21st March 2024

EPI announces new Advisory Board

EPI is delighted to introduce our new Advisory Board.

The Advisory Board will bring together individuals with a breadth of expertise and experience from across the education sector, who will provide advice and support to EPI over the next three years.   

The following members have been appointed to serve on the Advisory Board:  

  • David Bartram OBE 
  • Cllr Anntoinette Bramble 
  • Audrey Brown CBE 
  • Sir Jon Coles 
  • Professor Leon Feinstein 
  • Professor Alissa Goodman 
  • Julian Grenier CBE 
  • Verity Hancock  
  • Russell Hobby CBE  
  • Professor Lindsey Macmillan 
  • Professor Sandra McNally  
  • Rt Hon Lord David Willetts

The Advisory Board will be chaired by Sir Jon Coles. 

Biographies for each of the Advisory Board members can be found below and a full list of the members of EPI’s Advisory Board can be found here.  



Julian Grenier CBE 

Julian Grenier is one of His Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI) and is Early Education Lead at Ofsted.  

Previously, he was the director of East London Research School (funded by the EEF) and headteacher of Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Newham, East London.  

Julian is a member of the editorial board of Impact, the journal of the Chartered College of Teaching. He is a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Mobilise, an innovative project from PEDAL at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, and a trustee of the charity Thrive at Five. He served as a member of the Early Education route panel at the Institute for Apprenticeships until 2023.  

Julian was a National Leader in Education and was awarded a CBE for services to early years education in 2022.  

Sir Jon Coles  

Sir Jon Coles is Chair of the EPI Advisory Board. Jon is Chief Executive of United Learning, a group of over 100 academies and independent schools established 130 years ago. 

Jon spent 15 years at the Department for Education and its predecessors, the last four on its Board as Director General for Schools and for Education Standards. He was previously Director of 14-19, leading work to increase participation and attainment in education and training post-16; and Director of London Challenge, developing and implementing the much-copied strategy to improve schools in London. 

Jon is Honorary President of Challenge Partners, a charity he co-founded and whose Board he chaired for 10 years, and is a Council Member of King’s College, London. He was knighted in 2019 for services to education. 

David Bartram OBE  

A teaching assistant, history teacher and senior leader, David led special educational needs and disability provision (SEND) in London schools for over 15 years. He was a member of the Department for Education’s SEND Review steering group and an expert advisor to the Timpson Review on school exclusions. David has worked directly with over seven hundred school leadership teams across the UK to improve their SEND provision.  

David is author of the SEND Review Guide, a national framework funded by the DfE. In 2018 he edited Great Expectations, Leading an Effective SEND Strategy in School, published by John Catt Educational. He was Director of SEND at the London Leadership Strategy and an advisor to the Mayor of London’s education team. As part of his international work he has supported the development of Inclusion policy in a number of countries including Ethiopia, Seychelles, Thailand and Malaysia.  David is a trustee of the KPMG Foundation, which seeks to bring about systemic change in business and society and unlock the potential of the most disadvantaged children in the UK.  

David was awarded an OBE for Services to Special Education in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.  

Verity Hancock  

Verity grew up in Hertfordshire and went to a local comprehensive.  On gaining a law degree from Oxford University in 1988 she pursued a career in Further Education, beginning with roles at the City and Guilds of London Institute and with Training and Enterprise Councils in the capital. On the creation of the Learning and Skills Council in 2001 she moved into senior management, holding a number of positions including Regional Director for the East Midlands and National Director of Funding, Planning and Performance.    

Most recently a senior civil servant with the Skills Funding Agency in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Verity was appointed Principal and Chief Executive of Leicester College in January 2013.  She is a Board Member of the Office for Students, a Director of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), a trustee of the National Space Centre and of the Skills and Education Group, based in Nottingham. She has chaired the Student Loans Company’s Advanced Learning Loans Stakeholder Group for several years.   

Verity lives in South Leicestershire with her son.   

Professor Alissa Goodman  

Alissa is a Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at University College London.  

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble  

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble has been a local councillor since 2010, and is currently the Statutory Deputy Mayor of Hackney and Cabinet for Education, Children’s Services and Young People. Anntoinette’s portfolio includes: ethical governance and democratic services, schools, Young Futures Commission and the Youth Parliament. Cllr Bramble leads on policy development, campaigning, and setting priorities for Hackney Council on these policy areas. 

Anntoinette also chairs Hackneyʼs Corporate Parenting Board and was previously the Chair of LGA Children and Young People Board. Cllr Bramble is also the Deputy Leader of the LGA Labour Group where she regularly advocates for local government on a wide range of issues at a national, and local level. 

Audrey Brown CBE  

Audrey Brown was formerly Deputy Director at the Department for Education with overall responsibility for providing analysis and research for the development of policy for schools. She managed a team of statisticians, operational researchers, social researchers and economists and worked closely with policy advisers to promote evidence-based policy development.  

Audrey also served a four-year term as a council member of the Royal Statistical Society and later as chair of the Economic and Social Data Service. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2007.  

During her career, Audrey has also been responsible for publishing statistics on further and higher education, and education finance, and she worked for a time at the former Further Education Funding Council.  Before moving into education Audrey worked with social statistics, managing the ONS Longitudinal Study and working on household composition, fertility and the Census. She also had a spell at Eurostat. 

Professor Leon Feinstein  

Leon Feinstein is Professor of Education and Children’s Social Care at the University of Oxford where he is undertaking work on the measurement of vulnerability, need and risk of children and working with local and national agencies to improve use of data to improve children’s lives, experiences and outcomes. 

Leon was Director of Evidence at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner from 2016-2019. From 2013 to 2016 Leon was Director of Evidence at the Early Intervention Foundation, an independent charity and “What Works” centre, working to evaluate the impact of early intervention. From 2008 to 2013 Leon was a civil servant, working in the Treasury and the Cabinet Office on policy implementation and performance policy. 

Before joining the civil service Leon was Professor of Education and Social Policy at the Institute of Education. In this period Leon’s academic research concerned the intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage in terms of social structure, education and income. 

Leon is visiting professor of practice at the LSE’s Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion and visiting professor at the Rudd Centre at the University of Sussex. 

Russell Hobby CBE  

Russell joined Teach First as CEO in September 2017, building on more than 15 years developing and promoting leadership in schools. 

Prior to joining Teach First, Russell was General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and before that worked as a management consultant, helping found Hay Group’s education practice. 

Russell serves as a trustee of Fair Education Alliance and Teach for All UK Charity Board, along with being a member of the Education Committee at the Royal Society. In 2023 he joined the Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a Non-Executive Director. 

Russell was awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours List 2022 and was presented with the honorary title of Doctor of Education from Bath Spa University in 2023. 

Professor Lindsey Macmillan  

Lindsey Macmillan is a Professor of Economics and the Founding Director of the UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO), creating new research to inform evidence-led education policy and wider practice to equalise opportunities across the life course. She is also a Research Fellow in the Education and Skills sector at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at London School of Economics. Lindsey is Treasurer of the Scottish Economic Society Council, and Co-Editor of Education Economics. After completing her PhD at the Department of Economics, University of Bristol, Lindsey spent a year at Harvard Kennedy School as a post-doc, before joining IOE as a lecturer in 2012. 

Lindsey’s research considers the role of early skills, education, and labour market experience in the transmission of incomes and work across generations. She has written on topics relating to educational inequalities, including the impact of selective schooling systems on social mobility, understanding the improved performance of London pupils, and the characteristics and outcomes of those who undermatch in higher education. Lindsey also has a keen interest in the role of family background in access into and progression within occupations. She has published widely in leading journals in Economics, including Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Human Resources, and the Economic Journal; in Sociology, including Social Forces; and in Statistics, including the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. 

Sandra McNally  

Sandra McNally is a Professor of Economics at the University of Surrey. She is Director of the Centre for Vocational Education Research at the London School of Economics and is also Director of the Education and Skills Programme at the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics. Her research interests include economic evaluation of government policies in schools and further education and labour market returns to education and training. She is a co-editor of the Economics of Education Review.   

Rt Hon. Lord David Willetts  

The Rt Hon Lord Willetts FRS is the President of the Resolution Foundation and Chair of the UK Space Agency. He is a member of the Board of Darktrace plc and is Chair of Innovate Cambridge. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the No. 10 Policy Unit. His book “A University Education” is published by Oxford University Press. A second edition of his book “The Pinch” on fairness between the generations was published in 2019.