NACE associates and Challenge Award assessors

NACE associates and Challenge Award assessors are individuals that work with NACE on the development and delivery of its research, CPD, workshop programmes and Challenge Award. All are experienced practitioners in their fields, and their broad range of expertise allows NACE to tailor its support to meet individual requirements.
John Broadbent
I have been working with NACE providing support on preparation for the Challenge Award and as an assessor since the 1990’s and am currently an educational consultant, having worked in the field of more able education, in Enfield, Croydon, Haringey and also Saudi Arabia. 

I have also trained middle managers and newly qualified teachers in how to cater for their most able learners, and worked with Head teachers and Senior Managers on developing challenge for all and on school improvement with a focus on very able and talented. 

I started my teaching career in Lilycroft Primary school in Bradford. I have also worked in a nursery for orphans in Germany, and a village primary school in Norfolk before re-training to teach in secondary schools. I have also been an Inspector for Ofsted.
Rosemary Butcher
Along with my work as a NACE associate, I am currently a Secondary Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick Centre for Professional Education. I joined the University in 2015 working on a project with IGGY, the University’s gifted and talented web portal and have also worked for the University’s widening participation department. As well as having experience as a secondary English teacher in British and French schools, I previously worked at the University of Cambridge and for the London borough of Lambeth Children and Young People's Service. At Cambridge, I was Head of Widening Participation, and from there I moved to advise and monitor primary and secondary schools in Lambeth and their provision for able and talented learners under the Excellence in Cities programme. In this role I worked with NACE and other partners, and trained as a Challenge Award Assessor.
Sarah Carpenter
During her 20-year career in education, Sarah has taken on a variety of roles in the early years and primary sectors. Alongside working as a class teacher, she held local authority advisory roles in science and in provision for able learners, leading her school to become the fourth nationally to achieve the NACE Challenge Award.
Sarah moved on from deputy headship to work with an international company, first as a literacy consultant and then as the maths consultant for the UK and Europe. She returned to West Berkshire local authority as early years adviser, focusing on communication, language and literacy, and later became the school improvement adviser for SEND.
More recently, Sarah has reignited her passion for literacy and numeracy, becoming West Berkshire’s school improvement adviser for primary maths and English. In this role, she is the central provider of CPD, and oversees standards in 65 primary schools.
Christine Chen
I am an experienced consultant with expertise in the pedagogy of English and More Able learners; I have an excellent track record of supporting school improvement, having helped hundreds of schools across a diverse range of contexts since 2002.

I currently work with NACE delivering CPD in schools or at NACE events.

I led Kingston’s More Able, Gifted and Talented networks (from which I formed the Primary Outstanding Learning network); I originated Kingston’s Sharing Best Practice networks (Y1-Y6), and led English Leader networks in Surrey.

Growth mindset, respectful partnership and up-to-date research are my guiding principles. Complementing my highly regarded schools support, I consult, write and series edit for a number of educational publications.
Karen Christofi
Karen Christofi is headteacher of Trellech Primary School, Monmouthshire, with over 25 years’ experience of working in and with schools in Wales. She has been in her current post since 2012, previously working as a School Improvement Officer for Monmouthshire LA with specialisms in literacy, assessment and MAT provision.
Trellech Primary School is a Curriculum Pioneer School, and Karen is strongly involved with the design of the new Welsh curriculum. The school is also a Learning Network school for literacy, providing guidance and support to others within the Education Achievement Service (EAS) consortium.
As a NACE associate, Karen has been a lead assessor for the NACE Challenge Award since 2010, as well as providing training, guidance and support for schools within and beyond the EAS consortium, and presenting at NACE conferences. She is also an Estyn peer inspector and a partner Challenge Advisor for EAS.
Heather Clements
Following 11 years as a primary headteacher, Heather become a local authority adviser and subsequently a senior advisor. Drawing on best practice nationally, she developed a quality assurance matrix for teaching and learning (“What is Good Teaching?”), which is available as a published toolkit with an interactive online version, alongside its companion “What is Good Leadership?”

After working as head of school improvement in Harrow, Heather become director of schools, developing a systematic approach to school improvement support. Through her own consultancy, Heather continues to deliver school improvement services both directly to schools and in partnership with other organisations. She has supported, developed and delivered programmes relating to school leadership, outstanding teaching, self-evaluation and peer review, and delivered training nationally on all aspects of school improvement.  

Heather has worked with NACE since 2003. She co-wrote the original Challenge Award school self-evaluation framework and in this capacity trained schools, advisers and assessors throughout England, and developed a wide range of supporting materials to help schools improve their provision. 
Julie Elliott
Julie first began working with NACE in 2011, contributing to the development of the More Able and Talented (MAT) Training Pack (NACE/Welsh Government), which was distributed to all state schools in Wales in October 2012. Through her ongoing work as a NACE associate, she delivers consultancy on MAT education, and conducts NACE Challenge Award assessments.
Julie has worked in education for over 20 years. Originally a primary teacher, she now works as a Partnership Inclusion Officer, supporting and challenging over 30 primary, secondary and special schools in all aspects of additional learning needs. In addition, she leads on MAT policy and provision for Cardiff, working to support schools across the city and the CSC consortium.
Since March 2016, Julie has been the Seren Hub coordinator for Cardiff, establishing and coordinating a support programme for Year 12 and 13 students with aspirations to attend selective universities in the UK and further afield. 
Barbara Firth
An associate of NACE for over a decade, Barbara advises on more able review work, delivers bespoke CPD within schools, and carries out consultancy and assessments for the NACE Challenge Award, both in the UK and abroad. Her international portfolio includes training teachers in Saudi Arabia and The Hague, and professional development assignments for NACE in countries including Chile and Malta.
Having held senior positions both in schools and for a local authority, Barbara is currently an independent education advisor with expertise in the early years foundation stage (EYFS), teaching and learning, and leadership and management. She was a lead inspector for primary schools for seven years, and a team inspector for secondary and special schools. In addition, she is a governor of a secondary academy and an assessor for the Basic Skills Award.
Caroline Gaitely
I am a NACE Challenge Award assessor and have undertaken initial and reaccreditation assessments for primary, independent, middle school and senior schools. 

I have been the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator of Southend High School for Boys for approximately 15 years and have co-ordinated the school’s achievement of the Challenge Award in 2007, reaccreditation in 2011 and the Third Accreditation in June 2015, as well as leading on MAT within school. My role has also included contributing to the drive to push more able and talented provision in other local schools and developing and chairing local MAT networks. 

My work has also included sharing our experience of achieving the Challenge Award regionally and across the country.      
Pauline Hinchliffe
I have worked for NACE for 10 years, as a Challenge Award Assessor and trainer and as a CPD provider, and have worked with a wide variety of schools.

Initially I was a secondary teacher and I taught in an inner city borough in London for 26 years.  I then spent 14 years working as a Local Authority consultant, with responsibility for Gifted and Talented provision in both primary and secondary phases. In this role I provided CPD focussing on the use of questioning, and the development of higher order thinking skills, in order to develop a classroom culture where all children are challenged and relish being challenged. During this time, I also became interested in Philosophy for Children and the impact it can have on children and teachers. I am now a Sapere accredited Level 1 trainer. I am also interested in the work of Carol Dweck and the implications of having a growth or fixed mindset, and how this affects how children of all abilities respond to challenge.
Renata Joseph
Renata is a geography teacher and deputy headteacher of Canons High School, a vibrant comprehensive in Harrow, NW London. She leads the school’s People and Professionalism Team, which includes the Canons Park Teaching School Alliance, in which Canons is the lead partner school (and of which NACE is a strategic partner), and Staff Professionalism, which includes Leadership, Professional Learning, ITT and Professional Review. Before this role, she spent four years as assistant head, and held responsibility for Teaching and Learning.

Renata’s previous experience includes eight years as Curriculum Leader for Learning at an inner-city London school, with responsibility for More Able and Talented, EAL, SEN, and Learning Mentors. Her areas of expertise and interest include pedagogy, school review and improvement, and approaches to developing staff to meet the needs of more able learners.

As a NACE Associate, Renata delivers CPD to help schools improve areas of more able provision. She is also a trustee of NACE and chairs the charity’s education committee.
​Rhiannon Jenkins
Rhiannon Jenkins has held positions as a deputy head, advisory teacher (Welsh and English) and a university lecturer in all aspects of literacy. Since 2010, she has been the external subject expert for Welsh first language at Key Stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 for Welsh Government. She has taught in the Welsh medium sector throughout her teaching career, and has worked throughout Wales as an independent trainer and consultant.  
Rhiannon was a key player in the Welsh medium provision of the Pisa Intervention Project that disseminated quality teaching practice across Wales. She was also instrumental in developing the elements and aspects of the Literacy and Numeracy Framework in Welsh.
She commissions and monitors Welsh medium resources for schools for the Welsh Government. In addition, she works as an independent external mentor for newly qualified teachers (primary and secondary).
Rhiannon became a NACE associate during 2014-15. Through her work with NACE, she delivers INSET days on provision for MAT learners, and visits primary and secondary schools to assess the NACE Challenge Award in a bilingual setting.
Hilary Lowe
I have been associated with NACE for many years, initially as a member and then a trustee and now as the Education and Challenge Award Adviser.  My career spans senior posts in comprehensive schools, teacher training and university lecturing and I was subsequently Associate Dean at the Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University.  I was Director for the Excellence in Cities National Training Programme for Gifted and Talented Co-ordinators and have been a member of several education advisory groups and written and presented widely on the education of more able children, and on education leadership and professional development.   
Judith Mason
I have recently joined NACE as a CPD associate and Challenge Award assessor.
As a teacher, leader and adviser, I have over 30 years' experience working with a wide range of schools. Most recently, the main focus of my work has been to provide support and professional challenge to school leadership teams. I have national accreditation as a School Improvement Partner and as a Local Consultant for Improvement. I have supported schools in challenging circumstances to gain improved Ofsted outcomes and worked with good and outstanding school leaders to secure further improvement. My work for a Local Authority included responsibility to oversee standards in over 50 primary schools across the county. My subject specialisation is English.

I have delivered professional development for the teaching and leadership of English, including work with groups of teachers to facilitate collaborative approaches, such as ‘Lesson Study’.  
Dr Ann McCarthy
I have been working with NACE as an associate for the past year and am developing the organisation’s MAT school review work.

My career has included teaching and leadership in both primary and secondary schools, including selective and comprehensive education. I have a wide experience of leadership coaching,  including work as a primary consultant head teacher.  I provide advice, training and leadership on school curriculum, self-evaluation, standards and school improvement.  I currently work for a multi-academy trust as their  improvement director. Within this role I work with primary and secondary school leaders to raise standards in all our academies; identify opportunities for innovation, development and training; raise aspirations and develop inter-academy collaboration. I develop educational policy, promote professional subject networks and the development of events and projects and provide support and advice to other schools, academies and trusts as they too develop.
Sue Mordecai
Having started her career as a history teacher, Sue Mordecai has worked in both primary and secondary schools, moving on to roles as head of school improvement in a local authority, associate tutor at Oxford Brookes University, and as an adviser to the International Charles Darwin Trust. Currently a director on the board of a multi-academy trust, Sue has contributed to national materials commissioned by both Welsh and English governments, represented NACE on government advisory bodies, and authored many articles and resources related to more able learners, as well as contributing to the editorial board of the journal Gifted Education International. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. A former chair of NACE, Sue currently serves as a trustee and a member of the charity’s education committee. She also delivers the popular "Challenge in the everyday classroom" seminar series. 
Beatrice Moreau-Gray
As a NACE associate, I am developing and delivering  MFL professional development programmes and writing MFL resources.

I started my career as an MFL teacher in a large comprehensive school in Oxfordshire and have taught in both the state and the independent sectors. I then moved to higher education where I worked on developing and delivering teacher training programmes. I am passionate about languages and language teaching, and place a strong premium  in my courses on teachers not accepting prevailing standards when these are insufficient and on the need to offer genuine challenge to their learners at all stages. Addressing the needs of able linguists and motivating them to excel is at the forefront of my ongoing reflection as a teacher educator. I am excited to be part of NACE and am fully committed to its fundamental goal of improving outcomes for all learners in our schools.
Jon Murphy
Currently serving in his third headship, at Llanfoist Fawr Primary School, Jon has over 30 years of experience working in education. As well as teaching in both Wales and the United States, previous roles have included Principal School Improvement Officer for Monmouthshire Local Authority and Challenge Advisor Partner for the South East Wales Education Consortium. 
In 2007 Jon joined NACE as a Challenge Award assessor, and over the last 10 years has undertaken assessments and consultation in primary and secondary schools in both the state and independent sectors. He is also the NACE Research and Development Hub Coordinator for Wales.
Jon is also currently a team inspector for Estyn, and an ambassador for the SkillForce Prince William Award. As a Visiting Fellow of the University of South Wales, he is working with the University of South Wales Newport and Cardiff Metropolitan University on the strategic transformation of initial teacher education in Wales.   
Ann Nelson
I have worked with NACE for over 10 years, as both a Challenge Award consultant and assessor and providing CPD for schools on behalf of NACE.  I worked previously as a Strand Co-ordinator for a large London borough for the Excellence in Cities Gifted and Talented Programme and have also worked for Thurrock, Newham and Cambridge Local Authorities supporting the needs of able pupils. My main work for NACE focuses on advice and support for provision for more able students, for example supporting self-review  of provision and action planning and professional development to ensure teaching staff are able to meet the needs of pupils and to identify and tackle underachievement at all key stages.

I have worked successfully and with demonstrable impact with a wide variety of schools and have an excellent understanding of the practical needs of teachers and the strategic objectives of senior colleagues.  
Jules Offord
I have worked with NACE as a Challenge Award assessor since 2006. I have over 30 years’ experience as a teacher, consultant and adviser, having been involved in developing more able learner practice and provision for the past 18 years. During this time I have been involved in leading programmes and strategies to support more able learners at local, regional and national level. I also work as an independent consultant and researcher developing programmes for improving learning environment, collaborative and personal learning with schools and academy trusts.

I also have many years’ experience of developing and delivering training on a range of classroom strategies including questioning, deepening learning, metacognition and enabling independent and collaborative learning. Additionally, I have significant experience of working with teachers and schools to design and deliver strategies which most effectively support EAL learners in succeeding at the highest levels.

I enjoy supporting teaching professionals and school communities in developing and refining practice and provision to enable all of their children to become successful end enthusiastic learners.
Lindsay Pickton
I became involved with NACE when I was asked to lead a workshop at the ‘More Able in English’ conference.

I was a Leading Teacher for the London Borough of Richmond before becoming the Literacy Advisor for the Royal Borough of Kingston. In this role, I developed a reputation for high-impact support and training, and effective school improvement. I led popular Literacy Leaders meetings and KS1 and KS2 moderation.

As an independent advisor, I have led inset and spoken at conferences across the country and internationally, and have supported school improvement across London and the South East. I co-author with my wife Christine Chen (a NACE associate) for a number of educational publications.

I firmly believe that higher-level abilities are grown through experiences and hard work, and that all children can achieve the highest standards, whatever their circumstances.
Linda Prestidge
I have been a NACE member for 25 years and have also been a Board trustee. My main work with NACE is as a Challenge Award assessor. I have also delivered training to teachers on the More Able in English and on identifying and supporting more able pupils.

I also work as a Learning Support Teacher  at a secondary school in Buckinghamshire and as a dyslexia specialist in a sixth form college. Prior to that I was consultant for G & T provision in Luton, where I developed programmes with a number of partners to challenge able learners. I am particularly passionate about supporting able young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with dual exceptionality. 
Elaine Ricks-Neal
My connection with NACE was established in 2006 as co –author of the original Challenge Award Framework and I have undertaken numerous Challenge Award assessments as well as support work to improve G & T provision. This includes working with school leaders at all levels to help schools to move from requires improvement to good and good to outstanding. I also undertake school reviews, with a focus on improving challenge in the classroom, school self- evaluation, action planning and improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

I am currently Principal Adviser for School Improvement and Governance with West Berkshire Council.  I spent my early career in secondary education as a Head of English and Drama, then moving on to school senior leadership positions. This was followed by other roles, including County English Adviser for Buckinghamshire and Secondary School Adviser, Ofsted Inspector, and Senior Regional Adviser for the South East of England with the National Strategies. In West Berkshire, I was also a School Improvement Adviser to a group of primary schools and responsible for cross phase English and gifted and talented provision. 
Claire Robinson
I work with NACE as a Challenge Award assessor and also present at workshops and conferences on their behalf. I am a Head in my second headship, having leadership experience in both state and independent schools, as well as having been a School Improvement Partner  in four local authorities.

I lead NQT training in my school as a regional centre for ISTip. I have presented at number of conferences and worked with Reading University on their Education Leadership programme.  I have also led Section 48 Inspections of church schools.

In January 2015 Holme Grange was awarded Excellent judgements in all areas of the school and it regularly shares its practice with other schools and hosts visits by teachers from UK, Norway and India who come to look at our work.
Michelle Spirit
Emotional resilience adviser Michelle Spirit has worked as a child and adolescent mental health nurse, careers advisor, clinical hypnotherapist, HR practitioner, and research and evaluation consultant. As well as being a NACE associate, she is a Fellow of the CIPD, expert adviser for Skills for Care, and an associate of Mind, with whom she has worked alongside the University of Oxford’s Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma to help those in blue light occupations cope with pressure. Drawing on her experience in mental health, careers guidance, hypnotherapy and research, she specialises in translating complex research into lively, evidence-based and memorable learning, with a focus on reducing cognitive burden.