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AET completes top team hires with education heavyweights

posted Oct 18, 2017, 3:24 AM by Richard Sparks   [ updated Oct 18, 2017, 3:29 AM ]

AET completes top team hires with education heavyweights

++ Frances Soul appointed as National Director of Education ++

++ David Hatchett appointed as National Director of Secondary ++

++ Chas Parker appointed as Director of IT ++


AET today announces the two final appointments to complete the reconstituted executive team, under CEO Julian Drinkall’s leadership. Frances Soul and David Hatchett join the organisation as National Director of Education and National Director of Secondary respectively.

AET has also confirmed the appointment of Chas Parker as the Director IT. The appointments follow the announcement of James Nicholson as the new Chief Financial Officer, and Lauren Costello as National Director of Primary Schools.

Frances will be joining AET from Pearson where she is currently Vice-President Efficacy Improvement for Global Product and was previously Director School Improvement, Pearson UK. Prior to this Frances was National Programme Director for Secondary School Improvement, DfE National Strategies, where she developed and delivered on a number of national school improvement programmes such as support for the National Challenge. Here, she led a national team responsible for supporting improvement in leadership and management, school governance and raising standards in teaching and learning.

Frances has also worked for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust where she managed and delivered a national programme targeted at improving outcomes in maths, English and science for the most underperforming specialist schools. Frances has experience across every sector of the education system from HE and FE through secondary to primary, specialising in curriculum design and teacher professional development. She has also worked as a local authority adviser, Ofsted schools Inspector and is an experienced school governor.

David Hatchett joins AET from the E-ACT multi-academy trust where he has held a number of senior and executive-level school improvement roles over the last five years. He is currently Regional Director of Education, where he has responsibility and accountability for a portfolio of academies covering primary, secondary and sixth form. David is also currently National Director for Assessment and the Lead for Teaching Schools.

Prior to joining E-ACT, David held senior roles with Pearson and Edexcel. As Head of Assessment Development at Pearson, he was responsible for the development and delivery of high profile Government tests and examinations for the UK and Abu Dhabi governments. At Edexcel he spent a number of years delivering national marking and assessment programmes and processes. David has co-authored a series of textbooks aimed at pupils learning English as an additional language for a well-known educational publisher, and was an accredited facilitator on middle leadership training programmes with Teaching Leaders'.

David brings with him over eight years’ experience as an Ofsted inspector and has led or participated in more than 200 inspections. He is a graduate of Ambition School Leadership's Executive Educators programme, an experienced governor of schools and sits on the Board of a sixth form college in London.

Taking up post in November, Chas Parker joins AET from CRI, a major social welfare charity with a turnover of £150m and staff and volunteers based across 260 sites in the UK. Chas will report to the new Chief Financial Officer, James Nicholson.

Julian Drinkall, CEO of AET said:

“These two appointments to the executive team mark an important milestone in AET’s turnaround – the trust is an entirely different organisation from just nine months ago. Frances and David are exceptional educationalists and bring a wealth of experience, both individually and collectively.

“We are also delighted to be appointing such an experienced specialist in Chas Parker as our new Director of IT.  

“The last academic year showed early signs of improvement across the trust, and with such an experienced team now in place, the pace of change will accelerate. Key Stage 2 showed the most improvement last year. Our focus will now intensify on our secondary schools so that across all phases we are on track to becoming an organisation that not only promises, but delivers a world class education for all our pupils.”

Frances Soul said:

"I am hugely excited to be joining Academies Enterprise Trust, at this crucial point in their journey, and being a member of the new senior team under Julian's leadership. I share his commitment to achieving the highest standards in education and to ensuring the best outcomes for all children across all our academies.”

David Hatchett said:

“I am thrilled about joining the AET executive team at this crucial stage in the Trust's journey of improvement and excited by its ambition of becoming an excellent, world-class MAT. I am looking forward to working with principals, governors and the central team to ensure that all secondary-age students receive the quality of education and the outcomes that they deserve and need”.

Chas Parker said:

“I am excited to be joining AET and am looking forward to contributing to the team that will lead the trust through the next stage of its development and to be supporting its work to become an internationally renowned MAT.”