Meet the judging panel

Paul Edge - ERA Judge

Paul Edge

Member of the Senior Leadership Team at Ribblesdale High School

Paul has been a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Ribblesdale High School since 2011 and has fulfilled a range of different roles, whilst continually leading the use of technology across the organisation.

Paul currently holds the position as leader of Curriculum and EdTech at Ribblesdale, which has encompassed the successful rollout of Microsoft 365 and a parental supported Windows one-to-one device scheme, for over 1400 students.  He has held a dual role for many years, supporting other schools in the development and use of EdTech on a local, national and international level.

Follow Paul on twitter: @Paul_A_Edge

Martin Bailey - ERA Judge

Martin Bailey

Director, Animate 2 Educate Ltd

Martin Bailey is an esteemed educator with over two decades of experience in primary school teaching and leadership roles across the UK. Currently, Martin serves as a part-time teacher and Computer Subject Leader at Ellington Primary School in Northumberland and Birchwood Primary School in Tamworth. In these positions, he passionately delivers the Computing curriculum to students from Early Years Foundation Stage to Year 6 while spearheading digital enrichment activities and shaping the schools’ digital strategies.

Beyond his classroom commitments, Martin is the driving force behind Animate 2 Educate Ltd, where he acts as a Primary Computing Advisor. Through this platform, he extends his expertise globally, conducting engaging workshops for students and comprehensive training sessions for staff on all aspects of Primary Computing and technology integration.

Martin’s academic journey includes lecturing roles at institutions such as Durham University and his current involvement at Sunderland University, where he educates PGCE and BA students on Primary Computing.

Martin’s influence transcends the classroom; he’s a frequent presenter at international conferences like BETT and the SEND Show. He has held advisory positions for both BETT and NAACE (National Association of Advisors for Computers in Education), demonstrating his commitment to shaping the educational landscape.

Bukky Yusuf - ERA Judge

Bukky Yusuf

Senior Leaders, Edith Kay School

Bukky Yusuf is a Thought Leader and Trustee that has worked for local authorities and secondary schools for two decades. She has undertaken leadership roles within mainstream and special school settings. She also has various Ed(ucation) Tech(nology) experiences and was appointed by the Department of Education as co-chair for the EdTech Leadership Group.

Bukky supports the development of educators at all levels and promotes projects that help colleagues to maintain their well-being. She is an ambassador for Leadership Matters, a Network Leader for WomenEd London and co-lead for WomenEd Tech. Bukky has contributed chapters to a number of educational books including the second WomenEd book (Being 10% Braver) and The Early Career Framework Handbook by the Chartered College of Teaching. In 2021, she co-edited ‘The Big Book of Whole School Wellbeing’ – an essential guide to wellbeing.

Philip Wesolowski - ERA Judge

Philip Wesolowski

Managing Director of Staedtler (UK)

Philip Wesolowski has been Managing Director of Staedtler (UK) Limited since 2016 and believes passionately in excellence in Education. As a key supplier to the Education sector, Staedtler UK have always seen their role as going beyond that of pure resources supply and wish to engage with the Education sector on as many levels as possible. Philip is also Vice-Chairman of the BESA Executive Council, having joined in 2021 and plays an active role in delivering the best for the Education Suppliers in our industry via the association.

Natalie Hawkes - ERA Judge

Natalie Hawkes

I have been working in education for 29 years as a classroom teacher, literacy consultant, deputy head and headteacher. My expertise lies in leadership, assessment and curriculum design. I am delighted to be currently working in Attain Academy Partnership Trust as Strategic Lead where I am working with all the Attain schools to ensure the best education and outcomes for our pupils. My role also includes a focus on the wellbeing of staff which is absolutely crucial.

Ben Annett - ERA Judge

Ben Annett

I am the Specialist Advisor for Assistive Technology and Inclusion for the Learning Advisory Service in Tower Hamlets and have over 17 years of experience working within special needs education. For the past 4 years, I have worked as an advisor, supporting educators in effectively harnessing technology to meet the needs of learners with a range of learning, physical, and cognitive needs. I’ve been excited to work within education as the technological landscape has changed and increasingly innovative and exciting solutions have come to market that have the potential to enhance good teaching, bring learning to life, and empower students to overcome barriers to learning.

Katie Blainey - ERA Judge

Katie Blainey

Katie has over 20 years’ publishing and product experience spanning primary, secondary and the independent sector publishing print and digital resources for Hodder Education and Rising Stars. Over her career she has been passionate about developing resources that solve teachers’ problems and save them time. Recently as Product Director of RS Assessment Katie and her team developed and delivered a large programme of bespoke, standardised tests and surveys for the K-12 market. The products are used widely in thousands of primary schools in the UK and globally to support teachers in their decision making and to improve pupils’ learning. She led a team with extensive digital experience of developing assessments, platforms and software with a strong data-rich underpinning and is proud to have won awards for SNAP (a special needs product). In 2021-22 she was Principal Investigator on the Nuffield Foundation funded research project to explore the impact of Covid-19 related school closures on children’s attainment and wellbeing and presented the findings at international conferences. She is now Head of Delivery and Product at Hubbub Fundraising, supporting schools and universities.

Neil Coleman - ERA Judge

Neil Coleman

Headteacher, Birchwood Primary School and Director of Professional Networks, Community Academies Trust.

Neil Coleman has been a teacher and educator for over 20 years, serving as the Headteacher at Birchwood Primary School in Warwickshire for the past 10 years. Birchwood Primary School is an outstanding institution and a founding member of the Communities Academies Trust. Recently, Neil has assumed the position of Director of Professional Networks. In this role, he supports colleagues with similar responsibilities within the Trust by facilitating discussions on pertinent topics, exchanging best practices, coordinating specialised continuous professional development (CPD) sessions, and undertaking activities aimed at enhancing practice and services throughout the Trust.

Patrick Hayes - ERA Judge

Patrick Hayes

Patrick Hayes is responsible for the student-facing division of Times Higher Education (THE), including its work with international schools. THE’s World University Rankings, combined with its unique editorial advisory offering and leading series of student recruitment events, attracts almost 70 million visitors to its platforms each year, including over 15 million prospective international students from across the globe.
He has also recently launched THE’s ground-breaking new offering for international school counsellors – the THE Counsellor Accreditation Programme has over 3,700 counsellors registered from 130+ countries; and the THE Counsellor digital platform, offering advice and guidance “for counsellors, by counsellors”.
Hayes was formerly the Director of the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the sector body representing 400+ education companies with a combined revenue of £2.4bn; and an Executive Director of EdTech Exchange, the largest network of EdTech founders in Europe. Prior to that, he was a director at Tes, the largest network of teachers in the world.

Hayes has been a columnist for Education Today and HuffPost. He has made a wide range of national and international media appearances commenting on education issues. He has led trade missions to education ministries in a range of countries around the world. He has been Chair of Judges for both the Bett Awards and the Education Resources Awards, and is a judge for the Education Investor Awards and the Global Education Start Up Awards.

Lynn Williams - ERA Judge

Lynn Williams

Lynn has served 36 years  in the education profession and throughout this time has been relentless in her determination for continuous school improvement, working tirelessly to ensure schools in deprived areas can flourish.

She became a head teacher in 2006 and her hard work and commitment was recognised when the school was judged to be outstanding in 2016, one of only 8% of schools nationally to be given this accolade, given the schools demographic catchment. The school continued to be outstanding when re-inspected in 2021, under the more challenging framework.

In 2023, under Lynn’s direction St. Peter’s was awarded with 3 prestigious accolades;

Inclusion Quality Mark national champion

Trinity arts college national champion

NW education awards “transforming lives through partnership” award.

These awards serve as important markers of the type of leader Lynn has proven to be, all of them shining a light on the type of school Lynn has created; an inclusive school, working alongside and  in partnership with others, to create an inspirational curriculum for all pupils, regardless of background, involving the arts.

These were all contributory factors leading to Lynn being named ‘Education Leader of the Year’ at the 2024 Education resources awards. It is therefore with great pleasure that Lynn is now herself a judge for these wonderful awards.

Darren Gelder - ERA Judge

Darren Gelder

Darren Gelder entered the teaching profession after a variety of career pathways including as an engineer in the RAF, as well as working in the USA. His subject specialism is Business and Economics in which he has written a number of articles and advised at a variety of levels for exam boards and accreditation panels. Yes, he still does teach! Darren has worked in the highest performing schools in the UK as well as a wide range of more challenging environments. It was within these environments that Darren felt he had the greatest impact.

Darren has a clear focus on what a school or academy needs to focus on, to improve and a relentless drive to bring change and improvements in the classroom.  In his current role as Executive Principal at Grace Academy, Darren has led this south Solihull based Academy to be the most improved Academy in the region for 4 consecutive years and the highest performing in the area. This significant rapid improvement has been recognised by HMI and DFE. He works cross-phase with a number of primary schools, as well as chairing schools and police panels; he is also a trustee of an alternative provision and sits on a number of national educational panels and is a member of the secondary executive team for the NAHT. He is passionate in ensuring that education makes a difference to young people’s life chances.

A recent report by the Sutton Trust identified the work that Darren had done in creating the most improved academy chain in the country, at the time Darren was executive head of 2 of the 3 academies. The Parliamentary review 2019 recognises the ‘best practice’ that the academy has shown in developing its provision and outcomes for young people. This was further recognised by the CSJ for the work with students and schools in challenging circumstances. The academy still retains its position as one of the highest 10% based on FFT outcomes in the country.

Darren’s focus on change management has been key to the success of a number of schools, with robust QA systems and approaches. Working across trust and local authorities to continue the progress and attainment of schools, he has a successful record of accomplishment in sustainable school improvement. Mobile technology to enhance learning is a field of strength. Developing successful educational teams that change young people’s life chances. He is the vice chair of the Solihull Schools Forum advising and guiding local government on policy development; he is a regular speaker on school improvement at national conferences and has often interviewed for the BBC, ITV and SKY news.

Over the past 5 years Darren has been working with AP and PRU provisions using the same people skills and identifying talent and passion with teachers and support staff that can bring about change. This has led to swift improvements in provisions in the most challenging of circumstances. Darren now supports over 9 schools across the Midlands and Northampton.

Brian Walton - ERA Judge

Brian Walton

Brian Walton has been in education for almost 30 years, 20 as a head teacher in four schools across the South of England. He has also been a Chair of Governors in a Pupil Referral Unit and a Secondary Governor.

Brian is currently head teacher at Brookside Academy a 0 -11 provision which includes a 55 place Special School within the heart of the mainstream site where children work, play and learn together. Brian is passionate about inclusive education.

He recently published a book, ‘Lessons from the Heads Office’ which looks at the role of the head teacher. Schools Week, in its review, said “It’s school leadership in the raw and the real, portrayed through the reflections of a bold writer who has seen it all, got the tee shirt and is still in the game.”

Mike Whittingham - ERA Judge

Mike Whittingham

Mike Whittingham has been in education for 30 years 20 of which at senior leadership level.  He has held a large number of roles from Advanced Skills Teacher up, Head of Science, Assistant and Deputy Headteacher and currently a Headteacher.

He is an outstanding leader and teacher and won a National Pearson teaching award for secondary education in 2016.  He has also led regional and national workshops for Local authorities, exam boards and the Association of School and College Leaders. Mr Whittingham, has worked closely with the Department for education in the development of post-16 education and has pioneered links to businesses in the same area.  

Mr Whittingham also features in a book by Jenny Hulme entitled ‘The School of Well-being’ .  Since his arrival here 7 years ago Trentham Academy has flourished under his leadership and recently was shortlisted for the UK Secondary School of the Year 2021 in the National TES Awards and won Secondary of the school of the year in the 2022 Education Today Awards.

In October  2021, Ofsted finally visited and found the academy to be Good with Outstanding Leadership and Outstanding Personal Development.

Mr Whittingham has since gone on to represent Education leaders in the International Confederation of Principals in Finland in 2023 and was honoured to be awarded a Fellowship by the Chartered College of Teaching for his impact in education.  He was also shortlisted as Headteacher of the year in December 2023 and a Leadership in Education award in 2024.

David Mordue - ERA Judge

David Mordue

I am David Mordue, currently Headteacher at Bishop Ian Ramsey C of E Primary School, which is situated in Medomsley in County Durham. I have been Headteacher for the past two years after previously undertaking the role of Deputy Headteacher at the same school. I have almost 17 years experience as a primary teacher and senior leader, teaching in a number of schools across the North East of England in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. During that time, I have been Computing Lead at three different schools and have an interest in utilising technology within the primary setting to enhance teaching and learning. I also have a real passion for sport, both in school and in my personal life, where I am a keen runner – completing my first ever marathon in Manchester in April 2024 and I am just about recovered from that now! I am currently Computing Lead and PE Lead at Bishop Ian Ramsey as well as wearing my various other hats as a Headteacher of a small semi-rural school. I am delighted to have been invited to be a judge at the Education Resources Awards and look forward to seeing some fabulous entries.