Trustees & Fellows


Mumtaz Bashir-Hanid JP, DL, BSc

Mumtaz graduated from Manchester in Polymer Science & Technology and is now a strategic management consultant, with a breadth of experience across public, private and the third sector. 

Appointed as an Education Commissioner to Oldham in 2011 she created an innovative approach to support pupils through the “Collaborate to Innovate Project for Schools”. She engaged with a diverse range of employers whilst delivering bespoke community engagement programmes to encourage leadership skills, promote equality, celebrate diversity, unlocking pupil potential and lift their personal potential.

Previously she was a House of Lords Parliamentary Adviser to help establish The National Commission on Women’s Empowerment & Leadership. 

She also has experience of Global Sports Events where she created the blueprint and delivered the Pre-Volunteer Programme for the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.  The programme gained United Nations Recognition for the work on Social Inclusion and received National and International Awards. As a result she was responsible for the design, development and delivery of the Personal Best Programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mumtaz is married to husband Waheed, a civil engineer, and has 3 sons and twin grandsons and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Her hobbies include sewing and cooking.

Professor José Chambers BA, M.Phil, FRSA, MBE (Chair)

José began her association with the Comino Foundation in the 1980s, when she was working as an English teacher in a sixth form college.  Research into the application of approaches such as GRASP in support of personal, professional and organisational development led her into new territory.

She became an organisational consultant to a wide range of public sector organisations, including government departments and universities, working as an associate consultant with Financial Times Management and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.  She also led a national project on the strategic development of universities for the Higher Education Funding Council for England(HEFCE).

In 2010, she retired from her role as Assistant Vice Chancellor at the University of Winchester.  She was awarded the MBE in 2011 for services to Higher Education. She was Development Fellow for the Foundation until her retirement in July 2021, when she was invited to join the Board of Trustees and took over as Chair in September 2023.

Anna Comino-James, FRSA

Professionally involved with children of high learning potential since the late 1960s, Anna set up The Potential Trust in 1984 to “provide, promote, and encourage whatever makes education more interesting and exciting for school age students, especially children of high potential, those with considerably more than the average share of curiosity and persistence”.

Believing in the importance of sharing ideas, experiences, concerns and possibilities, Anna is also a founder member of GT Voice, a network for those involved in the education of gifted and talented children, and is currently on the GT Voice Board.

Anna facilitates Potential Conferences and other events which bring people together to explore their individual and combined creative energies (possibly of unexpected and unlikely partnerships). Many of her facilitation skills come from training as a teacher of Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms. She is also passionate about good food and combines ingredients in the same way that she combines people – with a gut feeling that something good will come of it!

Dee Halligan

Dee is a designer and strategist working in engagement and learning for social and environmental sustainability. Her work is concerned with the development of new formats and models to widen access to the ideas and skills needed in a changing world.

She currently leads a team of researchers and designers at the Community Interest Company Forth with a particular focus on Open Learning and its potential for supporting skills for transformation and change. Ongoing consultancy projects and advisory roles with clients including British Land and the National Trust reflect her strong interest in place-based learning and belief that place plays a key role in the connection and collaboration we need to thrive.

Over 20 years her work has encompassed award-winning and high profile projects, most recently the Misha Black award for innovation in design education. Client work has included projects for the Design Museum, Google and U+I property developers, in-house roles the Science Museum and National Trust and she has played Associate roles at both Nesta and the Design Council. As a previous grantee of the Comino Foundation, among other grant givers, she is keen to represent that perspective to the group. She lives and works in Brixton, London.

David L. Perry MA (RCA), FRSA

Heavily involved in the development of designing as a mode of learning, David has been a leader in curriculum innovation for over 50 years at schools, higher education, national and international levels. As Director of the Department for Education funded Royal College of Art Schools Technology project in the 1990s he led the development of 22 books forming a model course for schools 11-19.

At the University of Winchester he led the Design and Technology team developing an innovative dual-pathway course preparing for teaching and industrial design. He hosted the Comino work supported by the DTI Education/Industry Unit with José Chambers as DTI Research Fellow investigating the use of problem solving approaches in both education and business. In the late 90s as ICT R&D Director for the Technology Colleges Trust he established the first nationally available broadband network for schools and was instrumental in the development of the National Grid for Learning. Then followed ten years running his own education consultancy with a focus on evaluation and ‘critical friend’ status with significant new projects, including establishing the feasibility of equipping all learners with portable access to the internet for learning. On retirement he joined the Foundation as a Trustee in 2011 and took the Chair role 2020-2023.

Amrit Singh BSc, ACMA

Graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BSc. in Mathematics and Computer Science, Amrit is currently the Chief Operating Officer at the National Institute of Teaching.  Amrit is passionate about helping people achieve their potential through a strong foundation of education (formal and informal), coaching and raising self-awareness.

His previous role was as COO of nasen (the National Association for Special Educational Needs) and Deputy Chair at the University of Wolverhampton.  Prior to that Amrit was in the Financial Services sector, notably as Finance Director at the global investment bank, Deutsche Bank. He attained his CIMA accountancy qualification in the Retail sector with household brands Next and Signet Jewellers. Over the last 15+ years Amrit has spanned multiple sectors working in different locations across the UK with short stints in Europe and India.

He enjoys long walks in nature with his wife, two young daughters and their cavapoo Hugo.

Strategic Development Advisor:

Professor Bill Lucas

Bill  is a social entrepreneur, author, researcher and educational reformer. He is a Professor of Learning and Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester. Bill is co-chair of the strategic advisory group for the 2021 PISA test of Creative Thinking and co-authored the first report of The Durham Commission on Creativity and Education in 2019. His work developing a model of engineering habits of mind with the Royal Academy of Engineering has been significant across the world. He is a prolific, award-winning writer, and has authored and co-authored over forty books and chapters and many peer-reviewed papers. Bill is co-founder of Rethinking Assessment, a movement arguing for a major overhaul of the assessment system in England.

Bill joined the Foundation as its strategic adviser in January 2022 and the Board of Trustees look forward to working with him to continue to develop the various projects with which the Foundation is involved

Comino Fellows:

The Foundation maintains contact with those who have been associated with the Foundation for many years. The Comino Fellows are:

Sir Mike Tomlinson CBE  is a former Chief Inspector for Schools, responsible for the work of OFSTED.  He served as Head of the Expert Enquiry into A/AS level grading in 2002 and in 2003 was appointed Chair of the working group set up by the government to propose reform of the curriculum and qualifications for the 14-19 age group. The report was published in 2004 (The Tomlinson Report). From 2002 to 2007 he served as the Chair of the Learning Trust, a body responsible for running the education services for Hackney, London.   In 2014 he was appointed by the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, as Education Commissioner for Birmingham following the so-called “Trojan Horse” affair. He retired from this post in August 2016.  He was a trustee of the Comino Foundation from 2002 to 2010.

Matthew Taylor led the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) for fifteen years until 2021.  He was formerly Chief Executive of the IPPR and Head of the No. 10 Policy Unit under Tony Blair.  In 2016-17 he led a review for the Conservative government of modern working practices. He is now Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation.

Professor Bill Harrison is Emeritus Professor of Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University where he was formerly Head of the Centre for Science Education. He is also a director of the Vector STEM Partnership consultancy.  He led the Comino Centre for Personal Capabilities and Leadership from 1990 to 2005 during which time he initiated and directed the development of the STEM Leaders Qualification.

Oonagh Harpur helps boards lead success, responsibility and sustainability.  She advises the Government’s Legal Department and is a Non Executive Director of Walgreens Boots Alliance, is a member of the Advisory Panel for Sustainability and a member Wisdom of the Crowd.  In 1997 she led an investigation, supported by the Comino Foundation, into the role of ethics and values in business with the Institute of Directors.

Paul Pritchard was Since with JCB since 1988, where he was Group Head of Learning and Development working closely with schools, colleges and universities to develop strong links between academia and business. From 2005 Paul became Head of the JCB Academy Project, a position he held until the Academy opened in 2010, a blueprint for University Technical Colleges. Following its opening Paul was appointed Chair of Governors until 2012, when he became Vice Chair. Paul is a Reader in the Church of England and was ordained to the Priesthood in June 2013.

John Slater joined the police in 1972 and quickly rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent where he held commands in Brent and Camden with about 1,000 staff. He also worked at Scotland Yard, specializing in organized crime, was adviser to two Home Secretaries and represented UK policing at the Council of Europe. In 1992 he set up the Police Ethics Network, which attracted the attention of the RSA and the Comino Foundation. He resigned from the police in 2002. He became a trustee of Comino Foundation in 2000 and was Chairman from 2001 to 2020. He is Vice President of the Parliamentary & Scientific Committee, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths.

John Cridland CBE is Chairman of the Home Group, a national Housing Association. He is also Pro Chancellor of Brunel University, a Board member of OFSTED, and President of the Northern Transport Acceleration Council. From 2015 until 2020/1 he was Chairman of Transport for the North, a Visiting Professor of UCL, and a Trustee of the Comino Foundation. In 2016/17 he was independent Reviewer of the State Pension Age. John was Director General of the CBI from 2011-2015, and Deputy Director General for the previous decade. He was a founder member of the Low Pay Commission in 1997 and served as a Commissioner for 10 years.