Our Staff

The Alliance for Learning is proud to employ a team of enthusiastic and dedicated individuals:

Lisa Fathers

Director of Teaching School & PartnershipsGLOVE AFL SHOT _201

Lisa Fathers BA Hons/NPQH is Director of Teaching School & Partnerships at ‘The Alliance for Learning’ and part of the BFET Executive Team. The Teaching School lead school where Lisa is based is Altrincham Grammar School for Girls: the top performing school in the North West and part of the Bright Futures Educational Trust (BFET). BFET is committed to providing the best possible opportunities for the children, young people, families it serves. As well as working closely with the CEO & Director of Education on trust wide school improvement Lisa also has strategic responsibility leadership of the Teaching School and alongside that marketing and PR for BFET. Lisa is also an experienced leadership coach. Lisa began this role in September 2015.

Following a degree in English and her PCGE, Lisa taught English and Drama for a number of years in several schools and was a Middle Leader at a large mixed 11-18 comprehensive school. Lisa subsequently went on to become Assistant Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher then Associate Headteacher at Manchester girls school where she provided innovative and dynamic leadership, supporting the development of the school as one of the most improved schools in the country. As a senior leader Lisa led on Teaching and Learning, Safeguarding & Pastoral, Performance Management, Leadership Development, ITT, CPD, Business Development.

Lisa has supported many Headteachers, MATS & Local Authorities for the last three years in a wide variety of contexts. Lisa works at a very strategic level leading school improvement work across whole areas- for example she is currently leading the DFE Opportunity Area English School Improvement Strategy across all Blackpool schools. Lisa also represents ‘Education’ on the Exec Level Greater Manchester Health and Wellbeing Board and is currently responsible for the GM Mental Health strand being rolled out.

Lisa and her team are striving to ensure that the Teaching School continues to be one of the most successful nationally. This includes providing professional and leadership development of the highest calibre, the development of a school-led Initial Teacher Training system through the provision of the Alliance for Learning SCITT and engaging in cutting edge research and development. Lisa particularly enjoys talent spotting and developing both leadership and teaching and learning potential through coaching. Lisa oversees our team of 110 Specialist Leaders of Education in their school to school work and is an experienced system leader herself.

Lisa has a particular passion and expertise in mental health and wellbeing, Lisa is currently a Headteacher Ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust and Co-Chairs the Strategic Headteacher Alliance in Greater Manchester for physical activity, PE and school sport. Lisa is also part of the National Training team with Mental Health England and has trained over 2000 teachers in the NW. Lisa is a sought after key note speaker on all things related to health and wellbeing.

Lisa is an Executive Leadership Coach and has supported participants on Leadership Programmes as well as coaching Executive Headteachers, Directors of Education, Senior Executives through to middle leaders for the past 4 years. Lisa coaches face to face and over the phone or on Skype. Lisa sees coaching as providing a space for people to think, and to engage in meaningful, respectful and challenging conversations. Coaching enables leaders to arrive at a deeper understanding of who they are and their values and strengths. Through this process clients become even more skillful and authentic leaders. Lisa also delivers a range of leadership CPD.

As part of Lisa’s trust role she is represents BFET on the Blackpool School Improvement Board and the Greater Manchester Learning Partnership. Lisa also enjoys established partnerships with Mindfulness in Schools Project (MISP), Ambition School Leadership, the Princes Teaching Institute (PTI) and Challenge Partners; Lisa is integral to these partnerships at a strategic level. Lisa has also been a Director of YSD the Youth Sport Trust’s commercial arm for 18 months and oversaw a complex merger and has recently taken up a role as a trustee for a Bolton MAT where she is the nominated trustee for Safeguarding.


Kal Hodgson – Director of  SCITT & New Teacher Development

Kal started his career teaching Maths in 1995 at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and has since taught in a variety of different schools (single sex, mixed, independent, comprehensive, grammar), in a range of roles, including Head of Maths and Head of Sixth Form.

He joined AGGS as Assistant Vice Principal in 2013, and focusses mainly on Initial Teacher Training. He is Director of the Alliance for Learning SCITT, which opened its doors to trainees in September 2015. He also coordinates research projects across the alliance and leads on NQT induction and training.


Claire Critchley – Teaching School Manager

Claire’s background is in marketing and communications within both the commercial and education sector. Claire has worked for The Burnden Group Plc and Bolton Council, following this Claire worked on marketing communications and events for a successful Manchester based girls school.

Claire is responsible for the development and management of the day to day running of the teaching school alliance, ensuring that it continues to grow and develop in line with the aims and principles of the Bright Futures Educational Trust.


Rosemary Harrison – Teaching School Administrator

Roz joined the Alliance for Learning in December 2018, having spent over 6 years working in state and independent schools in central Manchester, providing a range of  specialist administrative and classroomr based support.

As the full time Teaching School Administrator, Roz is responsible for the administration and coordination of the CPD programme and leading on a number of marketing campaigns. 


Claire Whelan – Teaching School Administrator

Prior to joining the Alliance for Learning, Claire worked for the Civil Service for 19 years in various PICDepartments (Home Office, MoD, DWP) in a variety of different administrative roles, including being a Diary Manager for a Senior Civil Servant, a Team Leader and a Performance Analyst.

As our part time Teaching Administrator Claire is responsible for resource management, catering coordination and the evaluation/quality assurance of all our courses.  Claire works closely with our vast array of facilitators to ensure they have everything they need to run their courses efficiently.


Hilary Langmead-Jones – SCITT Manager

Prior to joining AGGS in 2011, Hilary worked as Operations Manager for an international language business, with particular responsibility for marketing in France. She later became involved in the organisation of Nursery Inspector training courses for Ofsted.

As SCITT Manager, Hilary has responsibility for marketing and co-ordinating the SCITT programme, assisting with school to school support and leads on the Schools University Partnership Initiative, a collaboration with the University of Manchester which aims to bring cutting edge research out of the lecture theatre and into the classroom. She is a qualified Mindfulness teacher and has completed the BFET Higher Level Leadership Coaching Skills programme.

Nicola Blatchly-Lewis – SCITT Early Years Lead

Nicola Blatchly-Lewis is an experienced primary and early years teacher.  She was strategic lead IMG_2828for early years and childcare for a number of years in a London Borough, supporting quality improvement across schools and PVI sector. She has been involved in early years since 1992.  Nicola was the lead on early years and children’s centres during the development of SureStart. in primary schools in Gloucestershire and she has lived and worked in the Middle East and Kazakhstan working on curriculum development and teacher training. She is an experienced trainer skilled in EYFS, child development, brain development with an interest in early language development. Nicola undertook the EYP status in 2008 and has qualifications in leadership and management. Nicola has a number of years experience leading Early Years profile moderation in London as part of her role supporting school improvement and has a proven track record of improving outcomes.

Philippa Huynh – SCITT Primary Lead

Philippa has seventeen years’ Primary teaching experience and four years’ experience in Initial 20180602_152915aTeacher Training. She works at Edge Hill University supporting the development of trainees and the relationships with partner schools through teaching, coaching, and quality assurance. She has an interest in people development and educational psychology and has contributed to the University’s Undergraduate Educational Psychology Programme as a Visiting Lecturer.

As SCITT Primary Lead, Philippa has responsibility for running and development of the Alliance for Learning SCITT Primary Programme.


Christine Sorensen – SCITT Administrator

Christine joined the Alliance For Learning SCITT in September 2017.  She has worked in administration and support roles in the Telecommunications, NHS and Banking sectors.  Christine provides strong administration support to the management and leadership of the Alliance for Leaning SCITT.


Astrid Lavin – TSST Administrator

Astrid has many years of experience in the education sector, having previously worked as a Nursery image001Administrator, an Admin Officer in a specialist school, and over 11 years in a variety of admin roles within a successful boys’ grammar school.

Astrid’s role is to provide support with the administration and coordination of teacher subject specialism training (TSST) offered by the Alliance for Learning and our partner schools.  As a regional lead school for Teacher Subject Specialism Training (TSST) across Lancashire and West Yorkshire the programme is designed to support new teachers in certain subject areas and improve the subject knowledge of non-specialist teachers and returning teachers.

Simon Mazumder – NW1 Maths Hub Lead

Simon joined AGGS in 2006 working as Head of Maths (now one of the top 3 outstanding Maths departments nationally), and as an LEA Maths Advisor. He is a Maths SLE and a Core Maths lead, and has led on many national strategies and school improvement projects. He has lectured for the Open University and worked on ITT and ITE programmes.

Simon ran the Maths Education Strategy Hub for 3 years, before it became the NW1 Maths Hub, which he now leads. He also acts as consultant for the Manchester Schools Alliance, the Manchester Teaching Schools Alliance and is the CPD lead in primary, secondary and tertiary Maths.


Sarah Ludlam – Maths Hub Administrator

Sarah joined the NW1 Maths Hub in October 2016.  Sarah brings to the role strong organisational and project management skills gained in a variety of sectors including banking and construction.

Sarah will be the first point of contact for the NW1 Maths Hub and is looking forward to building upon the Hub’s current successes.