UNITED LEARNING - Key Persons


Anna Paige

Job Titles:
  • Director of Strategy and Performance
Anna joined United Learning permanently in February 2017, having previously spent a year on secondment to the organisation as Head of Strategy and Performance. Prior to joining United Learning, Anna was a senior civil servant, most recently in the Home Office, where she led on drugs, alcohol and firearms policy. For 14 years Anna worked in the Department for Education. She led the recent reforms to GCSE and A level qualifications, and held responsibility for aspects of curriculum and assessment policy. Her other roles as a senior civil servant included leading policy for financial support and careers education and guidance, and taking legislation to raise the participation age through its consideration in the House of Commons. She also led on aspects of the London Challenge programme, including coordinating bespoke support for the ‘keys to success' schools.

Ben Gordon

Job Titles:
  • UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Ben is a Non-Executive Director of Britvic plc and St. Ives plc, is a Trustee of the Canal & River Trust and is also the Chairman of Heal's. Formerly, Ben was the Chief Executive of Mothercare plc for nine years and the former Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Disney Store, Europe and Asia Pacific. He has also held senior management positions with WHSmith plc in the UK and the USA and with L'Oreal S.A. in France and the UK. Ben has an MBA from INSEAD and is a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers

Benjamin Antell

Job Titles:
  • Regional Director
  • Secondary Regional Director ( South )
Ben Antell currently works as a Regional Director in United Learning. Before taking up this post, Ben worked for two years as an Executive Principal in United Learning supporting schools in Bournemouth, Poole, London, Manchester, Portsmouth and Kettering. Previous to taking up this post, Ben was Principal at Glenmoor and Winton Academies in Bournemouth for 4 years. These two schools have become two of the highest performing schools in the country and subsequently judged outstanding by Ofsted. Ben, who holds an Honours Degree in Science and Physical Education from Exeter University, began his teaching career at Poole High School where he taught for 5 years in his specialist subject areas. He then moved to Millbrook Community School in Southampton to take up a Head of Department role and subsequent promotion to Assistant Headteacher focusing on behaviour and rewards. After nearly 3 years at Millbrook Ben took up a position at Winton Arts & Media College as Assistant Headteacher. His senior responsibilities at the College included behaviour and safety, curriculum development and student support. Ben was subsequently promoted to Deputy Headteacher across the two schools of Glenmoor & Winton in June 2012 with a clear and single focus of raising academic achievement for all young people. In September 2013, Glenmoor and Winton Academies joined the United Learning trust with Ben being appointed Principal less than a year later.

Christine Raeside

Job Titles:
  • Regional Director
  • Secondary Regional Director ( South )
Chris Raeside is a secondary Regional Director for academies in the south. She joined United Learning in September 2017 following 7 years working for Ofsted as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors. For her last three years with Ofsted, Chris was a senior HMI, working in the South West, overseeing and quality-assuring inspection throughout the region. She is an experienced secondary senior leader, working in schools and local authorities in two London authorities and, since 2005, in Hampshire, where she lives.

Claire Fortey

Job Titles:
  • Local Leader of Education
  • Primary Regional Director ( South )
Claire has enjoyed an extensive and varied career working in schools, starting in 1988, and leading on to subsequent success in primary teaching, subject and senior leadership. As part of this, she has had over 20 years' experience of Headship which included taking a school to "Outstanding" and leading a school out of "Special Measures." Claire is a Local Leader of Education, has been an Inspector for Ofsted for a number of years, and has worked as a school improvement partner providing wide ranging support for schools in challenging contexts. She is joining United Learning following 3 years in the role of Director of Education for a large multi - academy trust in Cornwall. Claire says "Working in schools as I do is an absolute privilege, and I am now very excited to meet and work with United Learning leaders and practitioners and to do all that I can to support further success".

Dame Reena Keeble

Job Titles:
  • Head
  • ULT Trustee
Reena is a retired primary head teacher with 22 years' experience. She has a proven track record in leading an outstanding school and in school to school to support, coaching future leaders, curriculum design and pedagogy. Until her retirement Reena was an NLE and her school was designated as a National Support School. Reena has successfully supported schools in weakness and acted as Executive Head teacher. Reena was awarded a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management in 2007 and DBE in 2011 for her service to education. Reena led a review of the Artsmark resulting in a new Artsmark Award for schools on behalf of Arts Council England. Reena also led a review of Effective Primary Teaching Practice on behalf of the Teaching Schools Council.

Dame Sally Coates

Job Titles:
  • Director of Secondary Academies
She was acting as Executive Principal at Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton until July 2012 and Executive Principal of Ark Putney and West London Free School until July 2014. Prior to that, Sally was Head of Sacred Heart School an Ofsted ‘Outstanding' VA school in Camberwell, London Borough of Southwark. She has always worked in inner city schools in London and has been in teaching since 1976. Sally started work as an English Teacher in Peckham Girls, now The Academy at Peckham. Sally chaired The Review of the Teaching Standards and most recently chaired the Skills Test Review. She also served as a member of the Key Stage 2 Test Review Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Bew. Sally was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2013 New Years Honours List.

Dame Yasmin Bevan

Job Titles:
  • Chairman of United Learning Trust, ULT Trustee
Dame Yasmin was Chief Executive and Executive Principal of the Chiltern Learning Trust and Head Teacher of Denbigh High School in Luton, Bedfordshire from 1991 until her retirement in December 2014. She won ‘Head Teacher of the Year' for the Eastern region in the 2005 Teaching Awards and Denbigh High School received the Times Educational Supplement's 'Secondary School of the Year' Award in 2009.

Darran Ellison-Lee

Job Titles:
  • Director of Primary Education
Darran has a wide range of achievements in Education, including leadership in both Primary and Secondary phases as well as in Special Education. Darran was a National Leader of Education, leading one of the first national teaching schools and a federation of primary schools in the North of England. The teaching school under his leadership provided a wide range of school improvement work and was one of the first schools providing training for Schools Direct. Darran has overseen growth of our primary schools, which now includes 18 Academies and 12 Independent Prep schools. Darran's leadership of improvement work has secured enhanced quality of teaching, resulting in schools moving from Special Measures to Good, at times requiring him to step in as Exec Head or acting Principal to support. Under Darran's leadership, 10 United Learning primary schools have maintained or secured a ‘Good' Ofsted rating for overall effectiveness. In addition, Darran is Director with responsibility for the Trust's support, challenge and accountability on Safeguarding, ensuring that United Learning meets Statutory requirements and that Safeguarding processes across the Group are robust and effective.

DAVID BARRIE ROBINSON

Job Titles:
  • COMPANY DIRECTOR/CHAIRMAN
  • Director

Dominic Norrish - COO

Job Titles:
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Leader
Dominic is an experienced teacher, school leader and educational researcher with a career spanning the private and public sectors, having taught a range of subjects from Key Stages 2 to 5. He joined United Learning as Group Director of Technology, having led the development of technology-enhanced cultures across two new-build academies within the group, implementing Learning Platforms and a one-to-one tablet strategy. Prior to this, Dominic spent five years working as an ICT Consultant for Becta and various Academy and BSF projects nationally, supporting schools from Cumbria to the Isles of Scilly in the development and realisation of their visions for technology. This was preceded by ten years teaching in schools, with the last four as a Deputy Head teacher. His Master's degree in Education focused on School Leadership, with a research-based thesis examining the impact of ICT on pupil motivation.

Dr Ian Young

Job Titles:
  • Deputy Director
  • Head of Independent Schools
Ian joined United Learning as Deputy Director (Independent Schools) in 2013, following two decades of teaching and leadership appointments in HMC schools, including working internationally. In 2015 he assumed the newly created role of Head of Independent Schools. Since then he has led a central office team in the management and support of the 14 independent schools (secondary, primary and all-through) within the Group.

Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson

Job Titles:
  • Consultant
  • Chairman of United Church Schools Trust, UCST Trustee
Dr Rosalind Given-Wilson is a practising doctor, a Consultant Radiologist at St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust. She directed the South West London breast screening service from 1991 to 2001, and was then Medical Director of St Georges Hospital until 2015. She is a Non Executive director at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

Dr Stephen Critchley

Job Titles:
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Trustee of Caterham School
  • ULT Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Stephen is a chartered accountant and was formerly Chief Finance Officer of Transport for London. Previously, he had a wide-ranging career in accountancy, latterly leading the Public Sector practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in the East Midlands. He has a doctorate in Chemistry from Oxford University. He is a Trustee of the RAF Benevolent Fund and a member of the Audit Committee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Stephen is a trustee of Caterham School and sits on United Learning's Finance and Risk & Audit Committees. He is married with two sons. As well as being a keen follower of Leicester Tigers, his interests include music and the theatre.

John Hall

John Hall was Dean of Westminster for thirteen years from 2006. He chaired the governors of Westminster School and, with the Harris Federation and Westminster School, founded in 2013 and chaired the governors of Harris Westminster Sixth Form. He had read theology at Durham and, after two years teaching RE in Hull, was ordained in 1975. From 1992 he was Director of Education for the Diocese of Blackburn and, from 1998, the Church of England's Chief Education Officer. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. He has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Roehampton, Chester, Westminster and Hull and was for ten years Pro Chancellor of the University of Roehampton. He chairs the Council of the Royal School of Church Music and is Bursalis Prebendary of Chichester Cathedral.

JONATHAN ANDREW COLES - CEO

Job Titles:
  • CHIEF EXECUTIVE
  • Director

Louise Johnston - CFO

Job Titles:
  • Chief Financial Officer
Louise joined United Learning in June 2014 having previously worked at Travelex, the leading global foreign exchange provider, most recently leading their Shared Service Finance centre in Peterborough, managing the UK and European finance, operational and facilities teams. Louise qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1998 training at PwC, managing the audits of both private and public sector clients. Louise is now responsible for the financial management of the United Learning group together with company secretarial and legal governance, group procurement and freedom of information compliance. She is also a governor at her local primary school.

Matthew Wynne

Job Titles:
  • Primary Regional Director ( Midlands )
Matthew joined United Learning in November 2016. In his previous roles Matthew has served as a Primary Headtecher for nearly ten years. Over this period of time he led schools that were in an Ofsted Category, ensuring a rapid and focused improvement in all areas. Prior to his appointment as a Headteacher, Matthew worked as a Deputy Head, leading Assessment, Behaviour and Curriculum. Matthew started teaching in 1993. All of his teaching and leadership experience have been within areas of social and economic challenge, ensuring his focus has always been upon improving life chances and educational progress for all groups of pupils.

MICHAEL DAVID GEORGE

Job Titles:
  • DIRECTOR

Michael George

Job Titles:
  • ULT Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Michael is the Founder and Managing Partner of MxP Partners, an investment office based in London. Previously, he was a Director at Electra Partners focusing on private equity and Head of Wealth Management at Durlacher. Prior to that, he was at Laing & Cruickshank and ABN AMRO Hoare Govett. Michael is a Board Director of Amber Taverns and Whitworth Holdings. He is also Chair of Patrons at the Kew Foundation Board. He is Chair of the Local Governing Body at United Learning's Northampton Academy. He holds a First class honours degree from Durham University and is married with two children.

Mike Litchfield

Job Titles:
  • UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Mike is an architect and project manager qualifying from Newcastle University and Harvard. He co-founded and was Chair and Managing Director of a firm of architects and surveyors working throughout Britain. He specialised in educational projects from nurseries through to universities with particular emphasis on the design of schools. This started with one of the earliest Community Technical Colleges and led onto numerous academies as well as local authority, Church and independent schools and colleges. In his ‘spare time', Mike has tutored and examined in Architecture from undergraduate to professional level for more than 30 years. Along with his wife, Chris, he enjoys trying to improve his golf game, rugby, travel and all things environmental and historic.

Mr Neil Davidson

Job Titles:
  • Finance Committee
  • ULT Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Neil has had an extensive career in food manufacturing beginning at Northern Foods Plc where he became Managing Director of its milk division. Neil subsequently became Chief Executive Officer of Express Dairies Plc and Arla Foods UK. Neil is currently a Non-Executive Director of Morrisons Supermarkets Plc , Chair of Produce Investments Plc and Chair of The Cricketer Publishing Ltd. Neil was previously Chair of Cherry Valley Farms Ltd, Non-Executive Director of Permission Plc and Northern Recruitment Group Plc. He has been a Governor of Ashmount Special Needs School in Loughborough since 2006.

Nat Parnell

Job Titles:
  • Regional Director
  • Secondary Regional Director ( North )
Nat Parnell is a secondary Regional Director for academies in the north. He joined United Learning in September 2016 as Principal of Northampton Academy. Having led the Academy to academic and pastoral success, he joined the School Improvement team in January 2020 and has been working since that time with schools in Salford, Manchester, Sheffield, Barnsley and Northampton.

Neil MacDonald

Job Titles:
  • ULT Trustee
Neil lives in Sheffield, is a graduate of Sheffield University and a qualified Chartered Accountant. After 10 years with KPMG, he spent his executive career as CFO of the international engineering businesses Firth Rixson and AES Engineering. Neil "retired" in 2006, and since then has held numerous non executive and trustee roles in the public, private and third sectors. Currently, he is an Independent Governor and Pro Chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University and a Private Sector Board Member on the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. He is also Chair of St Luke's Hospice in Sheffield and Deputy Chair of Museums Sheffield. Since 2017 Neil has been Chair of Governors at Sheffield Springs Academy.

NIGEL RHYL ROBSON

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • RETIRED SOLICITOR

Oli Tomlinson

Job Titles:
  • Regional Director for Cumbria
Oli is Regional Director for Cumbria and Lancashire. She has previously been the Regional Director for the East Midlands where she has worked with three schools on their improvement journey towards outstanding. Prior to this, Oli led the first national SCITT for United Learning and was Principal and Executive Principal of Paddington Academy for 10 years.

REENA KEEBLE

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • PRIMARY HEADTEACHER - RETIRED

RICHARD CECIL GREENHALGH

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • EXECUTIVE

RICHARD COLIN NEIL DAVIDSON

Job Titles:
  • COMPANY DIRECTOR

Richard Greenhalgh

Job Titles:
  • Chairman of the Group Board, ULT Trustee, UCST Trustee, UCSF Trustee
Richard is a former Chairman of Unilever U.K. and now has a portfolio of interests. In Business, he is on the Advisory Boards of Liaison Financial Services Ltd. and JustAccounts Ltd. In the Public Sector he is Chairman of Surrey and Borders Partnership- a Foundation Trust for Mental Health. In the Not for Profit sector he is Chairman of Royal Voluntary Service . He is Chairman of British Youth Opera, and an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College Oxford. Independently he is a trained Executive Coach and has a particular focus in working with Leaders who are transitioning to portfolio careers. He is a fellow of the R.S.A. and the I.O.D. He is married with a grown up daughter and two grandchildren and interests include badminton, opera and coastal walks.

Richard Tutt

Job Titles:
  • Regional Director
  • Secondary Regional Director ( South )
Richard Tutt is a secondary Regional Director for academies in the south. He joined United Learning in September 2019 as the Executive Principal for the Bournemouth and Poole cluster and started his role as Regional Director in September 2020. Prior to joining United Learning, Richard was a Principal for six years, where his school achieved an OFSTED ‘Outstanding' judgement and accreditation as a National Teaching School and National Support School. He is also an experienced system leader and was appointed as a National Leader of Education in 2017.

Richard Yeates

Job Titles:
  • Primary Regional Director ( Independent Schools )
  • Regional Director With Responsibility for the Independent Primary Schools
Richard Yeates is Regional Director with responsibility for the Independent Primary Schools in the group. Until July 2017 he was the long-standing Head of Ashford Prep School where he oversaw the successful merger of two very different schools. The school achieved Outstanding/Excellent in all categories in its latest inspection and subsequently achieved its current Teaching School status. Richard is an experienced facilitator and trainer of senior and middle leaders and has worked with many schools in and out of the group to help develop strategy, leadership and school effectiveness in a broad range of aspects, including working with a local University Technology College. He has been a school governor and is an experienced inspector. He enjoys coaching and mentoring both new and experienced leaders. He has experience of Primary and Secondary education in various roles including Head, Deputy, Director of Music, Director of Marketing and Housemaster. He has a particular interest in bringing the best out of people and in developing leadership in others with three of his deputies going on to take up their own headships.

Sir Jon Coles

Job Titles:
  • Group Chief Executive, ULT Trustee
Since January 2012, Jon Coles has been Group Chief Executive of United Learning. Prior to this, he spent much of his career in the Department for Education, including four years on the Board as Director General for Schools and then Director General for Education Standards. Previously, as Director of 14-19 Reform, he led work to raise participation post-16 and attainment at 19 and reduce NEET numbers. As Director of London Challenge, Jon was responsible developing and implementing the strategy to improve secondary education in London, which also led to similar approaches in other parts of the country. In his career, Jon has been responsible for various Green and White Papers and for taking the 2002 Education Act through Parliament. A qualified secondary teacher, his previous jobs included implementing the infant class size pledge and, on secondment to the Cabinet Office, developing a strategy for e-government.

STEPHEN JOHN WHIFFEN - Secretary

Job Titles:
  • Company Secretary

Tanya Hughes

Job Titles:
  • Primary Regional Director ( North )
Tanya joined United Learning in January 2018. In her previous role as HMI she led inspections of primary schools, independent schools, nurseries and special schools. Her role as HMI also involved complaints investigations, monitoring schools in categories of concern and she took part in national surveys. Her background in early years means that she has had the privilege of inspecting nursery schools. Tanya started teaching in 1988 and has had a successful career in education as a primary teacher, deputy headteacher and headteacher. This experience includes working in schools in challenging contexts and in both urban and rural settings. She sat on the executive boards for the Primary Heads Association and the NAHT in Cumbria, working on issues that affected the future direction of education.

YASMIN BEVAN

Job Titles:
  • Director
  • EXECUTIVE PRINCIPAL