Who is involved

LocalEd has a range of experienced and skilled colleagues leading the pilots and supporting the development of the project. You can find out more about the core team below:

  • Project lead: Jonathan Crossley-Holland, one of the authors of the original research on ‘Developing New Locality Models for English Schools.’
  • Pilot 3 lead: Dame Christine Gilbert, Adviser and formerly Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector at Ofsted (2006-2011)
  • Support for implementation and action research: Ben Bryant, Simon Day, and Simon Rea from the UK-based research and advisory company Isos Partnership.

There will be an independent external review of locality-working as demonstrated by the pilots, reporting after the end of the first year, and at the end of the project. This will be undertaken by the University of Nottingham, and led by Professor Toby Greany.

The LocalEd project is funded by the charity AEC Trust (Association of Education Committees). The charity’s board retains ultimate responsibility for the oversight of the project.

Read on for more information about the team below.

Jonathan Crossley-Holland

Jonathan is a former teacher, and was Director of Children’s Services for Sheffield for 12 years, for which he received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University. He subsequently became Director of Strategy for the Tribal group, and vice-chair of Minerva Learning Trust.

Since leaving Tribal, Jonathan has worked on the middle tier in education through consultancy and research. His most recent piece of research was conducted with Dr Susan Cousin on developing a new locality model for English schools. Funded by the AEC Trust and BELMAS, it drew on international best practice and views from leading figures from across the system.

Christine Gilbert CBE

Christine has been a teacher, a secondary headteacher and a director of education, first in Harrow and then Tower Hamlets, and a Chief Executive in two London boroughs. Between 2006 and 2011, she held the post of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector at Ofsted where she brought together three different inspectorates to create a new organisation.

A visiting professor at UCL Institute of Education, Christine is involved in a range of education projects. She is Independent Chair of Camden Learning, a school company and place-based partnership, and co-chairs the national Area-based Education Partnerships Association (AEPA). As Chair of the charity Future First, Christine is an advocate for establishing a thriving alumni community in every state school so young people can benefit from motivational role models.

Christine was recently made a Dame in recognition of her outstanding services to education over many years. She has also been appointed to the Chair of the Education Endowment Foundation, a role that she will be taking on from January 2024.

Simon Day headshot

Simon Day

Simon has led projects for Isos Partnership at a local, national and international level on a range of education issues including raising standards at primary and secondary level, increasing youth participation and engagement, re-designing early years provision and widening access to higher education. Simon has extensive experience of working with multi-academy trusts, schools-led partnerships, local authorities and regional school commissioners to develop and co-construct strategies for supporting schools and designing new models of partnership working.

Prior to founding Isos Partnership, Simon worked in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit leading work on secondary education and the London Challenge programme, as well as further and higher education. He has also worked in the Department of Education in a range of roles related to 14-19 education, school innovation and widening access to higher education.

Simon Rea headshot

Simon Rea

Simon is an experienced evaluator, researcher and adviser having led projects for national governments, local authorities, and other national organisations. Simon has extensive experience across school-based research and advisory work, national research projects with school partnerships and teaching school alliances and reviewing local authorities’ support for schools, including developing and evaluating local authority / schools strategic partnerships.

Simon has more than twenty-five years’ experience of public sector policy and delivery. Prior to founding Isos Partnership, he worked as a secondary school teacher in London, a local authority adviser in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and spent over ten years at senior levels in central government including five years leading the Education Team in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

Ben Byrant headshot

Ben Byrant

Ben has a track-record of carrying out significant research projects and fast-paced reviews, developing strategies and building capacity in the fields of special educational needs, support for vulnerable young people, education and children’s services.

Ben is an expert facilitator and has experience of facilitating high-profile summits, stakeholder consultations and strategy development events across the UK and internationally. Before joining Isos Partnership, Ben worked for the Department for Education, where he was one of the authors of the 2011 green paper on SEN and disability, and led reforms of the pupil premium and high-needs funding. Ben is a founder and trustee of Crossworld, a charity that uses football to empower young people from refugee backgrounds.