Chairman & Director
Simon’s commercial background as a senior manager with a major national and international company gave him the experience of delivering significant change by developing both systems and people. He was responsible for large financial budgets and accountable for cost control and financial returns. He has wide experience of delivering cost savings through improving productivity and the continual development of best practice in his teams. He has worked in diverse communities, from inner cities to rural locations.
Simon’s leadership of the Board has repositioned it, blending a successful group of commercial leaders with successful educational leaders, bringing difference to support the best decision making.
More recently Simon’s long held interest in the hidden aspects that drive people, and their emotional health became a strong pull, resulting in a change in career direction, after completing a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited course in Humanistic and Integrative Counselling, he now practices both privately and for a not for profit agency in Somerset.
Simon is a National Leader of Governance and has been a school governor in Somerset for 13 years. He is passionate about the place that modern governance in school has, and how this adds strength to a school’s leadership, to further improve the experience and outcomes for all children. Great governance is a glue that binds the leadership, with the parents, and the community in a common purpose to help every child reach their own potential.
Simon has been judged by Somerset LA to be a highly effective Chair of Governors who has managed effectively complex leadership issues within his school. This led to Simon chairing the first Interim Executive Board in Somerset for a school placed into special measures and ultimately the academies programme.
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Paul founded EdisonLearning in the UK as a wholly owned subsidiary of EdisonLearning, Inc in 2003, and served as Managing Director for several years. He was then appointed by the US company to be their Chief Education and Operations Officer from 2010 to 2013 with additional responsibility for international expansion. He is now retired but continues to do some consultancy work on a voluntary basis.
Paul gained a deep understanding of the ingredients of outstanding schools during the 19 years he spent as a highly successful teacher and leader in state secondary schools in England. He was at the forefront of innovation in relation to student motivation, the curriculum, effective learning and staff development.
He joined Essex, one of the largest local authorities in the UK, as an inspector of schools because of a desire to work on a larger canvas. He was quickly promoted to the management team of the Education Department as Head of Strategic Planning, then as Principal Officer, Quality Assurance and Deputy County Education Officer.
From 1994 to 2002 Paul was Director of Learning Services for Essex Local Authority with responsibility for nearly 600 schools, Adult Education, Youth Service, Libraries and the Arts with a budget of over £600 million.
He led the turnaround of the education authority, from one which schools were highly critical of, to one which was praised by Ofsted for its leadership of schools. During his time as Director he led the formation of many partnerships with the private sector and higher education and sat on a range of Government Advisory Groups, including the National Education Research Forum, the National Advisory Group for Special Educational Needs and a DCSF Sharing Best Practice group.
In 2003 Paul also founded the Eastern Leadership Centre, a not-for-profit charity based in Cambridge providing leadership training for school staff in the Eastern Region.
He is passionate about transforming students’ learning experiences by supporting schools to put students at the centre of school organisation and practice.
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Tim’s career in education started more than 25 years ago as a Physics and Technology teacher. In common with many of his peers, he was involved in the early development of ICT in schools and developed a strong reputation as a pioneer in the teaching of robotics and computer control technology.
This eventually took Tim out of the classroom and into a new career working for a leading educational ICT manufacturer, where he provided educational, technical and commercial expertise. Evidence from his work suggested that people often find innovation and change difficult and finding solutions to this problem has remained a key focus of his work ever since
In his time at EdisonLearning, Tim has led the company’s team of educationalists, worked on Academy and BSF programmes, and driven new areas of research and development, most notably into the operation of virtual and hybrid schools.
Tim is a member of the CBI’s Education and Children’s Services Panel, and is a regular contributor to written and social media in the education sphere.
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Dr. Allan Sigston
Allan is the Head of Organisational Effectiveness and Efficiency, his focus is on ensuring that EdisonLearning is constantly using the best and most up to date research in its products, services and systems for supporting schools and other clients.
Allan trained as a teacher and later an educational psychologist working in London and county local authorities. He holds a Doctorate in educational psychology and a Masters degree in organisational and occupational psychology.
Between 1985 and 1995 he was both a practising educational psychologist in Waltham Forest and a training tutor at the University of East London.
Between 1996 and 2004 Allan was a manager of special educational needs and social inclusion services for Essex County Council managing over 400 staff consisting of psychologists, specialist teachers, behaviour support workers and statutory assessment administrators. He led this group of services through a Local Authority Ofsted inspection in 2004 that rated Essex’s special educational needs services as one of the highest-performing services in the country.
Allan was appointed Honorary Research Fellow at University College London in 2004. He has published three edited books and numerous book chapters and journal articles on special educational needs, educational psychology practice, parental involvement and effective interventions with young people.
Allan was a member of the EdisonLearning team that developed the e2 secondary school model, taking a lead on how educational and psychological research can be applied practically to learning and school organisation. He continues to work with colleagues in schools around the developing and piloting of new approaches.
A major aspect of his work concerns developing Blended Learning opportunities that combine online and in vivo teaching within and outside of schools.
He has undertaken a range of substantial consultancy contracts with schools, local authorities and private sector partners around the improvement, development, management and leadership of educational provision.
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Sami Abouzahr is Global Head of Sales Deployment for Wealth Management at HSBC, responsible for delivering people, product and technology initiatives across the bank’s wealth management business. He has spent 12 years at HSBC in investment management, institutional banking and leadership positions in Shanghai, Hong Kong and London. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Sami is passionate about education and non-profit work and has volunteered on teaching, climate change and community programmes since he was 15 years old.
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Miranda Abraham is Head of Emerging Markets Loan Syndicate at Barclays. She has over 16 years of investment banking experience, arranging large financings for FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 size companies. Prior to focusing on Emerging Markets, Miranda worked as a Director in Loans Syndicate across EMEA also for Barclays Investment Bank. Miranda joined Barclays Loan Syndicate team in 2004 and during this time she has worked on a number of high profile and very large M&A and IPO loan transactions. Prior to this Miranda worked in the Loan Syndications Team at RBS on a variety of Syndications roles across EMEA including Loan Distribution, Loan Origination, Loan Documentation and Loan Execution. Prior to this Miranda worked in Relationship Management also for RBS. Miranda began her career in the City 1998 working in recruitment for Financial Services.
Miranda is passionate about supporting children and young families. She is a Trustee for Dreams Come True. A charity that brings joy to children with serious and life limiting conditions. Miranda also sits on the Finance Committee for the charity. Miranda has extensive experience of fundraising and event organisation for the charitable sector.
Miranda volunteered for the National Childbirth Trust Charity (“NCT”) the UK’s largest charity for parents for 5 years, and was Chair & Coordinator for NCT, Kensington & Chelsea Branch. In her role at the charity Miranda worked closely supporting local families and helping new parents adapt to the challenges of becoming a parent. She also drove a shift in focus enabling the charity to pioneer new indicatives such as “baby bundles” enabling them to reach more vulnerable/disadvantaged parents and children.
Miranda is an Executive Director on the Women in Banking & Finance Board (“WIBF”) a 35 year old not for profit supporting women working in financing services. Miranda works alongside WIBF’s 25 corporate partners. Miranda is also Senior Sponsor for Barclays Gender Network and sits on the Steering Committee for this.
Miranda lives in London with her husband and children.
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Robin is a qualified accountant with over 30 years of business management experience, predominately working in the defence industry for major national and international companies. He has held senior leadership roles in large complex businesses and programmes, where he developed strong IT/IS, finance and general management skills.
Robin has substantial experience in successfully managing large scale cultural and business change programmes.
He is passionate about helping individuals to release their full potential and is an experienced mentor.
Robin is excited about helping the Trust achieve its goal of improving the educational outcome and experience for all.
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Howard is Chief Executive Officer of Samuel Ward Academy Trust, having served as Principal of Samuel Ward Academy since 2000. Samuel Ward Academy is an oversubscribed school in the south west of Suffolk serving the 1970’s new town of Haverhill with 1250 pupils aged 11 – 18. Pupils arrive at the school with below national average levels and leave with higher than average outcomes which were a significant factor in Samuel Ward being judged as outstanding in its last two Ofsted inspections, the most recent in October 2012. Samuel Ward formed a multi academy trust in March 2013 following a successful application to open a Free Special School for pupils with speech, language and communications issues. The school will open in September 2013 with 18 pupils rising to 70 over the next few years. The trust is also sponsoring a primary school in its locality.
Howard is a National Leader of Education and the school is a National Support School. He has supported a number of schools in this capacity including a 2 term stint as Acting Principal of an academy in Norwich and most recently a school in the east of Suffolk. In addition to this he was seconded for one year to Suffolk County Council to lead on the development of their Vision for Learning in the context of Building Schools for the Future. He has previously been a finance director of a small business, leader of a district council, Secondary School Improvement Partner and a National AST assessor. He has also been a regional Director of Education for one of the large national academy sponsors.
Howard has two sons and is a keen supporter of Ipswich Town Football Club.
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Director & Vice Chair
Lee has worked in or with schools for 22 years in both the UK and the US. He has been a high school classroom teacher, a Faculty leader, and led a number of strategic roles within schools, including leadership with responsibility for teaching and learning.
During his time in schools (1994–2007), Lee worked in three London schools and two in Suffolk serving diverse communities of learners. His own classes always achieved exceptional outcomes and he developed strong teams through rigorous support and challenge. Where he led on teaching and learning, external judgements by Ofsted rated the school as improving rapidly from satisfactory to outstanding performance. Lee was deployed by Suffolk County Council to secure teacher improvement in a number of underperforming schools.
Lee has worked with EdisonLearning since 2007. Here, his experience has been broad, managing multiple projects at any one time, both in terms of contracted school partnership work, and developing educational products. Since 2008, Lee has played a leading role in product development, culminating in a directorship within the international product development team in 2011. As part of this, he planned and delivered training for all of EdsionLearning’s school principals across the US, and collaborated with US colleagues on the completion of the five strand design.
He now works full time for the US wing of EdisonLearning as their Lead Advisor for Educational Design and Evaluation, focusing on clarity and effectiveness of the company’s educational design, fidelity of implementation and impact on learner achievement across all educational phases.
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Natasha is a corporate lawyer whose career path has led her to diversify; as a result, she has become a passionate advocate for the quality of education children receive and widening access to outstanding teaching and learning.
Natasha qualified as a solicitor in 1994 and worked for Linklaters, specialising in debt and equity capital markets, she then moved in-house to work for UBS Investment Bank for 8 years. In 2004 an opportunity arose to change direction and Natasha became a lecturer at The College of Law in London, specialising in corporate law, financial services, and professional development.
In 2006, Natasha was asked to return to UBS to support them in their role as the sponsor of a new build city Academy. Natasha spent the next 18 months working as the legal co-ordinator to set up The Bridge Academy in Hackney. She was involved with all legal aspects of the project, including management of the building construction contracts, drafting teacher’s employment contracts and facilitating the initial recruitment of teachers. In particular, Natasha established a governance framework for the Board of Trustees, acted as clerk to the Governors and assisted with drafting school policies. She was also involved with the admissions process for the first cohort of pupils.
In late summer 2007 a job opportunity took Natasha and her family, including all 4 children, to Tokyo, Japan. Here, she immediately became involved in the governance of The British School In Tokyo and took on the role of Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Natasha was able to build on her experience with The Bridge Academy to further raise attainment levels at the school and support an excellent teaching and learning environment. For 3 years she worked closely with the senior leadership team on governance issues, curriculum initiatives and implementing the introduction of a sixth form to the school.
More recently, Natasha has also been involved with Department for Education Free Schools interview panel process.
(+44) 1376 562953