Katie Ashford

Deputy Headmistress


Creating a Great School Culture

In the best schools, teachers can teach and pupils can learn. It sounds simple, but making this happen isn’t always as straightforward as it seems. What questions must school leaders ask, and how can they make the best decisions to give both staff and pupils the best school experience? In an age of increasing school exclusion and decreasing teacher retention, it is crucial that we address the question of school culture head on. This session will outline- and critique- some of the methods used across a range of exceptional schools in the UK and beyond, and will challenge some of the assumptions that are entrenched within our education system.


Katie is a founding teacher and Deputy Head at Michaela Community School, a newly opened free school in Wembley, London. Since becoming a teacher in 2011, Katie has specialised in SEN teaching and the teaching of reading. She has written for various publications and has spoken at a number of ResearchED conferences over the years. Katie blogs at Tabularasaeducation.wordpress.com.


Teaching English the Michaela Way

What can school leaders do to ensure all pupils learn to read? What should teachers do to ensure good comprehension of the most challenging texts? How can we help pupils to make insightful points about literature? Using a knowledge-based, mastery approach to learning, Michaela teachers enable pupils of all backgrounds and starting points to access some of the trickiest texts ever written. This session will provide an overview of the Michaela Way, including examples of instruction sequences.

The Show Sentence: Improving Writing the Michaela Way

How can we improve the quality of our pupils’ writing? What are the common mistakes they make? What can we do to guide them in analytical writing at KS3 and beyond? The session will explore how the Michaela ‘Show Sentence’ model supports pupils to express their ideas with clarity and flair.

What can senior leaders do about mental illness in schools?

Is there a mental health crisis in schools, and if so, what is to be done? In this session I will outline the approaches taken at Michaela Community School and the impact they have had so far.

Guests: Joe Allan