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Learn@ MAT

Learn@ MAT

New Chief Executive appointed for Learn@ Multi Academy Trust

Learn@ Multi Academy Trust (MAT), the largest provider of specialist education in the South West, has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer.

Jen Southall will join the trust on 1st August when Peter Evans retires after a long career in specialist education.

Learn@ MAT manages four specialist academies and two alternative provisions (formally pupil referral units) across nine sites in and around Bristol, Bath and Somerset.  Two more academies are due to open in North Somerset and Gloucestershire by 2023.  Currently the trust educates 500 students aged five to 18 and employs 315 staff, including teachers, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and social workers.

Jen joins the trust after seven years as Her Majesty’s Inspector for Ofsted across the South West. Prior to this she was a senior advisor for Bath and North East Somerset Council and a headteacher and teacher in primary schools across the country.

Jen Southall said:  “I’m delighted to be returning to working more directly with educators, students and their families at Learn@ Multi Academy Trust.  In my career I’ve always relished the opportunity to build positive relationships and my enthusiasm for specialist education was cemented by spending time supporting respite services during the first Covid lockdown. Learn @ MAT is in a very positive place and I intend to build on its reputation for specialist education expertise.”

Peter Evans retires from a long career in education, 38 of these have been in specialist education including 26 years as a headteacher or Chief Executive Officer in the South West. He set up the Learn@ MAT in 2017 to build a trust with expertise in educating and caring for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties as well as those excluded or at risk of school exclusion.  The trust has grown to employ its own social workers, health advisors and speech and language therapists and two academies have been shortlisted for Times Education Supplement Awards.

Peter commented “It is a really exciting time for Learn@ MAT as we continue to grow and establish ourselves as the experts in social, emotional and mental health issues and speech, language and communication needs.  We also offer exemplary practice in alternative provision across the South West.  To welcome Jen Southall at this point will help the trust push forward in its ambition to become a centre of excellence in the region. We have many fantastic people in all roles and with different responsibilities, who will support the new CEO in a seamless transition. I welcome Jen and wish her and the Learn@ MAT a successful future.”