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      Our team

      We are a collaborative, expert-led, education-focused team with years of experience in policy, research, literacy, inclusion and teaching.

      The core team

      Our team have diverse professional backgrounds which add a real depth of experience to our work. Literacy, dyslexia, Special Educational Needs, assessment, psychology, school leadership, programme design and social policy are all brought together so that we can support schools and affect change in our education system.

      Kirsten Brown

      Director of Learning Technology

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      Kirsten has worked within the HE sector for over twenty years progressing to senior leadership roles at the University of Bath. She has a BA (Hons) in Anthropology & European Studies as well as ILM Level 5 in Strategic Leadership and Management. With a love of consistently learning new skills Kirsten has transferred her knowledge and experience into the online learning space and technology and is passionate about creating a high quality user experience for future DYT participants.

      Richard Bryant

      Director of Programmes

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      Richard has a wealth of learning and development experience across sectors, having served in the Army for sixteen years and subsequently in the healthcare sector for twelve years, firstly as the director of training at a medical royal college and then as a consultant providing programme management and business development expertise to an e-learning community interest company. He is a parent of children with SEND and understands how essential excellent teaching is to the outcomes of those with SEN and literacy difficulties and is passionate about making a difference.

      Kelly Challis

      Head of Innovation and Learning

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      Inspired by working at a special school, Kelly completed a specialist qualification in teaching learners with literacy difficulties. Since then, she has worked in Primary and Secondary mainstream as a teaching assistant, Further Education as a manager, and Higher Education as a specialist one-to-one teacher. She has been a SENDCo in two preparatory schools.

      Abby Davis

      Marketing & Communications Manager

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      Abby has worked in marketing within the charity sector for over seven years, with experience in various roles focused around digital marketing, advertising and communications. After graduating from University of Portsmouth with a degree in Childhood and Youth Studies, Abby was eager to make a difference to young people across the UK.

      Charlie Messum

      Office Manager

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      Charlie has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 13 years in a variety of financial and operational roles, more recently within a specialist young people's domestic violence service and family court team. Her passion for supporting children of all abilities reach their full potential grew from teaching sensory yoga and art classes to pre-school children and more recently as a play volunteer at an after-school service for children with SEND.

      Daksha Patel

      Programme Manager

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      Daksha is a highly talented Programme Management professional who has worked with Tier 1 investment banks, pharma, FMCG companies, Tech, Fortune 500, as well as NGOs. She has a breadth of experience in implementing learning programmes across a variety of digital solutions and implement highly efficient programmes to support the execution of key business objectives. Daksha is excited to be contributing to the delivery of DYT’s charitable aims by supporting the work of the Education team.

      Chris Rossiter

      Chief Executive

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      Chris originally trained as an applied psychologist and has worked across the private, public and charitable sector for over fifteen years. He has particular expertise in special educational needs and disability, and organisational psychology. He is a primary Chair of Governors, Trustee of the Astrea Academy Trust, member of the literacy sub-committee of the Hastings Opportunity Area and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Married to Geoff, Chris lives in Berkshire and has interests which include cycling, wine and twentieth century art. Chris’ real passion is his Labrador, Dolly.

      Our educational consultants

      Our educational consultants continue to work in schools within a variety of roles and Key Stages, and bring their first-hand experience of working with a wide range of learners into all of the CPD development and delivery they do for DYT.

      Laura Dobson


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      Laura is an experienced primary school teacher and education consultant who has worked in and supported numerous settings to develop their practice in all areas of English. She has led, and is still an active member of, an Open University Teachers’ Reading Group which advocates putting reading for pleasure at the heart of the curriculum. She has a Masters in Education and has written several articles for Teach Primary. She is a long-standing governor, a mother of two and currently teaches part-time.

      Ruth Everett


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      Ruth’s teaching career spans over 33 years in Key Stages 2-5. She is now an independent consultant, supporting schools in raising standards of literacy provision across the curriculum. Ruth is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching, and SLE in English and Literacy, associate of EMAT, and a speaker at educational conferences.

      Richard Selfridge


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      Richard is an experienced primary school teacher and data specialist. He has also worked as an intervention teacher, focusing on supporting individuals and small groups across the primary age range. Richard is part of ASCL’s Expert Panel on Primary Assessment and has worked closely with bodies responsible for education at a national level.

      Julie Stewart


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      Julie is an experienced classroom, SEN and Literacy Specialist teacher, who has worked in education since 1982. Her experience spans all key stages, and she has worked in senior management roles and teacher training. She has worked as a SENCo and has EFL and EAL teaching experience. Julie is a specialist assessor who holds a level 7 Diploma in Assessing and Teaching Learners with SpLD and AMBDA. She has been a governor in a secondary school and is currently a governor in a PRU. Julie is committed to working with all educational settings to enable those learners with literacy difficulties to overcome barriers to their learning, raise their attainment and thereby reach their full potential.

      Our board of trustees

      Sophy Blakeway


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      Sophy was Director of Education for Ark Schools for four years. During her time there, she provided curriculum design and support, as well as school leadership training, for 31 schools. Before joining Ark in 2010 Sophy was a headteacher and SENCo in Hampshire, having begun her career as a teacher in London in 1977. Since 2014, Sophy has been working with Peepul setting up and establishing three schools for some of the poorest children in South Delhi. Sophy is also chair of governors of Ark Elvin Academy in Wembley.

      Mark Driver


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      From February 2001 until December 2009, Mark was a founding partner of the hedge fund management group Horseman Capital Management. Prior to Horseman, he had more than eleven years’ experience covering the Asian markets. He set up and managed the Asian Equity desk in London for Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette. His passion for wine developed whilst visiting New Zealand in 1990. Ever since it has been his dream to start up and run his own vineyard. This dream has become a reality at Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex, where the Drivers are producing English sparkling wine.

      Sarah Driver

      Founder and Chair of Trustees

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      Sarah is a Patron Governor at Ark William Parker Academy in Hastings, has worked as a Solicitor in the City, taught Women Back to Business, and lectured law for the Open University. Sarah has completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Kingston University and now divides her time between running Rathfinny Wine Estate with her husband, Mark, and leading on strategy at DYT. Sarah is committed to ensuring that all learners can access the curriculum, take responsibility for their learning and learn strategies so that they are able to leave education and continue their working lives knowing what it means to be able to succeed.

      Giles Paxman


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      Giles was the British ambassador to Spain and, before that, Mexico, until his retirement from the British Diplomatic Service in 2013. Prior to that, much of his diplomatic career had been spent dealing with Britain’s relations with the European Union in Brussels, Paris and Rome, as well as in the Foreign Office in London. Giles’ earlier career included a spell in the Department of the Environment, having also served in the Department of Transport and the Cabinet Office, he has an extensive experience of policy making and the workings of government. Giles retains a keen interest in international affairs and advises several not for profit organisations.