HE Access Network is a charity that improves the life chances of children and young people in the UK by supporting them through key educational transitions. Our lead team is supported by expert teachers, academics and educationalists across the country.
Julie has many years’ experience of leading large-scale educational intervention programmes. Her previous roles include Director of Programmes and Partnerships at the Sutton Trust, a charity improving social mobility through education, and Head of the Families and Schools Together (FAST) programme at Save the Children. She is a community governor at a primary school in Camden and is a Trustee of PRIME, a charity broadening access to the legal profession, and of the John Schofield Trust, which runs a mentoring scheme for young broadcast journalists.
Julie has an MA from the University of St Andrews and an M.B.A from the University of Stirling. She is passionate about the transformative effect of reading for pleasure on children’s later attainment, and thinks her own love of reading contributed to her being the first person in her family to be educated past the age of 16.
Dr Michael Englard
Director of Research & Policy
Michael has a longstanding interest in Access and Widening Participation having experienced the sector as a pupil, undergraduate, and academic.
After attending a summer school as a pupil, Michael went to complete a doctorate at the University of Cambridge where he has served as a Director of Studies and continues to teach. He is a Committee Member of the Stephen Spender Trust.
He is particularly interested in working towards systemic and institutional change in the Widening Participation sector.
Michael co-founded HEAN in 2012.
Dr Sam Holmes
Director of Programmes
Sam brings his experience as a secondary school teacher, teacher trainer and school improvement consultant to the design and implementation of our programmes. Previously, Sam has designed education programmes for organisations such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, King’s Cultural Institute, Routes into Languages, and Arsenal FC., as well as designing and delivering training for organisations such as London Challenge, Teach First, and the EAL Academy.
Sam has an MA in Education from Goldsmiths, University of London, and recently submitted his PhD in Education at King’s College London; he is also a qualified teacher. He co-founded Translators in Schools, an initiative to train professional translators to deliver workshops to children.
Sam co-founded HEAN in 2012.
Director of Programme Delivery
Helen was first involved with the HE Access Network as a mentor for their Academic Apprenticeship programme. Her commitment to widening access to university started at Teach First, where she was involved in setting up their HE access programme for schools.
Helen has taught in secondary and primary schools in both the UK and overseas, and in many organisations which support schools, including The Key, Business in the Community, Future Leaders and Imperial College.
She is passionate about the influence other sectors can have in improving education.
Helen has an MA from UCL and is a governor at a secondary school in North London.
Director of Data and Evaluation
Dave has worked with schools around the world for more than 15 years, first in publishing, then at Save the Children, where he worked on a randomised controlled trial of the organisation's Families and Schools Together programme in conjunction with the Education Endowment Foundation.
Before joining HEAN, Dave worked at the Sutton Trust where he worked on evaluating the impact of interventions, including the work HEAN does in partnership with the Trust including the Academic Apprenticeship.
Dave has a BSc in Media Technology from the University of Bradford and is deeply interested in how data and evidence can be used to understand and prove the benefit of interventions.
Director of Development
Clare has more than 15 years' experience in the voluntary sector, working in the UK and internationally. She has worked with many inspiring donors and supporters who have funded effective projects improving opportunities for young people in Colombia, South Africa and the UK.
Clare studied Spanish and the History of Ideas and lived in Costa Rica before settling in London with her family. She has an MA in Translation and is the first in her family to achieve this. She believes in the transformational power of education and is motivated by achieving impact.
Clare is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and is committed to the highest professional standards. She has also mentored fundraisers and is Trustee of a UK registered charity.
Director of Finance
Lesley is a certified chartered accountant with a wide range of experience across the commercial, government and charity sectors. Lesley moved into the charity sector several years ago and has been Finance Director of a variety of not for profit organisations.
She is a trustee of Farleigh Hospice and a Finance Committee member of Disability Rights UK. Her main experience in education was at Hackney’s Learning Trust where she worked for several years as the Head of Finance.
Head of Technical Development
Before joining HEAN, Steve had a long and varied career as a freelance designer and web developer, working with everyone from publishing companies to large multi-nationals and small local businesses.
Working with Michael and Sam, he created the OSCAR online tool and has worked closely with them ever since improving and refining it and creating new online resources.
Steve has an MEng from Aston University and a Diploma in Computing from the Open University.
Imogen’s commitment to higher education access for all started at the University of Bristol, where she worked as a mentor as part of their Widening Participation programme while studying for her Theology degree.
She then taught Religious Education and Philosophy in South London during her time on the Teach First programme. While teaching she was the school’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural coordinator (SMSC) and was appointed as the Head of Department for Religious Studies.
Beyond her work in the classroom, Imogen helped found a charity, The Student View, an online publication that uses the power of journalism to raise English attainment and give young people a chance to share their world through words.
Katie’s career in education began soon after she completed her degree in History and Art History at the University of Nottingham. She started teaching history and joined the Graduate Teacher Programme at the University of Hertfordshire, where she gained her teaching qualification.
Her interest in widening participation started when she joined the IntoUniversity team and helped establish their education centre in Brixton. There she designed and developed interventions to engage students as young as 7 with careers and higher education.
Most recently, she has been responsible for managing various employability and aspiration-raising programmes at Tower Hamlets EBP. Through close collaboration with businesses, she developed activities to help students understand the choices and opportunities open to them beyond school.
She is committed to helping young people, particularly those who face social, cultural or economic barriers, to realise and achieve their full potential.
Rakhee studied French and Spanish at the University of Oxford. She qualified as a primary teacher through Teach First and led on Modern Language provision, international activity and global citizenship across the school.
Most recently, Rakhee was a member of the University and Careers team at a national academy network. There, she led on enrichment, working with schools to think more strategically in this area and improve their internal provision.
Rakhee is a governor at a Tower Hamlets primary school and has an MA from the Institute of Education.
Ed contributes to the design, delivery and improvement of our programmes His previous roles include managing outreach programmes and the admissions process at Jesus College Cambridge, and a brief foray into international development consultancy.
Ed read Politics, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Cambridge, achieving first-class honours. Educated at a comprehensive school and eligible for free school meals, he was the first in his family to progress to full-time higher education.
He is committed to helping improve the life chances of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through access to education.
Fionna studied French and History and has a Masters in International Social Development from the University of East Anglia. Her previous roles include community development for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, working as a Team Leader on a youth livelihoods project in Tanzania and in project coordination and event management for the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission.
She is passionate about the opportunities higher education can offer young people, such as studying abroad, learning a language and volunteering.
Sherelle studied Sociology at the London School of Economics and went on to do her Masters in Culture and Society. During her studies, she became engaged with social activism and grew politically dedicated to alleviating social inequality. She considers broadening access to higher education a powerful tool in working towards this goal.
Sherelle has previously worked in Widening Participation departments at LSE and St Mary’s University developing and delivering academic programmes for Key Stage 4 and 5 students as well as building databases of deprivation data. Prior to that she worked for I CAN, a children’s communication charity, assisting the Business Development Team on broadening the charities reach.