Our Trustees

Head shot of Elaine Simpson

Elaine Simpson

Chair of Trustees & Member of Contract Management and Delivery Assurance Committee

With over 30 years’ experience in UK education and children’s services, Elaine is an influential figure who has achieved positive change in how regional and national education is delivered, managed and perceived. Her career has spanned public, private and third sectors, with her last executive role being at Serco. Since leaving her executive roles, Elaine has held a portfolio of board roles including chairing Minerva Education, Chairing the National Children's Bureau, being Non-Executive Director for Acorn Care and Education, Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and a Governor at Staffordshire University.

Head shot of Elaine Colquhoun

Elaine Colquhoun

Deputy Chair of Trustees & Member of HR, Policies and Operations Committee

Elaine has recently retired as Executive Principal of Whitefield Academy Trust. This consisted of two schools and is one of the largest Special Education providers in the UK. The Trust provides education and care for pupils with profound, severe and complex difficulties from the ages of 3 to 19 years, including pupils with autism and vision impairment. She has worked for most of her career in the field of special education. She has been a head teacher for 17 years in two outstanding schools. She has a wide ranging local, national and international experience and perspective in the field of SEN. She worked as an additional Inspector seconded to Ofsted in which she worked in conjunction with HMI for a year.

Head shot of Christopher Rutt - trustee

Christopher Rutt

Chair of Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

Chris is currently the Europe, Middle East and Africa Chief Financial Officer for Tradition, one of the largest global inter dealer brokers. He is also Chair of Finance for The Community Schools Trust.

Head shot of Trevor Daniels - trustee

Trevor Daniels

Member of Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

After over 13 years teaching in comprehensive schools in Essex, Trevor worked as an officer, managing special educational needs in four Local Authorities.

He was Head of Special Educational Needs in both South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Subsequently he has worked as a consultant specialising in strategic review of SEN provision and the development of the Local Offer. He is married with two adult children, one of whom has just started on a career as a teacher. His wife continues to follow her own career in special educational needs.

Head shot of Leo Stanley - trustee

Leo Stanley

Member of Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

Leo has over 20 years’ experience of the education publishing and resource sector; working on digital marketing, communications, and product development. His experience encompasses the schools, higher education, and qualifications market.

Currently Director of Digital Innovation at Macmillan International Higher Education, he has previously held roles at other leading educational businesses and organisations including City & Guilds, Discovery Education and Pearson.

Leo is passionate about facilitating inclusivity in education. He joined the board in September 2019.

Alex Griffiths - trustee head shot

Alex Griffiths

Chair of Contract Management and Delivery Assurance Committee and Member of Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

Alex is an Educational Psychologist with over 30 years’ experience.

He is the author of various books and texts on parental involvement, reading and behaviours and also edited the magazine ‘Special’ for over 10 years.

Alex is currently the CEO of the Educational Guidance Service which provides educational, psychological, counselling and specialist advice across all sectors of education. This includes a sister company 'The Kade Consultancy' who have a team of occupational psychologists specially dedicated to meeting the needs of adults in the workplace and business generally.

The company works with numerous universities, colleges and schools as well as a variety of companies. Alex was instrumental in enabling a major shift to involving parents in education. He has previously held senior posts in schools and was a Principal Educational Psychologist in West Yorkshire – and later responsible for all specialist services.

Head shot of Sue Suan - trustee

Dr Sue Soan

Member of Contract Management and Delivery Assurance Committee

Dr Sue Soan is a part-time university lecturer, working with doctoral students on studies relating to additional educational needs.  She is also an educational adviser for fostering organisations and schools and undertakes consultancy and supervision work with school leaders. 


Prior to 2003 Sue taught in nursery settings, primary mainstream and special schools for over 25 years, as a classroom teacher, a subject coordinator (mathematics) and a special educational need’s coordinator (SENCO). 


Her areas of expertise and research interest are special educational needs and the SENCo role, motor and coordination development, multi professional working, Looked after Children, autism and clinical supervision.

Head shot of Jeremy Gould - trustee

Jeremy Gould

Member of Contract Management and Delivery Assurance Committee

Jeremy is a senior civil servant with many years of experience of digital service transformation. An early member of the Government Digital Service, Jeremy has worked with public sector organisations including the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, Department for Education and Foreign and Commonwealth Office to deliver better public services that are digital by default and build user centred design capability across government.

Head shot of Simon Lloyd - trustee

Simon Lloyd

Member of Contract Management and Delivery Assurance Committee

Simon is an experienced NED and Consultant. He spent his executive career in Chief Financial Officer and Financial Director roles in Financial Services for Skandia, Aegon and L&G.

Head shot of Helen Cooper - Trustee

Helen Cooper

Chair of the HR, Policies and Operations Committee

Following an early career as a teacher, Helen moved into Local Government HR eventually becoming the Director of HR - Children’s Services, for a Local Authority.

She then ran a successful HR consultancy business specialising in Education HR for 21 years (HC Associates Ltd). During this time she worked as an Interim HR Director in various local authorities and an HR Consultant to schools and academies. Helen worked with a number of residential and day special schools and she brings a wealth of experience of working in the SEN sector. The company was bought by North Yorkshire Council HR in 2019 setting Helen free to enjoy retirement and support various charities including nasen.

Head shot of Mark Blois - trustee

Mark Blois

Member of HR, Policies and Operations Committee

Mark is Head of the Education Team at Browne Jacobson. Mark has over twenty years’ experience as an education lawyer. He is recommended as a leader in his field in the industry bibles Chambers UK and Legal 500.  Chambers UK has dubbed him “an industry leader” and Legal 500 has entered him into their 'Hall of Fame'.

Head shot of Ian Hughes  - trustee

Ian Hughes

Member of Finance, Risk and Audit Committee

Ian was formerly Finance Director of The National Lottery Community Fund and continues to act for the fund in an advisory capacity.  He represents the Fund’s interests as Director of The Oversight Trust (formerly Big Society Trust) which safeguards the funding and approach of four organisations distributing monies under the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts scheme.  Ian’s role at the fund encompassed responsibility for all Corporate Services including Finance, Technology, HR, Legal and Property.

Ian is also a Non-Executive Director of Beatfreeks arts, a Birmingham based social enterprise supporting young people into employment through Arts activities.  He also acts as an advisor to a number of organisations on finance related matters.