Meet the judging panel
Chair of Judges
Julia has worked in education publishing and EdTech for over 20 years, both in-house and as an external marketing consultant. She has worked for a number of BESA members and alongside EdTech Exchange founder George Burgess as Marketing Lead at Gojimo.
As poacher turned gamekeeper, Julia understands the needs of our suppliers and is passionate about ensuring that every company takes full advantage of the benefits of their membership.
Educational Consultant, Publisher and Writer
Gill Budgell has worked in education for over 30 years as an early years/primary teacher, EAL teacher, researcher, writer and publisher. She specialises in English and language development in early years and primary education and has developed, published and written many outstanding and award-winning print and interactive resources.
She works with colleagues in schools nationally and internationally, researching and developing new ideas as well as delivering CPD. She has appeared on Teacher’s TV Resource Review and in various online film-based CPD resources.
Gill contributes a unique blend of school-based understanding, classroom practicality, commercial reality and business acumen to the judging team.
She is the director of Frattempo Ltd which is a consultancy business specialising in educational and publishing services within the industry.
Head Teacher, Lindens Primary School
Simon Griffiths began his career in 1989 at Hill View Primary School in Oxfordshire where he discovered the love and passion of teaching. Since then he has had the amazing opportunity of working in a variety of different Primary Schools in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Walsall. In 2000 he gained his first Headship of an Infant School in Staffordshire and 2003 became Head teacher of Lindens Primary School, Walsall.
Learning Resource Centre Manager
Lesley has been involved in education for over 30 years. She started in the education section of the Architects Department of the Greater London Council before becoming a Special Needs Assistant at a secondary school while raising her family.
Further roles included community and family learning, International School Links, Education Business Partnership steering group membership and a founding member of our local confederation of schools. She helped set up and manage the school’s Maths and Computing Specialist School programme. She is currently Learning Resource Centre Manager and Careers Coordinator. She is also a school Governor and Academy Director.
Writer and Journalist
A former teacher, Sal is now a freelance journalist writing about education, disabilities and technology.
Sal covers all aspects of special needs from dyslexia to physical disabilities, deafness to mental health issues, and the ways in which technology can level the playing field for young people who struggle to achieve in school, college of the workplace.
At present Sal is focusing on the early years’ sector helping nurseries become more inclusive. She co-wrote the PACEY A4 guide Caring for children with SEND.
Digital Enrichment Leader at Lanchester EP Primary School (Co.Durham) and Director of Animate 2 Educate Ltd.
Primary Mandarin teacher, Specialist Leader of Education and Project Consultant for the Swire Centre London at the Harris Federation
Cara has worked in inner-city London schools for over 5 years. She is currently working as a Year 6 intervention teacher at Lawdale Junior School and previously worked as EYFS/KS1 English Co-ordinator and MFL co-ordinator at Arnhem Wharf Primary School. She has a background in music, anthropology, and an interest in Chinese language and culture.
Cara graduated from Oxford University with a BA in Music in 2009, during which time she was awarded a Leask Scholarship and the Scottish Wagner Society’s Bayreuth Scholarship. She then continued her studies at Oxford with an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology before completing a certificate in Modern Chinese at SOAS. Prior to becoming a teacher, she spent a year learning Mandarin in Taiwan on a Taiwanese Ministry of Education ‘language enrichment’ scholarship. In addition to class-teaching roles, Cara has extensive experience of tutoring, as well as running Mandarin and recorder classes.
Cara has been involved in organising numerous events and discussions around education, music and politics. This has included producing, chairing and speaking at events with the Teach First Policy Network, IOI Education Forum, Battle of Ideas, Barbican ‘Sound Unbound’ Festival, ResearchEd, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education and at Wellington Festival of Education.
She also enjoys cooking and cycling long distances very slowly.
Member of the Senior Leadership Team at Ribblesdale High School
Professor Adam Boddison
Chief Executive (nasen) & Chair of Whole School SEND Consortium
Professor Adam Boddison is the Chief Executive for nasen (National Association for Special Educational Needs), the professional membership body for the SEND workforce. He is also the Chair of the Whole School SEND consortium, which is leading on the delivery of the government’s SEND Schools’ Workforce contract. Adam is a National Leader of Governance and a Trustee at a large Multi-Academy Trust, which spans primary, secondary and specialist settings.
Adam is a Trustee of the Potential Trust, a member of the National SEND Forum and a Fellow of the RSA. Prior to this, Adam held a number of senior education roles including Director of the Centre for Professional Education at the University of Warwick and Academic Principal for IGGY (a global educational social network for gifted teenagers). He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Wolverhampton, a published author and a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.
Senior Lecturer in Computer Science Education at Newman University Birmingham
Principal lecturer in Computing Education at the University of Roehampton
Miles is principal lecturer in Computing Education at the University of Roehampton. Prior to joining Roehampton, he spent 18 years in four schools, much of the time as an ICT coordinator and most recently as a head teacher. His research interests include the pedagogies of computer science education and informal learning. He is a former chair of Naace. He is a member the management boards of Computing At School and the Computer Science Teachers’ Association, and is a member of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the BCS Academy Board. He is a fellow of the BCS, RSA and HEA.
Over the years he has contributed to a number of computing related projects including: CAS’s computer science curriculum, the national curriculum computing programmes of study, the CAS / Naace guide to the computing curriculum for primary teachers, training of CAS Master Teachers, the BETT and ERA Award winning Rising Stars Switched on Computing, Barefoot Computing, Code Club Pro’s training materials, QuickStart Computing and resources for the BBC and Microsoft. Current projects include Hello World, a free magazine for computing teachers, and Project Quantum – a national item bank of computing questions.
He gives regular keynotes and CPD workshops on computing and education technology in the UK and abroad and has worked on a number of international consultancy projects involving curriculum development and CPD.
Founder of the educational publishing company, Rising Stars
Andrea has worked in the education and publishing industries for over 30 years. In 2002 she founded educational publishing company Rising Stars specialising in the creation of books, digital content and online services for schools. It grew to become one of the largest education publishing businesses in England and it was acquired by Hachette UK in 2015.
Andrea was BESA chairman from 2010-2013 during which time she oversaw the introduction of the BESA Launchpad service for fledgling edtech companies. She continues to supports a range of education technology businesses with their strategy and business planning. She has recently become chairman of Sumdog, an educational gaming platform and is now trustee of educational charity Causeway Education that supports more able disadvantaged young people. In her spare time she produced a new music festival in south London this summer.
Andrea was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award at the BETT Awards in 2017.
Professor Christina Preston
MirandaNet Founder, TPEA past-Chair, Naace BOM
Professor Christina Preston has been at the forefront of education and technology for over 25 years. The MirandaNet Fellowship that she founded in 1992 has become a global thought leader in edtech with over 1,000 members in 80 countries and an outreach of more than 80,000 website visitors a year who read up to 10 screens. At the core of the members’’ philosophy is the sharing of knowledge and change management based on grassroots evidence. The members work with EdTech companies to research into the impact of technology and learning in classrooms and report on their findings for the global community.
Christina has won 5 international awards for her contribution to education innovation and community of practice development. She is also past chair of the Technology, Pedagogy and Education Association and the editor of the Naace Advancing Education journal.