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Improving Outcomes for All Children


Cathy Rutherford

I am now Headteacher of Woodfield Infant School and Director of the Darwin Learning Partnership.


I have supported Headteachers in many other schools, from newly appointed Heads to experienced Headteachers of schools in OfSTED categories, on a range of school improvement topics. These have included joint lesson observations and book scrutinies, lesson studies across two schools, setting up data tracking systems, developing governance and reviewing learning environments together. These programmes of support have always been beneficial to both schools involved, have always led to reciprocal visits and often led to joint curriculum projects which have benefitted children at both schools.


Over the last few years, I have been asked to speak at several Local Authority and Teaching School courses and conferences, covering a range of topics, including mathematics, assessment for learning, leadership, curriculum development and worship. I currently plan and deliver the mathematics aspect of our Initial Teacher Education programme, School Direct. I have also co-written a mathematics scheme of work based on the new National Curriculum, which is used across the NSTSA. As the Headteacher of a Beacon School for Lichfield Diocese, I have helped many others to develop this aspect of their schools.


My leadership style is about inspiring people to see a need for change and then empowering them to bring about the change, with everyone in a school playing their part to improve outcomes for children. I sit on the Initial Teacher Education Group, and the Executive Board, of the NSTSA.

Ian Nurser, National Leader of Education

Ian is currently Executive Headteacher of St. Peter’s CE Primary and Nursery School, Wem, an outstanding National Teaching School and National Support School with over 400 pupils plus a 64 place nursery. Ian is also Director of North Shropshire Teaching School Alliance, a National Leader of Education and a National Pupil Premium Grant Reviewer.


As one of the first cohort of National Leaders of Education, Ian has had extensive experience of supporting rapid school improvement in a range of schools across several local authorities over the past 8 years, including supporting many schools out of Ofsted categories within 12 – 18 months.


A clear focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning and on the development of effective devolved leadership is central to Ian’s success. Developing a school/academy culture that ensures every member of staff takes responsibility for the development of the school as well as their own professional development is key to raising achievement and provides schools with very good capacity to improve. Ian has an impressive record of supporting schools and academies to improve within short time frames, enabling many to move out of Ofsted categories within 12 - 18 months. 


Ian worked for the National College of School Leadership (NCSL) as a College Associate, leading leadership development in schools and academies across the West Midlands. The role involved developing leadership capacity across the region in liaison with cross-phase groups of schools and academies, local authorities and other educational organisations. The role also involved some international consultancy work; designing and delivering a bespoke leadership development programme in Brussels for the Directors and Deputy Directors of the all-through schools within the European Schools Group.


Because of Ian’s successful record in closing the gap in schools in which he worked as a National Leader of Education he was invited to be one of the country’s first tranche of PPG System Leaders, supporting governing bodies and leadership teams to ensure Pupil Premium Grant impacts positively on the children for whom it is intended.


Ian’s experience and expertise cover all aspects of leadership and management and he is particularly interested in developing a creative approach to curriculum design and teaching and learning.  Ian has expertise in developing effective teaching and learning through the implementation of brain-based learning strategies and believes that the two aspects complement each other to provide fantastic opportunities to prepare children for life in an ever-changing world.