Estelle Morris, as Chair of the Oldham Education and Skills Commission (OESC), was supported by a wider group of commissioners representing local headteachers and education institutions, plus external advisors to give insight into the issues being put under the microscope.


Estelle Morris – Baroness Morris of Yardley

Estelle Morris started her career in education as a teacher in an inner city comprehensive school where she taught for eighteen years. In 1992 she entered Parliament as MP for Birmingham and in 2001 she became the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. She followed this with two years as a Minister at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and left Parliament in 2005.

Since then she has combined a career that includes senior posts both in education and the arts as well as being a member of the House of Lords. She now works at the Institute of Effective Education at the University of York which aims to transform the relationship between education research and practice so that policy making and teaching can become more evidence-based.

The six local commissioners were:

Anne Redmond

The Kingfisher Special School

Anne Redmond has worked in special education for 28 years. She became Headteacher of the Kingfisher Community Special School in January 2005, Oldham’s primary provision for children with complex and severe learning needs. Under Anne’s leadership the school has gained two Outstanding Ofsted judgments.
Kingfisher is a National Teaching School and Anne is a National Leader of Education; she is currently leading the strategic developments of the Oldham Schools Alliance. Anne is passionate about raising standards and enhancing achievements for all. She has a commitment to personal leadership discovery and developing and preparing leaders for the future.

Lisa Needham

Roundthorn and Coppice Academies

Lisa Needham born and educated in Oldham has worked for 30 years in Oldham as a teacher and now as Executive Principal of Roundthorn and Coppice Academies, which are part of Focus Trust. Under Lisa’s leadership Roundthorn Academy was judged outstanding in 2011 by Ofsted and Coppice Academy was judged good in 2015 by Ofsted.

Lisa is a Local Leader of Education and currently chair of Oldham School Alliance. She also chairs strategic work-hubs focusing on transition and the Oldham curriculum offer.

Julie Hollis

The Blue Coat school

Julie Hollis has been Headteacher at The Blue Coat Church of England School Oldham since 2002. Blue Coat converted to academy status in 2011. The school was judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2008, and ‘outstanding’ in every category in 2011-12. She is a National Leader of Education and a School Improvement Partner/ Professional. Blue Coat is the lead school of The Northern Alliance (, a Teaching School Alliance including schools in Oldham, Rochdale, Kirklees, Stockport and Bolton. She was Chair of Oldham Secondary Heads and Principals from January, 2008 – August, 2011.

Alun Francis

Principal & Chief Executive, Oldham College

Alun is the Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College appointed in 2010. Prior to his position at Oldham College, Alun was Director of Transforming Learning, leading Oldham Council’s Building Schools for the Future Programme from 2007-2010. He initially pursued an academic career, teaching social sciences, politics and history, specialising in British urban and industrial decline. When Alun changed career in 1996 to start work in the public sector he became involved in a variety of urban regeneration schemes in Manchester. These included the regeneration of East Manchester, focusing on skills, education, youth and crime. He subsequently worked on a variety of city region projects in Greater Manchester including the setting up of the Connexions service in the sub-region and a variety of projects around youth employment, crime, and NEET reduction. After this, Alun worked at a senior level in Children’s Services at Stockport Council, before moving to Oldham in 2007.

Jayne Clarke

Oldham Sixth Form College

Jayne Clarke is Principal at Oldham Sixth Form College. She has worked in Oldham for over 12 years and was formerly the college’s Deputy Principal. Originally a teacher of A level Psychology, Jayne has worked in the sixth form college sector throughout her career. Locally, she has Chaired the Oldham Association of Secondary Heads and Principals (OASHP) and a member of the Oldham Learning Co-operative Partnership (OLCP). She is also a Board member of several local school Trusts/Governing Bodies. At a national level, she chairs the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association Funding Policy Committee.

Cllr Amanda Chadderton

Cabinet Member for Education & Safeguarding

Amanda Chadderton was first elected as a Ward Member to Oldham Council in May 2012. She was then appointed Assistant Cabinet Member with a remit for campaigns, overseeing the return of the Oldham Bonfire after a ten-year absence, plus campaigns promoting access to Fare Credit and cheaper bus fares.

In February 2013, Amanda jointly won the LGiU Young Councillor of the Year Award. In May 2013 she was promoted to Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills and launched the ‘Get Oldham Working’ (GOW) campaign in response to high unemployment and youth unemployment rates in the borough. GOW is on target to create 2,015 job opportunities by 2015 and a new Oldham Youth Guarantee – pledging a job, college place or apprenticeship for every school-leaver – will be in place from September 2015.

Unemployment/youth unemployment rates in Oldham have seen the largest decreases in Greater Manchester since the launch of GOW. In May 2014 Amanda became Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding and has played a key role in the Oldham Education and Skills Commission, including chairing the ‘Levering in the Co-operative Contribution’ task group.

External input came from:

Munira Mirza

Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, London

Munira Mirza is London’s Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture. Originally from Oldham, she has worked for a range of cultural and charitable organisations including the Royal Society of Arts, the independent think tank Policy Exchange and Tate. In 2009 she completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Kent. She has written extensively about cultural and social policy in the UK. Munira is a member of Arts Council England, London Regional Council; the Royal College of Music Council and the boards of the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Cultural Olympiad.


Mumtaz Bashir DL

MD, Women International Collaborate

Mumtaz Bashir is Managing Director of Women International Collaborate Co.Ltd. She was born, brought up and educated in Manchester, and graduated from MMU as an engineer. Mumtaz was seconded in 2005 to lead the development of the pre-volunteer programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, having previously created the blueprint pre-volunteer programming for the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. The programme gained United Nations Recognition for Social Inclusion and will be used in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Prior to her role at the Commonwealth Games she was General Manager of Business Link Manchester, providing in-depth business and enterprise support to SMEs across Greater Manchester. She is a member of the National Policy Forum for Women’s Enterprise and a founder member of the Asian Business Network.

Professor Helen Gunter

University of Manchester

Helen Gunter is Professor of Education and Sarah Fielden Professor of Education in The Manchester Institute of Education, University of Manchester, UK. Her research, teaching and supervision interests are located in education policy, particularly knowledge production and educational leadership.


Christine Jarvis

Dean of Education & Professional Development, University of Huddersfield

Professor Christine Jarvis is Dean of Education and Professional Development at the University of Huddersfield. Prior to this she was Head of Education and Humanities at Sheffield Hallam University. Her professional background is in adult, further and community education. In 2010 she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the HEA for her work on widening participation and curriculum innovation. Her research focuses primarily on the use of the arts, particularly the narrative arts in teaching. She has had roles on a number of local and national bodies, including Kirklees Children’s Trust, the Dewsbury Learning Trust (which she chairs ) and the Education and Training Foundation’s Expert Panel on Workforce Development and Professional Standards.

Professor David Woods

Education Consultant

David Woods has been a teacher and senior leader in schools, a teacher trainer and a local authority adviser in two LAs. He was the Chief Education Adviser for the City of Birmingham before joining the Department for Education as a Senior Education Adviser working closely with Ministers to develop educational policy and subsequently becoming Head of the Department’s Advisory Service. He joined the London Challenge programme from the beginning as the Lead Adviser and became the Principal Adviser for the City Challenge and the National Challenge and then Chief Adviser for London Schools and the London Challenge. He has written and spoken extensively on school improvement and his latest book, co-authored with Tim Brighouse, published in April, 2013 is ‘The A- Z of School Improvement’. Currently he is an Education Consultant working with schools, local authorities and Academy chains as well as being a Visiting Professor at Warwick University and a Professorial Fellow at the London Institute of Education. He is also the Chair of the London Leadership Strategy (successor body to London Challenge) and the Chair of the Essex Excellence Board and the Norfolk Education Challenge Board as well as being a member of OfSTED’s expert panel.

Professor Mick Waters

University of Wolverhampton

Professor Mick Waters works with the schools in the West Midlands in raising standards. This work began as part of the Black Country Challenge and has continued through the University of Wolverhampton’s involvement with the development of Academies and Teaching Schools. He works with schools in other parts of the country on innovative approaches to learning and on several other initiatives to push the boundaries for making learning better. Mick is an Honorary Fellow of the College of Teachers, a patron of the Children’s University, a patron of the Values Trust, a patron of the Curriculum Foundation, and supports the National Association for Environmental Education as a vice president and is vice president of CoEd which promotes compassionate education.