Change Leaders

VNET Change Leaders are experts in their field.  All are VNET members and have completed training via the Lambeth Teaching School Alliance.  The VNET Change Leaders have significant experience as school leaders and in school improvement: Executive Headteachers, CEOs, MAT Directors of Education and Headteachers of schools in challenging areas or circumstances. They are VNET’s ‘on the ground’ consultants and their schools receive income for any time they spend working with other schools on VNET’s behalf.  

Stuart Allen


Mile Cross Primary School

Stuart is the Headteacher of Mile Cross Primary School in Norwich, judged to be Outstanding in every area by OFSTED. He has supported many schools throughout Norfolk and Suffolk, providing leadership development and school improvement. Stuart sits on the Norwich Opportunity Area Partnership Board and Chairs the Early Years priority to improve social mobility for the disadvantaged children of Norfolk.

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Richard Cranmer


St Benet's MAT

Richard was appointed Chief Executive Officer of St Benet’s MAT in 2018. Prior to this he was Executive Headteacher at Archbishop Sancroft High School following a teaching career in Oxford and Norwich. Richard holds a degree in Marine Biology, a Diploma in Farm Management, a PGCE and NPQH (National Professional Qualification in Headship) and achieved the NPQEL (National Professional Qualification for Executive Leadership) in 2020.

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Clare Fletcher

Director of Schools

The Yare Education Trust

Clare has particular expertise and experience in school improvement. She has been headteacher in three primary schools for nearly 20 years. Clare has experience of leading a school from special measures to good and she has led a school to outstanding. Clare is also a serving Ofsted Inspector and has done this for 8 years.

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Clare Jones

Director of Education

Boudica Schools Trust

Clare has been in school leadership in Norfolk for the last 16 years being headteacher of four very different schools in the county. She has also established and led her own MAT and is now Executive Director of Education for Boudica Schools Trust with responsibility for 10 schools including secondary, primary and special. Particular areas of expertise include equality and diversity, leadership and governance, and overall school improvement.

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Nicholas King


Scarning VC Primary School

Nick has worked as a headteacher in Norfolk for the last 10 years. He has a wide experience of diverse settings, from small rural to large urban schools. Nick has worked mostly in Norfolk since 2004, having previously worked in London. He also has experience of working as a teacher and an acting headteacher in the Australian education system. Nick’s interests include supporting leadership with team building, staff well-being and the management of change.

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Rebecca Newman

Executive Headteacher

Trinity Federation

Rebecca has been headteacher of a federation of three church schools, two judged good and one outstanding by Ofsted, and all three judged outstanding by SIAMS. She can offer help and advice on the process of federation, managing more than one school, small schools, mixed age classes, preparing for SIAMS, and support in writing the SEF. Rebecca has successfully supported those new to headship particularly focussing on maintaining work-life balance and well-being.

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Joanna Pedlow

Executive Headteacher

Toftwood Infant and Junior School Federation

Jo has been a Headteacher for over 20 years, starting at an Infant School and more recently federating it successfully with the Junior School, moving it from 3 x RI to good. She has undertaken a range of support work in schools, been a professional partner and has also chaired the Norfolk Schools’ Forum. Jo is also a serving OFSTED Inspector, with experience in Primary, Secondary, SEND and Independent Schools.

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Nick Southgate

Academies Group Executive Principal

The Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust

Nick works for the DNEAT School Improvement Team. He has responsibility for a group of Primary Schools in West Norfolk supporting with all aspects of school improvement, Headteacher Performance Management, recruitment, HR and finance. Prior to working for DNEAT Nick was Headteacher of two Norfolk Infant Schools, one judged outstanding by Ofsted. Areas of expertise include SEN and inclusion, Early Years, values led practice and learning through the arts and creativity.

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Simon Wakeman

Executive Head

Coastal Together Federation

Simon has been an Executive Head for the past 12 years in two different settings and a Headteacher for the 5 previous years. His current role is Executive Head of ‘Coastal Together’ a two hub, six school federation within mid and north Norfolk. His expertise is based around change and systems management, in particular the complex organisational structures of federations and the governance of them. Simon also has expertise in leadership development and school improvement.

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Debbie Whiting


North Denes Primary and Nursery

Debbie has been a headteacher for 15 years in 2 different schools, having both schools together for a period of 2 years. She moved the current school from RI to Good in just over a year and at the last inspection, leadership was judged outstanding. Debbie led her current school through several periods of change, from junior to primary and then adding a nursery; also, through a restructuring process, taking in pupils from a closing school and then having a new school built on site. They are also opening an ‘inclusion’ class this year. Debbie’s areas of expertise include leadership development and improvement, change management and data.

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