The BEP Board

Birmingham Education Partnership’s (BEP) governing board provides strategic leadership in tandem with the executives to whom they give both support and external challenge. Board members take a pivotal role in ensuring that BEP continues to champion good education for every child in the city.

The BEP Board is chaired by Baroness Estelle Morris (previous Secretary of State in the Department of Education and Skills) and is comprised of four serving Birmingham headteachers and two external directors that come with a wealth of legal and financial expertise. 

The Board

Baroness Estelle Morris, Chair

Estelle started her career as a teacher in an inner city multiracial comprehensive school where she taught for 18 years. In 1992 she was elected as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Yardley and in 1997, she was appointed a Minister at the Department for Education and Employment becoming the Secretary of State in the Department of Education and Skills in 2002. She followed this with 2 years as a Minister at the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

Since then, Estelle has held posts as Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, Chair of the Children’s Workforce Development Committee and Chair of the Institute of Effective Education.

Estelle has been a member of the House of Lords since 2005 which she combines with her work as the Chair of the Birmingham Education Partnership. She also helped to establish the Association of Education Partnerships.

She as is a member of the Pinnacle Multi-Academy Trust, trustee of the Poetry Archive, Vice Chair and trustee of the Sunderland AFC Foundation and a Director of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Razia Ali, Director

Razia leads Safeguarding across Leigh Trust and holds the position of Executive Head Teacher at both Wyndcliffe and Marlborough Primary Schools. Razia joined Leigh Trust in September 2016 as Head Teacher of Wyndcliffe Primary School and by sharing her high expectations, developed practice and achieved a judgement of ‘Good’ with elements of ‘Outstanding’ at the Ofsted inspection in January 2018. As a result of this success she went on to open an Autism Unit, which has grown rapidly and within a short period of time and is at full capacity. 

Razia thrives on challenges and has previously worked at two other schools judged to be Special Measures, where she worked diligently until the schools achieved the ‘Good’ outcome at the next full inspection. She has worked at five schools over the last twenty five years undertaking a range of roles. Her roles have developed over time, from starting in a school as a parent volunteer and progressing to a Dinner Supervisor, Teaching Assistant, Teacher, Phase Leader, Assistant Head Teacher, Deputy Head Teacher, Head Teacher and now is enjoying the challenge of an Executive Head Teacher.

Razia’s passion is developing and challenging staff to ensure they engage and respect the needs of all the children in a safe learning environment, whilst providing them with the best opportunities. During her time at Wyndcliffe, she developed many leaders who have gone on to make a difference at other schools across the Trust. She has supported other Head Teachers as a mentor as they settle into their jobs. She is a governor at two schools, and enjoys learning from different establishments and challenging the team appropriately to ensure all the children have the best opportunities. 

Razia also enjoys raising money for charities and has travelled to Gambia on a number of occasions to support schools with wells. She has also helped provide children with opportunities to go to school by building schools in remote villages. More recently she raised money by doing the ‘Shine walk’ in London. Children are at the heart of her practice and working in the community reminds her of her own upbringing. She strives to be a role model for the children so they are equipped with the skills to make the choices, that will enable them to reach for the stars and beyond. She wholeheartedly believes in TEAM – ‘Together Everyone Achieves More.’

Bethan Gingell, Director

Bethan has worked across Birmingham and Sandwell for the last twenty five years. All four schools that she has worked in have been in deprived areas with high levels of pupil premium. Bethan is currently head teacher at Paganel Primary School.

Paganel Primary is a school that serves a diverse community with many complex needs, and during her five years as Head she has had the privilege to lead and transform the staff team into a body that puts the children and families of the community at the heart of every decision made. This journey has taken the school to ‘Good’ which was achieved in 2020 under the new Ofsted framework,  Leaders are ambitious for pupils. Leaders have high expectations for the pupils.” (Ofsted 2020).

Vanessa Hanson, Director



Andrew Hodge, Director


James Howse, Director

James worked in the PwC Government and Public Sector practice for 20 years advising clients from across the public sector on accounting and audit, project and programme management, financial management and also risk management.

During this time James was responsible for taking a leading role in PwC’s school engagement programme in Birmingham. James has also led high profile projects and programmes within central and local government (including managing the creation and development of the West Midlands Combined Authority), and has led the delivery of back office professional services to the NHS in Staffordshire.

More recently James has worked in local government, as Corporate Director of Resources at South Staffordshire Council, and currently as Executive Director of Resources at Redditch and Bromsgrove Councils.

Mangal Singh, Director


Pete Weir, Director


Juliet has worked in education across the West Midlands for over 30 years. She started her career in Alum Rock as an NQT and gained her first headship in Birmingham before moving to a second in Sandwell and then a third Coventry. Following on from headship, Juliet led School Improvement across Primary, Secondary and Special Coventry Schools for the LA, before moving to Oasis Community Learning to lead 8 MIdlands academies within the Trust. She is also a governor for a Diocesan Trust in the East Midlands.

Throughout her career her passion has been for school improvement, particularly in challenging situations, with a focus on strengthening and developing leadership. She is an advocate for school to school support and enjoys networking and partnership working. She has also experienced successful system leadership within large organisations and has been fortunate to work with and learn from some amazing colleagues.

Juliet brings a breadth of experience as well as a passion for Birmingham to the team.

Juliet enjoys spending time with her grown up children and finds peace being outside, gardening, reading or walking. 

Paulette has been working in education for over 25 years and is really proud to have had a long and outstanding career as an educator, mentor and system leader.  Paulette was the  Headteacher at St Matthew’s CofE Teaching  and Research School until her retirement in August 2019.  

She is passionate about reading and St Matthew’s was  the first school, nationally, to be  awarded the Egmont Reading for Pleasure School of the Year Award, in 2018.

As part of her National Leader of Education role, Paulette has sat on a range of DFE advisory committees and over the last 10 years has held a number of board positions on both local and national Multi Academy Trusts.

As the Assistant Director for School Improvement at Birmingham Education Partnership, Paulette brings expertise in all aspects of Primary education. 

Paulette’s work to raise school standards and impact the life chances of generations of young people has been recognised, at the highest levels. She was awarded an MBE for her services to education – she took the whole school down to London to meet the Queen! She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Aston University, for her ‘significant contribution to raising attainment amongst young people, in the Aston and Nechells areas and across the city of Birmingham’.

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