Liz’s motivation comes from a profound belief that schools can play a transformative role in children’s lives, but also in shaping whole communities. Social justice and wider change underpin her views that school simply must be about the whole child, the whole family and the whole community.
As the head at Surrey Square for many years, Liz used values as a key driver to redefine the purpose of the school and radically reshape the culture and approaches. She is exceptionally proud of how the school continues to develop and innovate.
Liz has deep expertise and a particular interest in capacity development and growing leadership. Her philosophy is based on a client-centred approach, actively empowering others into thoughtful action. She created The Big Leadership Adventure, our flagship programme supporting changemaker leaders in the sector.
Liz co-founded Big Education to be a place where those who believe in more radical change in the sector can come together; to collaborate, share, challenge and encourage one another. Let’s do more, together.
As mum to two young girls, Liz works flexibly to manage her role. She advocates for and seeks to model an authentic, reflective and relational approach to leadership.
Nicola is the Headteacher of School 21, a school which resonates with her for its strong core purpose of empowering young people to take on the world and the commitment to innovative practices and to changing the shape of education in the UK.
Educated in the comprehensive system, Nicola was the first in her family to attend University. After completing a Biology degree at Queen Mary and Westfield College, Nicola then did her PhD at Imperial College, researching pharmacological interventions for lung and heart disease.
Following training and teaching in England, Nicola became Head of Secondary School at Garden International School, which has a reputation for innovation, skills-based learning and high quality professional learning in Kuala Lumpur. She then became the head at St Julian’s School in Lisbon, Portugal, a leading British International school in Europe with a reputation for strong academic results as part of an inclusive, holistic approach to education.
Nicola is the Co-Headteacher of Surrey Square Primary School, having worked as co-head with Liz Robinson from 2014-2018. Nicola is a passionate teacher, rooted in the potential of every child, and always looking for engaging and meaningful contexts for learning. Among many things, she has lead the development of Surrey Square’s approach to ‘REAL’ project based learning, and brought the values to life with the design of the values characters.
Nicola has worked extensively as a coach and trainer, notably devising and running a DfE funded programme for women leaders, with the Southwark Teaching School Alliance in 2016-18. Nicola is mum to three children and works flexibly in her role.
Matt joined Surrey Square Primary School back in 2015 as Deputy Head Teacher and moved into the role of Co-Headteacher in 2019 alongside Nicola Noble. Matt is passionate about the education of children in the primary phase. He has worked in a number of schools and has developed curriculum content which is relevant to the context of the schools he has worked in.
Matt believes that schools should be places that give children the confidence in themselves to be true to who they are to enable them to thrive in life. At SSQ, we have built an inclusive ethos and curriculum to enable this to happen.
Matt is currently working on rethinking primary assessment, digging deeper into what we want assessment to look like in this phase with a focus on measuring more than just the academics.
Andrea trained as a primary school teacher and has worked in education for the last 12 years. She was born in Newham and has spent her career working in and around East London.
Prior to teaching, Andrea worked at the BBC and in theatre in diverse roles that have provided opportunities that enhance her skills as an educator and leader. She is an advocate of the Arts and worked as a Stage Manager in theatrical productions across the country. Using creativity-driven thinking, Andrea enjoys crafting the big picture and shaping this into an on the ground reality. This has directly translated into her work building and developing the Middle School at School 21, where, as Deputy Head, she specialises in wellbeing and embedding school culture.
Andrea is a skilled teacher and holds a particular interest in the Early Years and is passionate about the development of the whole child – head, heart and hand. Her drive and passion centres around social mobility, equality and the empowerment of young people. She thrives on developing those around her and being authentically engaged within all aspects of the community she serves.
Sarah Seleznyov has worked in London schools for over 25 years. She has been a Deputy Head, a School Improvement Consultant and a Teaching School Director. Before moving to Big Education, she worked at The London Centre for Leadership in Learning, UCL Institute of Education, where she designed and led a range of research-informed programmes for school leaders and teacher enquiry projects. She also acted as a facilitator on the National Professional Qualification for Executive Leaders.
During her career, Sarah has also worked for the Fischer Family Trust and the National Literacy Trust. She is a specialist maths tutor on the Let’s Think (Cognitive Acceleration) research project from King’s College University.
Sarah’s research specialism is Japanese lesson study, and she has published widely on the use of lesson study outside Japan. She is a member of the Collaborative Lesson Research UK group. She is very excited to be shaping the new Big Education primary school.
Tessa joined the Big Education family in April 2022 as Director of Finance and Operations, having worked within the Education sector for the past 13 years at the Harris Federation, a multi academy trust of 52 schools.
Prior to working in Education, Tessa trained as a chartered certified accountant in London whilst working in various finance roles across different sectors including Events, Publications, PR and IT outsourcing for banking.
Tessa is passionate about service delivery and working collaboratively with Head Teachers and Budget holders so they are empowered to be able to make decisions quickly and efficiently. She believes passionately that finance and operations should not be a barrier but a facilitator to support schools achieve their objectives. Not just for the short term but for the longer term too.
Tessa is currently working on strengthening the central services function and preparing for growth.
As a mum of 3 children, Tessa works flexibly in her role.