Meet the Challenge Partner Team
Our experienced Challenge Partner team work with our partner schools to support their School Improvement goals. Led by Jennie Walker they have developed the Primary school improvement package and deliver training sessions and carry out the School Improvement visits.
CEO Kernow Learning Trust
Jennie is the CEO of Kernow Learning Trust. Jennie is an experienced headteacher, achieving her first headship in 1993. She was Principal of St Columb Minor International Academy (an Ofsted-graded Good with Outstanding features school) for 12 Years, which converted to academy status in 2011: The academy was the largest primary school in the county and was Jennie’s third headship. She was also a Director of the Kernow Collaborative Trust for 4 years. Jennie has also worked as an LA School Improvement Officer, Ofsted Inspector and is a Local Leader of Education. She is a School Improvement Partner. She has featured in an Ofsted Music report “Music in Schools –Sound Partnerships”. Jennie has experience of mentoring for the Leadership Development School and is a Women into Leadership coach. Jennie was a National Ashden Award winner for Sustainable Education 2010
Karen is an Associate Adviser for CAPH and leads on the NAHT/Aspire programme in Cornwall. With over twenty years in Headship she has vast experience in working with others to secure school improvement. Karen is skilled in managing change, having led the amalgamation of two primary schools and her leadership was judged by Ofsted to be outstanding.
Karen has successfully supported the professional development of both individuals and schools in difficulties as an accredited School Improvement Partner, Consultant Headteacher (NCSL), Primary Leadership Partner and NPQH tutor and assessor. Karen has worked extensively with outside agencies as the Chairperson of the Children’s Centre Advisory Board in Cornwall and is fully committed to working collaboratively and building sustainability from within an organisation.
Committed to lifelong learning, Karen has embraced the opportunity to work with schools, seeking to build their professional capacity and improve outcomes for all pupils.
Paul Hodson is a freelance lead inspector, experienced in inspecting primary schools since 1997. He also works as a quality assurance officer for Ofsted, an education consultant, external university examiner and management training facilitator. Paul has gained significant leadership experience from his roles as headteacher of three primary schools, school improvement partner and external adviser. Paul has led training events for headteachers and governors in data analysis, self-evaluation and performance management. He was awarded the Professional Qualification for School Inspectors in 2014 and has enhanced CRB disclosure. He is currently working on a doctoral thesis that is looking for solutions to the growing headteacher recruitment crisis across the country.
Mark Lees retired from school life at the end of August 2017 after 38 years as a teacher and leader in a wide variety of primary schools. Mark is passionate about the development of an exciting curriculum for primary age children set within a stimulating and creative learning environment.
Mark has been headteacher of several primary schools in Cornwall including Trenance Infants, Alverton Primary and more recently Threemilestone School in Truro. He is proud of the standards achieved and provision in these schools. He has also been a headteacher in a village school in Gloucestershire and in 2008 was appointed as a team headteacher of two large primary schools in Plymouth. At these schools, his leadership abilities were recognised when he was recognised as the 2008 NCSL Headteacher of Year in a south west primary school.
During the last two years Mark has been the Executive Principal of the St Piran’s CE Multi-Academy Trust. This position involved acting as the trust’s CEO and school improvement lead. He has also had the opportunity to work for Cornwall County Council as a Primary Adviser on two occasions, leading on the EYFS, primary leadership, governance and remodelling the workforce.
Mark has had a wide experience of supporting primary schools with school improvement as a SIP and adviser. He is also a trained and registered school inspector.
Mark has an enhanced DBS check.
Mike has 25 years teaching experience in middle and primary schools in urban and rural settings, 12 of which included two successful headships in social priority areas. For several years he was the elected Chair of SW Hampshire Primary Headteachers Conference during which time he served on the County Executive. He was then recruited by Ofsted as part of the first cohort of headteachers to be trained as Additional Inspectors. Subsequently Mike became mentor to groups of heads who followed the same path.
When the opportunity arose to form a company to bid for inspections on behalf of Ofsted he became Managing Director of MSB Education Ltd, and over nearly 10 years, maintained Ofsted’s A rating. The company was responsible for inspecting hundreds of schools. It eventually went into partnership with an elite group of contractors in an alliance which, as Tribal Education, took over sole management of inspections for the whole of the south of England. Mike rose to become Tribal’s Principal Inspector, not only leading inspections, but liaising with Ofsted, managing a large workforce and training new and lead inspectors.
Following the government’s decision to end the contracting process and to bring all inspections back in-house Mike returned to Ofsted full time. As part of the select Challenge and Investigation team that monitors the quality and effectiveness of HMI inspections he reported his findings directly to HMCI.
Having officially retired he was invited by several local authorities to play a further part in school improvement. Currently he supports a variety of schools as their Challenge Partner as well as maintaining work in other areas, including preparation for inspection, headteacher appraisal and staff training.