Gillian Cawley

Associate, Cornerstone

Gillian Cawley

Between 2010 and 2013, Gillian Cawley led the transformation of Hertfordshire’s Standards and School Effectiveness Service into an innovative schools’ company, Herts for Learning, co-owned by the local authority and schools.

This required high level negotiation, persuasion and interpersonal skills and the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders including Members, Headteachers, Governors, Senior LA Officers, Dioceses, the Department for Education and Ofsted. Her in depth understanding of the needs of schools and her commercial awareness underpinned the creation of a financially viable and still thriving model.

Gillian was Assistant Director of Standards and School Effectiveness during this period of significant educational, financial and political change, successfully managing an education service which consistently raised standards (Early Years to 19) and delivering high quality traded services generating £23million annual income from schools and £6million in savings and efficiency for the council.

Following the launch of Herts for Learning in 2013, Gillian became Assistant Director for Education Services leading best value commissioning arrangements for the council – cited as best practice in Ofsted’s HMCI annual report 2014. She also devised, in consultation, with schools a new school improvement strategy to address the achievement gap for vulnerable learners.

More recently in 2015, Gillian became Director of Education, Quality and Standards for Kent County Council with a remit including Early Years and Childcare, School Improvement, Skills and Employability, Safeguarding in Education and Community, Learning and Skills. In this role, she has led continued improvement in quality and standards (from 79% to currently 90% good and outstanding schools) and co-produced with schools a leadership strategy to promote dynamic system leadership across the county. She has also significantly increased trading income and helped shape the future of a potential education services company.

Prior to moving into advisory work, Gillian moved from a successful background in teaching and senior leadership in schools. She has since held a wide range of roles including Principal Adviser for Teaching and Learning, Head of Learning, Training and Research and ICT Strategy Manager.
Gillian has led regional local authority peer reviews in Cambridgeshire, Essex and Bedford. She has also worked nationally with ISOS, the National Educational Network and National Foundation for Educational Research on the development of school led system leadership and the role of the local authority in education for the future.