Our Staff

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

Lisa Fathers – Director of Development, Partnerships & Teaching School Hubs / BFET Executive Team


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 and families it serves.  As well as working closely with the CEO & Director of Education on trust wide school improvement Lisa also has strategic responsibility for marketing and PR for BFET.  Lisa is also an experienced leadership coach.

Following a degree in English and her PGCE, Lisa taught English and Drama for a number of years in several schools and was a Middle Leader, Senior Leader and Deputy Headteacher then Associate Headteacher.  During her time as Deputy Headteacher the school she was at became one of the highest performing schools in Trafford and sixth most improved school in the country in 2015.  During 2015 Ofsted judged ‘Leadership and Management’ to be Outstanding.  Lisa then progressed to be Associate Headteacher doing a lot of outreach work supporting Headteachers in a variety of challenging contexts or supporting school leadership where the Headteacher was absent. As a Senior Leader Lisa led on Teaching and Learning, Safeguarding, Behaviour, Performance Management, Leadership Development, ITT, CPD and Business Development.

In her current role Lisa has supported many Headteachers, MATS and Local Authorities in a wide variety of contexts. Lisa works at a very strategic level leading school improvement work across whole areas  and themes in Greater Manchester, and in Blackpool. In Greater Manchester Lisa has led the extremely successful ‘ Greater Manchester Mentally Healthy Schools & Colleges Programme’ . In Blackpool Lisa recently led the DFE Opportunity Area English School Improvement Strategy across all Blackpool schools. Currently Lisa is leading the DFE funded PSHE/RSHE Hub for the NW.   Lisa also represents ‘Education’ on the Greater Manchester Reform Board and multi-sector Greater Manchester Health and Wellbeing Board and is currently the schools lead on the GM Mentally Healthy Schools Pilot.  Lisa also co-chairs the Mental Health in Education Board in Greater Manchester.

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 160 Specialist Leaders of Education in their school improvement work and is an experienced system leader herself.

Lisa has a particular passion and expertise in mental health and wellbeing, she 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 First Aid England and has trained over 5000 teachers in the North West.  Lisa is a sought after keynote 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 four years.  Lisa views coaching as an opportunity 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 manages the partnerships with a range of stakeholders such as:  Ambition Institute, the Princes Teaching Institute (PTI), the Youth Sport Trust, Sport England, MHFA England, the Outward Bound Trust, and of course all our schools and colleges.  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, has experience of being a Trustee for another MAT and is now the Chair of the national ‘Well Schools’ Strategic Board.


Eleanor Davidson – Deputy Director of Teaching School Hub ECT/ITT Manchester/Stockport  (Alliance for Learning SCITT Director)

Eleanor has a breadth of teaching and leadership experience spanning a seventeen-year career within the education sector across a variety of age phases, schools and institutions. Eleanor has over fourteen years of teaching experience within the secondary sector and over four years of leadership experience within Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

Following a BA (Hons) Geography degree and PGCE, Eleanor taught in a large mixed 11-18 comprehensive school in Cumbria before relocating to teach within the Lancashire Local Authority. Whilst employed by Lancashire LA, Eleanor held a number of positions including Assistant Headteacher, Head of Department and teacher of Geography. Eleanor has a wide range of leadership experience in recruiting, training and supporting trainee teachers and NQTs and most recently she held the position of (Primary age phase) ITT Partnership Lead for Edge Hill University, leading on quality assurance across the vast and diverse ITT partnership.

At Edge Hill University, Eleanor had the strategic oversight of the quality assurance for school based training including the accountability for ITT compliance and the recommendation of QTS. During her time at Edge Hill University, Eleanor was a key member of the primary (age phase) senior leadership team, she also held the line management responsibility for a large team of visiting tutors who were charged with ensuring the consistency of application of the assessment and grading process. Eleanor worked across both undergraduate and postgraduate Initial Teacher Training programmes including School Direct.

Previous to the ITT Partnership Lead role, yet still within Edge Hill University, Eleanor held the position of Assistant Head of Department, (School Based Training), her first position within the university was as the Director of the Future Teachers Programme; a programme designed to support Newly Qualified Teachers. As the Director of this Development and Enhancement Programme, Eleanor was responsible for the design and delivery of the programme the aim of which was to increase the teaching and learning skills/understanding of NQTs who had secured teaching positions within schools which were deemed to be in ‘challenging’ circumstances. Schools in challenging circumstances quickly became Eleanor’s research focus and this lead to Eleanor presenting her research at two education conferences. Recently the use of Pupil Premium and the ‘closing the gap’ agenda became the focus for her Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PG CERT HE) for which she was awarded a Distinction, the successful completion of this Degree also saw Eleanor become an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Jayne Carmichael – Deputy Director of Teaching School Hub NPQs/CPD, Trafford/Salford

Jayne’s teaching and leadership experience spans a twenty-five-year career within the education sector across a variety of roles and responsibilities.  Jayne has over twenty years of teaching experience within the primary sector having held school-based senior leadership posts as well as a trust-level executive leadership posts.

Following a Bachelor of Education degree, Jayne developed her leadership experience first as a Middle Leader then as an Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher.  The impact of her leadership has been acknowledged by OFSTED during routine inspections.  As a Senior Leader Jayne has led on Teaching and Learning, CPD, Assessment and Early Years.  During her time as Assistant Headteacher, Jayne led the school’s application to become a cohort 1 Teaching School.  Assuming the role of Teaching School Lead Jayne expanded the outreach work of the Teaching School with herself fulfilling the roles of a Specialist Lead Education (SLE), ITT/School Direct Lead, NPQ facilitator and CPD programme delivery lead.

In the role of an SLE Jayne’s deployments focused primarily on Early Years.  Having been a Middle Leader with responsibility for Early Years Foundation Stage for over 10 years, the impact of her deployments included improvements in stimulating and engaging learning environments, curriculum development, planning and assessment strategies as well as implementation of a range of Early Years Policies.

Jayne created and developed the school’s School Direct programme with oversight of recruitment and marketing, development of programme content/school-based training sessions, trainee placements, the role of the lead school in visits to placement schools (lesson observations and mentor support) as well as managing relationships with HEI providers.

As an NPQ facilitator Jayne has been delivering NPQ programmes for over 5 years, delivering to leaders from a range of phases and sectors and encouraging practitioners to maximise the potential of all staff and learners. 

Jayne has strategic oversight for National Professional Qualifications across the hub areas and has oversight of the Teaching School Hub KPIs for Trafford and Salford. Jayne also has oversight of the commercial CPD offer at the Alliance for Learning which also includes various projects. Jayne works closely with the Director of Development, Partnerships & Teaching School Hubs and the other Deputy Hub Director.


Simon Mazumder – NW1 Maths Hub Lead

GLOVE AFL SHOT _088Simon 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.


Claire Critchley – Teaching School Manager

GLOVE AFL SHOT _092Claire has over 19 years experience working within marketing, communications and event management both in the commercial and education sectors. Claire has worked for The Burnden Group Plc, where she was responsible for several product launches/exhibitions, she has worked within marketing and communications for Children’s Services at Bolton Council and prior to starting at the Alliance for Learning in Sept 2015 worked on marketing communications and events for a successful Manchester based girls school.

As Teaching School Manager, Claire has a key role both strategically and operationally to ensure high quality delivery of the Teaching School and Bright Futures Educational Trust’s aims and objectives.


Imogen Furlong – NW1 Maths Hub Primary Lead

Imogen is one of the Primary Leads in North West One Maths Hub, overseeing the Primary and Early Years Phases. This involves leading the Teaching for Mastery Specialists in North West One Maths Hub, designing Professional Development for the Maths Hub and helping to lead change in maths education across our region. Imogen has a passion for maths education and research, working closely with the NCETM. As part of this role Imogen has created video lessons with the NCETM that are used as part of National training. Imogen was involved in Teaching for Mastery when it first began and is a cohort 1 Teaching for Mastery Specialist herself. Additionally, she leads maths in a school in Cheshire and still teaches there part time.


Donna Lamey – SCITT Early Years Lead

Donna Lamey is a passionate and enthusiastic primary and early years teacher who has 20 years’ experience of working in the school and PVI sector. Donna has worked in a diverse range of early years roles, most recently in local authority quality improvement, working closely with early years teachers to provide mentoring, training and pedagogical support. Donna has been an Early Years Foundation Stage Profile moderator with responsibility for the local authority data collection and analysis for government funded 2,3- and 4-year olds.

For a number of years, Donna was a children’s centre teacher and locality pedagogue where she worked alongside other early years practitioners to role model and lead practice within several childcare settings. Donna has also led on early years during the development of the Sure Start initiative in Knowsley and was part of the senior leadership team for an ‘Outstanding’ children’s centre.

Donna has managed a variety of highly effective early years projects including ready for school initiatives, improving children’s emotional wellbeing and creative approaches to improving outcomes for children. Currently studying for a Masters in Educational Enquiry.


Philippa Huynh – SCITT Primary Lead

Philippa has 17 years’ experience as a Primary teacher in the independent sector, working as a class teacher, science lead and provider of specialist SEN support. Following this, Philippa worked for 5 years in Initial Teacher Education at Edge Hill University where she taught English and Academic & Professional Development on the Primary Education with QTS Undergraduate Programme. Philippa has also developed and delivered content for the University’s Fastrack Programme which supports returning learners in accessing Higher Education. In her role as Visiting Tutor and Partnership Quality Officer, Philippa built positive relationships with partner schools, using a collaborative approach to develop trainee and mentor practice.

Philippa has an interest in people development and educational psychology and contributes to the Edge Hill Educational Psychology programme as a Visiting Lecturer. Currently studying for a Masters in Educational Enquiry, Philippa is pursuing research interests in teacher identity and professionalism in support of her work at the SCITT.

As SCITT Primary Lead, Philippa has responsibility for running and development of the Alliance for Learning SCITT Primary Programme. Her aim is to ensure an inspiring, quality experience for trainees which is responsive to their training needs and supports them in developing their own professional identities.


Hilary Langmead-Jones – SCITT Manager

Hilary is a graduate in French and worked for several years as Operations Manager for an International Educational organisation.  She had particular responsibility for marketing in France and the operational management of over 50 language centres across the UK and Ireland. She later became involved in the national organisation of Nursery Inspector training courses for Ofsted.

Hilary joined AGGS in 2011 and was involved in the development of our school-based teacher training programmes. Hilary oversees the admin associated with recruitment, marketing, operations and administration of the EY, primary, secondary, FTS and internship courses. She collaborates closely with schools, universities and nurseries across the North-West and is a qualified Mindfulness teacher.


Roz 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 classroom 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 Departments (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.


Astrid Lavin – SCITT Administrator

Astrid has many years of experience in the education sector, having previously worked as a Nursery Administrator, 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 as SCITT Administrator is to provide support with the recruitment, marketing, and administration of the EY, primary and secondary courses and the administration and coordination of the NQT services that the Alliance for Learning offers.


Chris Sorensen – Project Support Administrator

Chris joined AGGS in 2016 and has worked across the Alliance for Learning in various administration roles including SCITT Administrator, Teaching School Administrator, TSST Administrator and Mentally Healthy Schools Administrator, and prior to this worked for 10 years in the Telecoms sector as a Project Co-ordinator and a Mortgage Advisor in the Banking sector. 

Chris’s current role as Project Support Administrator is to provide support with the administration and coordination across a variety of our projects including TSST and RSHE Hub.


Elizabeth Wright – Maths Hub Administrator

Liz joined the Alliance for Learning in September 2019 having previously worked at one of the ‘Big Four’ professional financial services firms in a project management role on UK and international external audits. 

As part of the Maths Hub Administration team, Liz is responsible for the administration and coordination of the Maths Hub programmes, with a particular focus on Finance.


Kate Griffin – Maths Hub Administrator

Kate joined the Alliance for Learning in October 2019 having worked for over 9 years in primary schools, providing class room based support and specialist pupil interventions.  Prior to working in education, she held various marketing and administration roles in the IT sector.

As part of the Maths Hub Administration team, Kate is responsible for the administration and coordination of the Maths Hub programmes, with a particular focus on marketing and communications to the wider Maths Hub community.