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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 on horseback in the countryside where she lives with her family and growing menagerie.

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

Matt Bogle, Office and Customer Relations Manager

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

Katherine Emms, Research Assistant

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

Jane Samuels, Head of Projects and Partnerships

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

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

Jayne Phenton, PR and Communications Manager

Jayne has worked in the charity sector for over 16 years putting good causes in the headlines. Her job is to tell the world about the work Edge does, why it’s important and why they should care, in print, on the airwaves, on the telly and online. Jayne also edits her own online women’s magazine and finds time to enjoy her favourite things which include the seaside, ice-cream and fireworks. Contact Jayne 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 is one half of the comms team. Dexter is a keen photographer and videographer and also enjoys travelling. Contact Dexter on

Pete McCabe, Head of Edge Future Learning

Pete spent many years as a youth participation worker encouraging active decision-making between young people and their communities. Prior to joining The Edge Foundation, he was a senior leader at the largest UK youth charity, The Prince’s Trust, where he led his team to support young people to fulfil their potential. Pete is based in Yorkshire and leads the strategic direction of Edge Future Learning activity across the UK. When not at work he enjoys being outdoors in his allotment. Contact Pete on

Nicolas Heslop, Head of Public Affairs

Nicolas Heslop leads on the development and implementation of Edge’s public affairs strategy. He engages and briefs MPs and Peers securing their support for our campaigns to shape the future of education. Nicolas has previously worked at the Department for Education, as a research assistant in the House of Commons and at the Science, Engineering, Manufacturing Technologies Alliance (SEMTA) and is active in local politics in his home county of Kent. Contact Nicolas on

Olly Newton, Director of Policy and Research

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

Karen Burgess, Employer and Education Engagement Coordinator

Karen worked in the pharmaceutical industry for many years and volunteered as a STEM ambassador, visiting schools to promote careers in STEM and highlight the relevance of the curriculum to industry. It was this experience that inspired Karen to retrain and become a chemistry teacher, where she continued to work to build links between employers and her secondary school in Northumberland. Karen now uses these experiences in her role as employer and education engagement coordinator supporting teacher externships in the north east. When not working Karen likes to go hiking in the countryside with her family. Contact Karen on

Andrea Laczik, Policy and Research Manager

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

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