Teach First

Our people

Teach First is a national charity full of dedicated and passionate people, all working towards a future when no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background.

Patron and Vice-Patron

HRH The Prince of Wales

Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO CBE

Vice Patron

National School Forum

Jason Ashley

Redbridge Community School, Southampton, South Coast

Jason has been in education for over 20 years. During that time he has been Head of Year, Head of Department, Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher. He is currently Headteacher at Redbridge Community School.

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Board of Trustees

Paul Drechsler CBE

Chair

Paul Drechsler is the President of the Confederation of British Industry and serves as Chairman of Bibby Line Group headquartered in Liverpool. Before that he was Chief Executive of the privately-owned construction firm Wates Group. He joined Wates in September 2004 and became Chairman and Chief Executive in April 2006 until 2014.    Prior to joining Wates, Paul worked for ICI PLC, spending the first ten years of his career on Teesside. That was followed by 14 years holding various senior positions and living in Brazil, the USA and the Netherlands, which concluded with five years as Chief Executive of one of ICI’s principal international businesses and as a Main Board Director (1998-2003).    Paul has been recognised for his outstanding leadership, winning KPMG Chief Executive of the Year for the construction industry and PwC ‘Private Company, Chief Executive of the Year’. During his tenure at the helm, Wates Group won the Business in the Community Company of the Year and the J.P. Morgan Best UK Family Business Award.    In February 2015, he was honoured by Her Majesty, The Queen with an Honorary CBE for services to the construction industry.    Paul graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with an Honours degree in Engineering Science. He is married with three children.

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Glenn Earle

Glenn Earle is a member of the Board of Directors of Affiliated Managers Group, Inc., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Rothesay Life Group and a non-executive member of the Advisory Committee of Hayfin Capital Management LLP. Mr. Earle is also a Board Member and Trustee of the Royal National Theatre.   Mr. Earle retired in December 2011 from Goldman Sachs International, where he was most recently a Managing Director and the Chief Operating Officer. He was also Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs International Bank and his other responsibilities included co-Chairmanship of the Firm’s Global Commitments and Capital Committees and membership of the Goldman Sachs International Executive Committee. He previously worked at Goldman Sachs in various roles in New York, Frankfurt and London from 1987, becoming a Partner in 1996. From 1979 to 1985, he worked in the Latin America Department at Grindlays Bank/ANZ in London and New York, leaving as Vice President.   He is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and of Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA with High Distinction and was a Baker Scholar and Loeb, Rhoades Fellow. His other activities include membership of The Higher Education Commission and the Advisory Board of the Sutton Trust. His previous responsibilities include membership of the Board of Trustees of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and of the Ministerial Task Force for Gifted and Talented Youth and Chairmanship of the Advisory Board of Cambridge University Judge Business School.  

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Lou McCrimlisk

Lou is a Teach First Trustee, appointed in 2009, and is a Managing Director at Citigroup. He has been an active member of the Teach First National Advisory Council and speaker at Teach First events for over five years. Lou also sits on the Invest in Futures Board for the Prince's Trust. Lou has graduated with Honors from Rutgers College.

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Mary Meaney

Mary Meaney is a Director at McKinsey & Company. She leads McKinsey's Organization practice across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Previously, she was the Global Learning and Global People Leader of McKinsey's Organization practice and is the founder and leader of the McKinsey women's initiative in EMEA and McKinsey's 'Women as Leaders' programme. She has served a variety of energy, basic materials, high-tech, metals and mining, private equity, public sector and consumer product organisations focusing on performance transformation. Before joining McKinsey, Mary worked for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. She directed a junior high school in the South Bronx and worked with semi-nomadic polygamous tribes in western Kenya. Mary graduated Summa cum Laude with a BA in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. She earned a D.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship.

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Dame Alison Peacock

Dame Alison Peacock

Professor Dame Alison Peacock DBE DL DLitt is Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching. The Chartered College opened membership in January 2017 and aims to provide a professional body ‘by teachers, for teachers’. Prior to joining the Chartered College, Dame Alison was Executive Headteacher of The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire. Her career to date has spanned primary, secondary and advisory roles. She is a member of the Royal Society's Education Committee, a peer member of the Teaching Schools Council and a trustee of Teach First. In March 2015, Alison was appointed by the Department for Education as a member of the commission on assessment without levels and she is author of Assessment for Learning without Limits.

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Ally Eynon

Ally Eynon

Ally Eynon is an ’03 Ambassador who trained as an English teacher in Enfield, where she was appointed Assistant Head of Year 7 and Lead for Use of IT across the curriculum, before teaching abroad in Australia for a year. Following this, Ally worked in an ex-mining community in West Yorkshire, where she first led the English Department, before becoming Assistant Headteacher in charge of Teaching & Learning. She left Yorkshire to set up Reach Academy Feltham, an outstanding free school in London, with two fellow Ambassadors. Ally is now Assistant Principal at Oasis Academy Brightstowe in Bristol, where she is working with the Regional Academies’ Director to improve teaching and learning across the South West. Ally chairs Teach First’s South West Action network, where she is leading a project to improve standards of oracy and confidence in young people across the region; and a working party of Bristol Council, business and leading education representatives to create a passport for employability that all learners in the South West can use to support them into successful learning and employment.

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Richard Meddings

Richard Meddings

Richard Meddings serves on the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank as Chair of the Audit Committee and is a Non-Executive Director at Legal & General Group PLC where he chairs the Risk Committee. Richard is also a Non-Executive Director of HM Treasury. From 2002-2014 Richard was a Group Executive Director at Standard Chartered PLC and Group Finance Director for 8 years. From 2008 – 2014 he was a Non-Executive Director of 3i Group PLC.   Richard was Chairman of Seeing is Believing, a charity focused on curing avoidable blindness, from 2004 – 2014.   He is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has a Degree in Modern History from Exeter College, Oxford.   Richard is married, with 3 children, and lives in Kent.

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Alison Duncan

Alison Duncan

Alison has been a partner at EY since 2003. EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London. Alison is responsible for delivering the global audits of a number of UK listed Groups across a number of different industry sectors.  In 2011, Alison completed 3 years as the Managing Partner for People and member of the Ernst & Young UK & Ireland Board and her role included responsibility for the recruitment of c1,000 graduates each year. Alison studied Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin, and worked for two years as a biologist prior to training as a chartered accountant in London.

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Robert Swannell

Robert Swannell

Robert Swannell, the Chairman of Marks & Spencer, has had a long standing interest in education for many years. However, his particular interest in Teach First was triggered when his son joined the Leadership Development Programme in 2008, teaching Maths at Paddington Academy. Since then Robert has been involved with our Business Leaders Council for a number of years.   Robert spent over 30 years in investment banking with Schroders/Citigroup including as Vice-Chairman of Citi Europe and Chairman of Citi’s European Investment Bank. He became Chairman of Marks & Spencer in January 2011. Robert is also Chairman of the Shareholder Executive Advisory Board, which is responsible for the shareholdings of many of the businesses owned or part-owned by the government including the Post Office, Royal Mail, Channel 4, and the Met office. He was Chairman and member of the Governing Body of Rugby School from 2004 to 2014. He is an Advisory Board Member of The Sutton Trust, a founder and Trustee of the SpringBoard Bursary Foundation and a Trustee of the Kew Foundation.

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Lorna Gratton

Lorna Gratton has worked at Boston Consulting Group since January 2014. Prior to joining BCG Lorna was a civil servant at HM Treasury for four years, where she held a number of different roles, including working in the Chancellor's private office. She is an 05 Ambassador, having trained as a mathematics teacher at St Thomas the Apostle College, an all boys comprehensive in Peckham. She taught at St Thomas' for four years, where she was also responsible for the Aim Higher and Gifted and Talented programmes. She was a trustee of Westminster Kingsway College, a large sixth form and adult education college in London from 2010 to 2014. Lorna holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Politics from Cambridge University and a Masters degree from London.

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Dame Mary Marsh

Dame Mary began her career as a teacher, including as a head teacher of two comprehensive schools. Shehas been the Chief Executive of the NSPCC and then Founding Director of the Clore Social Leadership Programme. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of HSBC Bank plc, a member of the Governing Body of London Business School, Chair of Trustees at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and a Director on the Board of the London Symphony Orchestra.

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James Bilefield

James is a serial digital entrepreneur, who left JP Morgan Chase in 1998 to build a series of technology-based businesses around the world. He scaled Skype's global operations as part of its founding management team, managed the digital transformation of media group Condé Nast across 27 countries and led a major investment in fashion e-commerce leader Farfetch. He also co-founded UpMyStreet, one of the UK's first digital businesses, ran venture capital-backed advertising technology company OpenX, and advises both the UK Government and London Science Museum Group on digital transformation. He is a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company and an Industry Partner at private equity firm Advent International, whilst also juggling a small portfolio of boards and technology investments.

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Rt Hon Lord Hill of Oareford

Lord Hill is a former European Commissioner, Leader of the House of Lords and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools. Before joining the Government in 2010, he worked in the private sector, running his own communications business. At an earlier stage in his career, Lord Hill was Political Secretary to Prime Minister John Major and a special adviser to Cabinet Minister Kenneth Clarke. (Photo courtesy of the World Economic Forum)

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Founder and CEO

Brett Wigdortz OBE

Founder and CEO

Brett has led Teach First – now the largest graduate recruiter - since its launch in July 2002. He wrote the original business plan for the charity while working as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and then took what was originally planned as a six month leave of absence to develop and build support for the idea. Previously he has worked as a Consultant, a Journalist and Researcher. He is originally from New Jersey and has an Honours Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Richmond and a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Hawaii. Brett was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Warwick in January 2016. Brett is Co-Founder and Trustee of Teach For All, he also serves on the board of Future Leaders and on the advisory boards of the Educational Endowment Fund and STIR.  In autumn 2015, Brett joined the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation Education Advisory Group as vice-chair and joined the Gems Varkey Teacher Alliance of worldwide educational experts in March 2016. Brett was awarded an OBE in the 2013 Queens New Year’s Honours list for Services to Education Brett’s book Success Against the Odds, a candid account of the first ten years of Teach First was named WHSmith’s Business Book of the Month.

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Executive Team

Ndidi Okezie

Executive Director of Delivery - Access, Ambassadors and Collective Action

As a 2003 Ambassador Ndidi has been a part of the Teach First journey from the very beginning. After spending three years in her placement school she moved to Burlington Danes Academy in 2006. There, as an Assistant Principal in Ark’s foundation Academy, Ndidi contributed to the rapid improvement that lifted the school out of special measures and saw it established as one of the best state schools in the country. She oversaw the development of whole school and cross network strategies including; pastoral programs, curriculum design, student leadership/voice, inclusion, and careers development. Ndidi joined the Teach First employee community in January 2012, working on developing our strategy around Youth and Family Engagement. She was appointed the Executive Director of Regions in January 2013. As a division – Regions, is accountable for the 10 geographical areas in which Teach First operates across the UK, (currently spanning 9 English regions and Wales) Regional teams are responsible for understanding the specific nature and extent of educational disadvantage and working with partners to change that landscape for the young people who live there. The division is accountable for the relationships with schools, participants, ambassadors and regional alliances, working closely with Programme to ensure that all our activities are effective and targeted for greatest impact.

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James Westhead

James Westhead

Executive Director - Communications, Development and Technology

As Executive Director of External Relations, James is responsible for building public understanding of Teach First and its vision of ending educational inequality as well as  securing the funding needed to achieve it. He oversees the Communications department which manages press and public affairs for Teach First, the charity's digital and brand communications and also the Development department which builds fundraising support from corporates, trusts and foundations and individual supporters.    Before joining Teach First in October 2009, James worked for BBC News as its education correspondent. During an 18-year career in broadcasting, James appeared regularly on flagship TV & radio programmes including the Six & Ten O'clock News and the Today programme. As well as helping launch News 24 in 1997, James has held a number of senior posts covering health and social affairs issues and spent two years abroad as one of the BBC's Washington correspondents. He is also a trustee of several education charities including Jamie's Farm.  

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Sam Freedman

Executive Director - Participant Impact and Delivery

Sam is responsible for the Programme division which leads the analysis, design and development of Teach First's programmes. He joined Teach First in 2013 as Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact. Before joining he was the Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State at the Department of Education having previously been Head of Education at think-tank Policy Exchange. Sam is a trustee of the Teacher Development Trust. He is a Director of Floreat Education which runs five primary schools in London and is a Governor of Woodside High School in Tottenham.   

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Darren Xiberras

Interim Finance Director

As Interim Finance Director, Darren is responsible for managing the Finance team to ensure Teach First has a first-class finance function that delivers the financial control, rigour and discipline of the organisation. As a member of the Executive Team, he leads the development of and oversees execution of our financial strategy. Before joining Teach First in December 2016, Darren pursued a career in financial management which has spanned the commercial and charitable sectors. Immediately prior to joining Teach First Darren was Finance Director for Engie’s central and local Government businesses which provided a range of Facilities Management and Business Process outsourcing services to its clients. Darren was Corporate Services Director at Royal Voluntary Service between 2010 and 2014 and since 2003 has held several Finance Director appointments in businesses who provide a variety of front-line and back office services to central and local Government bodies.  

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Isabelle Perrett

Executive Director - HR

As Executive Director of Human Resources, Isabelle is responsible for helping Teach First achieve sustainable and outstanding results through people.  At the organisational level, this means ensuring we have the right structure, culture, capability and leadership to achieve our mission and strategic goals.  At the individual level, it’s about ensuring we align, inspire and enable our people to give their best performance every day. Isabelle brings a wealth of experience gained across sectors, operating models, nationalities and cultures, from Fortune 500s to start-ups and public-sector organisations. She has held senior positions in management consultancy, as well as leading in-house Human Resources, Learning and Development functions at Astrazeneca, a global pharmaceuticals company, and at SPX, a global engineering company. Isabelle has a track record in leading organisational change, and has successfully delivered significant change projects, including downsizing, growth, restructuring, outsourcing of core functions, and acquisitions. As a consultant, she has advised senior leadership teams on how to plan and realise the benefits of transformation projects. Isabelle has a Master's in Modern Languages from Oxford University, a Master's in executive coaching, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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Senior Leadership

Claire Walker & Hannah Essex

Communications (Jobshare)

Fiona Rawes MBE

Community Impact

Gillian Budd

Governance, Compliance and Legal

Mark Sutton

Technology

Reuben Moore

Leadership

Andrew Oliva-Hauxwell

Local Areas

Tomos Davies

London Local Areas

Helen Rajan

Delivery Effectiveness

Gareth Williams

Facilities

Rachel Parkin

Research, Evaluation and Impact

Carol Bhaskar

Ambassador

Rachel Serlen

Chief of Staff

Nicole Heard

Nicole Heard

Recruitment Operations, Graduate Recruitment (maternity cover)

Claire Ashton

Attraction, Graduate Recruitment

Georgie Porter

Teach First President

Graihagh Crawshaw

Graihagh Crawshaw

Access

Jamie Stuart

Recruitment

James Shaw Hamilton

Government Contracts

Jen Baxter

Jen Baxter

Strategy and Planning

Terence Lovell

Development

Samantha Butters

Samantha Butters

Strategy and Planning (maternity cover)

Shelley Gonsalves

Role Readiness

Jay Nash

Jay Nash

Business Transformation Team

Ann-Marie Mcloughlin

Strategy and Performance, Graduate Recruitment

Founding Ambassadors

James Darley

Lord Andrew Adonis

Prof. Sonia Blandford

Dr. John Dunford

Rona Kiley

Sir George Iacobescu CBE

Dame Mary Richardson

Stephen O'Brien CBE

Jo Owen OBE

Ralph Tabberer

John May

Local Area Leadership

Colin Ferguson

Director, North West

Carol Gormley

Director, Yorkshire and the Humber

Karl Edwards

Karl Edwards

Director, East Midlands (maternity cover)

Jennifer Owen Adams

Director, Cymru

Jenny Sutton

Director, South West

Anita Wheeler

Director, West Midlands

Helen O'Connor

Helen O’Connor

Director, South East and South Coast

Sohail Faruqi

Sohail Faruqi

Director, East of England

National School Forum

National School Forum

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson

Anderton Park Primary School, Birmingham, West Midlands

Sarah began teaching straight from university, working in Dudley for 13 years and Birmingham for almost ten years. She has been a governor at all the schools she has worked at and spent the past 17 years in leadership roles. Sarah is now Headteacher at Anderton Park Primary School. She is a local leader of education, part of HMI West Midlands Headteacher Reference Group, and part of the Birmingham National Executive of NAHT. She also works closely with the Prevent team of West Midlands Police, local Child Sexual Exploitation charity Pure Hearts and a Rape and Sexual Offence Committee with West Midlands Police.

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National School Forum

Simon Barber

Carshalton Boys Sports College, Sutton, South London

Simon has taught in six London schools for over 37 years. He has been Headteacher at Carshalton Boys Sports College since 2001. He is also Chair of Governors for the Limes College Pupil Referral Unit and a PiXL Regional Leader for London secondary schools.

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National School Forum

Andrew Day

Northumberland CE Academy, Northumberland, North East

Andrew started his working life teaching English in South Africa before continuing the role in England. He gained an MBA at Durham University and established a travel company, before returning to education via The Future Leaders programme. From 2007 Andrew was deputy head at a London school and become the principal of an academy in 2009.

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Angela Trigg

Angela Trigg

London Academy, Barnet, North London

With an earlier career in retail, Angela entered the teaching profession in 1994. Her first years of teaching took place in two large secondary moderns in Kent. In 2002, Angela joined London Academy as an Assistant Principal, becoming Principal in 2007. In 2013 the school formed a multi-academy trust with a local junior school and Angela became Executive Principal. In 2015 it became an all through school with a new primary school on the same site.

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National School Forum

Andrew O'Brien

Accrington Academy, Hyndburn, North West

Since qualifying as a PE teacher in Cheltenham, Andrew has worked at four secondary schools across the country. He has undertaken a range of middle and senior leadership roles and is currently Principal at Accrington Academy, an 11-18 United Learning Academy.

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National School Forum

Vanessa Ogden (Chair)

Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets, East London

Vanessa's teaching career covers twenty years of practice in challenging inner-city schools across London and involves work in school improvement, school effectiveness and education tailored to the needs of gender. She is Headteacher of Mulberry School for Girls and is leading the establishment of a University Technical College in Tower Hamlets. Vanessa is designated a ‘National Leader in Education’ and undertakes school-to-school support. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education and she has a doctorate specialising in education policy and school improvement. Vanessa is also a trustee of STEMNET. She has been President of the Association of Maintained Girls Schools. She chairs the board of the Somerset Challenge and she is currently on the advisory group for the Centre for Social Justice. Vanessa has published both academic and professional writing on education.

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National School Forum

Victoria Bishop

Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, Wellingborough, East Midlands

Victoria studied geography at the University of Birmingham, before gaining a PGCE and MA in Education from the University of Leicester. She has nearly 40 years of experience in education in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire secondary schools. She has been Principal of Sir Christopher Hatton Academy, since 2004. The school is now an academy sponsor and has formed a small local multi-academy trust with three feeder primary schools. Victoria is now a designated National Leader of Education, CEO of the Hatton Academies Trust and Executive Principal. Recently she has worked as a School Improvement Partner and Ofsted inspector. She is also a member of ASCL National Council and currently their elected Professional Development Officer.

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National School Forum

Anna Hennell James

Halifax Primary, Ipswich, East of England

Anna started her career at Hackney Junior School and has seen the birth and development of a range of educational authorities, including Ofsted and the national curriculum. She has been in the teaching profession for 30 years and recently celebrated her tenth anniversary at Halifax Primary, where she is currently Headteacher.

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National School Forum

Cliff Stokes

Newington Community Primary School, Thanet, South East

Cliff has been teaching for 34 years and has been a Headteacher for the last 16 years. He has led Newington Community Primary School since it opened in 2007. In that time the school roll has increased from 200 children to 670.

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National School Forum

Ed Vainker

Reach Academy, Feltham, West London

Ed is a Teach First Ambassador from the inaugural cohort in 2003. He taught in two secondary schools in London and subsequently worked for Teach For All, supporting organisations like Teach First around the world to effectively train and support their teachers. In 2012 with fellow Ambassador, Rebecca Cramer and friend Jon McIntosh, Ed founded Reach Academy Feltham, where he is now Principal.

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National School Forum

Rebecca Cramer

Reach Academy, Feltham, West London

Rebecca is a 2006 Ambassador. She has taught in three Teach First eligible secondary schools in London and subsequently worked for Teach First visiting, ambassadors around the country to shine a spotlight on their work in the classroom and offering coaching feedback on their lessons. In 2012 Rebecca co-founded Reach Academy Feltham, an all-through school in South West London and is now Secondary Headteacher.

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Fiona Rawes MBE

Director of Community Impact, Teach First

Fiona was a lawyer for five years before joining the charitable sector where she has worked for twenty years in organisations such as British Red Cross, UNHCR and Tate. As CEO of Heart of the City from 2003 onwards, she pioneered a unique programme of intercompany engagement around Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In 2010, Fiona worked as Education Director at Business in the Community, overseeing the national scaling of a network of over 350 businesses with schools in the UK’s most deprived areas. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2010 for services to CSR. She joined Teach First in 2013 as its first Director of Community Impact where she leads our work on partnering with schools, charities and social enterprises to accelerate our collective progress towards the Fair Education Impact Goals.

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National School Forum

Jane Nolan

Ormiston South Parade Academy, Grimsby, Yorkshire and the Humber

Jane began her career as a developmental psychologist before moving into child development and education research. Since training to be a primary school teacher 14 years ago, she has worked in schools serving areas of significant socio-economic deprivation, and is passionately committed to improving the life chances of all pupils. During this time, Jane has held various positions including SENCO, Inclusion Coordinator, Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and Principal. She is currently Principal of Ormiston South Parade Academy.

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National School Forum

Matt Butler

Oasis Academy Brightstowe, Bristol, South West

Matt worked in commercial industry for the first 11 years of his career. He made the move into education, working in challenging schools in London for six years before moving to Bristol to become Principal of a small secondary academy with the Oasis group. Matt has since become an Executive Principal and now manages four academies.

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