2015 Speaker Biographies

Hardeep Singh Kohli


Equally as comfortable in the kitchen as on the stage, Hardeep Singh Kohli is a Glaswegian entrepreneur , responsible for one of the most successful Indian restaurant chains in the city and an award winning stand-up comedian.


A Glasgow University law graduate, Hardeep knew his future lay in entertainment and he joined a BBC training scheme, moving to London to direct and produce kids TV.  Meet the Magoons for Channel 4’s Comedy Lab brought him a nomination for a Golden Rose at the Montreux Comedy Festival.


Hardeep has appeared on The One Show, Question Time, This Week with Andrew Neil and he has presented parts of Newsnight.  ‘Hardeep is your love’ is Hardeep’s  regular column in the Scotland On Sunday and he is a contributing editor at the Spectator Magazine.  Relishing the opportunity to mix TV with cooking, Hardeep adored his time on Celebrity MasterChef in which he reached the final.    

Source : Speakers Corner



Tim Rylands & Sarah Neild


Tim Rylands has been described as “an extremely gifted and inspirational teacher, with a love of the creative potential of technology and an excellent rapport with his pupils.” With 30 years of classroom experience, in the UK and beyond, including 4 years in West Africa, Tim is now much in demand around the world at conferences, presenting the results of his work in an inspiring, practical and often humorous way.


He has received notable recognition for using computer games and Web 2 technologies to inspire children’s creative confidence in many areas of the curriculum – writing, speaking and listening, music, thinking skills, collaboration, interaction and much more. Tim has received a vast amount of press coverage for his innovative use of ICT  and has featured on the BBC, “Teachers TV”, CNN, in The Times, The Guardian and many others.


Tim is a firm believer that ICT is about communication more than technology ….. and that it should be FUN!


Sarah Neild is an award winning teacher with experience of inspiring schools with many creative uses of ICT.  She was awarded Advanced Skills teacher status in 2003, being described as an “exceptional teacher….teaching of the highest calibre, particularly in her dynamic use of ICT.”  In 2004 Sarah was a finalist in Becta’s ICT in Practice Awards, where she was described as “an evangelist” in her use of ICT.


Sarah was chosen as a Beacon School Teacher in a North West primary, demonstrating lessons in the use of ICT across the curriculum and supporting colleagues in developing their ICT skills.   A part of her local authority’s “Hands on Support” team Sarah guided many schools in their development of ICT.

Since 2008 Sarah has worked alongside Tim Rylands, developing imaginative ways of using ICT to enhance learning in schools across the country and beyond.   



Camilla Batmanghelidjh


Camilla Batmanghelidjh is the founder and director of Kids Company, a charity which delivers practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. In her early twenties Camilla founded her first charity, The Place 2 Be, which now offers a national programme of emotional support and therapy in primary schools. Camilla followed this by setting up Kids Company drop-in centre in Camberwell.


In the last 13 years Camilla and her team have fundraised over £40 million for Kids Company. As an advocate for marginalised children she speaks regularly at national conferences and contributes articles to newspapers and professional publications. Her book,’ Shattered Lives : Children who live with Courage and Dignity’, was published in 2006 and has become a staple of the social work and psychotherapy training syllabuses. 

Source: Slater Baker



Tait Coles


To say that Tait Coles is a teacher is like calling The Clash a pop group.  A better description is that Tait, also Vice Principal in an inner-city academy and the man behind Punk Learning, is an impassioned educator on a mission to make learning real, relevant and right for young people from all sorts of backgrounds.

And in a way that means they don’t have to sell out their own roots and culture in the process.


At a time when children are increasingly reduced to so many numbers on an SLT spreadsheet, being groomed to be good consumers not citizens, Punk Learning is Tait’s way of ensuring that young people not only succeed in the classroom but do so as active, critical participants in the education process. This way they can go on to become involved and socially-aware members of the community. Then we might have a chance.

Source : Independent Thinking



Christopher Shaw


Christopher Shaw is an inspirational and engaging teacher of Tai Chi Qigong and King Fu. He provides training for a range of organisations, including in house Well being training for school staff , teaches seminars and holds classes and one to one sessions.    Christopher has worked with a number of Primary, Secondary and SEN schools with tailored programmes to suit the needs of the school or youth group. He creates a safe and disciplined environment in which children and young people can develop themselves, strengthen their bodies and increase their emotional balance.  


“We had such a great day with you. I got nothing but great feedback about your day. Staff are saying they are sleeping better. I can’t thank you enough.”  Headteacher, Watford.



Lizzy Lewis


After completing a Philosophy and English degree at York Lizzy taught in primary schools for 12 years and has practised Philosophy for Children (P4C) since 1994. She was awarded a Best Practice Research Scholarship for one year to research P4C in 2001, and for her Masters Degree in Education (Distinction) in 2006 she focused on P4C and children’s emotional development.


Lizzy began working for SAPERE in 2003 and now works part-time as Development Manager. In this role she has oversight of SAPERE development including training, communication, resources, membership and events.  Lizzy is a registered SAPERE Trainer and was an Associate Tutor of Oxford Brookes University (2005-9), where she trained teachers in P4C. Lizzy has twice served as a school governor, as a teacher and as a parent. 



Martin Shaw


Martin Smith is the Sport, Outdoor Learning and Adventure Services Manager for Nottingham City Council. Martin oversees a large team who support schools in the delivery of Sport and PE, PSHE and a Healthy Schools Programme, School Swimming, School Health and Safety and school transport. He is also the Outdoor Education Adviser for Nottingham, Leicester and the Greenwood Academy Trust and is responsible for the Adventure team in Nottingham.


At a national level Martin has been Chair of the Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel and he is currently Chair of the English Outdoor Council. Over ther last 30 years Martin has worked in a variety of educational settings within secondary schools, outdoor centres and the voluntary sector.



Marcus Pickover & Michael Pearse


Ashmead School is a large combined school serving a mixed community in Aylesbury.  Marcus and Michael are Co Head Teachers who have worked together for the past 10 years.  The curriculum and the impact of different learning environments have remained central to their work throughout; in recent years they have enjoyed sharing aspects of their work with schools across the South East.



David Blunkett


Labour party politician David Blunkett was born with a rare genetic condition that left him completely blind. From a deprived family in one of Sheffield’s poorest neighbourhoods, he beat the odds to become one of the UKs most popular and influential politicians. Leading the Sheffield City Council for 7 years before entering the Commons, David unified the Labour party in the 80s and 90s when he shadowed health and education.

After Labour’s election win, he was first in charge of education and employment. He thrived in this role and won big increases in funds for schools, while consistently insisting on improved standards of literacy and numeracy, by standing up to teaching unions.

Rising to become Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and eventually Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair's Cabinet, David was promoted to Home Secretary after the 2001 general election.

Source : Speakers Corner



Richard Gerver


 Richard is one of the most celebrated speakers in the world. His insights into change, leadership and education are unique thanks to his own extraordinary journey, which has seen him go from being a struggling actor, copywriter and estate agent, to becoming an award winning teacher and school principal, whose ground breaking work in education was celebrated by the British National Teaching awards and UNESCO amongst others.


In 2011 Richard was awarded the title of Business Speaker of the Year and has written two critically acclaimed best-selling books: Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today (Bloomsbury) and Change; Learn to Love it, Learn to Lead it (Portfolio Penguin).   He has advised Governments and major corporations globally and has worked with organisations as diverse as Google, UK Sport, Puig, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Harrods, the LMA, Telefonica and The IBO.   Richard is a regular media commentator who is often seen or heard on the BBC and often works as a writer in the print media.


 Whatever sector Richard works in, his principles remain the same: Organisations need to remember that systems and structures change nothing, people do and that to ensure that we get the best from those we work with, lead and serve, we must be committed to developing the communication, understanding and actions that lead to a culture of empowerment resulting in a long term demonstrable impact.

Source : Speakers for Business

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