The Team

Staff

Sheza Afzal

Senior Education, Training and Strategy Officer
sheza@equaliteach.co.uk

Sheza is passionate about addressing structural inequality and promoting social justice through learning and collaboration. With over 10 years’ teaching, training and facilitating experience across six countries, Sheza started out teaching English as a Second Language (ESOL) and worked for the British Council in Belgium, Thailand and Sri Lanka, before teaching Academic Skills in higher education.

Her MA in Asian Studies: Politics, Society and Economics (Distinction) allowed her to gain a greater understanding of the enduring global impact of colonialism and the importance of decolonising knowledge and curricula. She has collaborated on the creation of several learning resources for educators and schools to improve equality and promote inclusiveness in school communities.

Sheza has worked on several educational community-funded projects with young people, working towards how to tackle issues of inequality in schools. She enjoys working on initiatives that bring people of different backgrounds together and has volunteered as an employment mentor for refugees with Refugee Action (The UK), as a liaison officer for women and children asylum seekers (Belgium), as project coordinator for a Syrian Diaspora group at The Hague Peace Projects (The Netherlands) and currently for a grassroots community-building centre (LUOS, Tottenham). Sheza has been privileged to support and engage with a variety of people from all over the world, and she loves creating, organising and facilitating spaces for people to share and learn.

Matt Barnes-Smith

Youth Education Officer matt@equaliteach.co.uk

Matt holds a BSc in Construction Project Management and spent the early part of his career with two global companies within the Process Construction Industry. It was here that Matt built on his passion for innovative and creative thinking, problem solving, and project team collaboration, yet felt restricted and drained within a very macho and oppressive environment. In early 2017, after completing diplomas in Personal Performance Coaching and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), he made a complete career change and began working as Youth Worker and Mentor for Young People, offering safe spaces for personal and social development within youth service provisions, schools and private settings. He also works extensively with The Good Lad Initiative, a charity engaging young boys and men in conversations around masculinity and gender stereotyping, and has delivered speeches to the Construction Industry Council (CIC) on his experience in the industry, and why addressing toxic behaviour and equality is vital if it is to become a career area of choice for young people. Through this combination of working environments, Matt has developed experience of facilitating a multitude of equality, health & wellbeing focussed workshops and trainings to young people and the adults supporting them.

Laura Bradnam

Youth Education Officer laurab@equaliteach.co.uk
Prior to EqualiTeach, Laura worked at a leading international non-profit working on projects with business, government and civil society to solve complex systemic challenges. This experience inspired her commitment to understanding and changing the structural issues which underpin social justice. She also ran mentoring projects for referred young people in disadvantaged communities, winning awards for her creativity, inclusion of equality issues and working with challenging behaviour, students with Special Educational Needs and English as an Additional Language. Laura has been inspired by past facilitation experiences with vulnerable migrants and refugees, to ensure power and oppression dynamics are always taken into consideration during workshops. Fun and creativity are also important; finding ways to include all young people and flipping their thinking about strengths and weaknesses, through playful and unexpected practice. Laura is currently reading a Masters in Social Justice and Education, with a focus on Gender and Sexuality, Race and Education Policy. She is researching policies aimed at reducing inequality, the discourses surrounding those who are identified as ‘in need’, and the compromises inherent in dealing with a deeply flawed system, which she is looking forward to bringing to EqualiTeach.

Claire Currington

Operations Manager claire@equaliteach.co.uk

Claire has over 15 years of experience in operations and frontline coordination, including skills in complex project management, gained largely from working in events organisation. After completing a BA in English Linguistics and Literature at the University of Birmingham, Claire worked for the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in a number of visitor-facing roles, including managing and coordinating teams and physical resources to support the Museum’s programme of activities and events. Claire worked closely with the Education team to support gallery-based and hands-on teaching across the museum environment for diverse groups of all ages and backgrounds, providing a stimulating learning environment and encouraging creativity and alternative ways of seeing. Claire brings effective and efficient project management experience from her more recent work with the University of Cambridge Development Office as Events Organiser, along with skills in problem solving and successful collaborative working across diverse project groups with multiple stakeholders.

At EqualiTeach, Claire supports business operations to enable smooth working across the team. This includes coordinating diary management and bookings for workshop delivery, supporting day-to-day activities and contributing to longer term planning. She is passionate about the importance of equality and diversity education to reduce discrimination and support inclusion, and enjoys providing the support which enables the team to work with diverse groups and audiences throughout the UK.

Nasreen D’Agostino

Youth Education Officer
nasreen@equaliteach.co.uk

Nasreen holds a BA in International Relations and International Development from Sussex University, where she focussed on topics regarding race, gender, intersectionality and religious identity. Whilst at university, Nasreen was the President of the Coexist Society, a group seeking to bring together people of different faiths and no faith. It was within this role that Nasreen found practical and creative ways to bridge the gap between different groups, champion inclusion, facilitate important conversations and celebrate differences. This further inspired Nasreen to co-publish a report titled ‘Interreligious Engagement Strategies’ on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Following university, Nasreen built on previous experience working with young people whilst volunteering abroad in Tanzania, where she facilitated in a local primary school. During this placement, Nasreen endeavoured to create engaging and informative workshops for students and to forge meaningful relationships with the local community, whilst taking active steps to balance the power dynamics which were at play.  Prior to EqualiTeach, Nasreen’s work as a Mental Health Support Worker enhanced her knowledge of the issues faced by people with disabilities, particularly the stigma and stereotypes associated with those who experience mental health problems. This deepened Nasreen’s thirst for promoting equality, diversity and inclusion for all members of society in all facets of life.

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Rachel Elgy

Business Development Manager
rachel@equaliteach.co.uk

Rachel is a firm believer in the power of education to create positive change and has worked in various roles focussed on educating and empowering young people to become active citizens in their schools, communities and beyond. She has just completed an MA in ‘Gender Without Borders’ at Kingston University, throughout which she has explored the concept of intersectionality and considered the multifaceted ways that different individuals may experience discrimination or prejudice. She takes steps to tackle injustices and advance equality wherever possible, having volunteered for Help Refugees, and more recently by challenging Islamophobia in the British press, attempting a Judicial Review against the Independent Press Standards Organisation. In September 2018 she joined a cohort of “emerging leaders” to take part in Clore Social’s Leadership Programme, with support from Rosa UK. 

Yuki Hazlewood

Youth Education Officer
yuki@equaliteach.co.uk

Yuki has a BA in History of Art and completed a PGCE in Secondary History. She has spent a great deal of her professional career working within the realms of education and cultural heritage. This developed from initially working within the museum sector after which she dedicated the subsequent portion of her career on teaching Secondary History. She found that she was particularly interested in female education and issues to do with mental health in her teaching positions that began at a school boarding house. It was within this environment where her enthusiasm for discussing ‘big ideas’ and nurturing compassion amongst the students under her care was also harnessed. During her teaching, she worked with young people using a range of pedagogy to deliver lessons on crucial topics surrounding equality, diversity and inclusion such as the transatlantic slave trade, colonisation and genocide.

It is the blend of her personal and professional experiences that has given Yuki the ability to engage with a variety of people from diverse backgrounds. She completed an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies at University College London and looks to amalgamate her specialist knowledge in the workshops she delivers with EqualiTeach to enhance the learning experiences of the students she encounters. 

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Kate Hollinshead

Head of Operations
kate@equaliteach.co.uk

Kate has a BA Honours degree in Politics and German from the University of Bristol and a Masters degree in Managing Equality and Diversity (Distinction) from London Metropolitan University. Starting her career with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme in Berlin, Germany, she then spent four years delivering equality training with anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card, before joining EqualiTeach as Head of Education in 2013. Kate has experience of delivering training to a wide variety of audiences, including schools, universities, Young Offenders Institutions, prisons and mental health institutions, and she is a confident and experienced public speaker, having spoken at numerous high-profile events, including the ODIHR European Conference on Combating Racism towards Muslims and various Trade Union conferences across England. Kate has previously completed research into the experiences of transgender people in the workplace, has written articles for the journal Race Equality Teaching, and has co-written numerous publications for teachers on racism, Islamophobia, disability discrimination and Fundamental British Values. 

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Jennifer Johnson

Senior Education, Training & Strategy Officer
jennifer@equaliteach.co.uk

Jennifer has a BA in Philosophy and Theology from the University of Nottingham and a PGCE in Religious Education from the University of Birmingham. She began her career as a teacher of RE in a greater-London school, later becoming head of department. During this time she worked with young people on issues surrounding equality, diversity and critical thinking. Creating thought-provoking schemes of learning that allowed students to explore their values and develop a deep understanding of others was at the heart of her practice. As head of department she delivered workshops to colleagues on various issues, including ‘raising standards’ and promoting ‘Philosophy for Children’ across the school. Jennifer helped establish several inter-departmental working groups and developed whole-school strategies for SMSC. She mentored trainee teachers and worked with other schools to help improve their religious education provision. Jennifer has recently undertaken work promoting health and wellness in local workplaces and with individuals within the Bedford area.

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Georgina Manning

Programme Support Officer
georgina@equaliteach.co.uk

Georgina has 15 years’ experience of working with children, young people and communities in a variety of settings. Alongside her role her at Equaliteach she is also a practising artist, making and exhibiting her own work across the UK.  Through her career she has worked with schools, local authorities, galleries, community groups and secure settings. Much of this work has focused on working with young people to overcome challenges, and develop self-confidence.  Through roles within the community she has been responsible for organising and supporting a range of projects and events, including putting together community events and trips, supporting community groups, running consultations with young people and organising networking events for professionals working within the community.  Some of the recent projects Georgina has been involved with include projects with Cambridge Art Salon and Care Network, The Gibbered Gallery in Harlow. She was also highly commended by the Big Draw for an event delivered in partnership with Hinchingbrooke Country Park.

Annie Miller

Senior Education, Training & Strategy Officer annie@equaliteach.co.uk

Annie has several years of experience teaching across the entire primary age range, giving her a wealth of understanding of the academic and pastoral needs of each year group. She is passionate about the need for diverse curriculums which represent all areas of society and she has worked with multiple schools advising them on redesigning their curriculums to promote equality and diversity in all areas.

Her work as a PSHE coordinator furthered her passion for equality and resulted in opportunities to work with staff and young people on issues surrounding equality, diversity and inclusion. As part of this role she delivered staff training and supported colleagues to implement the new RSE guidance across the school, and mentored trainee teachers to ensure that PSHE was embedded in their practice.

Whilst training as a teacher, she contributed to a British Council funded project to deliver CPD courses for Malawian teachers across a three-year period, which focused on utilising locally available resources and group work to engage pupils in their learning. She also has experience of teaching in Ghana and working alongside pupils with additional needs in secondary schools.

Olga Nasiridou

Youth Education Officer olga@equaliteach.co.uk

Olga is passionate about the crucial interface between education and human rights. Motivated by this passion, she studied Early Childhood Education (University of Western Macedonia, Greece) and Social Anthropology specialising in development (University of Cambridge, UK). She focused her work on education and human rights during her time at Save the Children International where she supported refugee children and teenagers to regain stability in their lives. She has also gained experienced in the education sector as a tutor volunteer for underprivileged students in Greece and in the UK promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. Her experience and studies has helped her to realise that education constitutes one of the most powerful weapons of every person in order to use their full potential and thrive. She therefore seeks to enhance the quality of education, ensuring that all children are treated equally without being recipients of any discrimination. Her current role at EqualiTeach CIC will give her the opportunity to ensure that students co-exist peacefully with others, allowing them to flourish at school.

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Sarah Soyei

Head of Strategy and Development
sarah@equaliteach.co.uk

Sarah holds an MA in Equal Opportunities and Society (Distinction) and has been working in the field of equality for 14 years, delivering equality training to over 7000 people throughout the UK. She has overseen the development and delivery of educational programmes working with over 300,000 people. These have included programmes of work commissioned by the government, EHRC, over 20 Local Authorities and private sector organisations. Sarah has authored several publications in the field, including bespoke equality toolkits for organisations such as Home Group Housing Association and TeachFirst. She is working with UNESCO and ODIHR an on international approach to countering intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. An experienced public speaker, Sarah has delivered presentations at the House of Commons, London’s City Hall and several national and international conferences.

Advisory Board

Lila Begum

Advisory Board Member

Lila is passionate about supporting communities with welfare issues, promoting community cohesion and breaking down barriers. She has worked in a number of advisory and supporting case worker roles on welfare law, immigration, domestic abuse, forced marriage, honour based violence and modern slavery. Lila is the Anti-Slavery Partnership Coordinator for Bedfordshire and has been on the management committee for two women’s organisations in Bedford. At present she is an executive member for Queens Park Orchard, Independent Advisor for Bedfordshire Police and Trustee for Creating Memories. Her future ambition is to take up cycling to raise money for charity.

Lucy Goodyear

Advisory Board Secretary

Lucy has nearly 10 years’ experience working within the Oil and Gas Industry after deciding against further study at university. At the age of 19 she took a job working as a Trainee Geophysicist in Bedford and never looked back. After 5 years working in a technical capacity, Lucy made the move into the commercial side of the industry to become an Account Manager. As such Lucy is now well versed in the art of negotiation, marketing and client presentations. Lucy is delighted to have been asked to join the EqualiTeach Advisory Board and is looking forward to bringing her commercial experience to the team, as well as learning more about equality and diversity along the way.

Joella Hazel

Advisory Board Member

Joella is an equalities practitioner who is passionate about social justice, particularly dismantling racism and driving forward women’s rights. She believes empowered individuals and communities are strong drivers for creating positive change and she enjoys working with community groups and people to help build their strengths and achieve goals.
When not leading work on equalities within local government, Joella can be found on her yoga mat.
Joella has a BA Honours degree in Sociology with Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of Central Lancashire and a Masters degree in Racial Equality Studies from Middlesex University. 

David Landon Cole

Advisory Board Member

David is a doctoral candidate at the University of York, researching the effects of different forms of civil society opposition to the far right, and has been awarded ‘most enthusiastic lecturer’ for 2015/16 by the students’ union. Before returning to university, David worked with international affairs thinktanks (ACUK, ATA), and in public affairs and public relations. He was raised in Brazil, and has worked in the USA and Spain. He holds a BSc (Government) and an MSc (Comparative Politics) from the London School of Economics.

Paul Mortimer

Advisory Board Member

Paul is an ex professional footballer who in a 15 year career player for premier league football for the likes of Charlton, Aston Villa & Crystal Palace, as well as representing England at u21 level. On retirement he qualified as a coach and spent the next 10 years coaching the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Wimbledon, MK Dons and Charlton at academy level as well as being first team coach at Brentford and assistant manager of the Sierra Leone national side. Paul spent over four years delivering equality training with anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card where he delivered to trainee and experienced teachers, and at universities, Prisons and young offender institutions. He has experience in public speaking having delivered talks at numerous events. Paul is a qualified counsellor and will be taking up private practice later on in the year.

Cameron Paul

Advisory Board Member

Cameron is originally from Australia He moved to London in 2005 on a two year “holiday” and over 15 years later still finds himself in the UK.  In 2010 Cameron moved out of London and in 2012 started his own accountancy firm servicing small to medium businesses.  Cameron has worked with EqualiTeach in a professional capacity for a number of years and was delighted to be asked to join the advisory board.  He is looking forward to being able to help guide the future course of the business coming from the numbers side of things.

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David Tweats

Advisory Board Chairperson

David obtained an Honours degree in Microbiology and Genetics at the University of Sheffield in 1971 and a PhD on microbial genetics at the University of London in 1975. His first post was as a Researcher at the University of Swansea, where he has held an honorary professorship since the year 2000. David has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years, including holding a Vice Presidents role in a global company, helping to develop many drugs including those for HIV infections, asthma and in the last decade, neglected diseases affecting the Third World such as African Sleeping Sickness and River Blindness. David has held a non-Executive Director post in a biotechnology company (Kirkstall Ltd, 2008-2011). He has had an active interest in Social Justice issues for many years and is currently organising a series of debates locally on issues such as the need for foodbanks, social housing and migration. David supported the Show Racism the Red Card organisation for a number of years and EqualiTeach since its inception.

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