Progress Schools appoint new director of schools and education

Leading alternative education provider, Progress Schools, has announced the appointment of alternative provision expert Matt McCann as director of schools and education. 

The role will see Matt spearhead quality improvement across its provision, supporting staff to deliver the highest quality education possible. 

Before joining Progress Schools, Matt served as headteacher of an independent school with multi-sites, which included two specialist schools and four alternative provision sites. 

During his six-year tenure as headteacher, Matt simultaneously completed a master’s degree in education at Staffordshire University.

After graduating with a distinction, the highest honour, Matt became even more passionate about alternative education and helping support some of the most vulnerable young people in society. 

Matt said: “I am passionate about the implementation of outstanding safeguarding for vulnerable children.  

“I have always been driven to improve attendance and engagement within alternative education settings.” 

Matt has 12 and a half years’ experience in the alternative provision (AP) sector under his belt, alongside a wealth of understanding in different educational settings.  

Matt pinpointed the early stages of his career as the most rewarding and a catalyst for what brought him into the AP sector. 

He said: “Some of the most rewarding work I have ever done was during my early career, where I was involved in teaching teenage mothers, providing access to qualifications and improving the life chances of a very different cohort.” 

When asked what attracted him to the role, Matt said: “I was looking for a new challenge and was excited by the prospect of working for an organisation that provides education on a national scale. 

“After meeting various individuals from the organisation, I was impressed with the shared passion and determination of improving the educational landscape for vulnerable children across the country.” 

As a veteran in the alternative education industry, Matt understands the importance of such provisions and actively champions change across the sector. 

He said: “One size does not fit all. Over the past couple of decades, we have witnessed an unprecedented amount of change in state policy and attitudes towards schooling.  

“We exist in a marketplace, one that is concerned about performance tables, and rigid attainment to compete internationally with countries who have different school norms, and issues than us. 

“The system is not equipped and not proficient to deal with all children. There are many children, where traditional schooling is not working, these are often penalised and disciplined for their inability to function and succeed.  

“AP offers the solution; a means to provide support and ensure no child is left behind.” 

Coming into the organisation, Matt outlined his core priority will be to improve the quality of the provision nationally. His focus will be to enable staff to deliver the highest quality education they can. 

Matt intends to build a platform, where despite the barriers faced by a national organisation, consistency is championed. 

Speaking on his appointment, Charlotte Barton, managing director at Progress Schools, said: “Matt epitomises everything we stand for here at Progress Schools. His passion, enthusiasm, and determination to ensure every young person receives the education they deserve is truly amazing. 

“Matt joins us with a wealth of experience in the AP sector, which he will undoubtedly be able to draw on to bring new ideas to our organisation. 

“I have no doubt Matt will quickly become emersed in our business and go on to help us achieve greats things.” 

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