Our people

Our board

An independent board oversees the Doncaster Opportunity Area. It brings together talented and committed senior leaders from schools, communities, business and central and local government. These individuals bring experience, insight, and ambition for Doncaster and its young people.

To support the board, we have established working groups to help deliver the activities set out in each of the priorities. The Partnership Board meet regularly to oversee progress, working alongside the DfE and other national organisations to ensure the programme is coherent, effective and represents good value for money.

Our chair

Professor Sir Chris Husbands

Chris Husbands Chair Doncaster

Professor Sir Chris Husbands is a university leader, academic, educationalist and public servant. His expertise in educational policy and improvement led to his appointment as CoChair of the former Doncaster Education and Skills Board. He became Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University in January 2016 and has been leading work across the region to drive improvements in education and skills – particularly through the South Yorkshire Futures programme.

Partnership Board members

Professor Samantha Twiselton

  • Director of Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University.
  • Role on the board: Vice-Chair, Teacher recruitment and retention and overarching.

Riana Nelson

  • Director of Learning, Education and Skills at Doncaster Council.
  • Role on the board: Overarching

Helen Bellinger

  • Director of the Doncaster Research School, Director of Strategic Development & School Improvement – Partners in Learning
  • Role on the board: Priority 1 – Narrowing the gap at primary, and overarching

Adam Dale

  • Headteacher of Campsmount Academy and CEO of Leger Education Trust.
  • Role on the board: Priority 2 – Improving teaching and learning at secondary

Dan Fell

  • Chief Executive of Doncaster Chamber of Commerce
  • Role on the board: Priority 3 – No Careers Out of Bounds

Beryce Nixon

  • National Leader of Education (NLE) and Chief Executive of the Exceed Learning Partnership MAT
  • Role on the board: Priority 1 – Narrowing the gap at primary

 David Richardson

  • Head Teacher, Scawthorpe Sunnyfields Primary School

Mick Lochran

  • Chief Executive, DN Colleges Group

Helen George

  • Assistant Director, South Yorkshire Combined Authority

Andy Hood

  • Head of the Young People’s Service, Doncaster Children’s Services Trust

Jo Twiby

  • Executive Director, Teaching Schools Hubs, Delta Academies Trust

The meetings are also attended by the Regional Schools Commissioners for East Midlands and the Humber, Carol Gray and Kate Copley.


Internal Team Members and Roles

Paul Roberts

  • Paul is Head of Delivery for the Doncaster Opportunity Area a the Department for Education. As Head of Delivery, Paul has the strategic oversight for all of the Doncaster Opportunity Area programme. He is responsible for the strategic direction, delivery and resources of the Doncaster Opportunity Area.
  • Contact: PaulR.Roberts@education.gov.uk

Robin MacNeill

  • Robin is a Programme Manager at Doncaster Council. As Programme Manager Robin oversees the Opportunity Area’s work on Priority 2: Improving teaching and learning at secondary and Priority 3: No Careers Out of Bounds as well as having a programme wide oversight role in relation to the budget.
  • Contact: Robin.MacNeill@doncaster.gov.uk

Marie Leadbitter

  • Marie is Programme Lead for Doncaster OA at Department for Education. She leads work in the following areas Priority 1: Narrowing the gap at primary, Priority 4: Opportunities extend to all, and teacher recruitment and retention.
  • Contact: Marie.Leadbitter@education.gov.uk

George Reid

  • George provides delivery support on a number of areas across the programme. George also leads on managing and developing the team external communications, as well as being responsible for ensuring the team adheres to internal evaluation reporting.
  • Contact: George.Reid@education.gov.uk

Salma Rahman

  • Salma is a Programme Manager at Doncaster Council. Salma leads on and supports a number of projects across Priority 1: Narrowing the Gap at Primary, Priority 2: Improving teaching and learning at secondary and Priority 3: No Careers Out of Bounds.
  • Contact: Salma.Rahman@doncaster.gov.uk

Rebecca Fletcher

  • Rebecca is the Commissioning Lead, responsible for all elements of the commissioning process, ensuring we are able to deliver a quality service that addresses areas identified in the Opportunity Area delivery plan.
  • Contact: Rebecca.Fletcher@doncaster.gov.uk

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