Meet The Team
Donna Clifford is Teaching Matters’ Head of Quality whose role is to drive high-quality, professional practice through every aspect of the apprenticeship programme.
She is a dual professional and started her career as a project manager for a large engineering company before entering the teaching profession 20 years ago as a vocational lecturer. She is an experienced senior leader in the further education sector, a former Ofsted inspector and curriculum advisor to the FE Commissioner during the Area-based Reviews.
With an MBA (Total Quality Management specialism), Donna’s passion is working with leadership and management teams to close the strategy-to-performance gap and creating conditions for individuals to flourish.
Dave Sykes is a Director at FE Associates, with strategic responsibility for Teaching Matters, ensuring that its programmes are high quality and meet the needs of learners and employers.
He has worked in FE and Skills for 30 years, as a teacher, manager and senior manager in both FE colleges and the independent training sector. He has also been a full-time inspector and a Director for the Learning and Skills Council. In addition to his current role, Dave is a current part-time Ofsted inspector.
Dave has led on the vision and creation of Teaching Matters, with the clear ambition of developing a national teacher training programme that sets high standards for teachers relevant to the modern environment in FE and Skills.
Annie is a Teaching Matters lecturer. She started her career as a nursery nurse working across early years and the primary sector before starting her career as a lecturer and has taught in both further and higher education, with one of her roles being a professional development manager.
Annie continually strives to raise the voices of the FE sector and currently serves on the Practitioner Advisory Board for the Society of Education. In addition, she coordinates the West Midlands #FEResearchMeets and it is her passion for research which is evident in her array of qualifications including her working towards her Doctorate in Philosophy.
Deborah is a Teaching Matters coach and lecturer. She is also an education consultant, coach and trainer, teacher and experienced inspector for Ofsted. Deborah now combines her time between her two passions: education and health and wellbeing.
Whilst working in education, she also teaches fitness professionals and fitness classes in her own health club. Deborah's focus and key interest in education is on helping others to create positive improvement cultures that centre on kindness, where all can thrive together. She is known for her dynamic and engaging interpersonal skills and 'down to earth' approach.
Dave is co-director of Raising Skills an organisation offering interim and quality improvement services to the sector. Dave has worked as an Ofsted Inspector since 1997 and is passionate about supporting teaching, learning and assessment.
At Teaching Matters, Dave works with a number of our trainee teachers as part of the Level 5 Learning and Skills Teaching programme providing coaching advice and support on their classroom practice.
Pat is a coach and lecturer for Teaching Matters, bringing considerable experience of the FE and Skills sector to the apprenticeship programme.
She has taught in further education colleges, community learning and offender learning settings. She has worked as a senior manager, and subsequently as a full-time inspector and in addition to her current role, she remains a part-time Ofsted inspector.
With an MA in Inspection and Evaluation, Pat has a passion for working with individuals and organisations to ensure that quality assurance arrangements drive up the standard of teaching, learning and assessment for all learners.
Dr Rachel Kirk
Rachel Kirk, a lecturer and coach of initial teacher training (ITT) for Teaching Matters, brings 15 years of extensive experience and knowledge to the role.
Rachel has worked in FE and Skills for 30 years as a teacher, manager and senior manager. Her areas of expertise are ITT, Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) and HE in FE. She is an Expert Reviewer for the QAA and an external examiner in the HE sector.
With her passion being teacher training and CPL for teachers, Rachel achieved a Doctorate in Education by investigating and designing strategies for CPL to support the nurturing of dual professionalism and improvement of quality of teaching and learning for the sector.
Robert Jones is a Curriculum Consultant at FE Associates responsible for Teaching Matters’ content creation and delivery model development.
He has extensive experience of educational leadership from secondary through to university level, including roles as Principal, Vice Principal, Director of Faculty, quality improvement manager, college inspector and improvement partner in the UK and abroad.
Skilled in curriculum design, employer engagement, staff development and quality improvement, Robert is an exceptional communicator, passionate about building curriculum resilience through coaching, training, and performance monitoring. He is a champion of the use of digital media and advocate for using real work environments and contextualised learning.
Stuart Barlow is a content writer, curriculum consultant and mentor for Teaching Matters. He has been involved in further and higher education for 30 years across many vocational areas, most notably land-based and sport. Stuart is an experienced senior leader with over 10 years being responsible for further education, higher education and apprenticeships including as an inspection nominee, a former ALI/Ofsted inspector and advisor to several awarding organisations and other organisations working in the education of young people and adults.
Stuart’s passion is helping all staff achieve the best possible experience for learners, by providing leadership, coaching and mentoring that gives them the skills and resilience to maintain a high-quality provision.
One of the unique selling points of our Learning and Skills Teacher Level 5 Apprenticeship is being able to access some of the best coaches in the further education sector. We are able to tap into an impressive list of industry experts to help support trainee teachers to develop their teaching practice in the classroom. We match the coach to the trainee teacher depending on location and area of specialism.
Andrew is a coach on the Teaching Matters programme whose role is to provide support to apprentices so they may demonstrate the required knowledge and skills in teaching, learning and assessment.
He is an education consultant with over 30 years’ experience within the further education sector including over 13 years as a senior manager/curriculum director. He has a degree in education and a post graduate diploma in educational management and professional qualifications in construction. Andrew has particular expertise in inspecting construction and engineering programmes.
With his extensive experience of curriculum design and implementation across a broad range of programme areas, Andrew’s passion is ensuring that the students benefit from a high-quality learning experience.
Barry has extensive experience working as a teacher, manager and senior manager at several high performing colleges in the further education sector.
He has worked nationally providing support for teaching staff, managers and senior managers which includes working on a range of government funded projects to support institutions to meet the requirements of the relevant Ofsted published frameworks. Curriculum developments he has led on include working for the LEP and producing QCF approved qualifications. He has also worked for City & Guilds, AQA and Pearson as an external verifier, curriculum developer and examiner.
Educated to Masters level in Strategic Management and a first degree in Education and Training, he is passionate about supporting new teachers on their journey to become successful, in what is now the business of education.
Dr Daisy Walsh
Daisy is a coach on the L5 Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship Programme. Her coaching role is pivotal in supporting effective vocational and training, meeting the needs of apprentices, their learners and the employers.
Daisy has worked in further education and skills for over 25 years. As a curriculum manager, Daisy successfully led a large faculty consisting of engineering, construction and computing provision. Highly competent in curriculum and quality, Daisy has expertise in raising performance and achievement across multiple campuses. She has held a senior management role for apprenticeships, subcontracting and delivering new curriculum to meet local employers' needs.
Daisy is an Ofsted Inspector and educational consultant. A qualified FE teacher, Daisy has a Masters in Education Management and a Doctorate in Education.
Debra is a Teaching Matters lecturer and coach. Debra is an Ofsted inspector, Ofqual external expert, former QAA Education Reviewer and a retired college Principal, who has worked in the sector for over 40 years and is passionate about high-quality teaching and learning.
Debra has written national qualification standards and developed curriculum and quality partnerships in the far east and Europe and has worked for over 32 years on Cert Ed/ PGCE programmes. As well as being an independent education consultant specialising in quality improvement, Debra holds qualified teacher status, a Master’s in Education and specialist qualifications, and is a published author.
Emma has worked across a range of sectors including schools, colleges and higher education including in a range of senior leadership roles. Since 2004 she has developed a career as an educational consultant in teacher training, leadership development, inspection and school and college improvement, supporting curriculum innovation and promoting quality assurance.
Emma is a highly experienced trainer, designing and leading programmes in a range of areas of school and college improvement including development of the governing body. Emma is also a senior examiner and published author, a trained assessor for the Arts Mark and Arts Award and an Ofqual Subject Expert. Currently, she is chair of governors of an outstanding secondary school and Charitable Trustee of the Leicester YMCA.
Helen is a highly experienced education consultant who has substantial experience of working both in the UK and internationally. As a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Recreation at Sheffield Hallam University, part of her responsibilities involved teaching undergraduates on teacher training programmes for Physical Education. More recently, as Programme Director for the International Post-Graduate Certificate in Education, she has been responsible for overseas trainees gaining QTS through assessment only, as well as acting as a Chief External Quality Assurer for the Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training for an Awarding Organisation.
With more than 30 year's experience as a highly experienced teacher training consultant, designing and developing teacher-led and blended learning, Helen has a passion for observing teachers on the job and then making suggestions for ways to improve their teaching styles and enhance impact on learning in a digital age.
Julie Gibson is a coach for Teaching Matters. Her role is to support Level 5 Learning and Skills Teacher apprentices to be the best they can.
Julie has significant experience within education as an inspector, advisor and board member as well as an author, lecturer, moderator, Chair of Examiners, Chief Examiner and trainer and assessor, and also currently teaches. She enjoys working for both regulatory and awarding organisations. Julie is experienced within the further education sector as well as working in industry, schools and work-based learning providers.
Julie is valued for her enthusiasm, support and no-nonsense approach to inform improvement.
Julia is employed as a freelance lecturer for Teaching Matters. In addition, she is a co-director of the Centre for Post 14 Education and Work, and also a Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL Institute of Education. She is a former Ofsted inspector (part-time) and has managed and taught in both higher and further education. She has extensive experience of initial teacher education, mentor training programmes and research projects for the FE and Skills sector.
Julia completed her PhD (Education) in 2020 at UCL and brings her experience of applied research within further education and independent training organisations to teaching and learning. Her research interests focus on vocational and technical education, skills development and initial professional formation. She is an editor of the new inSpire FE journal for beginner teachers in FE.
Julie is a freelance lecturer at Teaching Matters. She is an experienced teacher and teacher trainer having mentored PGCE students and has delivered for many years on the CELTA L5 and AET teacher training programmes.
She is a qualified ILM coach and as a member of SMT at a large London further education college, led on teaching, learning, innovation and staff development until January 2020 before setting up her own education consultancy.
With over 25 years in education, Julie’s passion is using coaching to empower and enable teachers at all stages of their careers and has particular interest in equipping new teachers in further education to become dual professionals.
Karen has an extensive career in teacher development as a teacher trainer and manager, and is as an education consultant for one of the country’s largest apprenticeship colleges.
A leading professional, Karen has worked with government and led national projects to improve teaching and learning in the post-16 and apprenticeship sector.
In May 2019 Karen became an independent consultant working with organisations to improve the quality of learning and outcomes for learners. An inspector with the British Accreditation Council and specialist in pedagogy, higher education and apprenticeships, Karen is dedicated to developing high quality teaching and learning in all post-16 contexts.
Lynne's role on the Level 5 Learning and Skills Teacher apprenticeship programme is to coach and support new teachers employed in the further education sector.
Lynne is a dual professional who started her career working in health and social services. She is a qualified teacher with an MA in Education and over 25 years’ experience of working in FE, initially as lecturer and assessor in business and early years’ education. As a member of the senior leadership team, she had responsibility for teacher education and quality. Throughout Lynne’s career she has been passionate about improving the quality of teaching and learning by supporting and guiding teachers regardless of the stage in their career.
Maureen is part of the L5 Diploma Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship coaching and lecturing team at FE Associates. She is a highly skilled and experienced strategic adviser working in the schools, FE and Skills and HEI sectors for over thirty years, both in the UK and the international education sector. She is a current practising Further Education and Skills inspector and lead inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate. She is a consultant and adviser in quality improvement and assurance, governance, leadership and management, specialising in apprenticeships, workplace learning and safeguarding and is a governance board member of three national FE/HEI workplace learning providers.
Maureen has worked as a consultant with the DfE Standards Unit Teaching and Learning Subject Learning Coach programme and the 14-19 Diploma Reforms Programme, as well as working with Ofqual as an adviser, the LSIS Improvement Adviser Service as a lead adviser and various other national FE and HEI government funded programmes. Maureen has developed and delivered teacher training programmes for universities and has been a principal examiner, chief verifier and moderator, as well as centre approvals and qualifications adviser for awarding bodies.
Mike works with the Level 5 Learning and Skills apprenticeship team at FE Associates as a coach in education and training.
He has over 30 years’ experience of working in the FE and Skills sector as a lecturer, course leader and manager. His particular areas of specialism are engineering and construction, classroom and work-based learning. Mike has recently worked with a number of further education colleges and training providers in an advisory role to support improvements in curriculum delivery and teaching, learning and assessment.
Mike is a former Ofsted Inspector and is passionate about providing high quality vocational education and training for people of all ages and abilities.
Dr Patricia Odell
Patricia is a member of the Teaching Matters training team. She started her further education teaching career over 30 years ago, working as a literacy teacher and initial teacher educator. Over the past two decades, she has managed high profile DfE maths and English projects and more recently, led on the reform of Qualified Teacher Learning Status (QTLS) and on the development of Advanced Teacher Status (ATS) at the Education and Training Foundation.
Tricia is committed to promoting teacher-owned professionalism and to supporting quality improvement. She has recently been awarded with an Education Doctorate with her thesis focusing on the benefits of developing collaborative models of professional development.
Saskia is a coach for Teaching Matters and supports trainee teachers through their programme with a range of strategies to support their emerging practice.
Saskia is a senior education leader with extensive experience across curriculum development and quality improvement, gained over 15 years starting as a teacher and across management posts in further and higher education and skills sectors. She is passionate about inspiring the next outstanding teachers. She has written about education for the Huffington Post and produced research for the British Museum.
Wendy is a lecturer and coach at Teaching Matters, who is highly experienced at designing, developing, and delivering further education programmes using a range of methods and platforms.
She has worked in FE for 30 years, as a lecturer, head of department and quality director in colleges and the independent training sector. Wendy has managed teacher education and has a passion for driving excellence in pedagogy. In addition to this, Wendy serves as a mentor for The Girls Network, connecting girls aged 14-19 with inspirational female role models.
Wendy has led on the development of apprenticeship programmes across various sectors including Care, Financial Services, Science and Retail. She is passionate about nurturing personal development and working with leaders to deliver tangible results.
Mark Treagust is the assistant principal at Sparsholt College in Hampshire. His background is in sport which makes him the ideal coach when working with trainee teachers and has a key strength in working with individuals to be the very best they can be.
Mark has led teaching, learning and assessment at an outstanding college and oversees and ensures the learner experience is at the very heart of the college experience.