Stephen Kneller

Deputy CEO & Director of School Improvement

Steve is Deputy CEO and Director of School Improvement at Ascend Learning Trust. He supports and challenges Headteachers and senior leaders within the Trust to bring about school improvement. Steve is also Executive Lead for the North Wiltshire School Centred Initial Teacher Training provider. In addition to this, Steve is a Senior Partner at Challenge Partners and also a Fellow of the Chartered College for Teaching.

Steve joined the Trust in September 2021. He was previously Principal at Hanham Woods Academy in South Gloucestershire where he led the school from Special Measures to good in 2 years. Prior to this Steve was Assistant Head and then Deputy Head at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy where he was responsible for Teaching and Learning within the school. Steve also established the North Wiltshire SCITT and the North Wilthsire Teaching School Alliance.

Before Joining Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, Steve was a teacher of Physical Education and Mathematics in Berkshire and then the West Midlands area.

Steve trained at St Mary’s University in Twickenham. He was born and brought up in Bognor Regis and attended school during the time of teacher’s industrial action in the 1980s. This has had a lasting impact on Steve who believes that Education is as much about developing the whole person as it is academic results.

It is an honour and privilege to Chair the Education Advisory Group and to play a part in shaping the future direction of Challenge Partners and the educational landscape nationally