Learning Exchange Team


GAIL WEBB – Interim Head of School Improvement

Gail is the Interim Head of School Improvement for North Somerset Council with responsibility for the Learning Exchange within the People and Communities Directorate. She is the strategic lead for primary school improvement and manages a team of advisers and school leaders who work within the Learning Exchange.

Previously Gail was the Head of School Improvement for Leeds City Council and Oldham local authority with lead responsibility for primary, special and secondary. In this role Gail led a team of advisers and school leaders, providing CPD and an extensive school improvement programme for all schools and traded work in the city and neighbouring local authorities.

Prior to this role Gail worked in London for the National Strategies as National Programme Director for Learning & Teaching, working with 150 authorities to raise quality of education provision.

Prior to that Gail was a Senior Adviser in Wirral and Halton with responsibility for school improvement across all phases.

Gail’s specialist areas of expertise include leadership and management, governance and working with underperforming and schools causing concern.

Gail has a Masters of Education.


Tim SullyTIM SULLY – Learning Exchange Adviser

Tim has worked in North Somerset and Bristol. He has been a Literacy subject leader, year group leader, Assistant Headteacher and member of school senior leadership team. Tim has taught on the Undergraduate Primary course at Bath Spa University. He is passionate about student voice and was instrumental in bringing Room 13 to Hareclive Primary School in Bristol. Tim has led the Assessment for Learning, Pedagogy and Key Skills networks from their inception and currently runs the Developing Teaching Programme (coaching for teachers) in North Somerset.

Tim is the lead trainer for Critical Skills in the Local Authority and has trained school leaders and teachers in the primary and secondary sector, teaching assistants and governors both here and in other parts of the country and in Europe. He also brought ‘Destination Imagination’ (a challenge event for young people) to North Somerset.

Tim’s main interest at the moment, lies in developing the clarity of the learning journey through the concept of ‘loops of learning’ – moving away from the model of learning as a series of unrelated episodes to learning as an integrated continuum, shared and developed with the children and validated through backward planning.

In his work, Tim integrates the philosophy and thinking of Professor Dylan Wiliam, Professor John Hattie, Ron Berger and Dame Alison Peacock. He is wedded to the concept of ‘Learning without Limits’ and is researching the language of the classroom and how this helps to develop a sense of agency in children.


Penny BoardmanPENNY BOARDMAN – Learning Exchange Adviser

Penny is a Learning Exchange Adviser with strategic responsibility for English. She currently supports and challenges schools in all aspects of school improvement specialising in the development of reading, writing, speaking and listening in Key stage 1 and 2.

Before joining North Somerset school improvement team in 2000 as a Primary National Strategies Literacy Consultant, Penny taught in a number of primary schools across the country. In 2011 she took on the role of Learning Exchange Adviser broadening her role to include all aspects of school improvement. Her achievements include leading the development of phonics which secured North Somerset’s position as one of the highest attaining authorities in the Year 1 phonics screening check. She has written materials to support the teaching of English in the primary phase including a comprehensive spelling programme fully aligned to the National Curriculum 2014. She delivers training nationally on all aspects of teaching English and is passionate about encouraging all children to love reading and writing. In schools, she works alongside teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders providing challenge and support in achieving school improvement priorities. Penny has facilitated National College programmes including Strategic Leadership of ICT and Leading from the Middle and has sat on expert panels for the Standards and Testing Agency. As strategic lead for the moderation of statutory assessment of writing at Key stage 2 and as a Key stage 1 moderator, Penny has an excellent knowledge of national standards in reading and writing.

Penny is currently researching the progression in the development of reading and writing skills and how this can inform assessing without levels. She is also interested in developing Tim Sully’s ‘loops of learning’ work in the context of English by exploring how the very best strategies for teaching English, including Talk for Writing, Power of Reading and grammar in context, are used to address children’s next learning steps within the bigger learning journey.


Learning Exchange Business Support Team