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
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.
Marius Frank – Director 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.
Lisa Knowles – Senior Development Manager
Lisa Knowles is a senior communications professional and project manager with significant voluntary sector experience. She has overseen numerous large projects and campaigns, including a £500,000 government-funded road-show programme created to engage hard-to-reach families.
In her work for Achievement for All, Lisa manages the Development Team, as well as a diverse range of high quality projects, including the Education Endowment Foundation’s trial of the charity’s flagship Achieving Schools programme and the development of our college and post 16 programme, Achieving Further. Her areas of specialism and interest include children’s policy, education, social enterprise, community development, and health and disability issues.
Stephen Pike – Head of Information Services
Stephen’s career has long been based in the education sector. Beginning his working life as a teacher, since then he has worked with a local authority, a careers company and no less than three education companies on a range of contracts, programmes and activities. His Master’s degree dissertation was a comparative study of assessment and examination systems in England, Wales, France and Sweden – an area of particular specialist interest.
Stephen has been with Achievement for All since 2012, and in that time has focused
on the capture, processing and analysis of performance and impact data. More recently he developed the methodology for the analysis of the Achieving Early pilot.
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.
Karen Iles – National Director of Programmes and Delivery
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 National Director line managing the team of Regional Leads and Deputy Regional Leads who quality-assure the delivery of our Achieving Early, Achieving Early Firm Foundations, 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.
Emma Mayo – Chief Business Officer
Emma left the corporate world to move into the charity sector in 2010 and has a successful record in implementing financial, business and operational plans for organisations, ensuring the successful delivery of national programmes of work. During her time as Learning Development Manager Emma was instrumental in developing and rolling out qualifications and continuing professional development opportunities for the fundraising profession. More recently she led operations teams in the delivery of trust and grant funded educational projects, improving outcomes for children and young people.
Emma joined Achievement for All in December 2017 in the role of Chief Business Officer.
Our Regional Leadership Team
The members of our Regional Leadership Team manage both our team of Achievement Coaches, and our Deputy Regional Leads, who quality assure the delivery of our programmes in schools and settings nationwide.
Kris Wodehouse – Regional Lead (East)
Having achieved the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2008, Kris became Deputy Headteacher for Manor Primary School in East Sussex, a position that spanned two years. She was instrumental in the successful implementation of the whole school Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) curriculum in two local authorities, and acted as an independent Health and Wellbeing Education Consultant from 2011 to 2014.
Kris has worked with Achievement for All since 2012, when she started with us as an Achievement Coach. In 2014 she stepped up to become the interim Regional Lead in South London and South Central, and in 2015 she became the Regional Director for London and the South East.
Laura Bromberg – Regional Lead (North and West)
In her 12 years as Headteacher of Slimbridge Primary School, Laura successfully raised the school from Ofsted grade “serious weakness” to “good with many outstanding features.” Since then she has continued to lead many impressive developments in her region, acting as an independent consultant with a specialist focus on Small School Collaboration and Provision Mapping. She also supported the day-to-day management of 40 schools in Gloucestershire's Achievement for All pilot programme.
In 2011 Laura became the Regional Lead for Achievement for All in West Midlands, moving up to become Regional Director in 2015.
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.
Our team of over 400 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