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#EdInfluence - podcast for education leaders


Trusted by thousands of education providers across the country and an approved partner of the NGA, NAHT, CST, ASCL and ISBL, we are a national law firm helping our clients and partner organisations shape and influence education policy.

Providing insight and advice to education leaders in a collaborative and innovative way – our aim is to help you do what is right for your pupils and staff.

#EdInfluence draws on our own experiences and those of our clients and partners, to uncover the insights and beliefs of people who are truly invested in shaping the education space right now and those that are passionate about making a difference in the way in which we educate our children and young people.

Join our sector leading lawyers, Mark Blois and Nick MacKenzie as we cut through the policies, politics and red tape to engage in honest, humanised conversations with some of today’s most inspiring leaders.

When speaking about the series, Nick said “what has been fascinating is hearing about the incredible things that are happening right now within schools and academies – for example, how Shireland are harnessing technology to support learning, how co-founder of Games Workshop Ian Livingstone believes in the notion of learning through play. We hear how Paul Whiteman is passionate about removing the fear from data and installing confidence in the teaching profession, and our client Hugh Greenway talks about the purpose of education and piloting Ofsted's new inspection framework.... everyone will enjoy listening to these real stories…”

Available on Podbean, SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify and Google podcasts - listen, share, subscribe and join in the #EdInfluence conversation today.

Series 2

Episode 9: In the final episode of #EdInfluence series two, Nick MacKenzie is joined by Carl Ward, founder and Chair of the Foundation for Education Development (FED) to discuss how a long-term education vision and plan can best serve the needs of our country and its people.

Through providing a neutral space for experts from across education, business, politics and the community to come together, Carl outlines the thinking behind FED’s ambitious three-year objective to unify our country’s approach to life-long learning focus. Nick and Carl discuss:

  • The need for, and process of undertaking research to underpin the robust principles on which a vision and plan can be developed;
  • The ideas and voices of our young people; the leaders of the future, and
  • The regionalisation of education and how this might impact the development of an education plan.

Episode 8: Nick MacKenzie is joined by Alastair Falk a former headteacher currently working as an education consultant to talk about what makes a great school.

The following subjects are covered:

  • Three broad roles of a great school - traditional role of school, the online school and the role of schools as a community hub
  • hearing the voice of parents and pupils
  • shared learning between teachers and pupils from the online experience
  • the role of schools in the social and economic regeneration of the country
  • the importance of networks and raising your ‘head up’

Nick and Alastair also discuss the importance of local networking, place and the role of schools in the social and economic regeneration of the country.

Episode 7: This is the final part of two special edition podcasts in which Nick MacKenzie is joined by five leading voices in the education space to speak about the impact of Covid-19 on schools and academies. Each guest highlights examples of meeting this considerable challenge and shares their ideas about positive changes that could be used as a catalyst for long term beneficial change in the education sector. Again resilience, adaptability, collaboration and the civic role of our schools are key themes.

The speakers in this episode are:

  • Joy Madeiros - Global CEO, Oasis (01:12)
  • Graham Feek - Deputy Chief Executive, Greenwood Academies Trust (12:16)
  • Joseph Lyons - Chief Executive, Lyons Academy Trust (23:50)
  • Dan Morrow - Trust Leader & Chief Executive, Woodlands Academy Trust (40:55)
  • Stuart Gardner - Trust Leader, Thinking Schools Academy Trust (52:35)

Episode 6: This is the first of two special edition podcasts in which Nick MacKenzie is joined by five leading voices in the education space to speak about the impact of Covid-19 on schools and academies. Each guest highlights examples of meeting this considerable challenge and shares their ideas about positive changes that could be used as a catalyst for long term beneficial change in the education sector. Resilience, adaptability, collaboration and the civic role of our schools are key themes.

The speakers in this episode are:

  • Leora Cruddas - Chief Executive, Confederation of School Trusts (01:12)
  • Luke Sparks - Executive Director, Dixons Academies Trust (09:20)
  • Debbie Clinton - Chief Executive Office, Academy Transformation Trust (22:10)
  • Richard Gill - Chief Executive Office, Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (32:15)
  • Hugh Greenway, Chief Executive, The Elliot Foundation (43:26)


Episode 5: Mark Blois is joined by Sir Steve Lancashire, CEO of the REAch2 Academy Trust, to discuss the continuing development of the largest primary-only multi-academy trust in the country. Sir Steve and Mark explore a range of issues including the Trust’s origins and history, its approach to governance and the Trust’s ‘Cornerstone’ and ‘Touchstones’ strategies.


Episode 4: Mark Blois, Partner in Browne Jacobson’s Education Team, welcomes Emma Knights, CEO of the National Governance Association (NGA), to discuss the publication of the latest version of the NGA’s guidance on the role of Members in Academy Trusts.


Episode 3: Mark Blois is joined by Ambition Institute’s Associate Director of Research & Evaluation Vivien Niblett to discuss their research ‘People Power’ and what can be learnt from multi-academy trusts about how to develop and retain educators.


Episode 2: Nick MacKenzie, Partner in Browne Jacobson’s Education Team, welcomes Stephen Morales, CEO at Institute of School Business Leadership to discuss the future of school business leadership and the need for pedagogical leaders, governance leaders and business leaders to lean into each other.


Episode 1: Nick Mackenzie, Partner in Browne Jacobson’s Education Team welcomes Graham Feek and Steve Sanderson from Greenwood Academies Trust to discuss the implementation of an innovative digital strategy and the Microsoft Office 365 platform throughout their 35 academies.


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Series 1

Episode 8: In this episode we’re rejoined by Hugh Greenway from the Elliot Foundation to look at his experience of running a large MAT and how the Trust has embedded a strong vision and belief that all pupils can achieve.


Episode 7: In this episode Hugh Greenway CEO from the Elliot Foundation Academies Trust joins us to discuss the purpose of education and their experience piloting Ofsted’s new inspection framework. 


Episode 6: Having successfully inspired thousands of young people through integrated learning systems Shireland Collegiate Academy Trust’s Executive Principle Sir Mark Grundy shares his insights into how their approach has developed over time. We examine what it takes to do it at scale, the importance of being brave and the positive outcomes for pupils who are being encouraged to learn differently.


Episode 5: Pupil performance, inspections and improvement. In this episode NAHT’s General Secretary Paul Whiteman joins us as we seek to recreate an accountability system that’s fit for today’s school system and consider the direction for future reforms. 


Episode 4: Ian Livingstone CBE takes us behind the UK’s high-tech creative and video games industries for a thought-provoking look at the national curriculum. We explore possible ways of making it more engaging and consider the use of learning through play to develop critical thinking, problem solving and creativity skills.


Episode 3: ASCL’s General Secretary Geoff Barton and Director of Policy Julie McCulloch lead the conversations in this episode to explore the importance of ethical leadership before considering what does a successful leader look like? 


Episode 2: Freedom to be different. In this episode we revisit the concept of autonomy, accountability and curriculum with Leora Cruddas, CEO of Federation of School Trusts (FASNA) and discuss the future direction of the organisation. 


Episode 1: With the importance of good governance in the education sector well documented, we are joined by Andrew Warren, the then Chair of The Teaching Schools Council and Stephen Munday to look at what next for the self-improving school system.

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150th Anniversary of State Education – Lessons Learned: reflections of 12 former Secretaries of State

Our on-demand video was hosted by the BBC’s Education Correspondent Branwen Jefferys with special guests including Baroness Nicky Morgan, Kenneth Clarke QC, Michael Gove, Justine Greening and Lord David Blunkett discussing past successes of education, the unintended consequences of past policy, and to envision what still remains to be done.


150th anniversary of State Education – looking back, moving forward

Watch our on-demand video where we joined the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, Dame Julia Cleverdon, Sir Michael Barber and the recently appointed President of the CBI Lord Karan Bilimoria to launch a year of celebration for those delivering education.


Legal updates

What is a higher education course for the purposes of access to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s (OIA) complaints process?

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s (OIA) has recently published a reminder of its remit in relation to dealing with complaints, which is a timely reminder as the new academic year begins.


Upcoming webinars

Effective Board and Members meetings; Covid-19 and beyond

Education Partners Nick MacKenzie and Dominic Swift discuss the approach to members and board meetings in the ‘new normal’ considering the benefits of virtual meetings and discuss how in the longer-term, boards might combine virtual and in-person meetings to be more effective.


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