The Conference Committee  for 2017 brings together the co-convenors for each sub-theme with four colleagues to lead and support in specific areas.  Membership of the conference committee is drawn from a range of member organisations and institutions and includes colleagues with much experience of the conference and those new to the role.

Freda WolfendenFreda Wolfenden. The Open University – Chair

Freda Wolfenden is a senior Lecturer in Education and Development and Academic Director for TESS-India at the Open University, UK.

Freda’s career has been driven by a passion to improve opportunities to learn for all pupils though an emphasis on teacher development, particularly for those teaching in the poorest communities. Freda began her career as a secondary school science teacher in London and Asia before becoming involved in innovative projects to develop the use of new technologies to support learning.

Since joining the Open University in 2004 Freda has worked on teacher education across the UK, Sub –Saharan Africa and India.  She directed the OU Masters in Education programme and from 2008 to 2012 Freda was Director of TESSA, awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education (2009) and a WISE Award in 2011.  On TESS-India Freda’s work includes implementing a MOOC for teacher educators (TESS-India was awarded a 2015 Bond Award for Innovation) and she leads the OU contribution to a Girls’ Education Challenge project (with Plan International) developing opportunities for rural women into teaching in Sierra Leone.  Freda is currently researching the use of OER in teacher education in Ghana (using tablets) and East Africa.

Sarah JefferySarah Jeffery, UKFIET – Conference Manager

Sarah has managed the past nine UKFIET Conferences and is a freelance conference and event manager, previously having worked for CfBT Education Trust (now The Education Development Trust).  She is also the Programme Manager for UKFIET taking care of its business throughout the year. Contact Sarah


Nidhi SingalNidhi Singal, University of Cambridge – BAICE Representative

Dr Nidhi Singal is a Reader at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. She leads on the Access, Teaching and Learning theme in the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre. Nidhi has worked on issues of educational inequality, with a particular emphasis on addressing concerns around educational access and quality provision for children with disabilities in Southern contexts. She is also interested in exploring models of inclusive and innovative pedagogy in mainstream classrooms in these contexts. She has lead on various international research projects, and is co-PI on the ESRC-DFID funded Teaching Effectively All Children (TEACh) project in India and Pakistan.

She is also a member of the Education team with a particular focus on disability as a cross-cutting theme, in the Impact Initiative, funded by the ESRC-DFID Strategic Partnership. Nidhi is the Vice-Chair of BAICE.

Sandra BaxterSandra Baxter, IDS, Sussex – UKFIET Engagement Fellow

Sandra Baxter is the Knowledge and Learning Manager for DFID’s Evidence and Knowledge for Development (K4D) programme, as well as HEART. She has worked at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) since 2000, specialising in communicating research findings and enhancing knowledge flows between different stakeholders and networks for improved evidence-informed decision-making and development outcomes. She has spent periods of secondment with DFID’s education cadre and UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), and more recently as Knowledge Management Specialist for the DFAT (previously AusAID) Education Resource Facility. Prior to this she was teaching English in Peru. Sandra is also the Engagement Fellow for The Education Development Forum (UKFIET). Contact Sandra

Working at the University of Gloucestershire’s School of Education Paul runs international projects on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), teaches on Masters and Bachelors programmes and serves as Postgraduate Research Lead. He is founder director of the South West Learning for Sustainability Coalition.
Paul has over 30 years’ experience in ESD from environmental education in England to long-term international development projects and corporate social responsibility programmes. He represented European ECO Forum at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) where he helped draft the UNECE ESD Strategy, develop ESD indicators and devise a framework of competences for ESD educators.

Dr Clare Bentall is a Lecturer in Education at UCL Institute of Education. She teaches on a variety of programmes, all with the focus on helping others educate in a range of higher and professional education contexts. She is also Associate Director of the Development Education Research Centre, with a particular interest in education that prepares people for contributing to a socially just world and responding to the challenges of globalisation. Contact Clare

Angeline’s research focuses on teacher professionalism and pedagogy in under-resourced contexts, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work is underpinned by a social justice perspective, which views a good quality education as enhancing teachers’ and learners’ capabilities, contributing to human development and subject to public democratic debate. From this perspective she has contributed to debate on the formulation of the education sustainable development goal. Her current research explores how pedagogy and learning materials can support learners through a transition in the language of instruction in Tanzania. Angeline is currently senior lecturer in education at the University of Bristol, UK.


Julia Paulson is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Bristol. She is editor of the book Education and Reconciliation and her research focuses broadly on this relationship, exploring challenges and opportunities for education curriculum, pedagogy, policy and practices to contribute towards justice and building peace.


James Lawrie, Senior Education Adviser with Save the Children, has 15 years’ experience as a teacher, researcher, and policy adviser working in numerous crisis, post-crisis and low-income locations. Current areas of thematic focus include Accelerated Education for older children and Teacher Professional Development for qualified and non-qualified teachers. He co-edited the INEE guide Where It’s Needed Most: Quality Professional Development for All Teachers and contributed to the 2016 publication Accelerated Education Programming Pocket Guide. Contact James   Twitter@JamesLawrie

Nalini Boodhoo is a Professor of Language Education at the University of East Anglia where she has held a number of responsibilities including Head of the School of Education and Lifelong Learning for six years until July 2016.

Her research interests include second language teaching methodology in primary and secondary schools, and the role of language teachers in the whole school curriculum. Nalini is also interested in teacher education and professional development, language policy development and curriculum innovation relating to improvement initiatives in lower income countries.  For several years she was a language teacher educator. Before beginning her university career, Nalini taught languages and held management responsibilities in a number of secondary schools.

Dr Sharon Tao is an Education Adviser at Cambridge Education and has been a Key Adviser for technical areas that include Teacher Development, Gender and M&E/Research on large-scale DFID-funded programmes in Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and India. She has also worked at the grassroots level as a researcher and teacher in government primary schools in Tanzania and Rwanda. This extensive experience has underpinned her recently published book, ‘Transforming Teacher Quality in the Global South’, which discusses an innovative Capability Approach/Critical Realist framework that Sharon has used to design interventions and research aiming to improve female teacher deployment to rural schools, reduce corporal punishment, strengthen teacher morale and enhance social justice in and through education.   Contact Sharon

Professor Rebecca Hughes joined the British Council in December 2013 as Director of International Higher Education. In May 2014 she became Director Education, with responsibility for: Skills, Schools, Higher Education and Science.

Professor Hughes’ appointment at British Council follows a career working extensively in international Higher Education and English Language and Linguistics.  Rebecca’s experience of internationalisation of Higher Education includes being the first Pro-Vice-Chancellor, International, at The University of Sheffield, and running a Department delivering UK degrees and English language support services in Malaysia and China at the University of Nottingham, where Rebecca is now an Honorary Professor.

I am a Program Officer for the International Education Funders Group, an affinity network of private and philanthropic grantmakers who support education in the global south. In this post I support knowledge-sharing and networking among donors in order to help improve their strategic analyses and thinking and to provide opportunities for collective learning and action.

I also work at the Centre for International Education Research, University of Nottingham as a Research Associate and Honorary Assistant Professor. In this role, I am working to develop a Commonwealth Accelerated Development Mechanism for Education (CADME) in order to help Commonwealth member states achieve the targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Aaron Benavot is Director, Global Education Monitoring Report and Professor (on leave) in the School of Education, University at Albany-SUNY. Since joining the GEM Report team he has overseen the publication of two reports — Education for all: 2000-2015: Achievements and challenges and Education for people and planet: creating sustainable futures for all — and assured its smooth transition to the new GEM Report series.

His scholarly work explores key aspects of the evolution of basic education from a comparative perspective—educational expansion and compulsory schooling, the growing similarities of official curricular policies, the diversification of secondary education, school differences in curricular implementation, the changing status of vocational education and the growth of national learning assessments.  Contact Aaron

Rhiannon MooreRhiannon Moore, Young Lives, University of Oxford

Rhiannon is an Education Research Officer for the Young Lives study, based at the University of Oxford. She is currently working on Young Lives’ secondary school effectiveness survey which is taking place in Ethiopia, India and Vietnam in 2016-17. Rhiannon has a particular interest in the attitudes, classroom practices and motivation of teachers in low and middle-income countries, and how these relate to student learning. Contact Rhiannon  Twitter@rhi_moore

Susy is Head of International Development (Consultancy) at Education Development Trust where she is responsible for the Trust’s global work supporting education system reform. She has a particular interest in how to support education in fragile and conflict-states and is currently working on producing guidance for UNICEF on equitable education for secondary age adolescents. Susy attended her first UKFIET conference in 2005 and was inspired at the forum it provided for academics, policymakers and practitioners to come together to discuss and debate international education issues. Susy has co-convened sub-themes at past conferences and joined the UKFIET Executive Committee in 2014.   Contact Susy


Amy Parker works with Relief International as global Education Technical Lead based in London, supporting education programme development, implementation and strategy across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Amy’s key areas of interest are quality education provision in fragile and conflict affected states and girls’ education. She is currently a co-chair of the Gender and Development Network’s Girls’ Education in International Development working group.She studied French and German at University of Durham, worked as a secondary school teacher for five years. She took her first steps in international development as a volunteer teacher trainer in Rwanda with VSO. This led to a five-year stint with Children in Crisis managing education and community development programmes in eastern DR Congo and Burundi followed by working with Plan International UK as Education Adviser