Mehak Tejani

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Mehak is an educator, researcher, and systems change practitioner, with exposure to international education systems, including East Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

She is the Education Systems Lead at the RSA, where she oversees the inclusive education portfolio.

Mehak’s background as a secondary mathematics and economics teacher grounds her practice and serves as a daily reminder to hold children and young people at the heart of all that she does, which is why she is thrilled to be part of nurtureuk’s journey towards making nurture available to all children.

Mehak holds a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University College London, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University of British Columbia.

Stuart Beattie

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Stuart is a Finance Director at AstraZeneca partnering with 2 late stage Oncology products in the development pipeline. He has been at AstraZeneca for 6 years in a number of different roles. He is a chartered accountant completing his exams in 2013 whilst working in external audit at Deloitte.

Stuart has a wide-ranging background in financial planning and analysis, risk and controls, external audit and management reporting with senior stakeholders. He hopes to utilise this experience to help nurtureuk grow and continue to help as many children as possible.

Dr Fungisai Muchenje

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Fungisai has worked in various roles alongside children, young people, and their families in a range of settings including schools, local authority youth clubs, and a charity. She is a qualified Science Teacher.

Currently, Fungisai is a Child and Educational Psychologist in private practice. She contributes to teaching and supervising students at a University. Alongside her role as a Trustee at nurtureuk, she is a School Governor.

Her work has been guided by a long-standing commitment and vocation to children’s well-being.

For me, working for the good of children is a moral imperative. I am excited to continue doing so alongside the team at nurtureuk”.

Dr Mark Turner

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Mark has been helping nurtureuk to establish and grow for over 15 years. In 2001 he established and ran the charity’s first website, which helped to develop the network and spread materials across the UK and internationally. He ran the website for 5 years, helping to develop the community and strengthen the network. 

In 2001, he and Marion Bennathan co-led the first nationwide nurtureuk meeting. He worked with Marion to gain nurtureuk’s independence from its parent charity, the Association of Workers for Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. Mark, Marion Bennathan and Paul Cooper signed the foundation documents lodged with the Charity Commission. Mark was on the Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2018 (including six years as Chair), using his entrepreneurial instincts to help the organisation grow. He became nurtureuk‘s Life President in 2018.

Mark values the preventative, intensive and non-stigmatising intervention that nurture groups provide, and has helped to establish two nurture groups in Medway. He has a longstanding professional interest in attachment theory and early intervention, which he studied for his doctorate in educational and child psychology.

Mark works as an educational psychologist, is a visiting Fellow at the University of East London, and director of Real Group (UK) Ltd.

Claire Hersey

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Claire has worked in school business management and school finance for the last eight years, across primary, secondary and post-16 and in both academies and maintained schools. She previously worked in external audit for 13 years and was a senior external audit manager, with a focus on the not-for-profit sector, including social housing and higher education.

Claire is currently CFO for the City of London Academies Trust (COLAT), a multi-academy trust sponsored by the City of London Corporation. She  joined COLAT when it was a new MAT with three academies, and over the last four years has worked alongside the CEO and central team to establish and grow the Trust. COLAT now has ten inner-London academies (covering primary, secondary and sixth form). Claire’s role is to lead the support functions across the Trust, including finance, HR, IT, premises and catering.

Claire is married with two children. As a family, they love living in central London and try to make the most of everything the city offers.

Chris Dean

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Chris has a background in IT consulting across all major sectors, including charities.

He is the UK Chief Executive of Credera, a global IT strategy and delivery consultancy firm. He is excited by the opportunity to work with nurtureuk, to help it take its message to a wider audience and help children from all backgrounds to gain the education they deserve.

“Like many people, I had a difficult start in life. I was lucky and was given incredible support by my school in Liverpool and I am keen to give something back through working with nurtureuk.”

Bridget Robson

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Bridget is excited by the opportunity to be Vice Chair for education for nurtureuk. She has been working with pupils with SEMH and SEND needs for 25 years, starting in a small mainstream village school.

Bridget then moved into a 38-week SEMH provision, where she developed her passion for working with pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It was clear to her that the priority for these pupils was to gain a solid foundation in their early development, to ensure positive growth in their emotional and educational development and reach their full potential.

Drawing on her understanding and practical knowledge of nurture groups, Bridget moved into SEMH day school provision, helping to set up a new primary school based on these principles. She became Head of the primary school in 2011, which now supports 75 children and has been rated by Ofsted as Outstanding since March 2012. In 2015 took on an SEMH secondary school, which gave her the opportunity to offer continuous nurture provision from the primary school through to secondary.

Bridget is now the Executive Head of both schools, which enables her to offer nurtureuk a working knowledge of whole school nurturing provision in both the primary and secondary sectors.

Alison Betts

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Alison Betts is currently Whole School SEND National Coordinator. She has previously been a class teacher, nurture teacher, SENCO, Deputy Headteacher, Head of a maintained Nursery School and Head of Inclusion for Exeter Children’s Federation.

She has been on the board of trustees at nurtureuk since 2016 and has a passion for improving the education and life chances of children from a background of deprivation.

Her interest in children affected by social, emotional and/or mental health issues encouraged her to become a Specialist Leader in Education for the Exeter Consortium and Teaching School Alliance, where she has helped to lead the Professional Community for SEND. She has seen first-hand the benefits of nurture in education and has been privileged to be a trustee for nurtureuk and help spread nurturing principle across the education sector.

Alan Leaman OBE

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Alan Leaman joined nurtureuk in 2016 and became our chair in 2022. He has worked for many decades in public affairs and communications, and was the CEO of the industry association for management consultancies, the MCA, from 2008 until 2019. Previously, he led the communications department at the Association of British Insurers and worked as chief speech writer, political adviser and media spokesperson for Paddy Ashdown when he was leader of the Liberal Democrats. He was the party’s Director of Strategy in the run-up to the 1997 general election and was awarded the OBE for political and public service.

Prior to his involvement in national politics, Alan worked for a number of charities and voluntary organisations. He was a Trustee of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales until 2014.

Alan is currently chair of governors of a primary school in Kent and his two children attend local secondary schools. He is also a member of the Advisory Board at Echo Research, a firm which specialises in reputation research and consultancy.