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Message from the President

It is with much pride and excitement that I write to introduce our new team of Trustees and supporting Associate Trustees. As was widely publicised, we made the decision to implement a very detailed selection process to attract additional officers from a wide spectrum of society, each with a diverse set of skills and personalities.

The efforts of this team have already borne fruit with the construction and wide circulation of our response to the Education Select Committee report; the numerous responses from you, our members and local authorities in respect of our quality mark initiative (the Kit Award); the increasing collaborative discussions with private and public sector organisations, to name but a few.

For the first time, within the next three months, we will have our first formal development plan and will endeavour to continue the increase in membership experienced over the past year.

I am personally excited by where our charity will be within the next few years, in both membership number and influence, by the increasing realisation and acceptance across society that home education is different and equal.

Dr Fe Mukwamba-Sendall

Trustee summary background

Catherine Boardman (Finance)

As a management accountant Catherine brings to the charity the skills and competencies that will ensure that Education Otherwise continues to be financially sound. Although not herself home educated, her understanding of the importance of the appropriateness of education for the individuals has resulted in her home educating her daughter. Catherine enjoys horse-riding, visiting air-shows, sailing and exploring new places.

Wendy Charles-Warner (Co-chair)

A qualified non-practising psychologist and lawyer (retired), Wendy has developed a plethora of diverse skills and expertise that range from legal through to elective home education, research and consultancy. She has home educated her children and grand-children and spends much of her time supporting and providing advice to children, parents and different organisations, including local and national government bodies.

Dr Fe Mukwamba-Sendall (President)

Fe discovered Education Otherwise when home educating her now adult children. Having initially volunteered as a local contact c2000 she has a long and rich background working within the charity. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Research from Lancaster University: which considered the effect of local authority administration, perception, and practice on national home-education policy implementation. She is a registered independent social worker, and currently teaches on Lancaster’s Criminology programme. Her passions include not only home education, but genealogical research, coffee, sci-fi (especially Star Trek) and crime mysteries.

Dr Ambroz Neil (Co-chair)

Ambroz is a professional chemical engineer with a varied corporate back that spans engineering, consulting, commerce and education supporting public and private sector organisations. Although he has not home educated in the basic sense, he has had more than a hands-on involvement in the education of his son. In addition, over many years Dr Neil has and continues to mentor and tutor a wide spectrum of children and young adults.

Nektaria Papanicola (Membership – management)

Nektaria has over 22 years’ experience as an English teacher, teaching also in Canada and Greece. In addition to teaching, she works as an assistant examiner with various major UK and international examination boards. She has tutored for the past seven years, supporting students in the UK, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore, covering all ages and abilities. Nektaria has balanced home educating her children recently with their attendance at school in previous years. This wealth of education and teaching experience combined with her understanding of EHE will add significant value.

Gabriella Rook (News-watch)

A young adult who has been home educated for seven years. She has been involved in several research projects regarding home education, including the Children’s Commissioner’s recent consultation in respect of home education. She has also campaigned for the rights of home educators by submitting written evidence to the House of Lords, the Education Select Committee, and her local authority. She was shortlisted for the BBC Young Reporter of the Year 2019 and did a piece for them during the first lockdown. A talented artist and designer, she plans to further her studies by doing a foundation diploma before applying to University. Gabriella brings to the charity youth, energy, and the voice of the young home educated. She is a keen tennis player, enjoys cooking and baking, and is passionate about Astronomy.

Rebecca Silverwood (Membership – development)

A marketeer by profession, Rebecca has a strong background in marketing within and across education. Her depth and breadth of experience in this regard will add real value to how the charity continues to define its raison d’etre and develop services that the membership really wants and therefore will value. At present Rebecca balances having one child in school and a second home educated.

Helena Wilson (Membership – services)

A qualified Paediatric Physiotherapist, Helena has home educated her eight children for many years, nurturing their individual interests and talents in classical music, the pipe organ, and various sports. She is therefore aptly suited to provide support and advice to families who decide to home educate. Living on a farm, she grows her own vegetables and keeps chickens. In her spare time she enjoys long walks, keeping up-to-date with her profession and renovating antique furniture.

Kate Woodley (Initiatives and research)

Kate is an artist who home educated her three children, at each stage of their growth instilling in them the holistic benefits of creativity. In addition to her work with Education Otherwise, she volunteers for Welsh Women’s Aid and is studying a distance learning masters in psychology on her way to becoming a practicing psychologist. Kate is also the University student representative for her cohort, loves being in nature, enjoys painting, cycling and going to the gym.

John Yates (IT)

John is home educated. After college he completed his university degree in maths with a minor in physics. Dedicated to the belief that children should be educated according to their needs, John is a prolific home educator supporting individual children as well as advising parents. He is a keen golfer, lawn bowler, dog lover and foodie! He also loves to learn new things and is currently teaching himself coding for web development.

Trustee associate summary background

Caroline Leitch

A midwife by profession, Caroline has home educated her children over many years and is therefore very experienced in what it means to home educate in the fullest sense of the term. Caroline is determined to bring this depth of first-hand experience to the benefit of the membership. When not supporting her children or other parents who have elected to home educate Caroline spends time campaigning for improvement in maternity services, she is passionate about promoting equality, choice and supporting and advocating for maternity service users. She also runs a Vitamin B12 & Pernicious Anaemia support group, raising awareness and assisting people secure adequate treatment. In her free time, Caroline enjoys reading, knitting and is an avid dog lover.

Dr Ruth March

Dr March has a strong corporate background that builds naturally from an equally strong academic foundation in immunology and genetics. With personal experience on the need to match the type and nature of education to the individual, Ruth will champion the cause of lifelong education for the organisation and bring additional professional insights that will help to further position it as a leading Charity.

Amie Miles

Amie was home educated as a child and has one child that went to school and a second that is being home educated. As a result she brings not only first-hand knowledge but wider experience to Education Otherwise. She has a particular interest in challenging discrimination. Amie is a great believer in learning and applies this to herself having an eclectic range of qualifications from childcare and animal care, through to accounting and coding. She is a phenomenally capable data researcher and has campaigned to support home education for several years. In her spare time Amie loves gardening
Cheryl Nicholls

A strong advocate of home education when it is best for the child, Cheryl spends her time home educating her child and supporting families who have made the same decision. Her extensive experience reviewing reports for home educating families and enthusiasm when it comes to championing home education where it is best for the child, makes Cheryl a valuable addition to Education Otherwise.

Merlyn Wright

Merlyn has a strong technical background, in engineering and mathematics, and has also worked extensively overseas. She has added to this basket of skills and experiences through her time teaching at schools and now as a private mathematics tutor. This shift in career was coupled with her decision to home educate. Merlyn believes that it is important that parents have the confidence to choose how best their children should be educated.