Education Forum Committee
The Academy of Ideas Education Forum brings together people with an interest in education, including teachers, lecturers, parents, students, researchers, policy workers and publishers. Brief details of committee members’ interests are given below. Contact details are also given and they may be contacted directly by the press or anyone seeking an Education Forum speaker.
Kevin is the convenor of the Education Forum. He teaches politics, sociology and history. He speaks regularly in panel debates and has contributed articles to a range of publications on education, politics, Irish current affairs, civil liberties and football. He is co-author of Who’s Afraid of the Easter Rising? 1916-2016, and has written chapters for several books on topics such as ‘education for mutual understanding’ in relation to solving conflict in Northern Ireland and on citizenship lessons in UK schools.
Cara has worked in inner-city London primary schools for the past six years as a class teacher, English subject leader and MFL coordinator. She now works as Mandarin primary specialist teacher for the Harris Federation. Cara has a background in music, anthropology, and an interest in Chinese language and culture.
Louise is a history teacher. She worked in comprehensive schools in South London for 12 years, where she was also head of history for 6 years. She now works as a specialist teacher in schools in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. She is also a school governor of her local primary school. She has written about gender issues and values in education and the pastoral curriculum.
Beth works in education charity as a Higher Education Outreach Coordinator, liaising with secondary schools, local authorities and other stakeholders across north-east London to deliver outreach programmes in schools. She has taught acting to young children and volunteers with the Hackney Pirates, an after-school club which builds literacy and confidence in young Londoners.
Dr Shirley Lawes
Shirley is an education researcher, consultant and university teacher, specialising in teacher education and modern foreign languages teaching and learning at the University College London Institute of Education. She has published widely on education policy, teacher education and the teaching of modern foreign languages in both English and French, and is currently writing a book on culture in language teaching.
Conor is originally from Belfast but has taught science in secondary schools in Hackney for over a decade. He is a rep in the National Education Union (formerly NUT) and an examiner for GCSE Biology.
Toby has taught Film Studies and other subjects in East London and Essex for the past twenty years. He believes in and researches the transformative power of state education, teaching and knowledge. All three, he argues, tell a remarkable success story which has only just begun.
Ian has taught English and Psychology for twenty years, in a number of state and independent schools. He blogs about education talks, debates, literature and current affairs at Secondary Ideas.
Harley has worked in education publishing for over two decades, building online services for teachers and pupils around the world. He helps run the Education Forum’s public events, oversees its monthly column for Teach Secondary magazine, and blogs and lectures on the evolution of schools through the ages. He is a contributing author for the Routledge History of Education, due to be published in 2021.
Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert
Alka is an educator, independent researcher and writer. She has worked in education for over 20 years as an English teacher and lecturer in media/cultural studies. Her recent doctoral work, grounded in the philosophy and sociology of education, considered the importance of social-realist epistemology and its politico-ethical implications. She is co-author and a contributor of What Should Schools Teach: Disciplines, Subjects and the Pursuit of Truth (second edition being prepared). She writes in academic journals and for public/professional publications including TES and Teach Secondary.
Alex Standish is a senior lecturer in geography education at UCL Institute of Education and fellow of the Royal Geographical Association. At the IOE he leads the Secondary Geography Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and teaches on the MA in geography education. Standish contributed to the 2013 national curriculum/GCSE review for geography and also the London Curriculum. He advises several London schools with respect to curriculum and teacher education. He recently co-edited What Should Schools Teach? Disciplines, Subjects and the Pursuit of Knowledge (second edition being prepared).
Gareth teaches mathematics and English to apprentices in London. He is responsible for Education Forum newsletters and registrations. He has been head of physics at one of the country’s leading grammar schools and taught at innovative schools such as Michaela and the East London Science School. He also ran the Physics Factory, aiming to put the fizz back into physics teaching in London. He writes on education and science for spiked magazine.
Seán joined Queen’s School, Bushey in 2015 where he teaches history and is deputy head of sixth form. He graduated from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth with a masters in military history and strategic studies and a postgraduate diploma in education for English and history in 2012. Seán has an avid interest in American politics and supports the debate group in Queen’s. He enjoys reviewing and debating the merits and shortcomings of pedagogical theories in education.