The Judges

  • Chris Walker

    Chris Walker

    Managing Editor, Live Network, Reach plc

    Chris is Managing Editor, Live Network, Reach PLC. He started his journalistic career as a junior reporter on the Bradford Telegraph & Argus in 1974. During his reporting career, he covered many regional, national and international stories, including the first murder, arrest, trial and appeal of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, the attempted assassination of the Pope, the miners’ strike and six general elections. He has been a primary school governor since 1998, he was vice-chair for about 12 years and has been chair for about five years as well as chair of the curriculum committee for more than eight.

  • Lesley Martin-Wright

    Chief Executive Knowsley Chamber of Commerce

    Lesley plays an important strategic role both in Knowsley and the Liverpool City Region. The Chamber supports and advises companies and organisations including sole traders, SMEs and large business to invest, develop and grow so that they become more commercially successful. The Chamber delivers the Working Well programme which is aimed at improving workplace health and wellbeing. This Autumn sees the launch of the Knowsley Youth Chamber which is aimed at Primary and Secondary schools in Knowsley, helping to raise awareness of the exciting career paths and roles available to young people in the borough, plus supporting those who wish to start their own business.

  • Cllr Gary Millar

    Gary Millar

    Liverpool’s Entrepreneur-in Residence and Pay it Forward Champion

    Gary Millar’s time as Lord Mayor of Liverpool and former Deputy Mayor meant  he had the opportunity to meet many amazing schools throughout Merseyside, and hopes to continue celebrating their achievements by being part of the judging panel. Now semi-retired he funds and supports those with neurodiversity (with the ADHD Foundation) and those leaving care and care experienced (with the Cornerstones Foundation). In addition, he continues to “pay it forward” by leading a team of volunteers offering their time free of charge helping aspiring entrepreneurs and growing enterprises. He always looks forward to the entries which involve well-being, career aspiration, community engagement and student enterprise.

  • The Education Team

    The Everyman and Playhouse Theatre

    The Everyman and Playhouse have been key features of Liverpool’s arts landscape for decades and together form one of the city’s most well-known creative hubs. The theatres’ dedicated Education Team works tirelessly to provide exciting and innovative programmes for students in primary schools right up to university. It aims to encourage a passion for the arts whilst providing resources for classrooms, support for teachers and opportunities to gain new skills, explore ideas, and raise artistic aspirations.

  • Michelle Dow

    Michelle Dow

    Managing Director of All About STEM

    Starting her career as an apprentice gas service engineer, Michelle quickly moved up the ranks in to management and found her passion for establishing links between industry and education. Fast forward a few years and All About STEM was born out of the need to take action to provide a translation and engagement service between industry & education that is honest, effective & innovative.
    All About STEM works across Merseyside, Cheshire and Warrington to bring exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics projects to life. Described as the ‘hidden wiring in the system’, it works hard to build and maintain relationships with schools, businesses, industry, colleges and universities so that it can strategically match-make opportunities with need.

  • James Tartt

    James Tartt

    Former Elite Athlete and Director at Group D Developments

    A former elite athlete, James Tartt, was one of Merseyside’s top middle distance runners for many years. Making several appearances at the British Championships – including the London 2012 Olympic Trials and Moscow 2013 World Championships trials, narrowly missing out on a place in the finals. James is now a director of Group D Architects and Group D Developments which specialise in residential and commercial developments. He still competes to a high level and is regularly seen on the athletics circuit, still chasing PBs over the longer distances. James balances his time competing, alongside running his two businesses.

  • Sue Cronin

    Sue Cronin

    Head of Teacher Education, Liverpool Hope University

    Sue is PGCE Coordinator and has a background of secondary mathematics teaching in a variety of Liverpool schools before joining the Liverpool advisory team as the Gifted and Talented coordinator. Sue has taught on a variety of undergraduate modules and worked with Teaching Assistants on Foundation degree courses. Presently Sue is working on PGCE, Masters mathematics education modules and CPD projects such as MaST (Primary Mathematics specialist teachers) and SKE course for non-specialist mathematics teachers.

  • Tim Lane

    Tim Lane

    Senior Lecturer in Geography and Programme Leader for Climate Change, Liverpool John Moores University

    Tim Lane brings with him a wealth of knowledge and will be able to judge entries that relate to the environment and climate change based on his own experiences and expertise. During his career, Tim has conducted research that focuses on reconstructing the behaviour of glaciers and ice sheets across the Arctic. Tim believes it is both positive and exciting to see the number of young people who are engaged with the issues surrounding climate change.

  • Claire Caddick

    Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Careers Hub, Operational Hub Lead

    Claire is motivated and experienced in managing programme’s and provision’s that support young people into employment, education and training.

    Claire has worked extensively within the third sector and specialises in employment routeways and removing barriers for young people who are NEET, identify as having additional needs and disabilities, have been excluded from education and also young people facing homelessness.

    Claire has been involved is creating and delivering many innovative employability programme’s in the Liverpool City Region, North West and also in South Asia by partnering with both large international employers and smaller SME’s to broker opportunities to improve the lives of young people and their families.

    Within the Liverpool City Region Careers Hub Claire manages our SEND provision. Claire uses her experience within SEND and her background as a careers leader in a Liverpool special school to be able to provide support, guidance and opportunities for our specials schools, PRU’s and alternative providers.

  • Gill Walsh

    Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Careers Hub, Strategic Careers Hub Lead

    Gill is a highly strategic and experienced Leader with over 20 years experience in delivering national and local projects across Business and Education Sectors.

    As Strategic Careers Hub Lead, of Liverpool City Region Careers Hub, Gill is responsible for delivering The Careers & Enterprise Company careers education to ensure that every young person finds their best next step.

    Gill is passionate about ensuring that young people have the confidence, skills and inspiration to understand their pathways to their future careers by linking key industry sectors with school/colleges to develop strong local links. Collaboration and innovation are brought together to create a world-class careers education system to develop every young person.

  • James McGinn

    Partnership Manager, LSSP

    James’s vast expertise enables him to support the development of both school and community sport-based programmes including setting up the LSSP Foundation. He has over 15 years’ experience successfully managing and co-ordinating sport and community development programmes. He has a BSc (Hons) in Health and Physical Recreation and an MSc in Applied Public Health. He has led some of the most successful development programmes in Liverpool, from ‘SportLinx’ to Extended Services through Schools Support Officer, Liverpool FC Foundation and of course LSSP. James has also managed the Sport England funded ‘Active Woman’ and latterly ‘This Girl Can’ projects across Liverpool. He is a guest lecturer at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine delivering talks on the Role of Activators in Developing Positive Behaviour Change and has done similar speaking engagements at sport conferences and is a contributor to Youth Sport Trust’s ‘Boys Matter’ agenda. Away from work James runs a local taekwondo club, and has trained national, European and World Champions. He has also had great personal success as an international fighter for team England (TAGB), as European and World Champion twice over

  • Adella Dando

    Partnership Manager, LSSP

    Adella has a BSc Hons in Sport Studies and Business Management, as well as over 21 years’ experience working in local authority and subsequently education sports development. She has successfully managed the South Liverpool School Sport Partnership (LSSP) for over 16 years. She is passionate about the power of high-quality PE, sport & physical activity, and the importance it can play on not just young people’s physical development but in also empowering them to develop essential social, emotional and life skills such as resilience to help them cope with the highs & lows of life. Over the last 10 years Adella has strategically implemented the transition from being a nationally government funded School Sport Partnership to a successful not for profit traded service. LSSP’s mission statement is ‘developing healthy, happy and active children’ and to fulfil this, Adella leads a competition and events team as well as a team of a highly skilled primary PE, dance and gymnastic specialists.

  • Jacqueline Bebbington

    Jacqueline Bebbington

    Director, SENDSCOPE

    Jacqueline is a highly skilled and experienced teacher with a passion for education, the science of learning and improving classroom practice. Qualifying in 2006, she spent ten years teaching primary aged children and during this time developed a broad range of expertise from Early Learning through to Year 6. Following this, Jacqueline moved to secondary education to support young people with SEND and not secondary ready cohorts. Jacqueline then became part of the SEND leadership team with a focus on teaching and learning, emotional regulation, and wellbeing. Qualified in ‘Instructional Coaching’, Jacqueline has successfully improved classroom practice by supporting colleagues with lesson structure, strategic planning and making the necessary reasonable adjustments required to raise attainment for all in an inclusive classroom. As a Mental Health First Aider, Jacqueline is an advocate for ensuring that the needs of all young people are met within their learning environment. Now a Director of SENDSCOPE Ltd, Jacqueline provides teachers and school leaders with CPD and effective teaching and learning strategies for pupils with SEND and promotes ‘Good teaching for SEND is good teaching for all’.

  • Natalie Walsh

    Natalie Walsh

    Director, SENDSCOPE

    Natalie is a highly skilled and experienced teacher and SENDCo with a passion for the inclusion of neurodiverse young people. Qualifying in 2006 she spent seven years teaching primary aged children, with a proven track record in Upper KS2.

    Natalie then spent the next eight years in secondary education and set up a thriving Nurture Hub. She has successfully supported many neurodiverse young people across Merseyside in coproduction with families, Local Authorities and professional partners. As an assessor in JCQ Access Arrangements, Natalie is familiar with the numerous barriers to learning involved in individuals with learning needs and her robust knowledge of SEND and the law has resulted in young people succeeding in mainstream or transitioning to a specialist provision that effectively meets their needs. Natalie is passionate about driving forward standards for young people, raising attainment and improving outcomes. Now a Director of SENDSCOPE Ltd, Natalie provides diagnostic and advisory services to schools on the strategic and operational management of SEND, recommending solutions to the challenges faced across SEND within available resources.

  • Dr. Penny Ding

    Dr. Penny Ding

    Senior Lecturer of Chinese Studies and the UK Deputy Director, the Confucius Institute at the University of Liverpool

    Dr. Penny Ding is Senior Lecturer of Chinese Studies and the UK Deputy Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Liverpool. Her journey in academia took her from a BA in English Language and Literature to a Masters in English Linguistics in China, culminating in a PhD under the esteemed Professor Zoltán Dörnyei at the University of Nottingham, UK.

    At the heart of Penny’s work is her passion for bridging cultures. Through her leadership at the Confucius Institute, she spearheads academic programmes and orchestrates vibrant cultural events, such as the annual Liverpool Chinese New Year Gala for young people —a celebration that has become a cornerstone event in the city.

    Penny’s dedication to education shines through in her innovative approach to teaching and curriculum design in Applied Linguistics. Her research, particularly in second language acquisition and multilingualism, has a tangible impact, enhancing the language learning experiences of students.

    Penny’s role on the Liverpool City Region Race Equality Board underscores her dedication to advancing inclusivity and community harmony.

  • Educate Awards announce Lianne Bradford as judge for 2024

    Lianne Bradford

    Education Manager, Burnley FC in the Community

    Lianne is an education manager at Burnley FC in the Community, overseeing the Premier League Primary Stars programme across various schools in Burnley and the surrounding area. She is extremely passionate about education and making a positive impact on the lives of children and young people. Lianne is dedicated to creating inspiring pathways to numerous opportunities for them and breaking down any barriers that may hinder their access to education.

    With an extensive background in education, Lianne has over 20 years of experience in a variety of educational settings. She has taught children from Reception to Year 6 and served as an FE and HE Lecturer, teaching Early Years and Childhood Studies, as well as on the Teaching degree pathway.

    Currently, Lianne is focusing on spearheading new initiatives at Burnley FC in the Community to further engage and inspire children. Her goal is to introduce STEM education to primary schools throughout Burnley, starting children on the STEM journey from a young age.