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Message from the Chair

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James Rouse

Chair of Southampton Education Forum (SEF) 2021-2022


Welcome to the Southampton Education Forum.

The Southampton Education Forum (SEF) is a gateway to Southampton’s educational community. SEF work reaches 15,000 young people across Southampton and is one of the largest, most coordinated movements of educators in the South of England. SEF was created more than a decade ago (then acting as a traditional 14-19 consortium), as an alliance of leaders who actively champion education in the City.

SEF was re-shaped in 2012 in response to the changing needs of the group and through the evolution of education to a ‘mixed-economy’. SEF members represent providers from secondary to university level and include key civic partners from Southampton City Council. We also link to primary education through representation on SEF Executive by Kirsten Buist (Headteacher and Chair of Southampton Primary Headteacher Group).

At its heart, SEF provides a comprehensive source of learning through sharing. The group ‘thinks-and-links’ policy into practice and collectively exchanges ideas to improve teaching and leadership across the city. SEF also provides valuable personal support for its members.

SEF makes a strong contribution to the educational profile of Southampton and Hampshire, and our group is highly regarded by local and regional leaders. Over the past three years, we have worked with the Institute for Group Analysis (IGA) who challenged our thinking and deepened understanding across our diverse group through a psychotherapeutic lens. Psychotherapy is one of the most valuable (and misunderstood) inventions of the last hundred years. It has an exceptional power to improve emotional intelligence and relationships and assist in mining our professional potential. This approach offered Southampton leaders the edge in managing themselves in a rapidly changing education sector.

SEF has a central core of senior and subject leaders who drive collaboration and key priorities through regular network activities. These groups are led by Kali Warwick (Chair of the Operational Group) and Jill Lueddeke (SEF Network Coordinator) respectively. SEF ensures its direction is equally relevant to colleges by ensuring the Executive Vice Chair role is fulfilled by a city Principal- currently Alex Scott (Principal of Itchen College).

SEF’s values of deep trust and rich support are a valuable asset to Southampton and the group’s work through COVID-19 is a testament to our commitment to do whatever it takes for our young people. Priorities for 2021/22 include curriculum development and working together to further improve standards across all settings.

If our values resonate with you and you would like to work in Southampton, please check the quick links to vacancies the bottom of every page on our website,



James Rouse, Chair of Southampton Education Forum,

Headteacher of St Anne's Catholic School and Sixth Form College