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Extend Learning

Academies Network

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Meet our course leaders and trainers

Penny Boardman

School Improvement Lead

Penny has extensive experience in school improvement spanning over 20 years.  Penny has worked alongside many school leaders and governors to secure improvement. Her specialisms are in English and assessment and her work in these fields is extensive.


Penny delivers training for schools across the country on all aspects of phonics, spelling, reading, writing and spoken language.

Kerri McArdle

School Improvement - Innovation and Development Lead

Kerri is an experienced teacher and leader. She has taught around the country for almost 30 years, been an assistant headteacher and has led a national teaching school.  


Kerri’s experience, knowledge and drive for high standards in teaching and learning and school leadership now see Kerri leading innovation and development across the ELAN trust. She designs, implements and facilitates on a programme of support and Professional Development and coordinates collaboration via networks, pilots, working parties and research projects.  


Kerri facilitates on National Professional Qualifications and the Early Careers Framework as well as being an Induction Tutor for the trust and an ECT mentor.  


Sarah McGahern

 Lead Early Years Consultant (Assessment Early Years, KS1 and KS2)

Sarah McGahern has had experience of leading EYFS practice and provision in nurseries (birth to 5) and reception classes over many years. Sarah has put together a three day EYFS leadership course which has been developed based on real experiences and research in the field of effective leadership.


The purpose of having three days spread over the academic year is to enable delegates to reflect on themselves as leaders and complete gap tasks. Thus, ensuring that the CPD is of high quality and has impact.


Previous delegate course evaluations have stated the following:


  • “It was so purposeful to have time to reflect on myself as a leader and understand the impact I have on those around me based on how I am.”


  • “It was so useful to explore leadership theory and strategies.”


  • “The balance of the training sessions gave time for reading, time for sharing and time for thinking about evolving as an EYFS leader.”


  • “A strong element of the sessions was meeting with other leaders, over a period of time, so it wasn’t just a day course with no follow up.”


  • “EYFS leadership was truly valued.”

Cat Wright

Cognition and Learning Lead - Advisory Teacher

Cat has extensive teaching and senior leadership experience gained across the primary range.  Prior to working within the ELAN multi-academy trust, Cat had worked as an Advisory Teacher within two different Local Authorities, initially working with schools and vulnerable children toward inclusion in a ‘Behaviour Support’ role and more recently for the North Somerset Vulnerable Learners Service (VLS) where she developed her expertise in cognition and learning, with a particular interest in dyslexia and dyscalculia along with the social and emotional impact learning difficulties can have upon an individual. 


Cat now supports ELAN schools by working directly with staff, children and families.  She also shares her knowledge by developing, training and coaching ELAN staff within school to be curious about difficulties and responses children may experience when learning (and within the learning environment).


The focus of Cat’s work is to develop curiosity, knowledge and understanding within our workforce in order to sensitively support students in their education.


Justine Gregory

Education Consultant

Before joining a local authority education team as a National Strategies Adviser in 2004, Justine worked as a teacher in schools in Spain and in the UK for many years, teaching children from the ages of 4 to 18.  In her school-based positions, Justine has taken on the roles of English subject leader, EYFS and KS1 co-ordinator, head of studies and local authority lead teacher for literacy and numeracy.

In her role as an education consultant and as an accredited Achievement for All coach, Justine has been involved in offering support and challenge to teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders in all key areas of school development. Through the analysis of data, lesson observations, learning walks, book scrutinies and pupil conferences, she has enabled colleagues to identify key areas for school improvement. Justine has led local authority phonic reviews and has been involved in local authority school partnership reviews, working alongside colleagues to acknowledge the aspects of for Success and associate consultant for INTEGRA, Justine is joint assessment lead for a local authority and undertakes the roles of: KS2 Moderation manager, KS1 moderator and monitoring officer for KS2 SATs and the Y1 phonics screening check. This experience gives her a deep understanding of statutory assessment in England.

Justine has a passion for language and has expert subject knowledge in English and primary foreign languages.  She has undertaken research on the teaching of a second language and has co-written a publication, with supporting resources, to support the teaching of phonics to underpin the development of early reading and writing skills.

Justine is also a licensed Early Talk Boost Tutor and KS1 Talk Boost Tutor for ICAN – a suite of intervention programmes which support children with language delay to make accelerated progress in a short period of time.

Justine’s understanding of what constitutes quality classroom provision enables her to support teachers and subject leaders to develop their subject knowledge in all aspects of teaching English and primary languages and to reflect upon their practice through networks and training.

Justine is an experienced trainer and has written and delivered continuing professional development courses, bespoke school staff meetings, conference workshops and INSETs on a range of subject areas. 

The range of roles that Justine has undertaken during her career in education has enabled her to develop a broad set of personal skills and attributes to communicate effectively to all stakeholders with warmth and compassion. As an accredited coach, she has developed the skills to listen to others without judgement and to respect the views and values of other people.