TLAT Executive Team

Robin Cowen


Robin studied for the International Baccalaureate Diploma at the United World College of the Atlantic (1975-77) from where he won a Kingsley Fairbridge Scholarship to study politics and philosophy at the University of Western Australia (1978-81). While graduating to become a primary teacher, and then teaching in Australia, Robin also completed a part-time Master of Arts degree with distinction (1986). Back in England Robin completed a Diploma in Mathematical Education (1989) and a Master of Education with modules on education leadership and a dissertation on accelerated learning in history (1994). Robin became a University Approved Tutor for the College of St Mark and St John (from 2000) and an Associate Researcher for the National College of School Leadership (from 2005).

Robin has held two deputy headteacher posts (Northleaze Primary School in Long Ashton from 1989 to 1992 and Grove Junior School in Nailsea from 1992 to 1996). Robin returned to Cornwall to take up the headship of Penryn Junior taking the school from satisfactory in 1996 to outstanding in 2011. Before leaving in 2015 Robin successfully amalgamated Penryn Junior with Penryn Infant to create Penryn Primary Academy. Robin has carried out a number of school improvement roles beyond that of school leader. He was Co-Leader of the Penryn Partnership Networked Learning Community from 2003 to 2006, a Primary Strategy Consultant Leader from 2004 to 2006, a Cornwall School Improvement Partner from 2006 to 2010 and a Local Leader in Education from 2010 to 2012.

Robin has also played a key role supporting other schools in Cornwall by being Vice Chair and then Chair of the Cornish Association of Primary Heads (CAPH) between 2011 and 2014. Robin went on to be one of the Founding Directors of the CAPH Community Interest Company in 2014. In addition, Robin was invited to be a member of the Ofsted South West Headteacher Reference Group 2014-15 and CAPH’s strategic lead with HMI organising conferences on leadership and learning. As part of his work for Cornish schools Robin also represented the South-West on the National Executive of the Network of Chairs of Headteacher Associations. Prior to beginning duties as part of TLAT Robin was also the Director of Primary Improvement and Research at The Learning Institute from 2015 to 2016.

Prior to his appointment as TLAT CEO Robin has had the following roles within TLAT:

- Strategic leadership of the Trust as part of the Senior Leadership Team and as a member of the Trust Board
- Strategic leadership of the Cornerstone schools within the Trust
- Challenge Partner for schools within and beyond the Trust
- School improvement software development for the Trust
- School improvement projects for the Trust
- Consultant for ACE (currently supporting Robartes and Beacon Infant & Nursery)
- Consultant for Masters Level accreditation
- Trust Lead on performance data

Clare Ridehalgh

Business Director/Chief Operating Officer

Clare is designated as a Specialist Leader in Education for Academy Transition and Business Management. She has been employed by TLAT since 2010 and has undertaken the project management of the conversion process of 17 schools since July 2010. Clare is employed as the Business Director (DSBM, IAM) with responsibility for financial management, risk management, income generation, human resources, site management and policy development. She is advisor to TLAT Board of Directors and advisor to the Kernow Teaching School Alliance in the development of structure and systems.
Clare’s previous experience in the voluntary sector development work (CVS) focused on trustee development and volunteer involvement. As National Development Director of SOVA she was responsible for the development of innovative projects and the management of complex partnership projects with statutory and voluntary sector partners. As a member of the SOVA SLT she was responsible for strategic management of the organisation. Key responsibilities included project development, European Funding, HR, budget setting and monitoring, policy development and development of mentoring training and standards. Clare took the project lead on behalf of SOVA for the development of prison, probation and voluntary sector partnership work – accessing European funding to address the impact of employment on recidivism (Thorn Cross YOI).
As Director of MIND (Cornwall) she was responsible for all operational and strategic management of voluntary sector mental health service.

Andy Brumby

Director of Achievement

Andy is currently Director of Achievement for The Learning Academy Trust. He spent twenty years as a successful classroom practitioner before moving on to work for Cornwall LA as a teaching and learning consultant in 2005. Over the next decade he worked on a multitude of different projects within Cornwall and beyond, establishing himself as an inspirational speaker, writer and coach. He is perhaps most widely known for his work on raising the achievement of disadvantaged children, a subject that sits, in his mind, right at the very core of school effectiveness. Most recently Andy has been supporting schools in their efforts to develop resilience in learning, helping teachers, teaching assistants and pupils to explore ways in which initial failure in learning can become the key to future success.

Andy covers a wide range of roles including:

- Resilience in learning support, including whole school audit and development
- Raising the achievement of disadvantaged pupils using evidence-based approaches
- Maximising the impact of formative assessment through questioning, feedback and dialogue
- Stretching and challenging the most able pupils
- Maximising the impact of support staff in schools
- Middle leader coaching and mentoring in leadership and school improvement

Sonya Herbert

Director of Future Learning

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