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Who are the speakers of our IOE Debates series?

What if… education policy was shaped by a commitment to social justice?

5 December 2019

Louise Archer, Karl Mannheim Professor of Sociology of Education, IOE

Professor Louise Archer
Louise is co-chair (with Professor Jessica Ringrose) of the IOE’s Centre for Sociology of Education and Equity (CSEE). Her research focuses on educational identities and inequalities, particularly in relation to gender, ethnicity and social class. She has directed numerous research studies, and is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of the 10-year, ESRC-funded ASPIRES/ ASPIRES2 study (tracking young people’s science and career aspirations, age 10-19) and the UK PI of the four-year Wellcome Trust/US National Science Foundation-funded Youth Equity + STEM project.

Dan Morrow, CEO, Woodland Academy Trust

IOE Debates speaker Dan Morrow
Dan has a proven track record in school improvement and strategic leadership and systems leadership are his passion. His own leadership journey has seen him lead at a senior level in an all through, a secondary and, prior to his appointment to the Trust, a primary school. His main learning has been that leadership vision, values and behaviours are more crucial than context in securing rapid and sustained progress.  By ensuring high expectations, underpinned by accountability structures built on credibility and integrity, Dan has led schools to be outstanding in every category and turned schools from special measures to good in all categories within 12 months. Leading on accountability means ensuring clear goals and targets are set, monitored and underperformance is quickly challenged and addressed, through support and quality assurance.

Iesha Small, Speaker and Head of Strategy, Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales)

IOE Debates speaker Iesha Small
Iesha has particular interests in creating a fairer society and mental health. She spent three years of influencing practice and policy at the Centre for Education and Youth. Previously she was an assistant headteacher and maths teacher. Iesha writes about education and society for The Guardian and has been a columnist for Schools Week. She has also been seconded to the DfE and has served as a school governor. Iesha has spoken in an expert capacity for organisations including Chartered College of Teaching, The Church of England and Channel 5 news. She has contributed to books covering education, mental health, and gender. She is also the author of The Unexpected Leader.

Dr Jason Arday, Assistant Professor in Sociology, Durham University

IOE Debates speaker Jason Arday
Jason is a Visiting Research Fellow at The Ohio State University in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a Research Associate at Nelson Mandela University in the Centre for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation and a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust - the UK’s leading race equality think-tank. Jason sits on the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) National Advisory Panel and is a School Governor at Shaftesbury Park Primary School in London. He was formerly an Elected Steering Committee Member of Comprehensive Future. Jason’s research focuses on Race, Education and Social Justice. His publications include Considering Racialized Contexts in Education: Using Reflective Practice and Peer-Mentoring to support Black and Ethnic Minority educators (Routledge), Being Young, Black and Male: Challenging the dominant discourse (Palgrave) and Exploring Cool Britannia and Multi-Ethnic Britain: Uncorking the Champagne Supernova (Routledge). Jason was also a co-editor of The Runnymede School Report: Race Education and Inequality in Contemporary Britain.

Chair: Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation

Professor Becky Francis
Professor Becky Francis joined the EEF from the UCL Institute of Education (IOE), where she was Director of the IOE. Her previous roles include Director of Education at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), and Professor of Education and Social Justice at  King's College London.

Becky has combined academic research and policy work in education throughout her career. She regularly serves as a consultant to the UK government and international agencies on education policy matters, and previously served as Standing Advisor to the UK Parliamentary committee responsible for scrutinising government policy on education. She is a frequent media commentator on education issues.

What if… the world really did revolve around teenagers?

29 January 2020

Iroise Dumontheil, Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience, Birkbeck

IOE Debates speaker Iroise Dumontheil
Dr Iroise Dumontheil is a member of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience (UCL and Birkbeck) and the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (Birkbeck). Her research focuses on the typical development of social cognition and cognitive control during adolescence and their functioning in adulthood. Her studies combine a variety of methods to study brain and cognitive development including functional and structural neuroimaging, behavioural assessments, and genetics, as well as academic performance measures. She is interested in the impact of cognitive training, from computerised games to mindfulness meditation practice, on adolescent cognition, as well as the potential implications of these various research strands for education. In 2015 she received the Spearman Medal, an early-career British Psychological Society award, and in 2017 the Elizabeth Warrington Prize from the British Neuropsychological Society.

Mark Lehain, Director, Parents and Teachers for Excellence

IOE Debates speaker Mark Lehain
Mark Lehain trained as maths teacher in 2002 after a brief period working in the City, and then taught at a state school in Bedford. Having been Head of Department, and then Assistant Head at Wootton Upper School, in 2010 he left to lead the campaign to open Bedford Free School (BFS), one of the country’s first free schools. BFS opened in 2012, and he was Principal there until summer 2017. Mark is currently the Director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence, a group campaigning for higher standards in schools. When not advocating for educational reform, he can be found drinking copious quantities of coffee, running and pretending that he knows how to manage his four young daughters.

Mike Shooter, Psychiatrist

IOE Debates speaker Mike Shooter
Mike has worked with the children, young people and families of Cardiff and the Valleys of South Wales for over 30 years. He was the first child psychiatrist to be elected as President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and has been President, Chair or Trustee of many national organisations. He is an Honorary Fellow of six Royal Colleges. He has advised governments around the world on the provision of services and has spoken extensively on children's issues in the media and from the public platform. He has written and co-edited many articles, books and chapters. His latest book, Growing Pains, is a distillation of his work. Mike has a recurrent depressive illness of his own, and the Growing Pains of the book are his own pains as well as those of his clients! He still lives in the heart of his clinical patch, surrounded by his wife, children, grandchildren and a host of animals.

Bettina Hohnen, Clinical Psychologist

IOE Debates speaker Bettina Hohnen
Bettina is passionate about supporting the well-being of young people by strengthening relationships. She is a trained Clinical Psychologist and has worked individually with families for many years. Her combined clinical and academic background means she can translate complex research in the area of mental health and neuroscience to inform parents and teachers. She regularly gives talks and runs workshops with the aim of aligning parents and teachers with the developmental needs of young people. Bettina has recently published a book with two colleagues called The Incredible Teenage Brain: Everything You Need to Know to Unlock a Teen’s Potential, which is a book for adults supporting teenagers. It takes the cutting edge brain research and considers what it means in a day to day context for parents, teachers and professionals supporting young people.

Professor Sue Rogers
Chair: Professor Sue Rogers, Interim Director of the UCL Institute of Education

Sue is an early childhood development and primary education specialist with research interests in pedagogy and curriculum, the role of play in early learning, professional learning in the early childhood workforce, and approaches to evidence-informed practice. Her recent publications include ‘A Guide to Early Years and Primary Teaching’ (2016, edited with Dominic Wyse), ‘Adult Roles in the Early Years’ (2012, with Janet Rose), and ‘Rethinking Play and Pedagogy: Concepts, Contexts and Cultures’ (2011).

What if… we wanted more effective school improvement?

18 March 2020

Leora Cruddas, CEO, Confederation of School Trusts (CST)

IOE Debates speaker Leora Cruddas
Leora Cruddas is the CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts – the national organisation and sector body for school trusts in England.  She has advised successive governments and sits on several Department for Education advisory bodies. She is Vice-Chair of the Head Teacher Standards Review Group. Prior to establishing CST, Leora was Director of Policy and Public Relations for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Just before leaving ASCL, she established the Commission for Ethical Leadership, on which she served as a commissioner. She now sits on the Ethics Committee. She believes education is for the common good. Leora also has six years’ experience as a Director of Education in two London Local Authorities, and extensive experience at senior executive level of working with schools and trusts to improve the effectiveness and quality of education.

Tim Brighouse, Educator

IOE Debates speaker Tim Brighouse
Tim Brighouse retired from the post of London Commissioner for Schools in 2007 after five years of leading the London Challenge. Before that he spent 10 years as Chief Education Officer in Birmingham and 10 years as CEO in Oxfordshire, separated by four years as Professor of Education at Keele University. Earlier he worked in a number of authorities and schools.  Since 2007 he has continued speaking and writing, mainly about school improvement. 

Lucy Heller, Chief Executive, Ark

IOE Debates speaker Lucy Heller
Lucy joined Ark in 2004 from TSL Education, a subsidiary of News International, where she was joint Managing Director. Her previous roles include General Manager of The Observer and Executive Chairman at Verso, a trade and academic publisher. She has worked for many years with a number of charitable and voluntary organisations including the Marshall Commission, Community Links and the Bush Theatre.

Jennese Alozie, Director of Effectiveness and Performance, STEP Academy Trust

IOE Debates speaker Jennese Alozie
Before joining STEP Academy Trust, Jennese was a Deputy Headteacher within secondary schools and as a Standards and Excellence Commissioner for a local authority, working with secondary and primary school clusters. She is also a practising Ofsted Inspector, leading on secondary and primary inspections. Her passion for education, past and current experiences, means that she can bring a different perspective to every dynamic.

Chair: Ed Dorrell, Deputy Editor and Head of Content at the Tes

IOE Debates speaker Ed Dorrell, Tes
Ed has been on the Tes for more than ten years, starting as a news editor. HE has contributed to national newspapers, books, television and radio. His career started on local papers and trade titles. He tweets as @ed_dorrell
What if… we wanted a better deal for pupils at risk of exclusion?

1 April 2020

Martin Mills, Professor and Director of Centre for Research on Teachers and Teaching, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Martin Mills

Martin researches in the area of social justice, pedagogies, teachers’ work, teacher education, alternative education and gender. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, and has held Visiting Professorships at Kings College London, Roehampton and Queen’s Belfast. He is a former President of the Australian Association for Research in Education. Martin was also Head of the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Australia, where he holds an Honorary Professorship. He recently stepped down as an editor of Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and was appointed as an editor of Teachers and Teaching: Theory and practice.


Kiran Gill, Founder and CEO, The Difference

Kiran Gill

Kiran Gill started her career teaching in inner-city secondary schools, specialising in teacher training and improving literacy teaching across the curriculum. Since leaving the classroom, she has worked in policy design and delivery at the Social Mobility Commission, consultancies Education Development Trust and Isos Partnership, and the charities Teach First and Save the Children. Her published research focuses on poverty, social mobility and the evolution of the school led system in England.  In 2017, Kiran undertook a comprehensive review of exclusion in England, speaking with practitioners, parents, pupils, academics, policymakers and third sector experts (Making The Difference: Breaking the link between school exclusion and social exclusion, Institute for Public Policy Research). Since 2018, Kiran has been founding CEO of the charity The Difference, which is implementing the recommendations of this research. The Difference exists to improve the life chances of vulnerable learners by raising the status and expertise of those who educate them and influencing a more ethical, inclusive school system.


Geoff Barton, General Secretary, Association of School & College Leaders (ASCL)

Geoff Barton
Geoff studied English and Linguistics at the University of Lancaster, then trained to teach at Leicester University. From 2002 to 2017 he was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, and a comprehensive school of 1650 students. He is a Founding Fellow of the English Association and writes for a range of newspapers and journals. He has worked with various organisations, including the Department for Education, on leadership and literacy. Geoff was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, former chair of its Pedagogy Committee, is Patron of the English and Media Centre, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He became General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017.

Stuart Lock, Chief Executive, Advantage Schools 

Stuart Lock
Stuart has 21 years of experience teaching, 15 of which have been in leadership in schools. He has previously been Principal of Bedford Free School and Headteacher of a school in Cambridgeshire. Prior to that his experience was in four London schools. Stuart is also a qualified maths teacher. Stuart regularly presents at national conferences, particularly on the philosophy of education and on educational research. He has advised the Department for Education on a few groups, including the group that developed the Early Career Framework for recently qualified teachers, the group that wrote the Headteacher Standards in 2019, and the group that looked at the role of National Leaders of Education in 2019.

Chair: Sue Rogers, Interim Director, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Sue Rogers
Sue is an early childhood development and primary education specialist with research interests in pedagogy and curriculum, the role of play in early learning, professional learning in the early childhood workforce, and approaches to evidence-informed practice. Her recent publications include ‘A Guide to Early Years and Primary Teaching’ (2016, edited with Dominic Wyse), ‘Adult Roles in the Early Years’ (2012, with Janet Rose), and ‘Rethinking Play and Pedagogy: Concepts, Contexts and Cultures’ (2011).
What if… our education system changed for good in light of Covid-19? Part 1: Schools

18 June 2020

Mary Bousted, Joint General-Secretary, National Education Union 

Dr Mary Boustead
Mary represents the interests of her members to the government, and to a wide variety of other stakeholders. She contributes regular articles for newspapers and education journals and appears frequently on national media. She sits on the executive committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and was a member of the ACAS board. Mary previously worked in higher education at York University, Edge Hill University and at Kingston University where she was Head of the School of Education. Prior to this Mary was a Head of English, and English teacher in comprehensive schools in North London.

Jon Coles, Chief Executive, United Learning

Sir Jon Coles
Sir Jon Coles is Chief Executive of United Learning, a group of over 80 independent schools and academies established 130 years ago. Prior to this, Jon spent four years on the Board of the Department for Education as Director General for Schools and then for Education Standards, responsible for policy areas including the National Curriculum Review, the Academies Act 2010 and National Challenge. Before then, as Director of 14-19 Reform, he led work to increase participation in education and training post-16. Jon was also Director of London Challenge, responsible for developing the much-copied strategy to improve secondary education in London. 

Natalie Perera, Executive Director and Head of Research, Education Policy Institute 

Natalie Perera
Natalie is the Executive Director and Head of Research at the Education Policy Institute, an independent research institute which she co-founded in 2016. Prior to that, Natalie worked in the Department for Education where she led on research and policy interventions including on narrowing the gap between disadvantaged children and the rest and reform of the school funding system. Between 2014 and 2015, Natalie was seconded to the Cabinet Office where she worked in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. Natalie is also a Director of a Multi-Academy Trust in South London and a Trustee of the charities, The Fair Education Alliance and Causeway Education.

Mrunal Sisodia, Co-Chair, The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF)

Mrunal Sisodia
Mrunal is the East of England steering group member for the National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) and since July 2017 has the pleasure of serving as Co-Chair. The NNPCF is made up of 151 local parent carer forums made up of parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities. In his role with the NNPCF, Mrunal sits on numerous national boards and works closely with national government including the Department for Education, NHS England and Ofsted. Before joining the NNPCF Steering Group, Mrunal was a director at Leonard Cheshire Disability and has extensive experience of the charity sector developing strategy and new services. Prior to this Mrunal was a director of strategic change management at Deutsche Bank.

Chair: Sue Rogers, Interim Director, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Sue Rogers
Sue is an early childhood development and primary education specialist with research interests in pedagogy and curriculum, the role of play in early learning, professional learning in the early childhood workforce, and approaches to evidence-informed practice. Her recent publications include ‘A Guide to Early Years and Primary Teaching’ (2016, edited with Dominic Wyse), ‘Adult Roles in the Early Years’ (2012, with Janet Rose), and ‘Rethinking Play and Pedagogy: Concepts, Contexts and Cultures’ (2011).
What if... our education system changed for good in light of COVID-19? Part 2: Further Education

25 June 2020

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

David Hughes
David Hughes became Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges in September 2016. Before that he was CEO at Learning and Work Institute, a leading think tank, research and policy organisation, which was formed in 2016 from a merger he led between the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and Inclusion. From 2000 to 2011, he worked in senior roles at the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). David has held many Board and Committee roles, including a few years as Vice-Chair of the East Midlands Regional Assembly in the 1990s. He played a leading role in establishing the new Education and Training Foundation in 2013.

Stuart Rimmer, Chief Executive, East Coast College 

Stuart Rimmer
Stuart Rimmer is Principal and Chief Executive at East Coast College. He moved to East Anglia six years ago from the North West to take up the principal role in Great Yarmouth before leading the merger of Lowestoft College and Great Yarmouth College in 2017 and then a further merger between East Coast College and Lowestoft Sixth Form College in 2018. He has worked in education at a senior level for over 15 years following a career in textile manufacturing and financial services. Stuart now serves on the New Anglia LEP Skills Board and also chairs the national policy group relating to mental health at the Association of Colleges. He is considered to have a leading national role in the development of wellbeing and mental health within education. He contributes regularly to the Times Educational Supplement and many other national publications. He is a Visiting Senior Fellow for leadership and management at the University of Suffolk and also works as a wellbeing and performance coach with corporate clients. 

Jill Westerman, Trustee and Vice-Chair, Further Education Trust for Leadership (FETL)

Jill Westerman
Jill has worked in adult education for over 30 years and was principal of the Northern College in Barnsley until she retired in the summer of 2018. She is a trustee and Vice Chair of FETL and a governor of City Lit. She has published a number of articles and chapters on leadership and teaching and learning. Jill was awarded a CBE in 2010 for services to adult education.  

Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships, Pearson Education 

Cindy Rampersaud
Cindy is Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships at Pearson Education where she is responsible for the development of all Pearson’s UK technical, vocational and apprenticeship qualifications which are delivered to over one million learners a year. She moved into the education sector in 2011 when she took up the role of Deputy Principal at City and Islington College. In 2016 she was appointed a Deputy Further Education Commissioner by the Department for Education working on the Government's review of the Further Education sector nationally. Cindy is a member of the Commission on Sustainable Learning and she currently sits on the board of The Speakers Trust and is an honorary lifetime member of The Children's Society having served as a Trustee for eight years.

Chair: Alison Fuller, Professor of Vocational Education and Work and Pro-Director (Research and Development), UCL Institute of Education 

Alison Fuller
Alison is Professor of Vocational Education and Work and Pro-Director (Research and Development) at the IOE. Prior to joining the IOE in 2013, she was Director of Research in the School of Education at the University of Southampton. Alison’s substantive research interests are in the areas of vocational education and training, skills, apprenticeship policy and practice, workplace learning and education - work transitions. She has undertaken numerous research projects for funders such as the The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Nuffield Foundation and the EU and Gatsby Foundation. She acted as Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee scrutinising apprenticeship policy. Alison is a full panel member of the REF2021 UoA23 Education sub-panel.
What if... our education system changed for good in light of COVID-19? Part 3: Higher education

2 July 2020

Paul Ashwin, Professor of Higher Education, Lancaster University

Paul Ashwin
Paul Ashwin is Professor of Higher Education and Head of the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University. Paul’s research focuses on teaching, learning and curriculum practices in higher education and how they are shaped by higher education policies. His recent books include ‘Transforming University Education: A Manifesto’ (Bloomsbury 2020) and he is the lead author of 'Reflective Teaching in Higher Education' (Bloomsbury 2015, 2020). Paul is Deputy Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE). He is a coordinating editor for the international journal ‘Higher Education’ and co-editor of the Bloomsbury book series ‘Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education’. 

Allison Littlejohn, Professor and Director of Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education 

Professor Allison Littlejohn
Allison is Director of the UCL Knowledge Lab, a centre exploring the future of education with technology at UCL Institute of Education. She is a learning scientist, specialising in professional and digital learning. Allison was formally a Dean (Learning and Teaching), in the College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow. She was also Academic Director of Digital Innovation at the Open University (2015-2019), and the Founding Director of the Caledonian Academy at Glasgow Caledonian University (2006-2014), where she was also the Senior Researcher for Royal Dutch Shell (2008-2010). She has been awarded over 40 research grants, which have been published as six books and over 250 articles.

Aaron Porter, Associate Director (Governance), Advance HE 

Aaron Porter
Aaron is the Associate Director (Governance) for Advance HE. He is also the Associate Director of Policy and Engagement for IDP Connect. He is a governor at Goldsmiths University, non-executive chair of the Board of Governance at Nelson College London and non-executive chair of the BPP University board. Aaron  was previously the President of the National Union of Students (NUS). He has served on a number of boards including UCAS, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the council of the University of Leicester. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Leicester.

David Willetts, President, Resolution Foundation

David Willetts
The Rt Hon. Lord Willetts FRS is the President of the Resolution Foundation. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the Number 10 Policy Unit. Lord Willetts is a visiting Professor at King’s College London, a Board member of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Chair of The Foundation for Science and Technology. He is an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society and the Chancellor of the University of Leicester. Lord Willetts has written widely on economic and social policy. His books include 'A University Education' and the second edition of his book 'The Pinch', that was published in November 2019.

Chair: Sue Rogers, Interim Director, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Sue Rogers
Sue is an early childhood development and primary education specialist with research interests in pedagogy and curriculum, the role of play in early learning, professional learning in the early childhood workforce, and approaches to evidence-informed practice. Her recent publications include ‘A Guide to Early Years and Primary Teaching’ (2016, edited with Dominic Wyse), ‘Adult Roles in the Early Years’ (2012, with Janet Rose), and ‘Rethinking Play and Pedagogy: Concepts, Contexts and Cultures’ (2011).