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Our People

Neil Bates, Chair

Neil Bates began his long and distinguished career in technical education working in job centres and the Manpower Services Commission. He became Chief Executive of Prospects College of Advanced Technology, leading the organisation for 30 years and steering it to become the first new Further Education College to be opened in England since 1992. Neil established his own business in 2017.

Alice Barnard, Chief Executive

After graduating from Cambridge University with an MA in history, Alice pursued a career in journalism before moving into publishing. Since then she has led several high profile organisations, notably the Countryside Alliance and the Peter Jones Foundation before joining Edge. When she's not at her desk, Alice is happiest in the countryside with her horses, dog and chickens.

Andrea Laczik, Head of Research

Leaving her native Hungary almost 30 years ago, Andrea studied at Oxford University achieving an MSC in Research Methodology and a DPhil in Comparative and International Education; she went on to teach and lead research at Oxford's Department of Education and at Warwick University. Andrea commissions, manages and carries out research for Edge. She loves the outdoors, whether it's sailing round the Maltese coast or picking blackberries. Contact Andrea on

Ann de Caires, Team Administrator, Policy and Research

Ann has travelled widely visiting museums and galleries and is a self-proclaimed enthusiast. She’s also a fan of the arts and culture, regularly visiting exhibitions and theatre events. Ann managed to turn her passion into a career working at the National Portrait Gallery and Tate, before moving on to the Science Museum where she helped plan, manage and deliver exhibitions to inspire young people about Science. Now at Edge, Ann is the team administrator for the Policy and Research team. She is responsible for the coordination of information, the administration of budgets and supporting the Policy, Research and Edge Future Learning team. Contact Ann on

Dana Dabbous , Researcher

Before moving to the UK in 2014, researcher Dana was a primary school teacher in her native Beirut where she also volunteered teaching refugee and migrant pupils. She completed her MPhil in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge then pursued her PhD in Education at the University of Edinburgh. Away from work, Dana takes part in the Aspire Swim challenge every year to help raise money for people with spinal injuries and spends plenty of time taking her Yorkshire terrier, Frankie, on long walks. Contact Dana on

Dexter Hutchings, Marketing and Digital Communications Executive

Dexter was Edge's first apprentice and studied towards a Level 3 apprenticeship in Digital Marketing. He is now studying towards his degree apprenticeship at London South Bank University. He takes care of the website and social media, collates and analyses media coverage and looks after all things digital. Dexter is a keen photographer and videographer and also enjoys travelling. Contact Dexter on

Helen Beardmore, Education Delivery Manager

Helen taught geography and Business Studies in secondary schools before joining the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust. Prior to joining the Edge Foundation, she was Head of Education at the Peter Jones Foundation working with FE Colleges. Helen leads on the delivery of the Edge Future Learning initiative, managing out teacher externship programme and creating project based learning resources. She lives in Sheffield with her Tibetan Terrier, Esker. Contact Helen on

Jane Samuels, Director of Projects and Operations

Jane manages all aspects of Edge's grant programmes from the application form to maintaining long-term relationships with our projects and the people that make them happen. Jane visits them all and probably sees what's happening on the ground first-hand more than any of us. She also sits on a number of governing bodies and boards including the Edge Hotel School. Jane's passion and commitment to our projects and the work they do is only matched by her devotion to Chelsea Football Club. Contact Jane on

Katherine Emms, Researcher

Kat supports the research team with the collection and analysis of findings for a wide range of research projects. She has worked within the education sector for ten years and previous to starting at Edge, taught Primary-level children in an international school in Ho Chi Minh City. Kat lived and worked for several years in Vietnam, enjoying the culture, food and beaches. She loves to travel whenever she gets the opportunity and took the opportunity to see many other parts of Asia whilst based there. Contact Katherine on

Marissa Jennings, Executive PA and Finance Co-ordinator

Marissa has been making office magic for over twenty years in education, finance and media sectors. She organises and manages all aspects of the Chief Executive's working life and provides admin support for the rest of the management team and for Edge's Chair. Marissa's skills are most in evidence at Edge events. Away from the office Marissa is a volunteer for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Contact Marissa on

Matt Bogle, Office Manager and CRM Administrator

Matt is the first person you meet when you arrive at Edge. He keeps the office running by managing administration, IT, room bookings and meetings and taking care of our stakeholders and partners. Matt is passionate about investing in young people and mentors Edge's work experience students. He also volunteers at school careers events where he talks about running his own successful fashion business which he does when he's away from the office. Contact Matt on

Olly Newton, Executive Director

Olly’s job is to understand the latest education research and practice both here in the UK and worldwide. He gathers together the facts, figures, research and evidence to share with policy makers, practitioners and the media. Olly is the lead author of Edge’s research and policy reports. Before Edge, he spent ten years with the Department for Education, most recently as Head of Apprenticeship Strategy. Olly is based in Sheffield where he volunteers with the Scout Association. Contact Olly on

Susan Higgins, Head of Communications

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