Welcome to the Marches Academy Trust ‘Together We Grow’ Podcast. At The Marches Academy Trust ‘Together We Grow’ podcast, we chat to professionals, policy makers, staff, students and celebrities about the power of education and how we shape the future. We also bring you news and updates from within the Marches Academy Trust. Hosted by CEO Sarah Finch.

Click below for Apple/iTunes or Spotify to follow/subscribe and listen to our fantastic episodes.

Carla Whelan - CEO Empower Trust


This week Sarah is joined by executive director for education but soon to be C.E.O of the Empower trust, Carla Whelan.

Carla Whelan has over 28 years experience in education, in a range of roles including 8 years as a headteacher and 3 years in an executive role. During her career, Carla has worked closely with key educational figures and government ministers, proving key opportunities to explore issues of inclusion, mental health and special educational needs.

Today Sarah ask’s Carla how she started out in education and they both discuss how self awareness and learning how to regulate your emotions can help you in your career.

Ryan Smith - Entertainer to teacher


This week Sarah is joined by teacher Ryan Smith.

Ryan shares his journey to teaching, via retail and working in Egypt!

Today Sarah ask’s Ryan about his experiences in the eduction system, both as a student and now a teacher, and he shares with us how he inspires his students and ensures that they feel a sense a inclusivity.

Sue Smith Football Lioness


This week Sarah is joined by female footballer and Lioness, Sue Smith.

Sue Smith is one of the nation’s best loved professional female footballers, who has enjoyed over two decades on the pitch for England. An equally high profile pundit, Smith has reported on some of the most exciting matches in recent years, and remains at the forefront of the sports industry.

Today Sarah ask’s Sue how she started out in football playing for the local boys team and how her school shaped and supported her through her triumphs in football.

Olympian Beth Tweddle MBE


This week Sarah is joined by Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle.

Beth Tweddle is one of Britain’s most successful ever gymnasts with three world gold medals in her collection, along with six European titles.

Today Sarah ask’s Beth how her school worked with her, to help nurture her talent, and what changes she would make to the education system.

The Skinny Jean Gardener - Lee Connelly


This week Sarah is joined by Lee Connelly, AKA The Skinny Jean Gardener.

Lee has hosted on shows such as CBBC Blue Peter, BBC Teach, BBC Radio 1 as well as appearances on ITV, Channel 4 & 5. He is also the author of ‘How to get kids gardening’ and host of the Sunday Times Best Gardening Podcast, The Teacher/ Parent Garden Club.

The Future of Education with Mick Waters


Professor Michael Waters is an inspiration to many, including our host Sarah.

Mick was the Director of Curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, based in London, from 2005-9.

In this episode he shares his thoughts on what education could/should look like in the future and what the true purpose of education is. He poses some thought-provoking questions to us, shares some heart warming stories about being a teacher and tells us why it’s the best job in the world.

The Vision of Education with BBC’s Branwen Jeffreys


Sarah is joined by Branwen Jeffreys, Education Editor for BBC News. Branwen is a broadcaster and writer with a broad interest in social policy and education.

Join us we discuss Branwen’s life experiences and how this has shaped her thoughts on what education could look like.

Improving Opportunities for Special Needs Students with Dr. Ellis Crasnow


Sarah is joined by Dr. Ellis Crasnow, director at the STEM³ Academy, a WASC accredited school dedicated to K–12 students who are bright, have a passion for STEM-related fields, and benefit from non-traditional learning methods.

Ellis really considers the journey that young people with special needs will be on once they finish education and he works tirelessly to prepare them for life as best as possible. Join us for a truly inspirational and fascinating discussion.

Encouraging a passion and talent with Dr. Sam Collins


In this podcast, Sarah is joined by Dr. Sam Collins, a leading global voice on women’s leadership, equality and empowerment.

Sam shares some of her own childhood educational experiences as well as some interesting and inspiring insights on how she sees the future of education for our children. Sam believes, particularly with special needs education, that we need to encourage a passion or talent, instead of obsessing over fixing a weakness.

Lifting young women out of poverty through education, with Dr. Zareen Roohi Ahmed


Sarah is joined by Dr. Zareen Roohi Ahmed, the Chair of The Halimah Trust, a charity established to fulfil the dreams of her daughter who was tragically murdered in 2007. Zareen has channelled this negative energy into some truly positive and beautiful things, one example being opening an all girls school in Pakistan, built by The Halimah Trust and partners. This school has given young women a much needed education and the opportunity to escape poverty.

Life after education with Robert Forrester


Sarah is joined by Robert Forrester, CEO of Vertu Motors, former head boy of Sir John Talbot’s School (part of the Marches Academy Trust) and a graduate of Oxford University. We chat about the ups and downs of Robert’s very successful career journey, who/what influenced him growing up (in and out of school) as well as discussing what schools can be doing differently to better prepare students for life after education.

Robert also shares with us his experience on the ITV show Undercover Big Boss as well as what all billionaires have in common. The answer may not be what you think!

A student’s perspective on education with Lucy Craig (Sir John Talbot’s School)


Sarah is joined by Year 13 student Lucy Craig, one of the creators of ‘Herstory’, a student-led newsletter highlighting remarkable women’s stories both contemporary and from history. This is the first time that we have heard from a current student on the Together We Grow podcast and Lucy provides some fascinating insights into what she likes about the education system and what she would like to see change in the near future.

To read Lucy’s impressive work on ‘Herstory’, you can visit the Sir John Talbot’s school website.

Footballer to Community Leader with Jamie Edwards


Sarah is joined by Jamie Edwards, CEO of Shrewsbury Town in the Community. Jamie was a professional footballer for Bristol City FC, and played semi-professionally in Australia. He has been a UEFA B License coach since 2007 and founded and managed a sports coaching company from 2005 – 2007.

Shrewsbury Town in the Community creates opportunities for people to lead healthy and active lifestyles through their fun and inclusive programmes. They provide opportunities to help individuals achieve their goals and realise their potential. This includes preparing young people for the world of work, particularly those young people who don’t thrive in the traditional school environment.

Jamie kindly shares his story with us, what experiences have shaped him into the person that he is today and how he would change the education system for the better.

Paralympic Team GB Cycling Coach – Tom Hodgkinson


In this podcast, Sarah is joined by Tom Hodgkinson, Paralympic Podium Coach for the Great Britain cycling team.

They chat about Tom’s fascinating career, he shares the experiences that the world of sport has given him and he tells us how he would change the education system for the better.

Together We Grow


Welcome to the Marches Academy Trust podcast.