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Tom Middlehurst

My story

My relationship with SSAT first began when I was a secondary school student involved in student leadership projects. As head boy, I presented how we had developed a cohesive model of student leadership at various SSAT events. After finishing my A-Levels, I worked for SSAT on my gap year as the first student consultant, delivering training in schools across the country and at national events. During this time, I shared my experience of student impact on international platforms, including the SSAT National Conference and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

After travelling Europe, I then studied English at the University of Oxford, graduating with a 2.1. Following this, I joined the Teach First programme, teaching English for a year in a sponsored academy in Essex, whilst gaining my PGCE. Throughout this year, I developed a love for pedagogical theory and research, underpinning my practice with evidence and reflection.

I rejoined SSAT in December 2012 to head up the national student impact programme, looking at how student voice and leadership activities can have a real, meaningful impact on learning. I continue to work with Chris Smith, Student Impact Coordinator, on this important and exciting area.

In July 2013, I was given responsibility to direct the content and programme of the National Conference with Sue Williamson (a task I am greatly enjoying!) and in September I became Head of Research. International studies suggest that for our system to become world class, we need ‘teacher education that helps teachers to become innovators and researchers in education, not just civil servants who deliver curricula’ (PISA 2012), a belief I passionately share. In this role I have responsibility for supporting our member schools to partake in and engage with research; conducting our own action-research and literature reviews; and ensuring that all of our events, products and services are underpinned by a sound evidence-base.

Anything else?

I have an active interest in art, literature, travelling, cooking, and the theatre. I currently live in east London but try to travel around the UK and abroad as much as possible at weekends.