Professor Sonia Blandford
Professor Sonia Blandford is one of the country’s foremost experts on social mobility and author of the influential publication: ‘Born to Fail?: Social Mobility and the Working Class’.
Sonia is visiting professor of education at UCL Institute of Education and has held leadership positions in schools, higher education and charities including Director of Research and Leadership at Teach First, Professor of Educational Leadership and Innovation at the University of Warwick, where she now holds an honorary professorship and pro-vice chancellor and dean of education at Canterbury Christ Church University.
Sonia was named in Debrett’s list of the Top 500 Most Influential People in the UK in 2015 and 2016 and was among the 2016 Women of the Year. Sonia is editor of the Teaching Times Every Child journal and author of 250 articles and books written for teachers, leaders, parents and carers, and children and young people.
Our Senior Leadership Team
Karen Iles – Acting CEO
Karen has a strong background in the education sector, with a particular focus on the improvement of outcomes for those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Pupil Premium. Since being awarded a SEN diploma in 2002, and the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2004, she has worked as Strategic Lead for SEN Improvement at Gloucestershire County Council leading the South West hub delivery on Achievement for All, Lead for Gloucestershire Initial Teacher Training Provider and SEN Advisor for Targeted Intervention for Schools in an Ofsted category.
At Achievement for All, Karen has been a Regional Lead for the South West and now Deputy CEO line managing the team of Regional Leads and Programme Leads who quality-assure the delivery of our Achieving Early, Achieving Schools, Achieving Further and Achieving More * programmes across England and Wales. Since joining the charity she has been directly responsible for the delivery and quality assurance of Achievement for All's programmes in over 3,000 schools, co-written the Pupil Premium Review, and has spoken at various regional and national events. More recently Emotion Coaching and Achieving Wellbeing programmes have been developed.
Maureen Hunt – Achieving Early Lead
Maureen began her educational career in Early Years and Infant settings in Southampton and Cornwall. She subsequently worked for National Children's Home (now Action for Children) and Cornwall local authority children’s services, where she developed children’s centres in South East Cornwall.
Maureen is now the Early Years Lead for Achievement for All, and is responsible for the design and the delivery of their new improvement programme for Early Years settings, Achieving Early. Maureen holds a Bachelor's in Education, a Master's in Education Management, the National Professional Qualification for Headship, and the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination.
Lainy Russell - Post-16 Programme Manager/Marketing
Lainy Russell is a highly experienced leader, who over the course of her career has worked with a wide variety of challenging teams and has led the development and improvement of large services and whole stand-alone provisions within organisations, as well as managing restructures and change Lainy started out in education when she was in her early twenties, soon finding her talent for working with challenging and often troubled teenagers. She later managed the programmes and taught on the PGCE and HR trainer qualifications at Uxbridge College in London and worked with Greenwich University on the changes to the PGCE in 2000/2001. In 2002 she took a leap of faith, and bought a language school in Majorca! An amazing time with much learned. On returning to England she managed a training hub at Jupiter House in Hayes, London, this was accommodation for those young people who could no longer live at home. After having her son, Lainy took up the position of Head of Adult Learning for the London Borough of Ealing that had failed its Ofsted, Lainy spend an intensive year rebuilding the service almost from scratch, got it through the monitoring visits and finally to a grade 3 and then carried on building the provision for the next 3 years. Moving to Hampshire in 2008, Lainy became Assistant Principal of a school and college for students with complex disabilities and learning needs and led on student services, annual reviews, funding & business development, data and equality, diversity and inclusion. Lainy joined Achievement for All in January 2014, where she piloted the Achieving Further programme and then took on the lead for the development of the post-16 area of the charity. Most recently winning a major contract for the charity, to run a nationwide project not only within colleges, but private training providers, adult learning and the third sector.
Marius Frank – Head of E-Learning and Material Development
After a successful career as a science teacher and middle leader in some of the UK's toughest secondary schools, Marius became Headteacher of Bedminster Down Secondary School in Bristol. Despite being placed in the bottom 200 performing secondary schools in the country in 2000, Marius led the school community through a remarkable transformation, trebling performance outcomes within a decade. In 2010, he became CEO of ASDAN Education, a large curriculum development charity and awarding organisation. Following this, in 2011, he won Human Resource Magazine’s Most Person-Centred CEO of the Year award.
Marius joined Achievement for All in 2015 and is our strategic lead for E-Learning and Material Development. As part of this role he leads content development for the charity's innovative online resource portal, The Bubble.
Nicola Laverton – Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development
Nicola has a wealth of experience in senior human resources and training roles with companies including Research Councils UK, and Babcock International Education and Training. She has also worked as a university lecturer, secondary French teacher, and an assessor for a number of training awards.
As leader of Achievement for All's human resources function, Nicola supports the charity in developing HR strategy – a role supported by her membership of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, and the British Psychological Society, as well as her Master's in Strategic International HR.
Cris Le-Voguer – National Schools Lead
Cris has a wide experience in the Education Sector, having achieved NPQH in 2009 and SLE in 2013. She led three Primary Schools as Executive Head, as well as leading Ravenfield Primary Academy as Principal in 2016,who obtained a Good Ofsted grade in Jan 2018. She has lead school improvement as an Academy Quality Assurance Advisor, working with schools 3-19 in challenging circumstances, and has extensive experience as a Chair of Governors within the Secondary sector.
As a Specialist Leader in Education, Cris supported the professional development of a range of staff, with an expertise in change management and leadership development. Having worked as a project director, in an area of high deprivation to improve the English and Maths outcomes for children and adults, she was responsible for working strategically with different partnerships to pilot initiatives in early literacy, wellbeing and SEND. She joined Achievement for All in Sept 2018 as the Regional Lead for the North.
Amanda Jones - Country Lead for Wales
Amanda has over 30 years’ experience of working in the primary sector in Wales. Amanda has eight years experience as the Headteacher of a newly amalgamated primary school, is a trained Peer Inspector for Estyn and has a proven track record in School Improvement.
Amanda has led on a range of school improvement issues requiring expertise in the management of change and project management including the establishment of newly built schools and has a special interest in Additional Learning Needs and Looked After Children.
Areas of particular interest for Amanda include the professional development of education professionals and Amanda has lectured on Initial Teacher Training courses and fulfilled the role of associate adviser for Mathematics.
Amanda took up the post of Country Lead for Wales in December 2015
Tina Leonardi - Head of Schools, Partnerships & Early Years
Tina has over 25 years Project Management experience in both the private and public sector. Tina previously worked at the National College for School Leadership and was Overall Programme Manager for the Achievement for All pilot launched back in 2009.
Tina joined the Charity when it was originally set up in 2011 as Charity Project Manager and is now Head of Schools, Partnerships & Early Years. Tina has extensive knowledge of the Achievement for All programme, how it is implemented and the impact it has in schools. As part of her role she engages with headteachers on a daily basis discussing how the programme could specifically support their schools.
Our team of over 100 Achievement Coaches is highly experienced and expertly trained, and works in conjunction with schools and settings leaders in order to create and implement specialised plans. Together our coaches bring a wealth of knowledge to the work of Achievement for All, sharing years of experience in school, setting and college leadership, national services, local authority leadership, and involvement in inspection frameworks.
“Having advice from a professional who is a peer, an experienced headteacher, is a significantly valuable school improvement input and we highly value it”
– Headteacher, Primary School, Warwickshire
“The coach that we've had... has been able to engage everybody within the team and she's also been able to enthuse people. She has such a positive personality. She also is incredibly knowledgeable about the sector as a whole, so we can consult her on what's going on in other places as well. She's made us feel like we are not alone in coping with these particular issues, and helped us to share practice... She's always been at the end of a phone or the end of an email... and has given me a lot of confidence.”
– Learning Manager, Sixth Form College, Hampshire
“[Our Achievement Coach] helped both me and our staff team to... really focus us down on the things that were going to make a difference”
– Vice-Principal, Sixth Form College, Hampshire
“The children come over to [our coach] and share. They know who he is and they want to show him what they've achieved, and that in itself has brought a really positive ethos and atmosphere to the school... everyone knows that we're working together to achieve the same thing.”
– Year 4 Teacher and SENCO, Primary School, Oxfordshire
“I’ve known [our coach] – well, this is the third year now – it’s like we’re friends. It’s helped lift my confidence and knowledge”
– Manager, Pre-School Setting, Warwickshire
“Headship all of a sudden is not such a lonely place.”
– Headteacher, Primary School, Wiltshire
"Our achievement coach supported and empowered staff to embrace new strategies and techniques to fully involve all children in their learning through an independent and reflective approach. Through this new initiative we have involved parents, governors, members of staff and the community to support children to ensure EVERY child achieves no matter what their background is."
– Sarah Davies, Whitchurch Primary School, Cardiff
"Achievement for All has supported us in considering how we engage with many of the harder to reach families that we support. It has set a context for a positive engagement as well as working on a solution-based approach. The additional training that we have received has ensured that the positive ethos and reinforcement of the AfA programme permeates the school culture."
– Helen Ridout, Headteacher Ysgol Bryn Castell Community Day Special School
"Receiving staff training from our coach has highlighted the importance of a flexible and creative approach to supporting our most vulnerable pupils to achieve their potential. Pupils need to enjoy their learning and feel happy in their learning environment. I was honoured to be invited to speak at the termly Achievement for All Network Event and share best practice with other schools."
– Rachel Land, Teaching Assistant, Whitchurch Primary School, Cardiff