Trustees & Advisory Board

Our Trustees and Advisory Board consists of six trustees who are legally responsible and accountable for ensuring our charitable aims are met and that we fulfil our obligations under company and charitable law. Our trustees are not paid but can claim expenses. The advisors act as consultants to the board and are involved in all decision-making processes but have no legal responsibilities. They are not remunerated as board members but can be paid for specific pieces of work undertaken.

Mick Waters


PROFESSOR MICK WATERS works with the schools in the West Midlands in raising standards. This work began as part of the Black Country Challenge and has continued through the University of Wolverhampton's involvement with the development of Academies and Teaching Schools. He works with schools in other parts of the country on innovative approaches to learning and on several other initiatives to push the boundaries for making learning better.

Mick is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers and supports several educational causes. He is a patron of SAPERE which promotes Philosophy for Children as a route to learning. Mick is also a patron of the Curriculum Foundation, which seeks to promote a voice for the power and potential of the whole curriculum. Mick supports the National Association for Environmental Education as a vice president and is also chair of CoED which promotes compassionate education.

During his career, Mick has been a teacher and head teacher before working at senior levels in Birmingham and Manchester Local Authorities. He worked at a national level with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority where he was Director of Curriculum.

Mick recently led an Independent Review of School Teachers' Pay and Conditions for the Welsh Government with some exciting new proposals for teachers' careers and professional learning. This followed on from work he did in helping the Welsh Government to produce new Professional Standards for Teaching and Leadership.

Mick believes that learning should be treasured and valued and that it needs to be shaped to fit with children's lives as well as structured to help society meet the promise of the future. People in schools need to set understandings of their children alongside the learning they should meet to create learning that is irresistible.

Mick believes in being close to teachers, children and schools, and is often to be found in the classroom working with children. He has written and contributed to books on the curriculum, teaching and learning, and leadership, as well as making presentations at numerous national and international conferences. He is passionate about the role of education in improving life chances for pupils. He enjoys asking adults to look at learning through the eyes of a pupil.

David Woods


PROFESSOR DAVID WOODS CBE spent twenty years of his career in teaching, senior leadership in schools and in teacher training. He has worked in local authorities in Solihull and Birmingham, and became the Chief Education Adviser for Birmingham City where he worked closely with Tim Brighouse. In 1998 he joined the DfES Standards and Effectiveness Unit as senior education adviser working closely with Ministers to develop educational policy and subsequently became the Head of the DfES Advisory Service.

He joined the London Challenge programme in 2003 as the Lead Secondary adviser and from January, 2008 became the Principal Adviser for the City Challenge. Later that year he was appointed to the role of Principal National Challenge Adviser for England. In May, 2009 he was appointed to the post of Chief Adviser for London Schools . He is currently a member of the OfSTED Expert Panel on urban education as well as a member of the National College's Steering Groups on Teaching Schools and NLE's. He is a visiting Professor of Education at Warwick University and the London Institute of Education. David has written and spoken extensively on school improvement, his first book co-authored with Tim Brighouse What Makes a Good School Now?, was followed up in May 2013 by his next publication The A-Z of School Improvement. Also co-authored with Tim Brighouse.

Rohesia Coles


ROHESIA DARKIN is a Senior Primary Mental Health Worker for Warwickshire. Rohesia graduated from the University of Liverpool with a BSC (Hons) in Occupational Therapy and since then she has worked with a range of mental health settings from inpatient forensics and Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. She specializes in early intervention and prevention work for young people aged 0-18 years who are experiencing mental health difficulties. Rohesia is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists and is registered with the Health Professions Council. She has strong links with voluntary sectors and has worked closely with the National Autistic Society, having a specialist interest in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Rohesia is very interested in the development of care services that take on board the whole person and not just their diagnosed condition.

Lara Coles


LARA FLINT is currently an Assistant Headteacher in an inner city Birmingham primary school and has worked in education for over 10 years. Born in Birmingham, Lara studied French and English at Leeds University then completed a PGCE at Newman University. Having taught English in France, China and the Caribbean, Lara then decided to embark on a teaching career in the UK, teaching in vulnerable areas across Birmingham and Coventry.

Currently, in her role of Assistant Headteacher, she is responsible for assessing and reporting and English. Lara has experience of teaching in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, leading English and phonics, Pupil Premium and has led music and modern foreign languages during her career. Lara is also a trustee governor at a Birmingham primary academy school with a high proportion of ethnic minority children where she aims to use her knowledge and experience to support another school.

Bill Gent


DR BILL GENT After teaching in Birmingham schools for 15 years, Bill spent 20 years as a local authority school improvement adviser and inspector. In this role, he worked in secondary, primary and special schools and was an accredited Ofsted inspector. In 1997, with his wife, he wrote the two primary-age books for RE in the Scholastic Curriculum Bank series. He was editor of the journal of the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) for ten years (2006-2016) for which he was awarded the prestigious Shap Award in 2012 for its contribution to religion and education. Having gained a doctorate from Warwick University in 2006, he has continued with his research into aspects of Muslim education, particularly memorisation and Qur'anic recitation. An expanded version of his thesis was published in 2018 under the title, Muslim Supplementary Classes and their place within the wider learning community (Manchester: Beacon Books). In 2018, the same publishing company also published a book which he had collected and edited at the request of The Compassion in Education Foundation: With Warm Heart and Receptive Mind: A compendium of 101 Sayings and Quotations on the Themes of Compassion and Education. He has also had published numerous book chapters, articles, and book reviews.

A member of the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, he is currently working with a group of European scholars on researching the relationship between Muslim young people's experience of secular state education and Muslim supplementary classes. He is an associate fellow at Warwick University Centre for Education Studies and, in 2012, chaired the expert panel as part of the RE Council's national review of religious education.

Bruce Gill


BRUCE GILL is based in London where he works actively in religious education, complementary education and community development on a voluntary basis.

He taught in ILEA and Birmingham schools between 1975 and 1985 before becoming a schools inspector in each local authority. During the 1990s he was Chief Inspector in Lambeth and Assistant Director-Personnel and Equalities in Birmingham. In 1999 Bruce became a local government Chief Officer when he acted as Birmingham's City Personnel Officer and in October 2000 as the Head of the Equalities Division of the City Council. He joined the Civil Service as Head of the Race Equality Unit in the Home Office in 2002. From April 2004 Bruce was the Secretary to the public inquiry into the death of Zahid Mubarek before leaving central government in April 2006 to join Southwark Education Department as Equalities Adviser. He subsequently worked as Assistant Director 11-19 Services in the newly formed Children's Services Department before commencing work on a freelance basis in April 2008 before retiring in 2013.

Bruce is a Church of England representative on Southwark SACRE and served on the NASACRE Executive between 2011 and 2013.

Khalid Mahmood


KHALID MAHMOOD delivered community capacity building and adult education programmes in Leicester until August 2004, when he joined the School Development Support Agency. As complementary schools coordinator he developed the country’s first ever independent umbrella organisation, the Leicester Complementary Schools Trust which was established to help and support complementary/supplementary schools. Seconded to ContinYou in December 2006 as a Regional Development Manager for the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education, Khalid was responsible for the national development of this programme. 2007 he returned to SDSA and took the responsibility for the Islam and Citizenship Education (ICE) Project. This project developed teaching resources which are being used by a wide range of independent Muslim schools and Muslim supplementary schools across England and in other parts of the world. Khalid is now facilitating a number of local, national and international networks that aim to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Gilroy Brown


GILROY BROWN served for 37 years in the education service which included 10 years as Headteacher of an inner city, multicultural school and 11 years as a School Advisor working as part of the Local Authority's Primary Leadership and Management Team. He has successfully delivered bespoke Leadership and Management training for school Leaders in various school networks. He also provided support and training for aspiring school leaders and newly appointed Headteachers – including the Local Induction Programme for new Heads via the National College for Leadership.

Gilroy led two local research projects on raising African Caribbean achievement in schools (RACA) which led to the publication of case studies and recommendations for best practice. He has also delivered a comprehensive training programme for Local Authority Advisors to develop the appropriate knowledge and skills for supporting schools in raising the attainment of African Caribbean pupils. His expertise in this area resulted in him being selected to work as part of a national team of Consultants commissioned by the DFES to lead on the Aiming High programmes. In this role he supported a challenged school leaders in both primary and secondary schools to develop innovative practices that would raise the attainment of BME pupils and form part of a national strategy for tackling under achievement.

Gilroy has worked extensively with parents and voluntary organisations. This included being the co- founder of the KWESI mentoring programme which co-ordinated the work of 30 mentors across 30 schools (25 primary and 5 secondary) and contributed to the reduction of exclusions. He has also helped to establish partnerships between local parents and schools which as formed the basis for teachers and parents to work as co-educators.

Over the years he has also coordinated informal coaching/ support networks for aspirant BME school leaders which led to many of the participants becoming successful Headteachers.

Gilroy is currently an independent Education Consultant offering his services in the following areas:-

  • Leadership Development & Coaching
  • Pastoral Systems / Positive behaviour management
  • Culturally inclusive Curriculum themes
  • School Improvement strategies
  • Art & Design


John Lloyd


DR. JOHN LLOYD is a policy consultant in Public Health Education. He is currently an Hon Vice President of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE) having been President. John was the Policy Adviser for the PSHE Association and formerly an Adviser for PSHE and Citizenship Education at the DCSF prior to which he was a senior adviser with Birmingham Advisory and Support Service. John was a member of the Citizenship Working Party and PSHE Advisory Group contributing to the development of both the PSHE Framework and statutory Citizenship curriculum in England. Co-author of Democracy Then and NowBlueprints Health Education and co-editor of the Health Promoting Primary School along with other books including Compassion through development of physical health and wellbeing in Towards the Compassionate School Edited by Maurice Coles. He was Adviser to Channel 4 Schools All About Us Television series, No Bullying Here and Karl's Story winning the Royal Television Society Gold Award. John contributed to the QCA Citizenship Schemes of work and the revised Citizenship and PSHE programmes of study in 2007. He chaired the Personal Development Reference Group at the QCA. Formerly a Trustee of the Institute for Health Promotion and Education, the Alcohol Education Trust, and the University of the First Age he has been a member and  Chair of Rospa's National Safety Education Committee.