Trustees & Advisory Board

The Trustees and Advisory Board (TAB) meets three times a year at the company's registered office in Birmingham. All TAB meetings are minuted; and are chaired by Professor David Woods CBE. Our Trustees Terms of Reference document, describes the processes we use to recruit trustees.

Mick Waters


PROFESSOR MICK WATERS works with schools in the Black Country Challenge in raising standards in the West Midlands, he also works with schools across 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. He is a patron of Heads, Teachers and Industry (HTI) and a Trustee of the Children's University Mick is also a patron of the Values Trust and a patron of the Curriculum Foundation, which seeks to promote a voice for the power and potential of the whole curriculum.

Previously, he worked at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) as Director of Curriculum. Before joining QCA, Mick was Chief Education Officer for the City of Manchester. Key agendas included the development of joint children's services, the 14-19 strategy, the employment and skills dimension and configuring all this around Building Schools for the Future. Previously Mick worked in Birmingham Local Education Authority. He drove forward a school improvement agenda which saw increasing achievements and increasingly successful schools seeking new horizons in educational development. Mick has experience of headship in two schools and of working in teacher training. Mick has written books on the curriculum, teaching and learning, and management, as well as making presentations at numerous national and international conferences. Mick's latest book is titled Thinking Allowed…on schooling.

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 a primary school teacher in Birmingham and Coventry, she has taught for 5 years, working across KS1 and KS2. Currently she is the Literacy and Languages leader at an inner city school with a high proportion of ethnic minority children. Previously, Lara worked as an English Language assistant for the British council in France, Guadeloupe and Shanghai teaching English to children aged 2-19. Having studied French and English at university, Lara's passion for teaching began when she taught in France as part of her degree. Since qualifying, Lara has had responsibility for Music, Modern Foreign Languages and Literacy allowing her to shape and deliver a curriculum suitable for the pupils in her schools.

Bill Gent


DR BILL GENT After teaching in Birmingham schools for 15 years, Bill spent 20 years as a local authority school improvement adviser & senior adviser. He worked in secondary, primary & 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 is editor of REsource, the journal of the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) for which he was awarded the prestigious Shap Award in 2012 for his 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, having a number of articles and book chapters published. 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 of the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU) at Warwick University and, in 2012, chaired the expert panel as part of the RE Council's national review of RE.

Bruce Gill


BRUCE GILL is based in London where he works actively in religious education, complementary education and community development. He is a Church of England representative on Southwark SACRE and a member of the NASACRE Executive serving as Chair between 2011 and 2013.

Bruce 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 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. .

Khalid Mahmood


KHALID MAHMOOD joined the voluntary sector in 2001. He delivered community capacity building and adult education programmes in Leicester until August 2004. He joined the School Development Support Agency where he developed the country's first ever independent umbrella organisation, the Leicester Complementary Schools Trust. He was then seconded to ContinYou in December 2006 as Regional Development Manager for the National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education, where he was responsible for the national development of this programme. In December 2007 he returned to SDSA and took on responsibility for the Islam and Citizenship Education Project. His role included overall project management of the ICE project. He is currently responsible for developing a portal to facilitate school-to-school support, supporting complementary/supplementary schools in Leicester and the international development within the SDSA.

John Lloyd


DR. JOHN LLOYD is a policy consultant in Public Health Education. He is a past President of the Institute of Health Promotion and Education (IHPE), currently Vice President, having been the Policy Adviser for the PSHE Association. 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 PSHE Advisory Group and Citizenship Working Party contributing to the development of both the PSHE Framework and statutory Citizenship curriculum in England. Co-author of Democracy Then and Now, Blueprints Health Education and co-editor of the Health Promoting Primary School along with other books and articles, 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 and Director of the Institute for Health Promotion and Education and Alcohol Education Trust, and the recent Chair of Rospa's National Safety Education Committee John is a Trustee and Director of the University of the First Age.

Sarah Barnes


SARAH BARNES' career began at a young age as a 'cellist winning a Government Scholarship to study at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. Sarah had an international career as a soloist and won numerous prizes including the 'Alessandro Pezze Concerto Prize' at the Royal Academy of Music and the String Section of the BBC Radio 2 Young Musician of the Year. She has performed as soloist with orchestras such as The BBC Concert Orchestra, The London Mozart Players and many others of international renown. She was a member of the European Soloists Ensemble and worked regularly with pianists Vovka Ashkenazy and Vanessa Perez.

Sarah's career in education has included establishing educational initiatives for the Andalucian Government and social services in Spain and working with trusts and organisations internationally to achieve social change and improve lives through Music and Arts. She has held a number of educational leadership positions in the UK including formerly the role of Head of Sandwell Music and Arts Service for Sandwell Council.

Sarah is currently Vice Principal and Director of the school of Arts, Humanities, Sport and Leisure at the RSA Academy in Tipton. Her areas of responsibility include Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Education, Primary Liaison and Raising Attainment and Engagement of Boys.

Gill Kelly


GILL KELLY works as a consultant head teacher, teacher trainer and leadership coach on an international platform. She works with trainee teachers to be mindful of their own emotional resilience, whilst at the same time encouraging positive wellbeing in the minds of the children in their care. Gill is an Associate of Independent Thinking and author of 'Where will I do my pineapples? The little book about building a whole new school' edited by Ian Gilbert. It chronicles the leadership journey during a whole school build programme when Gill was a Deputy Head in charge of teaching and learning and curriculum. She is currently a Trustee of the World Wide Education Project which is a charity working in war torn parts of the world, establishing education programmes and raising awareness of refugee status. Gill was nominated by members of the school community as a significant leader for International Women's day March 2014.