Liam Donnison, CEO

Liam has worked in Education for 25 years, in teaching, training and leadership. He has been Trustee of two charities, Director of several public and private education ventures, a School Chair of Governors on a journey from Inadequate to Outstanding, and Chair of Board for an international Pre-School. Liam believes passionately that every child, regardless of background, should have access to an excellent education; and every education professional should be supported to be their best. As CEO of Best Practice Network, he oversees a network of 100+ partners and 300+ facilitators delivering CPD and qualifications in schools and early years settings internationally.

Dean Boyce, Programme Director, CPD & Accreditation

Dean has worked across early years, primary, secondary and HEI sectors gaining a wealth of experience and understanding of high quality CPD for all members of the school and academy community. Dean is Programme Director for our NASENCO, HLTA and School Business Manager programmes and Lead Moderator on our National Professional Qualifications for School Leaders programmes with the Outstanding Leaders Partnership. Having initially trained as a PE teacher, Dean has a keen interest in all sports, particularly triathlon events and enjoys walking holidays with family.

Sian Marsh, Programme Director, Early Years and ITT

Sian has specialised in early years education for the last 16 years and has worked with the team at BPN for 10 years. She travels the country delivering early years programmes as well as NPQs, NASENCO and HLTA. She is also the Designated Safeguarding Lead for Best Practice Network. Sian is a governor at her daughters' school and enjoys getting involved in the work of the MAT that the school is a part of.

Gary Broom, Director of Marketing and Development

Gary has worked in marketing and business development roles in the education sector for 17 years. He is responsible for marketing and development at Best Practice Network where he works closely with our partner network, nationally and overseas. He believes in creating opportunities for people to unlock their potential and enjoys country walks, sports and music.

Neil Gillard, Director of Finance and Operations

Neil is a qualified accountant with over 25 years’ experience of managing multi-disciplinary teams including finance, HR, IT and company secretarial, gained in a wide range of industries both in the UK and overseas. His interests outside work include travel and enjoying the local live music scene.

Yvonne Gandy, Programme Director, Leadership qualifications

Yvonne is passionate about getting the best opportunities for all young people wherever they live through ensuring schools and academies have the best leaders and young people, and are the best schools they can be. She has extensive national, regional and local experience working in the areas of school improvement, the self -improving school system, leadership professional development and training. Yvonne gets on her bike regularly on the lanes in Cheshire and off road with her two teenage sons in Wales.

Jeff Hart, Programme Director, School Improvement

Jeff oversees the School Improvement portfolio for Best Practice Network. He is a Senior Adviser at the DfE and has a great deal of Local Authority experience in London, Surrey, Dorset and Poole, where he was Chief Adviser for six years. He was formerly a teacher in Tower Hamlets. Jeff is also Governor of a large secondary school in Dorset. His interests include sport, travel and community theatre.

Nicky Oram, Programme Leader, Early Years and ITT

Nicky Oram has worked in education and teaching for over thirty years based in London, Sussex and Wiltshire. This experience has included teaching in KS1 and KS2 and as an early years teacher with SENCo specialism with children from birth-five years. She managed a successful pre-school for the Preschool Learning Alliance and was a senior leader for nursery provision within a Children’s Centre.

Nicky has worked as a tutor and assessor on early years programmes for BPN since 2007 and since 2015 has been the programme leader for Early Years Initial Teacher training (EYITT).

Nicky is also a professional photographer and has a portfolio with Getty Images.

Stephanie Robinson, Regional Lead, Early Years

Stephanie has a wealth of experience in the Education Sector. She has worked in both the Early Years and Primary Sectors. She is currently a Regional Lead for Best Practice Network supporting the EYITT Programme and also delivers training on the HLTA programme. Her background includes: Headship, Head of Early Years for an EYITT provider, Senior Project Lead for the National QA of Early Years programmes, work on teaching programmes in a variety of roles: Tutor, Trainer and Assessor, in addition to some work on the QA of Teacher Training. She believes that children’s and school professional’s learning and development should be at the heart of our endeavours.

Stephanie likes to travel and spend time walking with her dog in the countryside.

Val Andrew, SBM Programme Manager

Val has worked in the education sector for 25 years in school business management and leadership roles. A graduate of the original National College SBM programmes, she is passionate about the profession and the availability of professional development for practitioners. Val is currently the BPN programme manager for School Business Manager programmes. She is also an ISBL Fellow and recipient of a 2018 ISBL CEO award for exceptional contributions to the profession. Val was formerly ASCL Business Leadership Specialist from 2010 to 2018.

Steph Bailey, Lead Reviewer, International Schools

Steph has worked in education for 35 years. His background started in teaching, and he has held several senior management positions including that of Headteacher. Steph has had extensive involvement in inspection of schools in the UK and abroad.

Lyndsie Barnard, HR and Assessment Manager

Lyndsie joined BPN in 2010 as an EYPS Programme Coordinator and liked it so much that she is still here. She now manages the HR Team and the Assessment Centre, ensuring that the thousands of BPN candidates on their various programmes are assessed according to the relevant assessment criteria. Lyndsie is also an artist specialising in portraiture and album artwork.

Mannie Burn, Education Specialist

Mannie is an experienced educator, leader, coach, innovator and assessor. Her passion is for all beings, whatever their age, to develop and thrive in life. She has worked with Best Practice Network for over 10 years. Currently, Mannie works on all aspects of the Early Years Initial Teacher Training Programme. She is part of the academic marking and facilitation teams and supports trainees and their mentors in settings. Mannie also work on the National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination programmes and with the International Schools' review team.

Holly Lewis, Facilitator, Early Years and ITT

Holly has 25 years of primary teaching experience across keys stages in this country and abroad, finally settling in Cornwall.  She specialises in Early Years education and has significant expertise in phonics, numeracy and outdoor learning. Holly has had a range of leadership roles in different settings including Lead for Early Years, SLE, Facilitator and Mentor for ITT and leader for Natural Learning. Holly is innovative and forward thinking in her approaches. She is passionate about using the outside world to engage, inspire and challenge both herself and others.

Anna Watson, Personal Tutor, Early Years and ITT

Anna has worked in Early Years for 20 years as a Childminder. Having completed her NNEB early in her career she went on to train as a Registered Nurse and worked in Paediatrics. After having her family she returned to her roots and started her own business working with children and families in her own home.

 Eager to provide the best impact for children Anna continued her own professional development with a BA Early Years with the Open University and EYITT with Best Practice Network. Anna now tutors on the Early Years Teacher programme as well as continuing her own practice in Early Years. Anna’s other passions include walking, the beach and crochet.

Sandra Matthews, Personal Tutor and Assessor, Early Years and ITT

Sandra has worked for Best Practice as a personal tutor and assessor on the EYITT programme for 10 years. She has been involved in early education and childcare for over 20 years, starting out as a childminder. She co-owns, manages and works full time in her preschool setting. She is particularly interested in international early education. Outside of work she enjoys dog walking and watching football.



Kate Griffiths, Personal Tutor, Early Years and ITT

Kate is an experienced educator.  She has worked across the Early Years, Primary, Secondary and HE sectors.  She was employed as a SENCO in Primary and Secondary schools and also as an advisory teacher for a Local Authority.  She has worked with Best Practice Network for over 10 years and has helped to deliver the NASENCO, HLTA and EYITT programmes. Kate enjoys travelling, walking and visiting the theatre.  

Joanna Hawkins, Operations Manager

Joanna has worked in education for over 10 years. Having worked across a variety of programme specialisms, she now leads the Operations Team to ensure the provision of an outstanding end-to-end experience for course participants, associates and partners. Joanna is a community representative at her local primary academy and in her spare time enjoys singing in a choir, quizzing and going to gigs.

Andy Hodgkinson, Lead Facilitator, NPQML

Andy has worked across a range of education contexts from executive headteacher to university fellow supporting multi-agency, local government, primary, secondary and adult learning phases with system leadership, strategic planning and curriculum development. He loves thinking about philosophy, taking photos and surfing.

Simon Lockwood, Lead Facilitator, NPQEL

Simon has worked in Education for 40 years as teacher, leader and local authority school improvement adviser and head of service. His work is focused on teacher development and effective leadership development. He is an expert facilitator of adult and professional learning, with wide experience in delivering programmes from ITT to NPQH. He is heavily involved in historical re-enactment, particularly of the Napoleonic era.

Chris Ludlow, Partnerships Manager

Chris is responsible for the growth of our school / setting partnerships, helping extend delivery of our provision into new territories. Chris has a background in qualification design, development and operational delivery within the education sector.

Vanessa MacDonald, Lead Facilitator, NPQSL

Vanessa has worked in education for 30 years and has been a primary headteacher and is an experienced inspector working for Ofsted. As well as being involved in leadership development at all levels for OLP, including for NPQH overseas candidates, she is lead facilitator for the NPQSL programme. In addition, Vanessa supports schools with their school improvement agendas and the development of trainee teachers attached to a SCITT.

Philip Naylor, Lead Online Learning Specialist

Phil has worked with the widest range of schools and groups of schools as a senior leader responsible for attainment, progress and leadership development. He has been at the forefront of online learning for the past 20 years with the National College of School Leadership, the University of Manchester and now with Best Practice Network, developing national leadership courses since 2003. He is fully committed to the value of a school-led system of improvement, using and enhancing the expertise of staff in schools as a key to long term improvements.

Catherine Sellars, Instructional Designer

Catherine started out as a web developer but has spent most of her working life in Further and Higher Education leadership, teaching digital design. She became a director of a digital marketing agency before moving into education consultancy, learning technology and eLearning development. She loves to travel with her Scottie dog and mandolin.

Nick Thornber, Leadership Specialist

Nick has worked in education for 30 years. He has a background in mainstream and special schools in both teaching and leadership roles. He enjoys facilitation and assessment of professional development for teaching assistants, SENCOs and school leaders.

Hamish McLean, Senior Online Course Coordinator

Hamish joined Best Practice Network in 2013 after gaining a BA Hons degree in Business and Management from Bournemouth University and has worked supporting our National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) closely since their inception in 2012. His role primarily supports candidates through the online elements of their chosen qualifications on our Canvas Virtual Learning Environment and linked online systems. Outside of work Hamish enjoys taking breaks to the mountains as he is an avid snowboarder and enjoys as much time on the slopes as possible. Hamish is also a budding amateur DJ in his free time and on weekends. 

Emma Doherty, Special Projects Coordinator, Assessments & HR Team

Emma's background is in biological research and she moved to work in the education sector in 2018. She has worked with Best Practice Network in a variety of capacities and now works with both the Assessment and HR teams. Outside of work she enjoys long walks, yoga and music.

Dean Cox, Finance Coordnator

Dean studied and completed the AAT L4 course alongside working at BPN, and continues to develop his skills within his role as a Finance Co-ordinator.

In his spare time Dean enjoys mountain biking, skiing & theme parks!