Board of Directors

Board of Directors


Sir John Dunford | Chair Whole Education, National Pupil Premium Champion

John Dunford was head of a comprehensive school in Durham and general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. He is a trustee of the Learn Academies Trust in south Leicestershire and of the charity Step Together Volunteering, and is chair of the South Gloucestershire Education Partnership. He was the government’s National Pupil Premium Champion for two years and continues to support the work of schools in this field. John writes a weekly blog for TES News online and in November 2016 his book ‘The School Leadership Journey’ was published by John Catt. Twitter: @johndunford Website:


John Baumber | Director of Education (UK) at Kunskapsskolan

John has 20 years of headship experience in the UK in Northumberland. and Bolton. In the latter he was executive head of three high schools one of which he restarted.

He then went to Sweden to be a head of two Kunskapsskolan schools in Stockholm for four years before returning to support Kunskapsskolan open up schools in the UK.

Over the last four years he has been working across the global network of Kunskapsskolan supporting and coaching leadership in Saudi, India , New York and Sweden.

He is committed to the entitlement of all students having a broad and deep education and is at present supporting 20 schools in the Whole Education network develop agency and personalisation.


Ross Hall | Director of Education Strategy, Ashoka

Ross is directing Ashoka’s education strategy for triggering a fundamental change in the experience of education so that every young person is empowered to make a better world.

Before Ashoka, Ross designed the Better World Programme that equips young people to be well and do well. The first implementation of the programme is with 500,000 children across Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

This extended the Effective Education for Employment project that he conceived with Pearson, using it to evaluate the effectiveness of education systems and institutions internationally.

Before joining Pearson, Ross spent 15 years designing and launching 20 businesses on 5 continents.


Chris Holmwood | Senior Deputy Headteacher at Shenley Brook End, and Principal of the School's Leadership and Training Centre

Chris Holmwood is Senior Deputy Headteacher at Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes and Principal of the school’s Leadership and Training Centre. Chris has experience as Acting Headteacher and Associate Headteacher and is also an SLE. Passionate about leadership development and its impact upon high quality teaching and learning, school improvement and student attainment, Chris has been an NCSL Consultant Leader since 2004 and is also a trained NCSL Facilitator. He has led training nationally for a number of providers and undertaken leadership consultancy work at local and regional level. His present Teaching School focus is very much upon establishing the Leadership and Training Centre in order to support successful leadership development at all levels in schools.


Judith Judd | Former editor of the Times Educational Supplement

Judith Judd is a former education journalist and editor of the Times Education Supplement. She was news editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement, education correspondent of the Observer and education editor of the Independent and Independent on Sunday. She also covered religious affairs for the Observer and politics for the Independent on Sunday. She has been a governor of a middle school in Oxford and is now a pro chancellor of the university of Essex.


Lord Jim Knight | Chief Education Advisor, TES Global

Jim is the Chief Education Adviser at TES Global, having successfully developed their teacher training business. 

He is also a visiting professor at the UCL Knowledge Lab and a member of the House of Lords. Jim’s main policy interests are education, employment, skills and digital technology. He served as an MP from 2001-2009, during which time he was a minister for rural affairs, schools and then employment, with his final year as a Cabinet minister. 

Jim is a co-owner of XRapid Ltd, the first company to be commercially selling disease diagnosis using an iphone app. He is a trustee of the Centre for Accelerating Social Technology, and the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund. He is a member of the Government's Digital Engagement Council, the Future of Work Commission established bythe Labour Party, and the Brookings Institution’s Millions Learning 2.0 Advisory Group.


David Laws | Executive Chairman, EPI

David joined the EPI as Executive Chairman in September 2015.

Between 2010 and 2015, David served in the Coalition Government as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Schools Minister, and Cabinet Office Minister. Whilst Schools Minister he was responsible for policy areas including all capital and revenue funding, the Pupil Premium, accountability and policy on teachers and leadership.

David was Member of Parliament for Yeovil from 2001 until 2015.

David graduated from King’s College, Cambridge, with a double first class honours degree in economics and worked at J.P. Morgan and Barclays de Zoete Wedd.


Sarah McCrickard | Honorary Associate of GDST

Sarah has over 30 years' experience in the finance industry. Over the last decade she established, managed and grew alternative asset managers in the private equity and hedge fund space. Her early experience was honed with blue chip firms (Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and McKinsey), where she held a variety of positions including being Chief Operating Office of J.P. Morgan's European Investment Banking business. Sarah was a Director and was also on the Finance Committee. Sarah holds a BSc in Engineering Production & Economics from the University of Birmingham.


Chris Padden | Chief Executive, Incerts

Chris Padden is chief executive of the Assessment Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to accelerating learning by connecting teachers to what every child knows, understands and can do.

The Assessment Foundation's projects include Incerts, an online assessment platform; the Foundation Phase Profile, the national baseline assessment in Wales; and the Assessment Network, a group of 80 school leaders who have specifically committed to peer-to-peer sharing of excellence in assessment practice.

Chris is also the author of Progression Beyond Levels and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Heather Styche-Patel | Head of Strategy, Marketing & Research at RSAcademics

Heather Styche-Patel, Head of Strategy, Marketing & Research at RSAcademics, has worked in the education sector for over 20 years. She has worked with hundreds of schools leading strategic reviews, research studies and change management initiatives.

Prior to joining RSAcademics, she worked in the independent and state school sector, and was Director of Marketing at the University of Surrey.

Graduating with a degree in law and German, Heather chose to pursue an education management career. She graduated with a MBA, from Henley Management College in 2000. Heather is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing; Chartered Management Institute and Market Research Society.


Caroline Waters OBE FRSA CiPD(Hons) | Deputy Chair, Equalities and Human Rights Commission and Vice President of Carers UK

Currently Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Vice President of Carers UK and Founder and CEO of CW Consulting Box, Caroline Waters was also Director of People and Policy at BT and has a distinguished record on equality, inclusion, and human resources. 

Caroline contributed to the Department of Work and Pensions publication of ‘The Disability and Health Employment Strategy: the Discussion so Far’ Chairing the Task and Finish Group on Young Disabled people and Employment. Caroline also Co-Chaired the Department of Health’s Task and Finish Group which launched the ground breaking report ‘Supporting Working Carers: The Benefits to Families, Business and the Economy’ in autumn 2013. Caroline has also acted as the independent panel member on a broad range of senior appointments including chair of the Judicial Pensions Committee and Commissioner of Law. 

She was awarded HR Director of the Year in the 2009 HR Excellence Awards and has also judged a number of prestigious diversity awards including the CRE Race in the Media Awards and Help the Aged's Living Legends. She was awarded the OBE for services to progressive HR practice, diversity and equal opportunities in the New Year's list in 2010. Caroline’s work at BT was recognized by several diversity awards including best ethnic minority recruitment programme awarded by Race for Opportunity.