Supporting governance and leadership

We can support education leaders - Chief Execs, Headteachers, Trustees and Governors through change:

We provide:

  • Strategic governance reviews and planning support

  • Effective and creative Trustee/Governor recruitment

  • Trustee/Governor development planning

  • Trustee/Governor skills and training analysis

  • Stakeholder engagement and consultation support

  • Organisational change management and guidance

How does school governance work in a multi-academy trust?

Keith Clover (National Leader of Governance) and Lock House Consulting associate, talks to John Stephens


See client examples and testimonials below.

Recruitment support through Academy Ambassadors to multi academy trusts - recruiting in excess of 130 board trustees/non-executive directors

I’m proud to have been part of a great success for Academy Ambassadors across the SW region for the past 3 years where we have helped find and place over 130 non-execs onto SW MAT boards. The region has been consistently performing in the top 2 of the regions in terms of numbers of NEDs appointed.

Example of the trusts supported = Magna Learning Partnership, Salisbury Plain Academies, Salisbury 6th Form College, Wimborne Academy Trust, Diocese of Bristol Academy Trust

Read testimonials about our work here:

“Shelley, I must thank you for all you have done for us with 2 lots of recruitment. You have been a real star, always helpful and I think you have done us proud.”

John Richardson, Chair of Trustees, The Priory Learning Trust

“Hi Shelley, Many thanks for your support, we are really looking forward to building our “board for the future”.

Hugh Whittaker, Chairman Ventrus Multi Academy Trust

“Good Morning Shelley, I would like to offer thanks, both personally and on behalf of Ventrus, for all you have done to support our work.”

Gary Chown, Chief Executive Officer, Ventrus Multi Academy Trust

“Hi Shelley. Thanks for everything you and the team have done to support WCAT. AA is definitely the go to place to source quality applicants.”

Claire Emery, Head of Governance, Wellington College Academy Trust

“Dear Shelley, On behalf of Kate and myself, I would like to thank you very much for the support you have given us.”

Andrea Arlidge, CEO, Wellsway MAT

“Dear Shelley, I have fond memories of our telephone interviews, always polite and respectful, but always searching, demanding and professional. Since January this year you have helped and supported us appoint not only me, but 3 other Trustees – we have chipped in and found both the chair of one of our academies and a new chair of our Audit Committee, both of whom are also Trustees. So there has been quite some change to our Board of Trustee. But to you Shelley we send our thanks and gratitude.”

Mike Newton, Chair of Trustees, Somerset Road Education Trust

“Hello Shelley. Thanks for your email and particularly for all your tireless assistance - initially in your PM role in the run up to conversion of the schools into Salisbury Plain Academies and then subsequently in helping us find skilled non-execs to build an effective board. The Trustees are all making valuable contributions and we have a good team who are enjoying working with the CEO, other members of the executive and the Principals. I know that you are well aware of the challenges we faced and am pleased to say that SPA and its schools are making positive progress as a result of the team effort. I am a strong advocate of Academy Ambassadors and getting the right non-execs on the board as a key step to supporting the CEO and senior staff.”

John Nutt, Chair of the Trust Board, Salisbury Plain Academies

“Dear Shelley, thank you for all your help when you were looking for a role for me – I am enjoying my role with the Athelstan Trust which I owe largely to you.“

Richard Boggis-Rolfe, Chairman, ODGERS BERNDTSON

“Thank you for all you have done, my eyes are starting to open and I see huge improvements that can be achieved. Any changes and the future of these academies will reflect the effort you have put in and you should be immensely proud of this”.

Mark Bower-Dyke, Non-Exec Director Magna Learning Partnership

“We have been successful in securing professional people – the right people for our needs – which has had an impact on how we operate. They bring a new dynamic and we are behaving and performing better as a board. This means we work better as a trust and free up the bandwidth to keep looking at ways of getting better; it has had a snowball effect on professionalising governance throughout the trust.”

Neil Owen, Chair, Magna Learning Partnership

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Attenborough Learning Trust

As part of a new trust development project – successfully recruited 4 Members and 10 Trustees, including the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board, to create the new academy trust non-executive team. Designed and led the recruitment campaign utilising local community, national support and effective and creative targeted recruitment approach. Also supported the induction and development planning as the new board took on its role in support of the schools and executive trust leaders.

Read testimonials about our work here:

“From the first contact with Shelley, asking if I would be interested in becoming a trustee, I have found her to be a true professional. She copes with all that is asked of her, and managed to advise a diverse group of people in a newly forming organisation with many challenges. Her level of knowledge, attention to detail, planning and project management skills are of the highest quality. Shelley also has the ability to guide and steer people through difficult times. Yet all this is achieved whilst still being a very friendly and approachable individual. It was a great pleasure to work with her on the project.”

Graham Smith, Chair of Trustees - Attenborough Learning Trust

Somerset Road Education Trust - Review of academy trust governance

Undertook a governance review (2017) across the board of the Somerset Road Education Trust resulting in a restructure of the Members and Trustees boards and the separation of overlap with the local governing bodies and the strengthening of the accountability model across the trust including restructuring the operational leadership to ensure compliance.

Read testimonials about our work here:

“Hello Shelley, Thank you for the e-mail. As Mike has said in his reply, we have moved on quite a lot in the last 15 months or so and I just wanted to thank you for your part in helping us to achieve that. It has not been an easy path but a worthwhile one. I, for one, am happy to be wearing fewer hats! Thank you for what you did and for the manner in which you did it. It was always very constructive positive and helpful.”

Roy Bexon, Trustee, Somerset Road Education Trust

The Manor School - Melksham Academy Resource base

Business case for change, strategic support and public consultation

Read testimonials about our work here:

"I am grateful to Shelley for her skilful guidance and support during a difficult period of change for our academy and the SEN resource base. Shelley was able to support the school, effectively balancing the needs of the school, the families and the new academy partnership, in developing a business case for change that gained approval from stakeholders and the DfE. The children impacted by the changes can now be better served in more appropriate settings."

Headteacher - Kerry Haines

Diocese of Salisbury - Academy Partnerships  

Leadership development guidance to the Diocese of Salisbury and a number of Diocesan schools and local clusters across Wiltshire and Dorset.

Read testimonials about our work here:

"I am writing to say a very big 'Thank You' for funding Shelley Whitehead to come and work with a group of our Primary schools last week. Her expertise was so evident and a fantastic support. She was able to respond to questions there and then, which enabled us as a group to move our thinking forward. We are hoping to arrange for Shelley to support us in pulling together a similar session after Easter for Heads and Chairs, from which a Memorandum of Understanding will hopefully be created."

Headteacher - Weymouth

"Thank you very much for your time and for your detailed and highly informative presentation to governors yesterday. You pulled all of the issues together very succinctly and gave us much food for thought. The detail in your information is great ... thank you again!"

Headteacher - Poole

"Many thanks for your hard work. I thought that the conference was really informative yesterday. Well done. I have really gained from your input and up to date advice."

Headteacher - Marlborough

"Thank you for your hard work yesterday, there is no doubt that you are moving us forward and I for one appreciate the step by step approach you have adopted."

Chair of Governors - Marlborough

"Hi Shelley - I have heard from Sarah M just how amazing you were on Tuesday - both in the morning session with Frank Green and all day long in supporting/leading our School Leadership conference. I really appreciate you 'shaking and moving' to engineer Frank's attendance at the event. But also I want to say thank you for the creative work you provided on our new variation multi-academy-trust options for schools, your ideas have helped to shape and crystallise our thinking and the models are already proving to be enormously useful with our schools. Your consistent support is highly valued - thank you."

Joy Tubbs, Deputy Director of Education, Diocese of Salisbury

Wiltshire Council - Supporting Governors to shape collaborations and partnerships

Worked with a number of primary schools in the county, helping the Governing Body's to explore and implement alternative leadership structures. Developed a unique partnership readiness and evaluation toolkit and structural change training programme, and worked successfully in partnership with David Marriott and Keith Clover to deliver the programme to over 40 schools.

National College - Helping shape new training for Chairs of Governors

Supported the National College Leaders in Governance team to help review and shape the National Leaders in Governance training programme for Chairs of Governors.

Buxton School - developing a new Governing body.

Education leadership engagement for a school partnership in East London; Providing strategic guidance around governance and organisation to a secondary and primary school as they move from federation to amalgamation under trust status in preparation for their inclusion within the local authority's BSF programme. Established immediate credibility by helping the school to secure a series of key decisions, recruit new skilled governors and elect a new Chair. Further assignments to create the new operating structure for the Governing Body and establish the strategic development plan.

Read testimonials about our work here:

"Shelley, Thank you very much indeed. You have helped us move a very long way forward and we're really grateful for that. I don't think that we could have done it without you - so thank you for all your hard work and for Saturday in particular. We'll know where to come at the next stage!"

Candice Dwight, Headteacher

"Thank you for your assistance in making the conference a real success and such prompt return of outputs and other documents. I thought Saturday was a real step forward and certainly the GB now is very different from the one two years ago when I joined the school. I am sure Jo and Candice will be in contact with you but from my point of view your experience, knowledge and organisational skills have been so vital and supportive at what has been a very hectic time. So thank you once again and I'm sure you will be the first person we call when we need more support."

Alison Money, Business Manager

"Shelley, Thank you so much for this, and for all your hard work for us. The awayday has been welcomed as a success, and you have really helped us get into a good starting position!"

Jo Durning, Chair of Governors

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Local Authority Speaking Engagements

Developing Governor Strengths and capabilities

Developed a Governance development programme shared across a number of primary schools in a local cluster to both drive governor development as well as wider collaboration initiatives at governor level.

Supporting school effectiveness through collaboration

The Learning and School effectiveness team used Lock House Consulting at a conference on small school partnerships.

The Academy option - what does it mean for rural primary schools?

Providing strategic thinking and challenge to help groups of rural primary schools to understand and explore the opportunities and threats of the current climate and the drive to Academy status for all schools.

Read testimonials about our work here:

"The talk that Shelley, and her partner Headteacher - Nicola, gave on "the journey to partnership" was an impressive and inspirational presentation that demonstrated how strong cross-phase school-to-school partnerships could work successfully with the right input, structure and innovative thinking - even between a "David and Goliath" type relationship. I came away with a very positive feeling about how proactively managed partnerships can be so fruitful - I long for our small schools to feel they have some control over their destiny and you in no small part helped to raise their confidence to form partnerships based on negotiation and having a powerful conversation even with larger secondary schools."

Liz Townend, Professional Development Advisor

"I am sure I speak for everyone in thanking you for the wonderful presentation on Friday. It was mind-blowingly interesting and the three hours just flew by! Thanks for the slides and as you suggest, will think carefully about how best to disseminate the key messages to other Govs"

Ashley O, Governor

"Hi Shelley, thank you so much for the talk you gave on Friday it was very informative and made everything much clearer. Thank you also for the link. Look forward to seeing you again at the next cluster meeting."

Lucy O, Governor

"It was an excellent session that provided me with a really good understanding what Academies mean and what the challenges are. Thanks for taking the time to explain everything! Cheers."

Paul S, Governor

"Shelley. Thanks for that and for a great presentation on Friday, it was very extensive and helpful. I was only sorry I had to dash off early but really appreciated you sharing your knowledge and experiences. Kind Regards"

Zoe G, Governor