Board of Directors

An introduction to the Aspire Plus board of directors...


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Founding Members


Chairs of LGAB

Founding Members


Carol Thomas

Carol has more than 25 years’ experience of working in schools. She is a former primary Headteacher and local authority School Improvement Officer now working across two boroughs offering school improvement consultancy services.

She supports a wide range of schools in very different contexts (multi-ethnic, high deprivation, urban secular, small village etc.)  as well as schools at different stages of their improvement journey from special measures to outstanding.  Her work involves support, development and training for leaders, teachers, support staff and governors; she also still has direct contact with children through her work in training School Councillors to become ‘Junior Inspectors’. Her professional life requires an up to date knowledge of all aspects of a school’s work, national initiatives and issues that affect schools.

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Janet Lambert

Janet worked for 15 years in the banking industry with a focus predominantly on the areas of securities and advances, including branch banking and business/ corporate lending centres.

Subsequently, Janet has been working within the primary education sector in a school business, office management and finance capacity. Janet has extensive experience as both an elected and an appointed school governor, having previously held the positions of parent and authority governors.  Her involvement as a governor spans a period in excess of 16 years and has been across primary and secondary establishments in different local authorities.


Jonathan Reynolds MP

Jonathan has been the Member of Parliament for Stalybridge and Hyde since 2010. Prior to that he trained to be a solicitor with Addleshaw Goddard LLP and was an elected member of Tameside MBC.

He completed his legal qualifications at BPP Law School, Manchester and holds a first-class degree in Politics and Modern History from the University of Manchester. In Parliament Jonathan has held the posts of shadow energy minister, shadow transport minister, opposition whip and PPS to the Leader of the Opposition. He currently sits on the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee and is the Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Autism.


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Jane Barker

Jane has been a senior manager in Adults and Children’s Social Care for over 10 years; a role that has encompassed managing Social Care performance, business planning, service improvement, strategic, operational and budget management of over £2 million and managing a workforce of over 100 staff dispersed across the borough.

Jane’s role involves liaising closely with Ofsted during inspections within Social Care; an experience that has afforded her the knowledge to support schools in understanding the inspection process and helping achieve a successful outcome. As a member of the Adults Senior Management Team, the Children’s Senior Management Team and the Directorate at Tameside MBC; Jane has developed the skills to work with a wide range of stakeholders.

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Dr Janet Nevin

Janet has worked in education for over thirty years, both in schools and sixth form colleges in London and the North West. Her last post was as Principal of Ashton Sixth Form College in Greater Manchester.

She has been a part-time Ofsted inspector of FE for five years and has worked on various consultancy projects involving training and mentoring. Whilst Principal of Ashton Sixth Form College, she was also founder and CEO of the A+ Trust, a group of seven secondary schools and the college which currently work together to improve educational outcomes in Tameside. Her research interests are in women in educational leadership and management.


Barry Harwood

Barry teaches on a part–time basis on the Bar Professional training course at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), where he is Subject Leader for Employment Law, and Professional Ethics.

He also teaches Advocacy, and opinion writing, and EU and Public law on the MMU LLB, and he is subject leader for the civil and criminal litigation unit on the LLB for MMU, and Hong Kong. Barry is an employment law specialist Barrister, and has been named on the Legal 500 for the past two years. He has also been published in the Chambers and Partners Directory 2017. Barry is Head of Employment Law at Kenworthy’s Chambers in Manchester, where he is also a pupil supervisor. He was previously a member of the BSB, Bar Standards Board, Professional Conduct Committee, and Bar Council Equality and Diversity Committee. Barry is also an Advocacy trainer for Lincolns Inn, and he delivers a range of employment law training to professional clients. He regularly appears in the employment tribunal representing both claimants and respondents. Barry is a Co-opted Governor at MMU and is the Board's Equality and Diversity Champion and a member of the Nominations and Governance Committee.


Kevin Taylor

Kevin has over 27 years of experience in the police, working his way through the ranks, from a uniformed officer to Chief Inspector on a large division of Greater Manchester. But it’s in hostage and negotiation situations, when really listening is a matter of life or death, where Kevin thrives.

A graduate from the FBI’s notorious training programme, Kevin went on to become Head of Greater Manchester Police Hostage and Negotiation Team, delivering negotiator response in the most extreme and challenging situations, including kidnaps, barricade sieges, suicide interventions and high risk offenders at large. As director of the National Kidnap Negotiation Course, Kevin developed and delivered training at a national and international level, including some specialist agencies. Kevin continues to share his expertise, working with charities on suicide intervention training. Kevin now puts his 30 years of experience to the test, applying the lessons he learned as a police leader and the skills he honed as a hostage negotiator to leadership and client relationship training in corporate communities.

Chairs of LGAB



Deb has been a Headteacher in two comprehensive schools and also spent three years as an adviser for secondary education. Whilst leading schools through successful Ofsted inspections, her focus has always been on developing learning and teaching and promoting the holistic development of students.

Her path to headship included pastoral and academic leadership roles as well as being a special educational needs co-ordinator.

Over the past three years, she has worked with looked-after children in Tameside as our 'Virtual Headteacher', advocating for the rights and needs of vulnerable young people and supporting schools in their work with children in care.

Deb is retiring in 2017, but lives in Tameside and wants to continue to contribute to education in our community and support Rayner Stephens’ vision to be a world-class school.


Steve Noble

Steve is a local Tameside resident and has lived in Tameside throughout his career - teaching in primary schools and then working in both the primary and secondary sectors for the local authority school improvement service.

He has also worked as an Ofsted inspector. His career experiences have given him a clear insight into what makes a successful school for students, parents/carers and staff.

Steve joined Longdendale’s governing body as a community governor in 2010. In recent years Steve has played a key role in the governance of Longdendale and has been the Chair of the Inclusion Committee. He was a vitally important member of the team that secured the Inclusion Quality Mark and National Centre of Excellence recognition.

Steve is now (mostly) retired and is keen to use his experience in education to help Longdendale become an outstanding school.