The Inspire Programme Steering Committee is comprised of St John’s College Fellows, headteachers from schools across London, and education professionals. You can meet the members of the committee below:
Senior College Representatives
Professor Dame Sue Black DBE OBE FRSE FBA FRAI FRSB ChFA, Baroness Black of Strome
The President, St John’s College
Professor Black is one of the world’s leading forensic scientists and has most recently been the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University, tasked with raising the University’s profile locally, regionally and nationally whilst championing the economic growth and regeneration of North West England.
Since graduating from the University of Aberdeen in human anatomy and forensic anthropology, Professor Black has had a varied and distinguished academic career, lecturing in Anatomy at St Thomas’ Hospital London and working as a consultant in forensic anthropology for both the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, undertaking forensic investigations in Iraq, Sierra Leone and Grenada. She was the lead forensic anthropologist during the international war crimes investigations in Kosovo. From 2003 to 2018 she was Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at Dundee University.
Professor Black has written widely and has made regular media appearances, including on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and The Life Scientific. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Higher Education and Forensic Science and in 2021 entered the House of Lords as a crossbencher peer as Baroness Black of Strome. Professor Black is also the 65th President of the Royal Anthropological Institute and she is the lifetime Professor of Anatomy for the Royal Scottish Academy.
St John’s College Principal Bursar
Zoe is the Principal Bursar at St John’s and is responsible for the College’s assets and operations, including its buildings and contents, HR for non-academic staff, as well as the equity and property investment portfolio that supports the College’s teaching and research activities. She represents the College on external business, in particular in relation to estates matters, planning and development and is St John’s representative on the Oxford colleges Estates Bursars Committee. Zoe is currently overseeing the development of the College’s Masterplan, a comprehensive strategy that pulls together the use and provision of spaces in College to meet current and future needs in terms of accommodation, facilities and supporting infrastructure. She is also leading on the development of the College’s ESG strategy and sustainability plan.
Zoe joined St John’s in March 2021 from Oaklands College, a large further education college, where she was Principal and Chief Executive for a number of years. Beforehand she was the Director of Planning and Projects at the British Museum. Zoe studied modern history at Merton and trained as a chartered accountant with PwC. In addition to her executive roles, Zoe was the Chair of WENTA for a number of years, a not-for-profit organisation that supports business start-ups. She has just taken up a trustee role at the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBWOT).
Head of Communications, Executive Officer to the President
Denise is Head of Communications for St John’s and Executive Officer to the President, working on a wide range of projects including strategy, speech-writing and governance. She is also a member of Professor Maggie Snowling and Professor Charles Hulme’s research team working on interventions looking at children’s language and learning difficulties and how best to ameliorate them. The team recently published the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (OUP, 2018) and are now working on an effectiveness trial of the programme in 200 schools. Before joining St John’s, Denise worked in educational publishing for 25 years, after two years teaching English in state high schools in Japan. She was a Board Member of the Educational Publishers Council and Governor and Chair of Governors at Combe Church of England Primary School in Oxfordshire.
Dr Sandra Campbell
Tutor for Access and Admissions, Supernumerary Fellow in Physiology
Sandra is the Fellow for Access and Admissions for St John’s, directing an extensive range of outreach projects including the pre- and post-GCSE Inspire Programme. She leads our team of access and admissions staff, all of whom are passionate about making a difference for disadvantaged pupils. She is also involved in other aspects of College life, including teaching, welfare, discipline, presidential collections, various committees and alumni interactions. Sandra has worked in higher education for the last 25 years. She has been a tutor in Physiology at Oxford for the past 13 years, teaching within the Medicine, Biomedical Sciences and Experimental Psychology courses for both the College and the University. Outside her teaching interests, she manages a team facilitating the development of laboratory imaging biomarkers for tumour detection and monitoring for use in patients.
Professor Patrick Hayes
Tutorial Fellow in English
Professor Patrick Hayes is a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford, where he teaches English Literature from the romantic period to the present day. His main research interest is in how we might best think about the value of literature in relation to modern ethical and political concerns. So far he have tended to focus on writing in English from beyond the British Isles, exploring the ways in which ideas and traditions move across borders and through time. He has recently completed a historical account of the diverse kinds of writing which have helped to define modern identity—including everything from autobiographies and diaries to psychoanalytic case studies, testimonies, philosophical theories about selfhood, lyric poems, blogs, and social media websites. It covers the period from 1945 to the present day, and forms the concluding volume of the new Oxford History of Life-Writing. His current work is on debates about the nature and value of aesthetic education from the late eighteenth-century right up to the present.
Professor KJ Patel FRS FMedSci
Director, Weatherall Institute for Molecular MedicineFellow for Ethnic Minorities
Professor KJ Patel is the Director of the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine and also the MRC Molecular Hematology Unit at the University of Oxford. KJ trained in medicine in London and spent his research career until recently at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge which is one of the premier research institutes in the world. He was also professor for molecular medicine and stem cell genomics at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on the molecular basis of inherited genomic instability and the role it plays in the biology of stem cells particularly those that make blood. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences UK (FMedSci) and also a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).
Professor Kate Nation
Previous Tutor for Access and Admissions, Tutorial Fellow in Psychology
As Tutor for Psychology, Professor Nation is responsible for making the arrangements for the Experimental Psychology (EP) and Psychology, Philosophy & Linguistics (PPL) students at St. John’s. She provides undergraduate tutorials across all three years, covering a range of topics in psychology. She also contribute to the Psychology for Medicine course. She is College Advisor to a number of graduate students in College who are researching a wide variety of topics in psychology and neuroscience. In the department, she gives a 2nd year lecture course on Developmental Psychology and a 3rd year advanced course on Reading and Language: Development and Disorder. She supervises postgraduate students working in the field of psycholinguistics (the psychology of language), especially written language.
Professor Nation is am based in the Department of Experimental Psychology. Broadly, my research is concerned with the psychology of language, especially reading and its development. She is am interested in how children learn to read words and comprehend text, and more generally, the relationship between spoken language and written language. A key aim at present to specify some of the mechanisms involved in the transition from novice to expert. We also study language processing in skilled adults, addressing the issue of how skilled behaviour emerges via language learning experience. Alongside her research on typical development, she studies language and cognitive processes in children with developmental disorders that impact on language and literacy development, including language impairment, autism and dyslexia.
Head, The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, Ealing
Rachel has taught in comprehensive schools both in the UK and in South Africa, twice in girls’ only schools, and is currently the head of The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls in Ealing. She is passionate about girls’ only education. As a third generation university qualified female in her family, she works very hard to inspire girls to go to university and specifically into STEM careers. Her school has been part of the Inspire program for some time. At EWS, 99% of the Year 13 pupils go on to University, 25% to Russell Group universities and 40 % to follow STEM related courses. A significant number of the pupils are the first in their families to go to University. Rachel is on the board of the Ealing Learning Partnership and chair of their Pathways and Progression Committee, where they consider the future opportunities available to pupils from Ealing. She is a life-long learner with a very broad field of interests – she has degrees in Music and Maths and an MBA, and is currently studying towards a Law degree.
Head Teacher, Whitmore High School, Harrow
After studying Natural Sciences and Chemical Engineering at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Sue joined BP and worked in various engineering and commercial roles in the UK and USA. Sue then moved into teaching and is currently headteacher of Whitmore High School in Harrow, an inclusive community school with 1700 pupils. Sue is Chair of Harrow’s High School Headteachers Group and Schools’ Forum and committed to ensuring all young people have fair and equal access to a high quality education.
Katherine Ryan, MBE
Head, Matthew Arnold School, Oxford
Katherine brings a lifelong commitment to improving education and a particular interest in success and progression for learners of all ages and backgrounds. She has been Headteacher of Matthew Arnold School since 2006 and has focused on ensuring that all learners are able to succeed and to progress to positive destinations when they leave school. As Chair of OCL (Oxford City Learning) from 2009–2017, a network of secondary education providers across the City, she worked with colleague Heads and Principals to improve achievement and raise aspiration for all learners. In 2015, she led the development of a multiacademy Trust, the Acer Trust, which consists of primary and secondary schools across Oxfordshire, with a core aim of ‘Achieving Excellence for All’. Prior to taking up the headship of Matthew Arnold School, she was the Principal Advisor for Secondary School Improvement at Birmingham City Council. Her career includes advisory work in science education and education leadership in three Local Authorities, as well as teaching in a range of comprehensive schools across Oxfordshire and the West Midlands. She has also worked in Higher Education as Science Education Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.
Internal Access Team Representatives
Dr Ana Wallis (Maternity Leave)
Inspire 12 & 13 Programme Lead
Ana’s role is managing the Post-GCSE Inspire Programme. This includes our Year 12 Inspire Programme, Study Days and Subject Exploration Days. After attending the University of Nottingham for her undergraduate degree in Genetics, she moved to Oxford to study my DPhil (PhD), examining how our genetic material (DNA) is copied when a cell divides. During my DPhil she designed and delivered science outreach materials. She greatly enjoyed this outreach experience, and afterwards went on to work at St John’s College, Oxford and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History creating STEM outreach programmes for families and pupils.
Lucy Russell (Maternity Cover)
Inspire 12 & 13 Programme Coordinator
As Programme Coordinator for the Inspire 12&13 Programme, Lucy works with colleagues in the Access Team to deliver Access and Outreach events for pupils in years 12 and 13. She am responsible for coordinating the St John’s Inspire Programme for Year 12 and 13, as well as academic Study Days and Subject Exploration Days. Originally from Luton, she studied for an undergraduate degree in Politics and Social Anthropology from Magdalene College, Cambridge, where she worked as JCR Access Officer. She is dedicated to ensuring the doors to higher education remain open to everyone, regardless of their background.
Dr Eleanor Baker
Inspire 9, 10 & 11 Programme Lead
As Programme Coordinator for Inspire Years 9, 10 & 11, Eleanor work with colleagues in the Access and Admissions Team to run programmes and deliver resources for school pupils aged 13-16 (Years 9 to 11). She is responsible for the delivery of the Inspire Scholars Programme for Years 9, 10 & 11 (for non-selective state-school pupils in the St John’s College link regions), as well as Inspire Critical Thinking (available nationally for non-selective state-school pupils). She is passionate about supporting pupils’ academic attainment and potential, and working with academics, schools, and other educational institutions to provide fun, exciting, and challenging opportunities for secondary school pupils and their communities.
She completed her DPhil in Medieval Literature at St John’s College, and tutored at various colleges as an undergraduate and outreach tutor.
It’s Richard responsibility to manage, develop and expand the College’s Access programmes.
St John’s has partnered with St Hilda’s, St Hugh’s and Somerville to form the Oxford for South East Consortium with whom he works to ensure consistent access and outreach provision across the region.