Our Trustees

There are normally nine Trustees on the Board of The Educators’ Trust, excluding the Chairman.  The Trust Board is serviced by an Honorary Secretary, who is an educational and charity lawyer and an Honorary Treasurer.

The Trustees have three main responsibilities:

  • Stewardship in respect of the funds and expenditure of the Trust
  • Development of charitable activities
  • Fundraising to increase the Trust’s income.

Dr Jennifer Somerville, Chairman

Jennie Lancaster_Somerville

Dr Somerville’s academic career as a social scientist in UK universities, led to senior leadership positions, including that of executive dean of faculty and Pro-Vice Chancellor. She contributed to national HE developments in modular structures and credit transfer systems, in competency-based curriculum and in the commercialisation of academic expertise in research and CPD.  She was a HE quality auditor for the Higher Education Quality Council.

Jennie also has extensive international experience. At one time Chair of the European Deans Academic Network, she became a senior consultant for the European Foundation for Management Development designing and delivering executive leadership and management development programmes and capacity-building projects for HE in Europe, Russia, central and eastern Europe, Latin America, Malaysia and Africa.

Jennie’s commitment to education goes beyond a professional career. While working fulltime she participated in a volunteering scheme for disadvantaged primary schools in East London and a mentoring scheme for women managers. In retirement she has volunteered to tutor girls from low income families for GCSE and run ESOL classes for Turkish women. She is Vice Chairman of the Local Governing Body of a large North London secondary academy. And of course she gives a lot of her time to the Educators’ Company!

Brett Bader

Brett’s first degree was in Environmental Science during which he undertook placements on the world’s longest coastal management plan in Belize with Coral Cay Conservation. After graduating, he undertook a PGCE in Science with Environmental Science from the University of Bath. He was planning to transfer to the British Army full time but decided instead to stay on in the Reserves.  Brett holds dual commissions as a Reservist and Cadet Force Officer with extensive experience in training and development.

Brett taught across a range of subject areas in schools, including science, geography, and sport. His passion for learning was evident and he created opportunities for varied learning both in and out of classroom to engage learners.  His leadership was recognised early when he became a Head of Year and then Acting Head of Department. When he was appointed to a challenging school in an area of multiple deprivation, Brett increased academic achievement by 50% in GCSE A-C attainment. He successfully led the school to become a Specialist Sports College, in addition to leading a School Sports Partnership across Christchurch and the Purbecks. He also led a successful National Lottery bid to build new facilities to increase health and educational opportunities. Other work included the creation of a Combined Cadet Force prior to the national initiative, and a Christchurch-wide DofE programme with over 400 students annually completing the award across three secondary schools.

Brett was an active senior leader, engaging the community and changing social perceptions of the school. He successfully completed his National Professional Qualification in Headship, in addition to a PG Dip in Institutional & Professional Development.

In 2008, Brett decided to train in Pre-Hospital Care and Emergency Medicine.  He funded his studies by setting up and running a successful training business. Further postgraduate training in Remote Global Healthcare at Peninsula Medical School reinforced and enhanced his expertise in remote medical care training.  Still practicing, he also delivers educational training to a range of organisations in life saving procedures both in the UK and worldwide.

With a natural passion for and professional recognition in science, the environment and health, he is a STEM ambassador. He is a passionate advocate for youth development as a DoE Leader, Assessor and Approved Activity Provider. Always seeking new experiences and adventure, he has been an expedition leader in a variety of locations around the world. He has recently set up an expedition business to develop confidence, skills, and opportunities with a sustainable ethos.

Brett has been involved in charitable work for numerous years and is still regularly active. He is a national Trustee with Wooden Spoon as well the Chair of the Dorset, Wilts and Hampshire Region. He also fundraises for Epilepsy Research UK and Save the Rhino completing many endurance events including being a World Record Holder for the longest ever rugby match – over 25hrs – and running across the driest desert on earth dressed as a rhinoceros. 

 Brett joined the Worshipful Company of Educators in 2019 and became a Liveryman in 2020.  He was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2021.

Nick Bence Trower


Nick is the newest of the Educators’ Trust and is an independent member.

Nick has had a life-time career in the City with Schroders, a British multinational asset management company working in financial markets and ultimately managing portfolios for clients in the charity sector whilst working for its subsidiary, Cazenove Capital. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute for Securities and Investment.

Nick is passionate about livery companies and their ancient rights and traditions. He was admitted to the Drapers’ Company in 1982 and was elected Master for the 2014/15 company year. The Drapers’ Company has close links with Queen Mary, University of London, and they co-sponsor the Drapers’ Academy on Harold Hill, Romford.

He is currently Chairman of Governors of the Sir William Boreman’s Foundation, a charity originating from the will of this gentleman dated 1684, in which he bequeathed to the Drapers’ Company a school he founded in Greenwich. Whilst the school no longer exists, the Foundation continues to give small educational grants to students and charities located in this borough and its neighbour, Lewisham.

Nick is also on the Court of the newly established Guild of Investment Managers.

Nick is also active in charitable activities raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society and the Royal British Legion by participating in sporting events – he has run nine marathons and has cycled in the past to Paris three times!

Paul Bowers Isaacson

After graduating from Keele University, Joint Honours in Chemistry and Education, Paul joined the teaching profession, mainly in central-city schools in Manchester and London.  He became interested in the creative potential of cross-curriculum courses  and developed  and taught a number of innovative programmes, both in-school and as part of national projects.

Later, as a full-time curriculum developer and assessor, he contributed to major developments including A Level Science & Society (as project worker for the Nuffield Curriculum Centre and as senior examiner) and the Extended Project Qualification (as the senior examiner in the pilot and development phases with QCA and a major examining organisation). He became one of the first Chartered Educational Assessors (CEA) with a particular interest in appropriate coursework. 

A committed Quaker, Paul took an early career break for several years as an educational peace project worker travelling throughout the British Isles. He subsequently joined a number of Quaker-related trustee boards, including several years with responsibility for large grant awards to Peace and Social responsibility projects. He has also served as a board member and trustee of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors. 

Paul has taken part in a number of clinical research trials and is co-founder of the patient-led ‘Patient & Public Involvement’ Organisation TrialsConnect based at the William Harvey Clinical Research Centre. He is currently the honorary administrative secretary and during the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, he has been the patient representative on the group organising coronavirus research in the Barts Health Trust and Queen Mary, University of London. 

Paul’s wife, Lisa, works for an American university programme in London and he enjoys welcoming both students and visiting staff to the city, where he was born and bred, as ‘faculty spouse’. Additional ‘spare time’ activities include riding on Wimbledon Common and, of course, service as an active Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators. 

Dr Susan Cousin

IMG_1340 Sue Cousin-2

Susan has a degree in English and Linguistics from Nottingham University, a PGCE at the University of Durham, and a PhD from the Institute of Education/UCL.

She joined the teaching profession as an English teacher in a comprehensive school before becoming Director of English in a sixth form college where she was promoted to the Senior Leadership Team. Susan’s interests expanded to the big picture of educational policy.  A one-year secondment as policy advisor at the DoE, led to a permanent position as the policy lead for post-14 teaching and learning, responsible for a multi-million pounds budget; 12 curriculum teams; reporting to Ministers and liaison with a range of educationalists including Ofsted, Teacher Unions, Sector Skills Councils and Examination Boards.

In 2008, she became Head of Programmes at the Specialist Schools and Academy Trust, responsible for national school improvement programmes. She led the headteacher group of regional representatives which liaised with the DfE sponsor team and external evaluators on the policy design, implementation and evaluation. In 2012 Susan returned to the front line joining Wakefield City Academy’s multi-academy trust where she was responsible for leadership training and teaching and learning across the trust’s schools.

On retiring in 2016, Susan became an Associate of the Institute of Education, UCL. She splits her time between travelling, conducting research, writing and contributing to Masters courses in the London Centre for Leadership in Learning. She is a member of the panel of judges for the Educators’ Trust Awards.

Susan was the LA governor of a local Ofsted Outstanding infant school for ten years; is a member of the Speakers for Schools Steering Group; and has been a Fellow of the RSA since 2003.

Professor Simon Denny

IMG_1304_Simon Denny

Simon’s route to higher education was not traditional. From a young age he was determined to be a soldier and at 17 went to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.  In April 1977 he was commissioned and served in Germany, Northern Ireland, Berlin and the UK, initially with an infantry regiment and latterly with the Royal Army Educational Corps.  The Army sponsored his university education, a BA at Exeter and a Masters at Warwick.

When Simon left the Army he joined Tesco’s training department, rising to become director of management development.  It was clear to Simon that his life had been transformed because of his educational experiences, and he was increasingly interested education as a catalyst for social mobility.

In 1992 he joined Nene College of Higher Education which became University College Northampton, and then a full University in 2005. As the institution developed, so did Simon.  He gained a doctorate, became professor of Entrepreneurship, and then Executive Dean, Research, Impact and Enterprise, a member of the senior management team of the University. He was also responsible for the University’s apprenticeship strategy and fundraising. Since retiring from the University he works as an independent research consultant.

In 2010 he was granted The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in recognition of the results of the many projects he had devised and implemented to educate and support people with significant disadvantage to set up their own businesses.

Simon is the Honorary Treasurer of the Trust.  He is also military liaison officer for the Company, responsible for links with our affiliates: 22 Group RAF, the RAEC and ETS Association, the Defence Academy and CVQC.

 Professor Sir Deian Hopkin

Sir Deian Hopkin1

Born and educated in Wales, Sir Deian graduated in history at Aberystwyth where he gained his PhD. A historian of the Labour and trade union movement and the press he was an early pioneer in the use of new technologies and computers in teaching and research in history. In a career of over 40 years, he worked as an academic and then senior manager in six universities and from 2001 to 2009 was Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of London South Bank University.

His many public roles have included the BBC General Advisory Council, the Learning and Skills Council and the Health Sector Skills Council; he also chaired the Higher Education Progression Board (DFES), was an Apprenticeships Ambassador for HE and served on the Cabinet Office Education Honours Committee until 2017. He served on the Court and Council of Essex University and on the Corporations of Hackney and Lambeth FE Colleges. Active in the London community he was founding Chairman of Cityside Regeneration in London and substantially involved in the oversight of European funding for London projects.

He has served as a government advisor on curriculum reform and as an Apprenticeships Ambassador and led the inquiry for the government into the performance of the Student Loans Company, subsequently being appointed its interim Chairman. In his native Wales, he was appointed as 10th President of the National Library of Wales until 2016 and until 2020 Expert Adviser to the First Minister of Wales and Chair of Wales Remembers 1914-18.

A trustee of a number of charities he is currently a Trustee of the Council for Academic at Risk (CARA) and a member of the Higher Education Commission in Westminster. He was a founding partner of an education and public sector executive search and is Principal Adviser to a Melbourne-based HE consultancy. He is also an assessor for the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes and for the past ten years has been a judge of the Times Higher Awards.

A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the RSA, City and Guilds and CIBSE (Hon) he has received honorary degrees from six universities including London, McGill and the Open University. He was knighted for services to higher education and to skills in the UK in 2009.

David Skidmore

Most of David’s career has been in education. He is now an Emeritus Professor having held a Personal Chair in Rural Policy, spanning the subjects of geography and biology. He is a Senior Plant Health Professional registered with the Royal Society of Biology and advises on plant health, horticulture and environmental and social issues through his membership of national, project committees. 

He took his BSc at the University of Manchester and completed his PhD at Bangor University. He began his academic career at Girton College and the University of Cambridge. David went on to teach in both higher and further education institutions. He is concerned with all the levels of education that are represented across the Worshipful Company of Educators.  It is essential to recognise and promote the enormous and undoubted benefits that education and training bring to both children and adults. He is a Primary School Governor where he is involved in teaching, learning and assessment and the development of its international curriculum. 

David is Honorary Director of the Lovell Quinta Arboretum in Cheshire which holds National Collections of oak, pine and ash. This gives him the opportunity to work with, and support volunteers and the local community, and to encounter the complexities of administering a charity. 

David values the contribution that is made to science and education, and personal development, by the learned and professional societies. He is Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society of Biology, the Chartered Management Institute and the Linnean Society of London. 

Peter Williams

Peter Williams was born and went to school in Oxford; he graduated in English from the University of Exeter. His earlier career was in the printing industry and the academic administration of the Universities of Surrey and Leicester. Between 1984 and 1990 he was the Deputy Secretary of the British Academy from where he moved to specialize in quality assurance in higher education.  In 1990 Peter was appointed as Director of the CVCP Academic Audit Unit (AAU), one of the first higher education quality assurance agencies. In 1992 he became Director of the Quality Assurance Group of the Higher Education Quality Council (HEQC), which took over the responsibilities of the AAU.  In 1997 he became the Director of Institutional Review in the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), rising to the office of Chief Executive of QAA in 2001 and retiring in 2009.

Between 2005 and 2008 he was President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and was one of the principal authors of the original European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.  His aim was to make quality assurance a vital tool for professional academics and a means of underpinning and promoting the strengths and reputation of higher education in the UK and the European Higher Education Area.

Following his retirement in 2009, Peter took on a number of voluntary roles, including Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Cardiff Metropolitan University (2009-16), Chair of the Academic Committee and Trustee at Richmond, the American University in London (2012-19), and Chair of the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education (of which he is now President), 2012-18. He was also a member of the Education Honours Committee (2011-17) and the Treasurer of Little Malvern Priory. Current roles include Chair of The Norfolk Archives and Heritage Development Foundation (NORAH) and churchwarden at Honing and Crostwight, Norfolk, where he now lives.

A liveryman of the City of London, he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Educators in 2014-2015 and is now a Trustee of the Educators’ Trust.

Peter holds three honorary doctorates and was appointed CBE in 2009 in recognition of his services to higher education.

Honorary Secretary – Martha Burnige

Martha was born and brought up in London but moved north to study for a BA (Hons) in Government and Law at the University of Manchester. She returned to London to The College of Law and joined Nabarro Nathanson (as was) as a trainee solicitor. Martha qualified in 2005 specialising in charity and education law. She later worked for leading law firms Stone King and Veale Wasbrough Vizards where she advised schools, universities, student unions and grant making charities. The introduction of the Academies Act 2010 saw Martha become of the country’s leading lawyers advising on the conversion to academy status and the formation of multi academy trusts.

Martha remains a practising solicitor but works for a US based school management company with responsibility for schools in the UK, Switzerland, Uganda and Dubai. Martha has been involved in the opening of two free schools in the UK, including The Gatwick School in Crawley, an all-through school. She is also on the board of International School of Berne and of Academy Middle East, a US curriculum online school. She is company secretary of Aurora Academies Trust which has seven schools across Sussex and Surrey.

Martha credits her interest in education to her mother who was a school governor and teaching assistant. Her sister has also followed a career path into education and works for the University of Greenwich.

Martha has a young family and little spare time but is a fourth-generation supporter of Millwall FC where she is a season ticket holder.

Martha was admitted to the Educators in 2018, becoming a Liveryman in 2021.  She was appointed as Honorary Secretary of The Educators’ Trust Fund in 2020.

Honorary Treasurer – Martin Collins

Martin obtained a First Class Degree in Zoology and PhD in soil ecology, both from the University of Reading. He taught biological sciences at the Polytechnic of Central London (PCL, now the University of Westminster) for 17 years.  With a research interest in the ecology of cities, he was concerned at the challenge teachers face teaching ecology in city schools and wrote, ‘Urban ecology a Teacher’s Resource Book’, published by Cambridge University Press in 1984. At PCL he was also engaged in research on the relationship between the environment and health. He had sabbatical leave to undertake an MSc at King’s College London in Human and Applied Physiology. 

Initially providing some teaching in physiology to physiotherapists at the St Mary’s and Middlesex hospitals and students of the British School of Osteopathy (BSO, now University College of Osteopathy) he was seconded part-time to the latter to initiate much-needed research into osteopathy. Impressed with the osteopathic model of health care, he became full-time at the BSO, simultaneously student, research co-ordinator and lecturer in physiology. After graduating, he set up the first osteopathic clinic for the homeless in the Social Care Unit of St Martin-in-the-Fields. He was a member of the Research Council for Complementary Medicine and Council of the Osteopathic Association of Great Britain.

He became Principal and Chief Executive of the BSO, which following relocation was in two million pounds debt. With sound financial management and supported by professional fund-raisers with whom he worked closely, the debt was repaid in five years. During his term of office, the college gained government funding and the degree became the first Master of Osteopathy. He is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Bedfordshire.

Martin has lectured in institutions and delivered numerous papers at conferences in the UK and abroad and has published numerous articles and papers on the physiological basis of osteopathic intervention and the history of osteopathy. He has written two books on the latter subject. He is a Court Assistant to the Company, sits on the Membership Committee and is Secretary to the Engagement Committee