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Action Network


Kiran Gill

Founder, The Difference

The Difference was founded by Kiran Gill and supported by the Inclusion Trust, IPPR, Impetus PEF. Kiran is a Cambridge graduate and former TeachFirst teacher who has also worked in policy for both the Department for Education and IPPR. For Kiran, this issue is personal; not only has she seen the impact of poor mental health support during her time as a teacher, but she was raised with two adopted sisters who suffered from attachment issues due to their childhood experiences.

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Matt Hood

Chief Education Officer, Ambition Institute (Former founder of Institute for teaching)

Matt leads all programmes at Ambition Institute. He is a former teacher, school leader, government policy advisor and the founder and CEO at the Institute for Teaching. Matt is also a trustee at The Brilliant Club, a school governor and a member of the DfE’s expert advisory group for teacher recruitment and retention.

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Ed Fidoe

Co-Founder, School 21 a& founder of the London Interdisciplinary School.

After leaving McKinsey in 2010 to start School 21 Ed has also advised leaders at Cambridge University, the London School of Economics, ARK Schools, Teach First, and Eton College. He is also the co-founder of EDSPACE, a co-working space for innovative education companies. Previously he was a theatre producer.

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Peter Hyman

Executive Head Teacher & Founder of School 21

Peter Hyman is co-founder and the headteacher of School 21. Prior to setting up School 21 and 21 Trust he worked in several schools as a teaching assistant, history teacher and deputy headteacher, and before that was a strategist and speechwriter for British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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Beccy Earnshaw

Director, Voice21

Beccy became Director of  Voice 21 in 2015 having previously been Founding Director of Schools NorthEast (network of 1500 Schools). She has also worked for The Children’s Commissioner for England, The Electoral Commission, The Hansard Society and BBC Parliament.

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Jen Lexmond

Founder & CEO, EasyPeasy

Jen Lexmond began her career working at the national policy level with organisations like Demos, NESTA, the all party parliamentary group on social mobility, and the Behavioural Insights Unit. She believes in the importance of policy and practice being underpinned by evidence, and has published widely on factors influencing child development and children’s life chances in the UK. She continues in a similar vein with EasyPeasy. EasyPeasy wants to lead by example, using our growing evidence of impact to support and advocate for wider innovation in the early years sector at the national level.

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Lucy Bailey

Bounce Forward, Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder.

Lucy is proud of her beginnings as a youth worker and her 17 years of experience of working in, developing, reforming and managing children’s services. Over the last ten years Lucy has focused on education and has been instrumental in embedding resilience curricular in schools and services across the UK. Lucy directed the Healthy Minds research project, has an MSc in Practice Based Research, a BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education.

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Sophie Fanning-Tichborne

City Year

Sophie has worked in the third sector for over 10 years, gaining experience across membership and conference departments, before moving into fundraising six years ago. She has worked within a political and social welfare context, and more recently focused on youth education charities to deliver targeted programmes in schools.

Specialising in trusts, foundations and statutory income over the past few years has given her substantial experience of working with major trusts and grant-making organisations. She has managed small teams to maximise funding from these streams and to develop strategic projects and proposals.

Sophie has been a school governor in Tower Hamlets since 2009, sitting on curriculum and resources committees. She also regularly attends a community project in a local care home socialising with elderly residents at cocktail parties.

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Douglas Archibald

Whole Education, Director

Douglas is Whole Education’s Director. His focus is on supporting education transformation through peer-to-peer networks. Douglas started his career as a manager on Accenture’s Human Performance practice before leading the development of the Knowledge and Innovation Network at Warwick Business School.

His work on networks has been published in Harvard Business Review and he has advised a number of third and public sector bodies, including the United Nations Development Program and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Before leading Whole Education he was a Partner at the Innovation Unit

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Ruth Ibegbuna

RECLAIM, Founder & CEO

Ruth Ibegbuna is the founder and CEO of RECLAIM, a multi-award winning social action and youth leadership programme with a focus on working class young people being seen, being heard and leading change. RECLAIM supports young people across Greater Manchester from working class communities. The project has worked with over 850 young people from across the region.

Ruth began developing the RECLAIM project in 2007 out of her frustration at seeing so much wasted potential in young people; often written off due to their postcodes or through appallingly low expectations of their outcomes. Her book, ‘On Youth’, showcases the stories of five RECLAIM Alumni.

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Jessica Barratt

Franklin Scholars, Founder

Jessica Barratt created Franklin Scholars in 2013 around Benjamin’s Franklin’s philosophy: “When you’re good to others, you are best to yourself.”

Franklin Scholars is an award-winning social enterprise that works with schools to help each young person to tackle their own personal challenges and develop the skills and mindsets they need for success through support programmes. The Scholars themselves are near-peer tutors and mentors. In 2014, Jessica was awarded a Shackleton Leadership Award for her work with Franklin Scholars.

Before founding Franklin Scholars, Jessica was running community education programmes in Mozambique, and simultaneously conducting research and development work around peer-to-peer support. Prior to this she worked in the music industry where she set up a youth mentoring scheme focused around the music business.

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Josh MacAlister

Frontline, Founder

Josh MacAlister founded Frontline in 2013. Before this, he was working at a school in Greater Manchester, where he taught large number of children who had social workers in their home life.  He set up Frontline with the bold ambition of transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to become social workers and leaders.

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Hannah Underwood

The Key

Hannah Underwood has been running They Key since 2005, combining her business head and her passion for developing young people. She has a belief that all young people have the power to be great, and this is a central tenet of The Key’s approach. Hannah started off as science boffin, fascinated in how people learn, behave and unlock their potential and became passionate about using this knowledge to help young people develop themselves and their future life chances. She is now a self-confessed impact data geek with an unquenchable desire to improve as many young lives as is humanly possible with as little resource as is needed.

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Michael Lynas


Michael Lynas is the CEO of NCS Trust. He first started working on National Citizen Service (NCS) as a consultant at Bain & Company in 2009 when it was just an idea – to give every teenager the chance to connect with people from different backgrounds, learn new skills for work and life, and make their mark in their community. Since then, he has worked with an amazing – and growing – team of people to help turn this idea into a reality, including by championing NCS during his time as a civil servant at No10 Downing Street. In February 2013, Michael joined NCS Trust, an independent social enterprise dedicated to shaping, supporting and leading a thriving National Citizen Service.

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