• Agnes Donnelly

    Agnes originally trained as a Primary School teacher but after taking additional qualifications, moved to the secondary sector as a Remedial/Learning Support Teacher, and following a post graduate diploma in SEN moved to another large secondary in charge of support for pupils with SEN.

    Agnes moved on to work for the Education Department as the Manager of a team of peripatetic support teachers offering support in mainstream schools to staff and pupils with a wide range of learning difficulties.

    Her next major move was to work at LA level as Inclusion Support Manager, part of a team delivering planning, resources and training to support the Better Behaviour Better Learning agenda working closely with colleagues throughout Scotland and travelling to various schools in England, Europe, USA and Australia to promote their approaches to Emotional Intelligence and Restorative Practices.

    After retirement from a full-time post Agnes worked on a consultative basis with the Scottish Education Department developing staff training resources before taking up a part-time post as an Associate Tutor at the University of Edinburgh.

    As a member of nasen since its inception Agnes served many years as Chair of the West of Scotland branch and GA Rep, as well as UK President (2000 – 2001), Chair of Publications, member of the Policy Group and member of the Editorial Board.

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  • Alex Griffiths

    Chair of the General Purposes Committee

    Alex is an Educational Psychologist with over 30 years’ experience. The author of various books and texts on parental involvement, reading and behaviour, he 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.

    Alex has been a governor at a large primary school for over 25 years with responsibility for Inclusion, Chair of the Staffing Committee and member of the multi-academy trust.

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  • Allison Goddard

    l have worked in education, in primary and special school and teacher education, from Mathematics lead to SENCO, plus an SEN outreach service. Since 2002 l have worked at Winchester University. I developed and headed SEN programmes for the education faculty. I delighted in supporting SENCO’s through their Accreditation, also the PGCE and Undergraduate programmes for SEN. I retired August 2014, l still act as an external examiner and as volunteer working alongside adults with learning disabilities.

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  • Carolyn Eyre

    Carolyn Eyre is an independent safeguarding consultant, working with schools, FE colleges, local authorities and LSCBs. Much of her time is spent delivering a broad range of Child Protection and safeguarding training events or undertaking site audits and disciplinary investigations.

    Carolyn worked in the Local Education Authority safeguarding arena for many years, first in Education Welfare services before becoming Child Protection co-ordinator for a large authority with 265 schools, 18,500 staff and 110,000 school-aged children.  More recently, she was Head of Health, Safety & Wellbeing for the authority - combining also the roles of Senior Allegations Manager and Safer Recruitment lead officer.

    Carolyn has a particular interest in the protection of children with disabilities; her knowledge and understanding of the complexities of safeguarding vulnerable groups has won her many friends in the special school sector and she acts as safeguarding adviser to the National Association of Independent and Non-Maintained Special Schools (NASS) although she is also well known for her work with FE colleges and independent schools.

    As a member of the Safer Recruitment Consortium task force, Carolyn – in conjunction with a number of NASS schools - recently developed the new Guidance for Safe Working Practice for education professionals published in November 2015.

    Carolyn has MA Professional Training & Development complimented by:-

    • Certificate in social work with children
    • BEd (Hons) Professional Education
    • NSPCC post-graduate Certificate of Competence
    • NEBOSH certificate in Occupational Health & Safety

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  • Christopher Marshall

    After teaching Chris trained and practised as an educational psychologist in the north east and as principal for an East Midlands LEA. He was a university lecturer in education, tutoring a one-year course in ‘remedial education’ as well as supervising research projects.

    Subsequently he was an HMI for 21 years during which he was appointed staff inspector responsible for a team of colleagues whose specialisms were in special educational needs. He became the professional head of the Assessment of Performance Unit and later acted as an adviser to the DES on assessment and on parents’ appeals and complaints concerning disagreements with their LEA.

    After retirement he served as a lay member of the SEND Tribunal for nine years as well as being the reviews editor for several years for the three Nasen journals.  He continues to pursue his academic interests in children’s special and additional needs.  He is a primary school governor with responsibility for children with SEN and a member of the National Governors Association’s special needs group.

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  • David Ryan

    Vice Chair

    David is an Independent Consultant with a particular interest in exploring how technology can make meaningful differences for pupils with SEND, by providing solutions that can prevent the pupils experiencing barriers to learning, and also using technology to reduce pupil barriers or indeed create an even playing field whereby pupils who experience difficulties in accessing the curriculum can work equally alongside their mainstream peers.

    David’s entire professional background has been in the area of special educational needs and inclusion, where he has pretty much worked in all areas, from classroom teacher to senior manager in local education authorities, and also through association with Higher Education institutions delivered learning and teaching on Master’s level courses.

    Until recently David was and Apple Education Trainer with XMA, an Apple reseller, and his role involved providing capacity building and continuing professional development of schools and teachers who use Apple technologies to enhance pupil engagement and outcomes.

    David also works with a significant number of local authorities and corporate clients in the area of strategy around Information and Communications technology.

    Between December 2009 and March 2013 David was seconded on a part time basis to Northern Ireland’s Department of Education as part of a team that was leading a Capacity Building Programme to enhance school and teacher capabilities in terms of meeting the needs of pupils with SEN.  That work included hosting a range of leadership and management conferences for school leaders, and the creation of a Resource File for SEN which is now being used in all schools in Northern Ireland by teachers.  David has chaired two Departmental working groups – one on creating teacher resources for Gifted and Talented Children, and the other on Working with Families of Pupils with SEN.

    David has an on-going interest in developing gifted and talented education and special educational needs, and has published in these areas, as well as delivering papers. This has included the World Conferences for Gifted and Talented Education in Warwick, United Kingdom and Vancouver, Canada, the European Council for High Ability Conference in Prague, and the Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress in Queen’s University, Belfast.  He has also led a number of study visits for the European Union, including Poland, the Slovak Republic and Austria.

    David’s association with nasen as a member goes back almost 20 years when he saw that benefits of membership in his role as a classroom teacher.  Over this period he has served as Chair of the Policy Advisory Group and Secretary of the Secondary and Post 16 Group.  He has been a Trustee for around 4 years and he now serves as Vice Chair of Trustees.


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  • Elaine Colquhoun

    Elaine is currently Executive Principal of Whitefield Academy Trust. This consists of two schools and is one of the largest Special Education providers in the UK. The Academy 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 visual 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. She led inspections across a wide range of schools, mainstream secondary, middle and a range of different special schools. Elaine served as President of Nasen (National association of Special Educational needs) for 3 years, working at the strategic level of this national charity for 7 years in presidential roles. She has written book reviews, had articles published in Special magazine and appeared on BBC News 24 and BBC Radio 4. She visited, worked in and delivered training, conferences in the NE region, nationally and abroad. This includes Poland, Taiwan, Ireland, India, Hong Kong and Russia. She has extensive links with a teacher training college and special schools within the Luwan district of Shanghai.

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  • Richard Carpenter

    Chair of Finance Committee

    Richard commenced his working life in 1960 when he joined Barclays Bank as a 16 year old Junior Clerk at their Swansea Branch.  His first Junior Management position came in 1971 when he was appointed an Assistant Inspector on the Bank’s Audit and Inspection team.  He enjoyed further managerial appointments in a long and successful career.   His last role before retirement in 2000 was at the City of Cardiff Group of Branches where he was the Area Personal Sector Manager.

    However retirement was short lived, a mere 2 months, as he joined Headlands School in Penarth as their Bursar on a part time basis.   Headlands, part of Action for Children, are a residential special school for children aged 8-19 with challenging behaviour in the EBD and ASD sector.   When he arrived there were around 30 young people but by the time he finally retired in April 2014 there were in excess of 60. Over recent years the school has achieved an enviable reputation as a market leader in their specialized sector.  This is backed up by inspiring inspection reports for both education and care.

    Richard is married to Jenny with whom he has one son Joshua who is currently studying at Southampton University as well as two grown up children.  He would count gardening and holidays as his favourite pastimes.

    Richard joined the nasen Board in July 2013 and is Chair of the Finance Committee.

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  • Sue Soan

    Dr Sue Soan is the Faculty Director of Special Educational Needs and Inclusion at Canterbury Christ Church University. Prior to this Sue taught in mainstream and special schools (Nursery – Key Stage 4) for over 25 years; the last decade as a Senior Leader and special educational needs coordinator (SENCO).  Her areas of expertise are social, emotional and behavioural needs, motor and coordination development and autism.

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  • Trevor Daniels

    After 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 S.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.

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