Elizabeth is the CEO of Horizons Specialist Academy Trust (HSAT), established as a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) on 1 August 2013 and a recognised Sponsor MAT since November 2015.
After graduating from university, Elizabeth gained postgraduate teaching qualifications in both secondary and primary education and taught in both sectors. Building on this experience Elizabeth moved into the area of special education and gained a range of postgraduate qualifications.
Elizabeth already had wide experience of leading and managing in a variety of settings prior to taking up post in 2009 as Executive Headteacher of Stockton Borough First Federation - a "hard" federation of two special schools – having been a headteacher of three special schools in Scotland, including that of Principal of The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh (giving her valuable experience of the independent and charitable sector). In addition, the experience of working as an Associate Assessor with HMIe in Scotland – a role in which Elizabeth was involved in the inspection of specialist SEN and mainstream-based provision across Scotland and the Highlands and Islands. She also had the experience of heading up services for SEN at local authority level as a member of the education directorate in East Dunbartonshire.
Under Elizabeth's leadership, Stockton Borough First Federation evolved from a hesitant amalgamation of two special schools into a more dynamic organisation where staff and financial resources were increasingly moved and reorganised seamlessly to meet pupil and student need. Consequently, Elizabeth viewed the move to academy status as a natural, necessary and sound progression on the journey towards ensuring that student needs and support for their parents and carers were the primary "drivers" in organisational change and professional development and focus. Her philosophy of "no child left behind" is at the heart of Horizon Specialist Academy Trust's determination that innovation and sound practice based on robust self-evaluation are key elements in improving learning and teaching. Furthermore, the freedoms of academy status - combined with successful funding applications to the ESFA - have enabled HSAT to improve the quality of its facilities as well as employing its own specialists in areas such as speech and language therapy and educational psychology. The Trust’s strapline “to do more and to do it better” continues to underpin the work of the Trust.
Elizabeth is a co-opted member of the Regional Schools Commissioners Headteacher Board for the North of England and was very proud to be awarded a CBE for services to education in 2016.