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Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Group for Teacher Education

Professor John Latham CBEProfessor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor and CEO

Vice-Chancellor and CEO

John is Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the Coventry University Group. John is a double graduate of the University and has a background in information technology and telecommunications. He previously worked for several private sector organisations including JHP Group, Jaguar Cars and BT - including a period as a sponsored Research Fellow based at Martlesham Research Labs, Ipswich. In 2015, John was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Fellowship of the British Computer Society for his services to the IT industry.

John has held high-profile roles at regional, national and European levels promoting innovation, technology and economic development. To that end he is an Advisor to the Australian based Software provider TechnologyOne and also Chair’s the Universities UK/JISC Software Negotiations and Strategy Group. He is a Director for the University Alliance mission group of universities and is a Non-Executive Director of Qualifications Wales. John is additionally an advisory board member of the UK’s National Growth Board which is responsible for the oversight of the remaining UK based European Structural Funds Programme and most recently became a Member for the Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) for the Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care System. Among his other various roles he is also a Panel Member for the Singapore Governments Home Team Academy Operation. Earlier in his careeer he has spent periods of time working overseas including roles in France, Spain, Portugal and Germany as well as being a long-term advisor to the European Commission.

John is an Extraordinary Professor in the area of enterprise and entrepreneurship at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, where in 2019 he received an Honorary Doctorate for his services to UK Higher Education. In the same year he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours with a CBE for his Services to Higher Education.

As a Non-Executive Director of the HEE Board, John Chaired the Audit and Risk Committee and was a member of the Remuneration Committee. He worked in partnership with HEE’s Regional Director in the East of England to ensure the Board maintained strong links with regional activities. Following the transition of HEE to NHSE, John is now a Non-Executive Director for the NHSE Workforce Training and Education Committee.

Most recently, John has been appointed by the Minister for Health and Social Care as an Independent Panel Member on the Advisory Assessment Panels for the Recruitment of members to NHS Bodies.

Professor Geraint Jones Geraint Jones

NITE Chief Executive Officer and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Professor Geraint Jones founded NITE and is its Chief Executive Officer & Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor. Geraint’s breadth of leadership spans across the educational landscape. He has led within higher, secondary and primary sectors in both state-maintained and independent institutions in the UK and internationally.

Formerly, he was Chief Education Officer at Cognita Schools, one of the world’s largest school groups. He was also Dean of Education at the University of Buckingham, an Ofsted Inspector and Head Teacher.

Geraint writes and speaks on educational matters in the national media in the UK and is a columnist for the Times Educational Supplement (TES). Geraint won an international education award for pioneering a new school day structure. He also wrote Wake ’n Shake, a globally successful physical activity programme for school children, delivered in over 20,000 schools.

He was involved in implementing the education strategy for London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and he represented UK schools at the Games’ announcement ceremony in Singapore. He has advised government education ministries in the UK, South East Asia and the UAE.

Professor Alex PeterkenProfessor Alex Peterken

Head, Charterhouse School

Alex holds an MA in Educational Management and a Doctorate in Education, specialising in School Leadership. He read Theology at the University of Durham, and was also a Choral Scholar at Durham Cathedral.

Alex’s first teaching post was at Charterhouse where he spent 11 successful years in several posts including Head of Theology, Head of Higher Education & Careers Guidance and as a Housemaster. He joined Cheltenham College as Deputy Headmaster in 2008 and became Headmaster in September 2010.

Alex returned to Charterhouse as Head in January 2018 and has taken the school fully co-ed as well as enlarging the Charterhouse family by adding a Prep school and international schools to the group. He is passionate about co-education and helping pupils achieve their academic best, whilst stretching their co-curricular talents and preparing them for life beyond school.

Alex is Vice-Chair of the Independent Schools Examination Board and a Governor at Lambrook School.

Professor Simon BeerProfessor Simon Beer

Head of Skills/Principal, Adult College London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Simon was appointed Head of Skills /Principal of Adult College in Barking and Dagenham in August 2023. In this role, he is responsible for aligning the work of the college with Inclusive Economy strategy, and co-ordinating adult skills programmes across the brough. He comes to the work with an extensive background in education and skills, including 10 years’ work in national roles in both policy and research and development, as well as 15 years’ leadership experience in further and adult education.

Previously Simon Beer headed up Haringey Learns, Haringey council’s learning and skills service. There he established workforce development programmes to assure service focus on council priorities including employment and digital inclusion. Following a rapid transition to online delivery at the start of Covid, he led an £800k digital upgrade of the service and subsequent rebrand and relaunch. During a two-year secondment as policy advisor to the Local Government Association (LGA), he led local growth demonstration pilots as part of the LGA work on employment and skills. His work in Further Education, where he developed award winning industry led programmes with cultural and creative industry partners, noted for their emphasis on inclusion and diversity. One example of this is the innovative ‘Learners Lounge’ audio service created in partnership with BBC London. He has worked on teacher education programmes and trains practitioners in classroom communication skills.

He is a member of the National Policy Forum for HOLEX, the membership body for adult education providers, and served on the recent Further Education Innovation Committee set up by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).

In recent years Simon has completed the FE Strategic leadership Programme at Said Business School, Oxford University, and the Design Council ‘Design in the Public Sector’ (DiPS) programme. He has published widely on lifelong learning and skills. His areas of interest include Trauma-Informed classroom practice, neurodiversity approaches in adult learning, design thinking approaches tin education, transferable and employability skills, the creative curriculum, and public service reform.

Professor Sir Paul GrantProfessor Sir Paul Grant

Former Head - Robert Clack School

FED Ambassador: Sir Paul Grant is the most senior education advisor to the Liverpool City Region Mayor. He is a native of Liverpool from a very large working class family. He was the Headteacher of Robert Clack School for over twenty years and the school was featured in’ twelve outstanding schools succeeding against the odds’ published by Ofsted during his tenure. More recently the school was highlighted for best practice in a DFE report (Creating a culture: how school leaders can optimise behaviour) on how outstanding behaviour is created and embedded in UK Schools. His ongoing legacy is that Robert Clack continues to thrive as a community school and is the biggest secondary school in the UK. His transformative work at this school and with the community led to him being bestowed with the Freedom of Barking and Dagenham.

Paul has served as a National Leader in Education and was a member of Business in the Community’s Education Board for over ten years. He has been actively involved in school and system Improvement having been involved with the London Challenge from the outset. Paul was knighted for services to local and national education and appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London. He has had roles as an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hull, and Visiting Professor of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Anglia Ruskin University. He is currently visiting Professor at Coventry University for Global Learning and Education.

Paul has been a National Education Advisor for the Premier League for over ten years and he has also been a coach, leadership and executive mentoring consultant at the PL since that time.

Professor Amy Leonard MBEProfessor Amy Leonard MBE

Director of Denford Associates and Founder of the Talent Foundry

Amy is the Founder of Denford Associates and has over 25 years of experience in communications. She has worked for a global communications agency, in-house as Director of Corporate Affairs for a Government agency, and directly for Cabinet Ministers. Amy began her career in broadcasting, working at the BBC on national and local radio. Amy set up Denford Associates in 2011, with a view to creating a specialist communications agency that focused on education and helping organisations articulate a clear set of messages that resonate with mainstream audiences.

Amy specialises in working with senior teams, providing advice and hands-on support to Chief Executives and Chairmen on an organisation’s positioning and reputation management. She maintains excellent media contacts across national, specialist, regional and local media.

Amy is also the founder of The Talent Foundry, a national social mobility charity that specialises in delivering employability programmes on behalf of UK corporates. Every year the charity works with over 80,000 young people from a network of 1,300 state secondary. She was awarded her MBE in 2020 for services to education.

Professor Paul BroderickProfessor Paul Broderick

CEO – The Classroom Partnership

Paul is a senior executive with over three decades of diverse experience spanning private and public sectors comprising education, human capital, private equity, and online learning and formal qualifications.

In 2015 he set up and currently manages an investment portfolio as part of Bluestones Investment Group with a primary focus on education service providers. While no longer a teacher, he is never very far from the classroom and holds various additional Board Member, CEO, NED, Governor and Trustee offices within the sector. His expertise is establishing performance-driven cultures, change management, business growth globally, M&A, agglomeration, and robust governance.

Paul founded The Classroom Partnership in 2016, a multi-brand group that trains and deploys tens of thousands of educators into UK schools and is today one of the most trusted and vibrant education service companies in the UK and internationally. Since 2017 he has been CEO of Connex Education Partnership, an organisation that took a leading role in the delivery of the DfE’s post-COVID catch-up strategy, the National Tutoring Programme, becoming the largest single provider of funded tuition nationwide. Each academic year the group delivers interventions to over 90,000 pupils in UK schools and delivers online learning, formal qualifications and INSET to over 40,000 school staff.

His business interests are centred around Social Value. In 2023-24 academic year, Connex Education launched a partnership with the wonderful charity Magic Breakfast to raise funds to provide 1 million breakfasts to school children who regularly face food insecurity. Through a mixture of corporate donation, partnership funding and team sponsored events they have so far funded over 250,000 breakfasts and won’t stop until the ambitious target it delivered (Paul is hoping his ageing knees holdout just long enough).

Paul is a Board member of Our Classroom Climate the UK’s first climate change and environment education programme aimed at Primary age children that also cleans the air directly in the classroom. His mission is to put a liquid tree into every classroom in the UK.

Professor Nick Prowse Professor Nick Prowse

CEO – Sherborne Qatar

Nick Prowse, as the Founding Headmaster of Sherborne Qatar School since its inception in September 2009, has played a pivotal role in Qatar's educational landscape. His leadership extends beyond the establishment phase, with Nick actively involved in negotiating school land bids and recruiting management teams of high calibre. Nick is committed to expanding educational opportunities in the region.

As CEO, Nick oversees the strategic direction of the Sherborne Qatar family of five schools, which caters for diverse educational needs ranging from STEM-focused programmes to specialised support for children with special educational needs. At capacity, the family of schools will educate approximately 3500 pupils and employ 350 academic staff, predominantly British.

In addition, Nick is CEO of Sharaka Education. Sharaka has signed an agreement to open Sherborne schools across the MENA region, extending educational opportunities beyond Qatar. The forthcoming opening of Sherborne schools in Saudi Arabia underlines his vision for the future of education in the Middle East.

Nick's previous experience as Senior Boarding Master at The Pilgrim's School, Winchester, adds depth to his leadership, having nurtured students destined for prestigious institutions like Eton and Sherborne. Academically, his Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Buckingham University and fellowship in the Royal Society of Arts reflect his dedication to professional growth.

Nick is married to Beccy and he has 3 children. His family are presently in the UK as his daughters attend UK Independent schools.

Professor Nigel Pattinson Professor Nigel Pattinson

Former Head - Ullswater Community College

Nigel Pattinson is a former Comprehensive School teacher with 19 years headship experience in a variety of secondary schools in the Midlands and North of England. Most of his leadership experience was in state schools many of which were facing challenging circumstances.

Until recently, Nigel was Course Director for the Masters Degree in Educational Leadership for The National Institute of Teaching and Education. This role gave him the opportunity to use his leadership experience to ensure that the course content had professional and practical relevance as well as academic rigour for a new generation of head teachers.

Professor Helen KellyProfessor Helen Kelly

Former Principal, St Patrick’s Boys National School, Dublin

Helen has had over 32 years involved in primary education. For fourteen of those years, she was principal of a prestigious primary school in south Dublin – St. Patrick’s BNS, Hollypark. Her academic qualifications are in education and psychology. Recruiting the best, then inducting and supporting those young teachers in Hollypark to excellence, as they continued on their journey was a big focus. This reaped rewards particularly for the boys, for the highest of standards but also for all relationships within the school community and on the wonderful culture of the school.

Having qualified as an executive coach in 2017, Helen has been working for Career Decisions who have the contract from the Department of Education for coaching school principals both primary and secondary in Ireland. She has had much previous experience in mentoring newly appointed principals, while still a principal.

That focus on excellence and having high expectations for those at the start of their teaching journey has resonated well with the work she is doing on NITE’s PGCE programme. She works as an associate lecturer and a ULM on this programme and more recently as a visiting assessor with the new iPGCE + iQTS trainees. Since September 2021, she has worked as an associate lecturer on the Masters in Education Leadership with NITE.

Still with an educational slant, Helen is a director of a charity – The Kenyan Child Foundation. Since 2016 this charity has been working to build schools in Kenya and to bring Hollypark teachers to these schools on a yearly basis. The first school built, in Kawese, Sultan Hamud, began in 2017 with 16 pupils and now has over 160. In 2022 in a much bigger project, a school for pupils with special educational needs was opened in the Mukuru slums. Helen is also currently serving on the board of governors in a Dublin secondary school.

Professor Joanna Ebner Professor Joanna Ebner

Former Head – Thomas’, Kensington

Joanna Ebner was educated at North London Collegiate School, Homerton College, Cambridge University and the Institute of Education, London. Jo has taught in a variety of primary and secondary schools, both maintained and independent sectors, single-sex, co-educational, day and boarding. Jo trained as a School Counsellor, at City University, The Tavistock Clinic and the Institute of Family Therapy. She co-wrote Counselling in Schools, journal articles in Bereavement Care and Young Minds and has a keen interest in ensuring students’ mental health needs are met. Jo was appointed head of the Royal School, Hampstead, in 2006, an all through girls’ day and boarding school, where she turned around a relatively unknown school, earning particular praise for exceptional pastoral care.

Jo was appointed to her second headship at Thomas’s Kensington, 2012 - 2022. During her tenure the school was awarded a number of accolades, including the Platinum Award for innovative professional development, the International School Award, the Platinum Artsmark and the Values Based Education Award. Ofsted in 2020 (and 2017) deemed Thomas’s Kensington as “Outstanding in all areas” praising the culture of high aspirations within the school. An associate member of the Girls’ Schools Association, Jo was a member of the founding panel of expert advisers on and a contributor to the GSA’s publication “Your Daughter”. Jo was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Travelling Fellowship in 2018, undertaking research in University-School partnerships.

Jo was a visiting lecturer at Roehampton University, chair of The University of Roehampton's Primary Strategic Management Board for Partnerships and member of the government led Independent State School Partnership Forum. In September 2020 she was appointed to the Strategic Board of Partnerships at the National School of Education and Training at Coventry University. In conjunction with NSET, Jo established Thomas’s Teacher Training and the first Graduate Trainee Programme. She also established a bespoke MA for staff across all the Thomas’s Schools with teachers’ evidence-based research informing practice.

In summer 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jo founded School Unlocked, summer schools for the most disadvantaged pupils to help them catch up on missed schooling. Jo was a governor of St Mary’s Ascot, Rimon School, and trustee of the Thomas’s Foundation. She was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Jo was appointed Headmistress Elect at Immanuel College School for September 2022 but had to withdraw from this post due to a diagnosis of lung cancer in May 2022.

Professor Nicola McEwan Professor Nicola McEwan

Assistant Head, Parmiter’s School

Nicola McEwan is an experienced senior leader in both schools and Higher Education. As well as teaching and leading MFL departments both in the UK and overseas, she was also recognised nationally by the Ministry of Education as being a Leading Practitioner in New Zealand.

Nicola joined the University of Buckingham in 2016 and was appointed Acting-Dean of the School of Education in October 2018. She joined Coventry University in 2019, becoming a founding member of the National Institute of Teaching & Education (NITE). In addition to setting up and leading development of the academic provision, she was instrumental in NITE securing the first successful bid to the DfE for an HEI to gain QTS accreditation in 2019; the first and only HEI to do so in ten years. She also supported the successful re-accreditation process for NITE as part of the national ITT review and restructure in 2022; being one of only 80 institutions to achieve this at that time.

Currently an Assistant Head in an outstanding school in Hertfordshire, a Fellow with the Chartered College of Teaching and training to be a professional coach, Nicola continues to support NITE and uphold its principles for school improvement and teacher education. Nicola believes passionately in career-long development in teaching and creating pathways for future school leaders to recruit and retain the best educators to secure the future of our noble profession.

Professor Timothy Mills Professor Timothy Mills

Executive Director – STEP Academy Trust

Tim Mills is Executive Director of Primary Education at STEP Academy Trust. He joined STEP in 2014 and led Angel Oak Academy and David Livingstone Academy to ‘outstanding’ OFSTED judgements and under his leadership Angel Oak Academy was designated a National Teaching School and latterly a Teaching School Hub and has remained ‘outstanding’ at its most recent inspection.

Tim has been designated a National Leader of Education and has supported a number of schools nationally. His doctoral research focused on teaching phonics in upper KS2 and he advised Ambition Institute on the NPQ for Leading Literacy and the DfE’s Early Reading Framework and is currently chair of the DfE’s expert panel on Primary writing. His chapter in the book ‘Leading in Change’ was published in the USA and he also contributed a chapter to the ResearchEd book on leadership. He has written papers for academic journals including ‘Gove’s Greatest Contribution?’ for the Buckingham Journal of Education and has lectured at the University of Brighton and St Mary’s Universities as well as delivering webinars in Australia and Canada on orthographic processing development and its importance to early reading.

Tim’s first degree was in Economics at Liverpool University, and he has a Master’s Degree in Leadership from St Mary’s University. Before entering the teaching profession, he lectured in marketing, was a feature writer for The London Evening Standard, wrote the screenplay for the award-winning Channel 4 short ’Sunny Spells' and worked for a number of years in investment banking.

Professor Pepe Di'IasioPepe Di'Iasio

General Secretary, ASCL

Pepe Di'lasio is Headteacher at Wales High School, a 11-19 High school in Rotherham. Pepe began his teaching career in Doncaster before moving as Deputy Headteacher to an 11-19 teaching school in Sheffield. Pepe has also worked as an Executive Headteacher of two high schools and more recently has been Assistant Director of Education for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. Pepe was formerly Chair of ASCL Equality, Inclusion & Ethics Committee and became General Secretary, ASCL, in April 2024.

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