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 is the Director of Development, Partnerships and Teaching School Hubs and part of the Executive Team at Bright Futures Educational Trust, a Multi Academy Trust in the North West. She has had over 20 years’ experience in education, both as a teacher and in a variety of senior leadership positions including Associate Headteacher and Co-Principal.

Lisa is now an executive leader, serving on the Executive Leadership Team for Bright Futures. She also provides strategic leadership for the Bright Futures Development Network, which includes two large scale Teaching School Hubs, a Maths Hub, a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) and the Alliance for Learning which provides school and teacher development across the region. Lisa co-leads school improvement work for the Trust as well as leading on Communications and Development.

Her particular areas of expertise and passion are change leadership, coaching theory and practice, wellbeing and partnership working. Lisa has coached and supported leaders at all levels and leads on partnership working for the Trust, working alongside organisations such as Teach First, Ambition Institute, the Youth Sport Trust, the Chartered College, and Mental Health First Aid England. She represents Education on the Greater Manchester Reform Board and the executive level Strategic Health and Wellbeing Board and has many Governance roles such as Co-Chair for Greater Manchester’s Mental Health in Education Board and the Chair for the national Well Schools Board.

Lisa is also part of the national training team for Mental Health First Aid England.  She was instrumental in the highly successful and ground-breaking Greater Manchester Mentally Healthy Schools Programme and is a Fellow at the Chartered College of Teaching. Lisa is a champion of collaboration and whole system working across Greater Manchester, the wider North West region and nationally.


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

Eleanor Davidson is the Deputy Director of Teaching School Hub; she holds strategic policy oversight for the Early Career Framework (ECF) and Initial Teacher Training (ITT). Eleanor also has strategic oversight of the Manchester/Stockport Teaching School Hub as well as continuing the hold the position of SCITT Director.

Eleanor has a breadth of teaching and leadership experience spanning a twenty-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 six years of leadership experience within Initial Teacher Training (ITT).

Eleanor has held a number of positions including Assistant Vice Principal, Assistant Headteacher. Eleanor has a wide range of leadership experience in recruiting, training, and supporting trainee teachers and Early Career Teachers, both within Edge Hill University, as well as within the SCITT. Eleanor has taken a lead on quality assurance across the vast and diverse ITT and ECT partnership for a number of years, she was also part of the ECF early roll out across Greater Manchester.

At Edge Hill University Eleanor held the position of Assistant Head of Department (School Based Training) within the primary sector and before this role she was the Director of the Future Teachers Programme; a programme designed to support Newly Qualified Teachers.

Eleanor’s research interest is very much linked to the impact and effectiveness of the Pupil Premium funding. Schools in challenging circumstances quickly became Eleanor’s research focus and 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. Eleanor is also 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 25-year career within the education sector across a variety of roles and responsibilities.  She has over 20 years of teaching experience within the primary sector having held school-based senior leadership posts as well as a trust-level executive leadership post. Her areas of expertise lie within teaching and learning, Continuous Professional Development (CPD), Initial Teacher Training (ITT), assessment and Early Years. 

During her time as a Senior Leader, 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 where she fulfilled the roles of a Specialist Lead Education (SLE), ITT/School Direct Lead, National Professional Qualification (NPQ) facilitator and CPD programme delivery lead.  Jayne created and developed the school’s School Direct programme where she was accountable for recruitment and marketing, development of programme content/school-based training sessions and trainee placements. She took on the role of the lead school in visits to placement schools (lesson observations and mentor support) as well as managing relationships with Higher Education Institution (HEI) providers.

Jayne now has strategic oversight for NPQs across the Bright Futures Teaching School Hub areas and manages the Teaching School Hub KPIs for both Trafford and Salford. Jayne is responsible for the commercial CPD offer at the Alliance for Learning which includes various projects. She works closely with the Director of Development, Partnerships & Teaching School Hubs alongside another 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 and is the CPD Lead in primary, secondary and tertiary Maths.


Claire Critchley – Operations & Engagement Manager

GLOVE AFL SHOT _092Claire has over 20 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.

Claire has a key role both strategically and operationally to ensure high quality delivery of the Alliance for Learning 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.


Nicola Neesam – SCITT Secondary Lead

Nicola Neesam BA Hons/MA/NPQSL is SCITT Secondary Lead who has seventeen years of experience within the education sector; fourteen years in secondary teaching and leadership, together with an additional three years of teaching and leadership within Initial Teacher Education (ITE).

Following a degree in History and Politics and her PGCE in History with Citizenship, Nicola has worked in a variety of secondary school settings both in the UK and abroad. Throughout her fourteen years of teaching students aged 11 to 18, she has held positions including Subject Mentor, Head of Department, Curriculum Leader and as a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE).

Most recently, Nicola has led within ITE at Liverpool Hope University. Leading recruitment, curriculum development, course delivery and Initial Teacher Training (ITT) compliance and recommendations for QTS for their Secondary History PGCE Programme. Nicola has supported teacher trainees from all subject areas (including School Direct) and built collaborative partnerships with professional and subject mentors throughout the Northwest. 

As SCITT Secondary Lead, Nicola has responsibility for effective management and development of the Alliance for Learning SCITT Secondary Programme. Her ambition is that secondary trainees receive a comprehensive and ambitious programme which builds on individual’s current strengths and experiences.  The Secondary Programme will immerse trainees in current research and will challenge them to become innovative and effective practitioners, to stretch their learning potential and that of their students.


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 – CPD 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.

Roz is responsible for the administration and coordination of the CPD programme and leading on a number of marketing campaigns. 


Claire Whelan – CPD 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.

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.


Christine 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. 

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.