The Board of Management

Philip Blackburn
(Board member since May 2018)

Phil has been a Naace member for 25 years, and recently stepped up to join the Board of Management. Phil’s support has long underpinned all that Naace has sought to achieve, and his development into one of the most sagacious members on the Board is to the credit of the association.
Having spent nearly 20 years working in a local authority capacity, Phil has a perceptive knowledge of the support that can really make a difference to schools. He has championed a pragmatic approach to edtech progress throughout his career, and continues to do so for Naace.
Phil has also been instrumental in helping Naace to sharpen the effectiveness of the Self Review Framework and NaaceMark Award – his belief in the potential of Naace to help schools is truly admirable.
Often the first to bring new ideas and strategies to the table, Phil’s position on the Board helps to drive the association forwards every day.

Laurence Boulter
Vice Chair
(Board member since Jun 2018)

Laurence began his career by training as an art teacher, but never quite got around to teaching the subject in the 35 years he spent as an educator! Coupling his lengthy teaching tenure with 20 years of experience in school leadership roles, Laurence joins the Naace Board of Management well-versed in the practitioner’s perspective on education.
In the latter half of his career, Laurence has driven himself to become a specialist in ICT and computing, and is able to directly support schools with their IT strategies. Laurence’s teaching background has left him keenly aware of the benefits technology can bring, both in terms of student engagement and in reducing teacher workload.
Committed to keeping his finger on the pulse when it comes to education and edtech, Laurence regularly publishes articles on contemporary issues and trends in the sector.
As a member of the Board, Laurence regularly weighs in with his experience as a practitioner, and is incredibly good at keeping grounded a group often prone to pontificating.

Ji Li
Vice Chair
(Board member since April 2017)

Ji joins the Naace Board of Management with a tremendous track record for edtech entrepreneurship. Ji has experience in communicating edtech to individuals and organisations throughout the education sector which, coupled with his businesses management experience, is extremely beneficial to Naace.
An invaluable member of the Board, Ji is always happy to pitch in and offer his expertise wherever it may be of use. Whether he’s debating the direction of Naace or managing some of the association’s key projects, you can be certain that Ji is thinking of what’s best for education practitioners.
Ji is as dedicated to edtech as anybody you could hope to meet, and Naace is privileged to call him one of our own.

Dr. Christina Preston
(Board member since Jan 2019)

Christina joins the Naace Board of Management from an academic background, offering the association a great deal of insight into research about education technology and also effective professional development programmes for teachers. As a professor of education innovation she brings an international slant to Naace as she has worked with teachers and researchers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Syria. This led her to create a professional organisation, MirandaNet, which seeks to explore the integration between edtech learning and practice through practice-based research.Christina has plenty of experience in providing advice – both academic and practical – to curious education practitioners. Her ability to deliver such advice is to her credit, and she has consistently offered a similar level of wisdom to Naace itself.
As the Editor of Naace’s Advancing Education Journal, Christina plays a pivotal role for the association in organising, collecting and reviewing relevant academic material which will benefit the association’s membership. Having been a member of Naace for nearly 25 years, Christina is well-placed to sit on the association’s Board of Management. Often approaching discussions from a different perspective to her fellow Board members, Christina’s input is nothing short of indispensable.

Ed Fairfield
(Board member since Jan 2019)

Ed joins the Naace Board of Management armed with a wealth of commercial experience in the education sector, as leader of the marketing arm of an edtech company. Ed works with the big edtech brands to support education professionals on a daily basis. He knows the challenges involved and the benefits technology brings to education.
As a father of two and husband to a busy headteacher, Ed is intimately aware of what technology has to offer to young people and teachers alike. His children keep him up to date with all the latest in the digital world – whether he likes it or not!
Ed is committed to ensuring schools receive accurate information about edtech, that they make informed choices and have access to the right training and advice.
Ed leads on Naace’s relationships with Sponsoring Partners to bring together members and suppliers. The result is more access, better understanding and improved outcomes. A driven and enthusiastic member of the Board, Ed is representative of all things Naace.

Andrew Murden
(Board member since January 2020)

I am an edtech specialist with over 30 years’ experience in UK education. I have held a lifelong interest in ICT beginning at school where I was part of one of the first cohorts to take A Level Computing. After completing a degree in Electronics and a brief spell in industry, I started teaching Physics in a Lancashire school in 1989, and in 1990 was asked to set up and lead a new course: Information Technology!
After roles as IT coordinator in two other schools I spent three years as an local authority consultant on the Secondary Strategy, supporting around 30 schools in improving learning outcomes in ICT. In 2005 I returned to a school post as an assistant headteacher and developed ICT across the whole school to a high level, especially in the areas of mobile devices and online learning. In 2010 I joined a BSF programme and spent three years leading on teacher professional development in technology enhanced learning and in integrating technology into new school buildings and learning environments across a local authority.

Andrew Davis
(Board member since January 2020)

Andrew is Headteacher of Belvidere Primary School in Shrewsbury and has been in working in primary education for the past 30 years. The majority of these have been in a leadership position. He has been the Headteacher of two contrasting primary schools – the first a small rural primary school and currently a large town primary school. In his first Headship, in a small rural Shropshire school he was awarded the ICT Mark; the first school in the county to achieve this.
Working in a rural area, he developed the innovative use of ICT to encourage active parental engagement in their child’s learning and became a national lead school for Parental Engagement. He then went onto win BECTA’s Excellence award for ‘Best Primary School’. This resulted in being invited to join The Leading Leaders Network, which involved visiting many schools throughout the country, supporting and learning from them. His school was filmed by BBC, Microsoft and Becta for its innovative practices in using ICT to enhance teaching and was a case study for The Rose Review. Andrew has made numerous presentations both within his own local authority, other authorities and further afield including at NAACE conferences, Handheld Learning, Microsoft and also in other countries. Whilst at his present school, he has achieved the ICT Mark and 3rd Millennium Learning Award. Andrew is also an ICT mark assessor.

Gavin Hawkins
(Board member since July 2019)

Following university, I worked In Wolverhampton schools as a teacher, ICT subject specialist and senior leader for 18 years. Whilst I was Assistant Headteacher, our school won the BECTA ICT Excellence award for Teaching and Learning with ICT and we were one of the first in the country to be awarded the NAACE and ICT Mark and led pioneering work in 1:1 device programmes.
Following a secondment to support school improvement and the development of a region-wide learning platform within Wolverhampton, I managed the Learning Technologies Team of consultants supporting schools in their adoption and implementation of education technology and associated pedagogies. The Learning Technologies Team were awarded the BETT Award in 2010 and 2013 for Services to Schools and were shortlisted again in 2016.
Since leaving Wolverhampton City Council in 2018, I formed Squirrel Learning with colleagues. Our company focuses on school improvement, offering support in; Education Technology, Online Safety and Social Emotional Learning.
I have worked with Bristol, Lancaster and Wolverhampton Universities and the University of Santiago in Chile to develop collaborative software for mobile and online learning. I have had the opportunity to present work at conferences both nationally and internationally including the United States, Australia and the Middle East.

Gary Talbot
(Board member since July 2019)

I am a passionate, innovative and effective senior leader and classroom practitioner with 10 years of experience in secondary schools. I am also an experienced examiner who has worked for 2 different exam boards over the last 5 years. My areas of expertise are in leadership and management of different teams, processing and evaluation of data, curriculum development, developing and delivering professional development for others, the strategic development of new technologies and other initiatives in schools and improving the outcomes for young people.
Throughout my teaching career I have always embraced technology as a way of engaging young people and a way of making teaching more efficient so that teachers can focus on the job of empowering young people with the knowledge and skills needed to improve lives.
In my first leadership role at Sharples School in Bolton 2011 I chaired the Teaching and learning with harnessing new technologies curriculum group which made recommendations for the development of new technologies and learning across the whole school. This helped to secure a greater proportion of outstanding teaching and learning across the school.