Event Speakers

Learn from some of the highest regarded people in the Microsoft Learning Gateway world. Speakers include:

Keynote Speaker

Simon Shaw

As Head of Institutional Management Simon has led Becta's work to support schools using ICT to improve parental engagement through online reporting. Working with a national network of leading "advocate" schools and local authorities to develop best practice he led the creation of the online reporting framework and supporting resources. Working with Naace Simon led the development of the ICT Mark and has worked closely with local authorities to engage schools in improvement through self-review. As project leader of the ICT Test Bed project he supported change management in schools to make innovative and effective use of technology for learning and teaching. Early work with Becta included providing procurement advisory services, managing research into the total cost of ownership of ICT in schools and developing lifecycle based investment planning tools to use in capital investment programmes. Simon comes from an educational background as a teacher of science, technology and outdoor activities, a physics subject leader, school ICT coordinator and "in house" system developer. As a MCSE he also used his technical expertise in designing and integrating curriculum and information systems as a business development manager and NGFL service manager working as part of the Capita group.


Alan Richards

Alan Richards has been working in Schools for 17 years and during that time has been at the forefront of using IT. He has led teams that have been among the first to roll out Windows 7, Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Alan is also a regular blogger and speaker at various events. As well as managing his own school's SharePoint implementation he also manages the SharePoint farm for the local consortium of schools.

Alan's blog

Alex Pearce

Alex has been working on educational projects for the last 6 years using Microsoft products to increase learner's knowledge. Following 5 years of working in public state schools he moved back in the corporate world developing SharePoint solutions for Local Education Authorities. As Learning Platform Solutions Architect at Redstone, Alex gets to build the most advanced learning portals for students, staff, parents and the local community.

Alex was awarded SharePoint MVP in 2008 and runs the Learning Gateway User Group. He is also the co-founder of the Learning Gateway Conference which runs annually in the summer.

Ann Thornton

A primary teacher and ICT co-ordinator with 16 years experience in Derby City. I've been an AST for the past 3 years supporting schools in Derby with ICT. My Y2/3 class were involved in the LA Learning Platform Pilot and I have trialled different developments with children in my school. I have been seconded to the LA on several occasions to support the ICT Curriculum team and before becoming a teacher I worked for a Software House as an Analyst/Programmer.

Chris McKinley

Chris McKinley is the lead developer at Twynham School and has been working with SharePoint for four years. Starting briefly with SharePoint 2003 he quickly moved to SharePoint 2007 and worked as part of the Twynham School team to create a learning gateway that was rich in content for staff and students. A deep understanding of the schools MIS system lead onto the development of Twynham's online reporting web parts giving staff, students and parents access to real time data. Recognising the power of the SharePoint platform the team used it to create the school and sixth form websites (www.twynham6thform.com), the look and feel is completely customised and visually very rich yet the core functionality and power of SharePoint is retained. Chris is already immersed in SharePoint 2010 and excited to implement the platform and use it as a base to create educationally focussed applications.

Chris also writes on www.sharepointedutech.com blogging about SharePoint, SQL, Hyper V, PowerShell and other technologies used within Twynham School. His Twitter name is @crmclinkey.

Chris Rothwell

Chris is a product manager working in Microsoft's Information Worker division. He's worked at Microsoft for 5 years, working first on Office 2007, before moving to work with Live@edu where he works closely with the Education team, partners and customers. As a suite of hosted applications, Chris often speaks about Microsoft's cloud services and helps customers understand their options to help productivity for students and teachers alike.

Clare Chambers

Clare Chambers is Assistant Principal responsible for New Technologies at Barnfield West Academy which opened in September 2007 and moves into a 30 million new building in February 2011 . She has held previous roles within education ranging from starting as a Midday Supervisor 14 years ago, Learning Support Assistant and ELearning Manager. Clare also worked at Microsoft as the UK Education Technology Adviser within the Education Team. She holds a clear belief that blending the use of Learning Gateway technology with outstanding learning and teaching methods creates an environment where teaching and support staff are able to push the boundaries of what's possible, support their students achieving beyond their targets and can engage the whole community with new ways to communicate, learn and develop. The Barnfield Federation, comprising Barnfield College, Barnfield West and South Academies and Barnfield Studio School work together to share, support and develop New Technologies to maximise the outcomes for all our staff and students. Clare will share with you the journey of creating the Learning Gateway, building skills and confidence in use of online technologies and the use of SharePoint technologies as a tool for learning and teaching as well as a holistic academy organisation.

Dave Coleman

Dave Coleman is the Network Manager at Twynham School.

He has 18 years working in the IT industry with 11 of those working in the education sector and has worked with many versions of Windows server, Exchange, SQL Server. Over the last few years he has been specializing in SharePoint starting with SharePoint team services back in 2001 through SharePoint portal server 2003 with Class Server and on to SharePoint 2007 after introducing SharePoint into Twynham and making it a key component of their IT strategy.

In 2008 Twynham was the sole winner of the Beyond the Classroom BECTA ICT Excellance Award 2008 for their SharePoint work on Parental engagement. Many articles have been written about their SharePoint deployment with case studies and architecture models appearing on the Microsoft websites worldwide. Dave and Mike are also regular speakers on their SharePoint achievements including on the Microsoft stand at BETT, and most recently presenting to the Microsoft SharePoint product group and education team at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond.

David White

David White Co-Manages and is the architect for the Derby City Learning Platform built on MOSS 2007. Previous commercial education experience as a Project Manager for Serco Learning, with an excellent knowledge of MIS and assessments in education.

Katryna Lynas

Katryna Lynas, Key Stage One class teacher, Portway Infants School Derby. In my third year of teaching and have been working with David White and his team for two years implementing and maintaining our learning platform. Will be talking through our school story - how we have been working on getting our parents engaged with the platfrom to support their infant aged children at home.

Mark Leighton

Mark has taught in secondary schools for 25 years, as well as working as a computer programmer and systems analyst for 5 years in the engineering sector. He is currently Assistant Head and Director of ICT at Blatchington Mill School in Hove. Mark has developed several ICT related systems, including an online ICT assessment tool which is used by over 1 million students in secondary schools each year. He has been working with SharePoint since 2005, supporting and advising schools, and developing a bespoke portal for Blatchington Mill with a particular focus on parental engagement, which was graded 'outstanding' by Ofsted earlier this year.

Neil Hodgkinson

Neil Hodgkinson (PhD, MCM : Office SharePoint Server 2007) is a Senior Premier Field Engineer and EMEA Office Servers Technical Lead for Microsoft. Starting his IT career as a SQL and ASP developer Neil transitioned to SharePoint Technologies back in 2000 and since then has seen his fair share of real good, bad and ugly SharePoint deployments. Primarily his role as a Field Engineer involves improving support 'best' practices and enabling organisations to manage and maintain their SharePoint environments in the most efficient and supported manner but he most enjoys the more cutting edge side of his job troubleshooting failed and broken deployments. Neil was also an instructor on the SharePoint 2010 Ignite World Tour and is a content author and instructor on the Microsoft Certified Master Program for SharePoint 2010. He has spoken as an ITPRO at several internal, external and partner conferences for Microsoft most recently at the SharePoint Evolution conference in London. He is also a founder contributor to the Microsoft Field Engineering blog at http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/blogs/fromthefield.

Neil hails from Manchester and outside of work is a fan of 70s rock music and UK metal bands but most of all enjoys spending time at home with his wife watching their three young children having fun and living life

Paul Baker

Paul Baker has been working at The Perse School, Cambridge for 12 years. Employed as a maths teacher he quickly took an interest in improving the use of ICT within the school. Now in his current role of Director of Educational Innovation, whilst continuing to teach, he takes a particular interest in using SharePoint to develop practical and cohesive school organisation, communication and virtual learning tools.

Paul likes to explore and integrate different technologies with SharePoint including Infopath forms, MIS SQL Server Databases, Reporting Services, Parent Communication and Online teaching, to design solutions that hide complexity and encourage uptake. Paul thinks the bottom line in judging ICT in schools is truthful assessment of how many students, teachers and parents are engaging through it with the two key aims of learning and fostering strong and confident school community.

Paul lives just outside Cambridge with his wife and two children. He welcomes visits from other schools and can be contacted on pdbaker at perse.co.uk

Richard Willis

Richard Willis has been working with Microsoft Learning Gateway since SharePoint 2003 and Class Server. He is now Managing Director at SalamanderSoft a small software house specialising in integrating school MIS systems (Sims, Facility CMIS etc) with Microsoft Learning Gateway. He is responsible for developing all SalamanderSoft's products which include a provisioning tool for SharePoint Learning Kit, a web part to expose your home directory and a set of on-line reporting web parts for Sims.net and Facility CMIS.

In his spare time he is also the project co-ordinator for the open source projects SharePoint Learning Kit and the CodePlex Microsoft Learning Gateway.

Richard's Blog

Richard, together with Alex, is responsible for coming up with the idea of the Learning Gateway Conference and organising it.

Simon Thompson

Simon is Assistant Headteacher at Monkseaton High School; he is the strategic leader of ICT and also leads on parental engagement. Monkseaton is the first trust school in England, The Innovation Trust. Simon works with partners Professor David Reynolds - University of Plymouth, Microsoft (UK and global team) and Tribal Education in researching the science behind learning and to create, test and share new learning solutions based on the findings. The school has been at the leading edge of innovations using Microsoft software for many years to improve learning efficiencies. Monkseaton was awarded the Becta whole school ICT Excellence Award for the North East in 2008 and in 2009 won the National Education Business Award for ICT Innovation.

Simon is currently coming to the end of a very successful secondment with Becta's Parental Engagement Team as their secondary schools' consultant. Simon works in school with a team of Network Developers, who are all undergraduate apprentices with the OU. We have moved into a new school building and the developers have built the whole new network and they are currently planning to roll out Sharepoint 2010 to include a new look gateway for staff, students and parents.

Steve Smith

Steve Smith ( MVP-SharePoint Server ) is the owner of Combined Knowledge in the UK and Combined Knowledge Asia Pacific providing Microsoft SharePoint Technical Training courses and Consultancy.

Steve is well travelled spending most of last 20 years travelling in the US and South Asia for the companies he owned and worked with including achieving his first qualification with Microsoft technologies on NT 4 and IIS 3 in New Delhi India in 1998 whilst based there for 3 years.

Although tinkering with computers since early Teenage years Steve has specialized with Microsoft's systems since 1996 and been involved in many Microsoft Beta programs including Windows 2000, Exchange 2000 and SharePoint. The last 8 years however has seen a majority of his time with SharePoint and running the Mindsharp and Combined Knowledge SharePoint courses in the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific, also helping many UK based companies with their SharePoint Implementations including the US Air Force, The Ministry of Defence and Several Blue chip companies. Steve is a Co Organiser of the UK SharePoint User Group www.suguk.org and Co Author of the SharePoint 2007 Administrator's Companion from MS Press.

Steve lives in South Leicestershire, England with his wife and 3 children and can be contacted on steve@combined-knowledge.com


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