• Chairman and CEO

    • Lord Baker


      Kenneth Baker was a Conservative Member of Parliament from 1968 to 1997 and held many senior Government positions, including Local Government Minister; Environment Secretary; Education Secretary; and Home Secretary. He was the first Minister for Information Technology introducing computers into schools. At Education he introduced his Great Education Reform Bill revolutionising education through the National Curriculum, testing and league tables; City Technology Colleges became forerunners of specialist schools and Academies; greater freedom for schools by becoming grant-maintained; and polytechnics were freed from council control to become universities. Lord Baker is Chairman of Baker Dearing Educational Trust.

    • Charles Parker


      Charles has worked in industrial strategy, corporate finance and property development, mostly for Charter PLC, where he was an executive director from 1990-96. He was Clerk to the Mercers’ Company from 1997- 2008 when he became involved with the academies programme as a sponsor and project manager. He was Academies Adviser to Partnerships for Schools from 2008-10 and Finance Director of Faber Music Ltd.

    Back to top

  • Advisory Team

    • Geoff Ashton

      Senior Education Adviser

      Geoff Ashton is a consultant who has been an education adviser to the previous and present Governments for the last ten years. Twice recognised by Ofsted as an outstanding Head Teacher, Geoff was one of the country's first Executive Heads. He was elected Chair of an Excellence Cluster and also chaired an Education Improvement Partnership as well as a Graduate Teacher Training Programme. He has been responsible for the successful educational structures and deliverables of over 90 Academies, 6 UTCs, 2 Studio Schools and 6 Free Schools. He has been the DCSF/ Department for Education (DfE) representative at the selection and appointment of over 120 Academy Principals for secondary, primary and alternative provision schools.

    • Nick Barnes

      Development Adviser

      Nick works as a Development Adviser assisting in bringing together bidding groups and generating successful new UTC projects. Nick spent 26 years in the Royal Navy as a Logistics Officer specialising in providing support for and sustaining operations worldwide. Nick has experience of working in small dynamic teams that delivered successful, bespoke projects. During his service career this included setting up a new UK Headquarters in the Middle East. As Implementation Specialist with a Sector Skills Council, he project managed 1000 two-week work experience placements for UK armed forces personnel within civilian logistics companies.

    • Simon Connell

      Development Director

      Simon is a consultant and works as a business adviser for Baker Dearing. He has more than twenty years’ business experience, with the last fifteen working at board level. After a successful career in the UK financial services industry, where he started a number of asset management companies, Simon co-founded Educate, an education services company. Through his work at Educate, Simon is very familiar with Baker Dearing and the UTC movement. He has helped project manage new openings, recruited Principals, provided advice on student recruitment and financial sustainability for UTCs. His principle task is to support Baker Dearing, and UTCs directly, with all business-related matters to ensure each UTC’s long-term success.

    • Ken Cornforth

      Senior Education Adviser

      Ken Cornforth works as an adviser for Baker Dearing covering Yorkshire, Humberside and the North East. A graduate in applied mathematics, Ken was the Principal of Pudsey Grangefield School in Leeds from 1996 until his retirement in 2014. Over this time Ken worked with Headteachers in Sweden, Siberia, Ukraine, Uganda and the UAE, building a global perspective on education. These influences were drawn in to the rebuilding of his school under BSF. The resulting design gained the national BSF Awards accolade for ‘most versatile learning environment’. During his time in Leeds he was chair of the secondary heads association and chair of the 14-19 Learning and Skills partnership. Over 2014-15, Ken was Education Lead on several UTC projects before joining Baker Dearing as a consultant.

    • Nigel Croft

      Senior Education Adviser

      Nigel is a NLE and is presently Head of Redborne Teaching School having been Principal at Redborne for 24 years. Redborne is a Teaching School, a National Support School and a Leading Edge School. Redborne is an Upper School with 1650 students aged from 13 to 18, there are 450 students in the sixth form of whom 80% go onto University with 14 gaining places at Oxbridge in the last few years. Nigel is also a National College Professional Partner and his leadership and management has been graded as Outstanding by Ofsted since 2008.

    • Nick Jones

      Senior Education Adviser

      Nick Jones is a consultant with over thirty-five years’ experience in education including as a headteacher in Bristol and West London. He was part of the team who set up the fifteenth City Technology College, at the time a new type of school initiated by Lord Baker and the forerunner of academies and UTCs. He has spoken at many events across Europe and his international work lead to him opening the first school in England with an overseas sponsor. He has been responsible for creating a number of innovative school buildings, often designed to deliver project base learning and technology based curricula. Nick is active in supporting autism charities, is governor of a special school and is on the board of At-Bristol, a exciting hands-on science learning centre.

    • Susan Higgins

      Communications Adviser

      Susan Higgins acts as Communications Adviser to Baker Dearing. She is a highly experienced communications consultant with expert knowledge in media relations for the education sector. She previously managed Communications for the Edge Foundation. Susan has helped generate a steady stream of national coverage in print, broadcast and online for the national UTC programme. Her wealth of experience from celebrity talent management to crisis communications means she is well versed in dealing with high profile, sensitive and timely news stories.

    • Professor Linda Lang

      Senior Adviser

      As a senior adviser for Baker Dearing, Linda is primarily focused on developing and supporting health focused UTCs. She has an extensive track record in Higher Education Leadership, most recently as Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton. Linda has led a number of successful projects involving multiple partners, including the development of Health Futures UTC that opened in 2015. Linda has contributed more broadly as a Governor and Trustee to schools, hospitals and charities and has considerable experience of successful strategic leadership, organisational change, income generation, project development and delivery. Linda has an enduring commitment to fostering productive working environments and partnerships to deliver improved outcomes and achieve excellence.

    • Trish Martin

      Senior Project Adviser

      Trish is a consultant with over 20 years’ experience in education, having worked in both local and national government; delivering high profile, complex, multi-stakeholder capital programmes. Over the last seven years, Trish has managed the successful delivery of several sponsored Academy and Free School projects across the country on behalf of sponsor groups. Following this she worked for the Education Funding Agency as Project Director and Regional Head of Free School projects as well as leading the delivery of the national Studio Schools programme.

    • David McVean

      Senior Policy Adviser

      David McVean is a consultant and former Senior Civil Servant with almost 30 years experience in the Department for Education. He has a broad range of policy and operational experience from his time in DfE covering adult skills, employer engagement, schools admissions and organisation. He was Bill Manager for the Education Act 2005, responsible for the shorter, sharper inspection system that now applies to schools. Latterly he was the Education Funding Agency's Deputy Director covering academic operations in the East Midlands, West Midlands and the South West of England responsible for more than 3000 academies. He is also vice-Chair of Huxlow Science College, a single academy Trust that was recently judged Good by Ofsted.

    • Anna Pedroza

      Marketing Director

      Anna leads on marketing strategy at a national level and also works closely with individual UTCs to provide support and help with recruitment. Anna has worked in the education sector for the past 10 years and has held various senior communications roles in the past, including Director of Marketing and Communications at the award-winning service Teachers TV, and Director of the Skills for Life Development Centre at the CfBT Education Trust.

    • Jack Rickard MBE

      Senior Adviser

      Jack works as an adviser across the North of England to generate successful new UTC projects in future application rounds. Jack has substantial experience in building, developing and leading high performance teams. His service career included senior leadership capacity building roles in Iraq and Afghanistan and he commanded one of the MOD’s leading professional training schools. Recently, as a Sector Skills Council Programme Director, he led multiple teams delivering UKCES-funded, employer-centred initiatives aimed at inspiring recruitment to, and retention rates across, industry. He received an MBE in 2011.

    • Peter Wylie

      Director of Education

      Peter manages the Baker Dearing Field Team. Peter started out in secondary teaching, moving on to Local Authority roles from 14-19 Education Officer through to Assistant, Deputy and Director of Education roles with Cleveland, East Sussex, Birmingham, Leicestershire, Knowsley, Islington and Croydon, where he was Director of Education and then Director of Children’s Services from 2003 to 2008. He has also worked for the Audit Commission. Peter has an extensive knowledge of education delivery in different contexts, strategic vision and how to organise services for improved outcomes. Peter is a Governor of the BRIT School, where he chairs the Curriculum Committee. Since retirement from his LA role, Peter has taken advisory and consultancy roles on school improvement programmes and is supporting Southwark Diocese in challenging schools in need of transformation.

    Back to top

  • Central Team

    • Dermot Carr

      Marketing Executive

      As Marketing Executive, Dermot undertakes a wide range of activities including managing the website, developing content, overseeing Baker Dearing’s social channels and producing the monthly email newsletters. He’s also responsible for Think UTC the annual UTC national day and provides marketing advice and support to individual UTCs. Prior to joining Baker Dearing, Dermot worked with the Ministry of Defence where he produced marketing materials for their campaign channels and worked in event organisation. Dermot also has a background in radio production, publicity and journalism.

    • Mike Kimberlin

      Operations and Marketing Executive

      Mike joins us having graduated from Leeds University in 2015 with a degree in Psychology. After working in the P.E Department at Emanuel School where he coached rugby and cricket principally, he went onto Price Forbes & Partners where he recently completed an internship. As Baker Dearing’s Operations and Marketing executive, Mike provides essential support for the head office team that manages the UTC programme across three key areas: operations, events and marketing.

    • Rosalind Kipps

      Events Manager

      Ros began her career in music education, first working on education projects in Britten Sinfonia’s Creative Learning Department. She then moved into the Publishing Department at Faber Music Ltd. where she set up the Faber Music Academy, running its inaugural Professional Development courses for music teachers. Ros brings her project management and events planning experience to the team, overseeing Baker Dearing’s events programme and fundraising activities.

    • Lena Kokkolas

      Operations Manager

      Lena has spent most of her career in music and film retail working at HMV and Virgin, as well as independent labels, before joining Edge in 2006. With a background in operations, IT and project rollouts, Lena is responsible for central operations supporting the Baker Dearing team across all areas of the UTC programme.

    • Ian May

      Finance Director

      Ian is a consultant and acts as Baker Dearing Educational Trust's Finance Director and Company Secretary. Ian has experience in both the private and charitable sectors covering a range of areas from industrial, retail to education. He was, until recently, Finance Director of St Paul's School and the Finance Manager of the Hammersmith Academy during its construction.

    • Louise Wilson

      Secretary to CEO

      Louise works as a part-time Administrative Consultant, working principally as Charles Parker’s secretary but also providing administrative assistance to the Baker Dearing team more generally. She has spent most of her working life in the education sector as High Master’s secretary at St. Paul’s School in Barnes and the Clerk’s secretary at the Mercers’ Company.

    Back to top