Meet the Management Committee
Laura Cook, Chair. The Learning Support Centre
I have worked in NMH for over 20 years and started my career in disability as a support worker. I am the Managing Director of The Learning Support Centre, which is an NMH provider and training centre, I am passionate about disabled students getting the right support and about ensuring quality provision across the sector. I have experience in strategic roles such as a SEND Governor and Trustee for Leicestershire Citizens Advice Bureau.
Chris Collier, Vice Chair. e-Quality Learning
I have worked in non-medical help for ten years, starting off as an electronic notetaker and study skills tutor and later managing Sound Support NMH provision and the Contact Associates assessment centres. I’ve been involved with the role changes throughout this period, initially as the assessment centre representative for the first NMH QAF working group and, this year, as a representative for business providers on the 2019 NMH Framework working group.
In my current role for e-Quality Learning, I’m committed to ensuring that Assistive Technology Training (ATT) continues to be considered as non-medical help. I have led on a BATA proposal to bring a qualification into the ATT role and have engaged with SLC on quality measures for the role. As a previous needs assessor, I feel that I can bring a knowledge of assessment centre practice and assistive technology developments to the NMH Providers’ Association and will support the organisation in any way I can.
Martin Hall, Treasurer. University of Leeds
I have worked in education for 17 years, including 14 years of teaching and 11 years working in the area of additional learning support/disability services. I worked in Further Education for 14 years, firstly as an administrator in community development and then as a lecturer and manager in Additional Learning Support. Since September 2015 I have worked at the University of Leeds, starting as a disability coordinator for a year and since then as the Support Worker Team Manager.
Marie Norris, Officer. Clear Links Support Limited
Initially working in social services, then moving into further and higher education, managing an HEP disability service and, since 2006 running Clear Links, I have always seen the individual as being at the heart of service provision. As a member of the team working on the development of the NMH Charter (2012) I have endeavoured to represent a collective voice, contributing to and championing the work of disabled student service providers – be they HEPs, organisations such as Clear Links, and individuals – driving transparency and excellent quality service provision. Representing the Association over the past five years I have contributed to many sector events and initiatives. My commitment to encouraging a voice from all corners of our sector, disseminating key issues and gathering your feedback, in addition to my own personal strong belief in our positive intentions, has been central to my work for the Association.
Jane Hartlebury , Officer. Edge Hill University
In representing my professional service colleagues as Ordinary Officer on the Board, I will strive to further enhance the activities of the Association. I believe that equality and diversity enrich and are drivers for the success of student support. The expertise and skill set I have gained as Senior Inclusion Officer at Edge Hill University for the past 10 years positions me to provide operational perspectives and to consider the impact of DSA changes through the lens of a widening participating HEI. I am fortunate to manage a team of support staff, their CPD and Supervision to ensure we provide an outstanding student experience. I also co-ordinate our DSA funded support, DSA-QAG audits and quality assurance. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and member of the Institute of Leadership and Management. As a representative, I will seek to protect our core values, encouraging a collegial spirit to see the pressures and expectations of our ever-evolving sector as a challenge, and focus on what needs to be done. I value honesty and I find it fulfilling to support, develop and positively influence all stakeholders through my commitment and engagement, combining personal humility with professional drive.
Graham Coiley, Officer. Amano Student Support
Graham’s time in the DSA sector spans 9 years, from equipment supply, to training, through to his current company focus which is NMH. He has previously lectured in FE following his PGCE training, delivered Mental Health First Aid training, and this all followed a long spell in health care, initially as a nurse then subsequently in the commercial world of health care. Graham was a British Assistive Technology Association Council member and for 2 years represented the ATSPs on the DSSG sub-group. He has often worked closely with DSA-QAG, SFE, and the Governmental bodies in reviewing the DSA. Graham says; ‘perhaps my clarity of thinking around the key issues, my strong interpersonal skills, and my desire to see positive change have led me to the meeting rooms of stakeholders across the sector’. Outside of the world of DSA he is the Chair of Trustees for his local Dementia Memory Café, and is often out on his bike or taking a river swim.
Chris Owen, Officer. Specialist 1-1 Study Skills Tutor
I am a Cardiff-based educator, who has worked across several age groups, subjects, and abilities, and undertaken a variety of roles since 2008. I worked for the University of South Wales as in-house study skills tutor for 4 years and have worked freelance since 2017. I enjoy working closely with students to help them develop their confidence and improve their work through 1:1 tuition.
Natasha Hardiman, Officer. Sound Support
I joined Sound Support 6 years ago as the Operations Manager and have since moved into the Head of Support Services role. During this time I have managed the changes that DSA-QAG have brought into the sector and have passed the audit structure imposed. I am the stakeholder for my organisation with DSA-QAG and have a positive working relationship. I am interested to be involved in the current changes QAG are implementing regarding quality checking and feel that the association has an important role in these changes. My role involves responsibility for the NMH provision we offer and operational responsibility for our assessment centres and back office team, giving me an insight into the sector as a whole and the ability to work with all colleagues with the same aims, the student having the most positive experience possible, solving problems and improving outcomes. Being part of the association has benefited myself and my organisation with the insights and knowledge that comes from being part of the group and I welcome the opportunity to be part of the board.
Christine Breakey, Officer. Study Skills (Autism)
I have a life-long passion for equality, inclusion and communication which I have channelled in the field of autism. I started my career in social work before contributing to the establishment of one of the first secondary school Integrated Resources for autistic students in the country. This led to me setting up and developing the inclusive autism specialist support service at my local further education college in 1999 and authoring two books on autism. I have recently retired from the ownership and management of Spectrum First Ltd (now Spectrum First Education) which I set up in 2003, and which provides autism specialist NMH support, and I currently work as an autism specialist Study Skills Tutor within this service. I am committed to: improving access and removing barriers to learning for all disabled students; raising the quality of good professional practice, and enabling the views of all professionals in the NMH sector to be heard. I consider the association to be an effective platform to address these goals.