Our Team


Unity Howard


Sophie Harrison-Byrne

Director of Programmes

Alison Mugunthan

Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Free Schools Programme Directorate

The Free Schools Programme Directorate Team works with groups at every stage of the free schools process: application, pre-opening and open. NSN's team of Advisers will provide personal support to applicants part of the Development Programme and pre-opening schools through NSN's Delivery Programme. The Free Schools Programme Directorate also supports all open free schools by providing advice, training and networking opportunities.

Samantha Duran

Head of Delivery Services

Jennifer Gifford

Head of Advisory Services (maternity leave)

Hannah Jackson

Interim Head of Advisory Services

Tim Johnson

Programmes Manager, Delivery Services

Catherine Ollington

Programmes Manager, Advisory Services (Manchester)

Alexandra Frost

Senior Adviser (Manchester)

Tom Orr

Senior Adviser

Joceline Perrot


Sarah Wilson

Adviser (Manchester)

Hajira Liaquat


Molly Riley

Free Schools Programme Directorate Intern

External Relations

Our External Relations team encourage groups to consider opening a free school; they also raise the profile and support for the free school programme. Potential groups are identified through data analysis; completing in-depth research; building relationships with different organisations, such as universities and youth organisations; running social media campaigns targeted at existing school leaders; organising events; fundraising.

Samuel Skerritt

Head of Content and Communications

Graeme Jackson

Events Manager

Ceara Roopchand

Communications and Policy Manager

Sean Campbell

Communications and Policy Manager

Elliot Clark-James

External Relations Executive


Sam Fitzpatrick

Head of Development and Partnerships


Sally Bohemia

Executive Assistant to the Director

Annabel May

Office Administrator

Rebecca Mbendo

Office Administrator

Fallon Wilson

Office Assistant


Academy Ambassadors is a not-for-profit programme matching business leaders and professionals with multi-academy trusts looking to strengthen their boards. Find out more about Academy Ambassadors here.

Emma Gregory

Head of the Academy Ambassadors Programme

David Ardill

Regional Manager (Manchester)

Melanie Carter

Regional Officer (Manchester)

Jeannie Hume

Head of NED Recruitment

Ben Bateson

Junior Recruiter

Rhiannon Palmer

Junior Recruiter

Erica Ritchie

Recruitment Coordinator