The Team

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Joan Fye, Managing Director

Joan Fye

Joan Fye has spent all her professional career in education. First, as a teacher in Oldham before being appointed as deputy, then Headteacher in inner city Manchester. In 1996 Joan became Her Majestys Inspector of Schools during which she was seconded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister before moving to the National College of School Leadership as Director of Urban School Leadership. Joan has now set up the Urban Leadership Centre Ltd.


Mick Waters, Patron

Professor Mick Waters has a range of career experiences that inform his work. Currently, through Wolverhampton University, he works with theschools in the Black Country Challenge in raising standards in the West Midlands. He works with schools in Sheffield in innovative approaches to learning and on several other initiatives to push the boundaries for making learning better.

Mick is the President of The Curriculum Foundation, a not for profit organisation working with schools and colleges, which sets out to promote the power and potential of the curriculum in shaping the future.

He is also the chair of ’360 People’, a company working to provide assessment for soft skills to help teenagers make progress in ‘soft skills’ as they move towards employment, training or university.

Previously, he worked at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as Director of Curriculum taking a leading role in helping schools to rethink their approach to curriculum design and influencing national policy on aspects of the national curriculum.

Mick believes that learning should be treasured and valued and that it needs to be shaped to fit with children’s lives. People in schools need to set understandings of their children alongside the learning they should meet to create learning that is irresistible.

Before joining QCA, Mick was Chief Education Officer for the City of Manchester. In a challenging education environment schools worked hard to break the cycle of urban deprivation, promoting a wide and rich curriculum and encouraging all learners to achieve as much as possible. Key agendas included the development of joint children’s services, the 14-19 strategy, the employment and skills dimension and configuring all this around Building Schools for the Future.

Previously Mick worked in Birmingham Local Education Authority. He drove forward a school improvement agenda which saw increasing achievements and increasingly successful schools seeking new horizons in educational development.

Mick has experience of headship in two schools and of working in teacher training. He was also part of an Education Development Unit which worked on a contract basis with LEAs and other agencies across the UK and worldwide.

Mick believes in being close to teachers, children and schools, and is often to be found in the classroom working with children. He has written books on the curriculum, teaching and learning, and management, as well as making presentations at numerous national and international conferences. He is passionate about the role of education in improving life chances for pupils. He enjoys asking adults to look at learning through the eyes of a pupil.

Professor Sir Tim Brighouse, Patron

Professor Sir Tim Brighouse has spent his entire career working in education. Most recently he has served as London Schools Commissioner, working to improve education in the capital. Before that his career started in the classroom and has taken in the role of Professor of Education at Keele University, as well as Chief Education Officer in both Oxfordshire and Birmingham Local Authorities.

Sir John Jones, Patron

Has been the Headteacher of three secondary schools over a period of 17 years. He was a Non-Executive Director on the board of Aintree Hospital Trust and has been governor of two schools on Merseyside. He was part of the Government’s Policy Action Team for Neighbourhood Renewal and was a member of the National Focus Group on Truancy and Exclusion and the Excellence in Cities Project at the DfES.

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