Board of Trustees
NNECL’s Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for NNECL’s strategic objectives, financial security and compliance. The Board is responsible for ensuring that NNECL’s resources and activities are focused on addressing its charitable purposes. Its membership reflects the need to operate effectively at an organisational leadership level.
The Board of Trustees consist of members representative of the network alongside senior leaders recruited for their skills and experience leading and developing charities and organisations with similar characteristics to NNECL.
Dr Rachel Carr
Dr Rachel Carr OBE - Chief Executive and Co-founder, IntoUniversity
Dr Rachel Carr OBE is the Chief Executive and Co-Founder at IntoUniversity. She has over twenty years of experience working with children and young people in the voluntary sector.
Rachel began devising the IntoUniversity programme to address the scale of underachievement among Britain’s poorest families and to support young people to reach their potential.
The programme provides academic support, aspiration-building and mentoring. Between 2002-2007, Rachel managed the programme in North Kensington before becoming CEO of the newly formed IntoUniversity charity where she has overseen its expansion from one learning centre to 22 and from being a local community project to a national solution for improving widening participation.
Before setting up IntoUniversity, Rachel was a university lecturer and ran an English Literature Department for five years. She has a PhD in 19th Century English Literature.
Dr Felicity Dunworth
Dr Felicity Dunworth, Partnerships Director, Kent and Medway Progression Federation is Co-Chair of NNECL.
Felicity has been the Director of the Kent and Medway Progression Federation (KMPF) since its inception in 2011. Before her current role she was Director of the Aimhigher Kent and Medway Partnership (AHKM) between 2004 and 2011. Felicity taught for many years on Access courses in the humanities and was, for the 12 years before she led AHKM, an Associate Lecturer for the Open University and, until 2017, for the University of Kent.
Felicity has written and presented extensively on issues relating to widening participation. In 2011 she served on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Advisory Panel on Education and Poverty and she has been a member of The Bridge Group Information, Advice and Guidance panel and of the Buttle UK Quality Mark Advisory Group.
She was involved in the establishment of the NEON (National Education Opportunities Network) network and until 2017 served the NEON steering group. With colleagues from universities, colleges and charities across England, Felicity established the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL). She was co-Chair before resigning in 2017 to become a Trustee-elect.
Arron Pile, Student Inclusion and Diversity Manager, University of Salford is Co-Chair of NNECL
Arron is Student Inclusion & Diversity Manager, University of Salford and has been involved in supporting care experienced young people (as well as estranged students, carers, sanctuary seekers and under eighteen students, trans and non-binary students), into and through higher education at the University of Salford for the last fifteen years and has been involved in NNECL since its inception and co-chaired the National Strategic Group for a number of years before resigning in 2017 to become a Trustee-elect. He is an active member of many regional and local groups that support care experienced young people including the Greater Manchester LAC Forum and NorthCLASS. He has close relationships with Greater Manchester local authorities and provides foster care training and specialist training for people working around care experienced young people. He is a member of the Student Loan Company’s Vulnerable Students Stakeholder Group.
Adele Tilley B.A (Hons), MA.
Adele is a lecturer in business at De Montfort University. She spent time in care in her youth, and went back to education as an adult learner so she can truly empathise with the challenges that Care Leavers and Care Experienced people may face. She is also a member of the Leicester City LSCB and sits on two fostering panels. Adele has been has been honoured with national and local awards for her work as a staunch advocate for education for all, and remains as an educational ambassador for the Learning and Work Institute.
Priya Khambhaita, University of Hertfordshire
Priya has over 6 years of experience working with Looked after Children from across East London and has worked closely with Advice and Guidance other key teams at the university to support students on their journey through university. Priya also works with London local groups to promote and support collaboration work.
Dr Neil Harrison
Dr Neil Harrison, Deputy Director, Rees Centre, Department of Education, University of Oxford
Dr Neil Harrison is the Deputy Director of the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford.
Prior to becoming an academic, Neil worked in widening participation and as a student services manager. His involvement with care leavers dates back to the early 2000s, when he put together a programme to encourage greater collaboration between universities and local authorities. He later served eight years on Bristol City Council’s Corporate Parenting Panel and two years as a governor of the ‘virtual school’ in Bristol.
More recently, Neil was the author of NNECL’s ‘Moving On Up’ report. Published in November 2017, this was the first examination of the pathways into and through higher education for care-experienced students using the large-scale national datasets that are available for England.
Neil joined the Rees Centre, which specialises in research on the education of children in care and care leavers, in November 2018. He was previously an associate professor in education policy at the University of the West of England. Neil is also an elected member of the governing council of the Society for Research into Higher Education.
Michael Bettencourt has over 15 years experience working as Virtual School Head in two local authorities. He is currently Senior Teaching Fellow at University College London. He leads on a programme which guides practitioners in the implementation of evidence-based approaches to support care experienced students in education. Michael was previously Research Lead and Trustee of NAVSH.
Emma Watson (Treasurer)
Emma Watson is NNECL’s Treasurer as well as a Trustee. She is a Chartered Financial Planner and heads up a large Financial Planning team for a UK bank. Emma has 25 years’ experience of the financial services industry and joined NNECL as a Trustee as she is keen to use her skills and experience to promote social mobility and diversity in the workforce of the future
Michael Hill has over 35 years' experience of working in the Adult, Further and Higher Education sectors.
His areas of interest include widening access, student retention and success, student engagement and institutional research.
At present he works at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he is an Assistant Professor in Learning and Teaching.