Executive Team

Tracy Smith

Executive Director

Appointed as Executive Director for THE Partnership in September 2017, Tracy was at Seven Kings School in Redbridge for 21 years and was Headteacher from 2008, the last 3 as Executive Headteacher. Tracy oversaw the growth of the school to become an all through school with the opening of a brand new 4FE primary school in 2015.

Seven Kings was one of the first 100 Teaching Schools and Tracy has a track record of working collaboratively with schools and other partners. She has supported colleagues by acting as a professional coach and was a leadership coach for the GAL/Challenge partners ‘Getting Ahead London’ programme, supporting aspirant headteachers and now sits on the advisory board for that programme.

Tracy is an Associate of UCL/IOE, a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and a Trustee of the Teaching Awards Trust.

As Executive Director of THE Partnership, Tracy leads school improvement and professional learning across the 98 schools in THE Partnership, working closely with school leaders and the Local Authority

Alison Gawthrope

Director of Primary Education and Partnerships

Alison has worked in primary education in Tower Hamlets for over thirty years now, as a teacher and leader in school, and then as an advisory teacher and school improvement officer in the local authority. Alison has been involved in school improvement in primary schools for many years now, and has a wealth of knowledge when supporting and challenging governors, leaders and teaching staff to ensure the best possible outcomes for their children.

Alison is very keen on developing school to school support and the sharing of best practice at all levels and is currently working on developing the partnership Lead Practitioner model to support schools in sharing this effective practice across the system.

Alison leads THE Partnership Primary Team, ensuring that a bespoke school improvement service is available for all schools to buy in to, and that high quality central training is provided for teachers and leaders relating to the curriculum and local and national needs.

Alison facilitates headteacher appraisal for many schools within the borough.

Daniel Burton

Director of Secondary Education and Partnerships

Daniel joined the partnership in June 2020. Prior to this, Daniel was an HMI at Ofsted, where he gained extensive experienced of inspecting primary and secondary schools and initial teacher training provision.

While at Ofsted, Daniel was also Principal Officer for subject surveys, leading and managing the work of Ofsted’s national subject advisers. Most recently, he was the HMI specialist adviser to Ofsted’s school’s policy team. In this role, he was responsible for designing and leading evaluations of inspection practice, reporting to national and regional directors and to the inspector training team. He was also responsible for providing national oversight of inspection quality.

Daniel has a long and successful track record of working in secondary schools, as an award-winning teacher, subject leader and senior leader.

Brendan Crossan

Director of Operations

Brendan has over twenty years’ experience in the education sector. He started his career as an Economics teacher in a large secondary school in West Yorkshire before moving into further education and heading up the Business School at Selby College, North Yorkshire. It was at Selby College that he moved into the non-teaching side when he set up a highly successful business development unit.

After moving south, he helped set up business development units at the University of Greenwich and Brooklands College before moving back into schools as Marketing & Admissions Director for the City of London Freemen's School.

Following a move into the social housing sector, he gained significant experience of leading Finance, HR, ICT and Business Improvement functions at director level in the London Borough of Sutton.

James Heale

Director of Leadership and Development

James has been a teacher and senior leader in comprehensive secondary schools for twenty-five years. From 2012-2018 he was Headteacher and laterally Executive Headteacher of Vyners School and the Vanguard Learning Trust in West London where he led a significant improvement in outcomes, Ofsted judgements and culture.

James has been working with THE Partnership since January 2018. As Director of Leadership and Development he has developed the suite of leadership programmes, our peer review model and headteacher coaching initiative.

James is also the Strategic Lead for the School of PiXL Leadership and founder of Flywheel Learning. He is a leadership expert with a track record of success at providing one-to-one executive coaching and personalised leadership development programmes to schools, Trusts and organisations, including SSAT, ASCL, The Football Association, Not on the High Street and NHS.

James is a TEDx speaker and is a regular contributor to national conferences, both as a speaker and facilitator.