions - including redefining SEND for the school and adapting provision.

Next event

Please see our Covid section for the latest updates about changes to events


Our next annual conference will be held in the Autumn Term 2021 on Thursday 25th November 2021


2021 Event

See full details of our 2021 event here


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