Trustees & Fellows


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 idea, 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!

John E. Slater BSc, FRSA (Chairman)

John E Slater (Chair)

John graduated in Pure Maths & Physics from Exeter in 1972 then joined the police. He quickly rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent and held commands in Brent and Camden (Camden has about 1,000 staff). He also worked at Scotland Yard, specializing in organized crime. He was adviser to two Home Secretaries and represented UK policing at the Council of Europe. In 1992, concerned with police accountability, 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 and set up his own business as a leadership consultant, working at ministerial and presidential level in over 35 countries. He still advises Ukraine and Serbia.

He became a trustee of Comino in 2000 and has been Chairman since 2001. 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.

His hobbies include fine wine, food, sailing and fast cars. John’s partner is Karen; he has two adult daughters and two grandchildren.

David L. Perry MA (RCA), FRSA

Fascinated by designing as a mode of learning, David has been a leader in curriculum innovation for 40 years, for instance as Director of the Royal College of Art Schools Technology project in the 1990s. At the University of Winchester, he led the Design and Technology team hosting the Comino work supported by the DTI Education/Industry Unit. With José Chambers as DTI Research Fellow, this team investigated the use of problem solving approaches such as GRASPin both education and business.

Latterly, as a Director of the then Technology Colleges Trust he set up the first national broadband network for schools and, running his own education consultancy, supported the enrichment of learning in schools in a number of local authorities through children’s ubiquitous access to the internet, notably with Bristol City Learning Centres and Wolverhampton Local Authority.

James P. Westhead BA (Oxon)

James joined Teach First in October 2009 to head up the External Relations department where he leads on fundraising and development, communications and events, and data and impact.

Prior to this, James worked for BBC News as its education and social affairs correspondent. During a distinguished 18-year career in broadcasting, James appeared regularly on flagship TV & radio programmes including the Six & Ten O’clock News and the Today programme. As well as helping launch News 24 in 1997, he has held a number of senior posts, including that of the BBC’s health correspondent.

James has won several awards including Programme of the Year from the Royal Television Society. He also reported from around the world on major news stories, including the Asian tsunami and the flooding of New Orleans, spending two years posted abroad as one of the BBC’s Washington correspondents.

Paul M. Pritchard

Paul Pritchard

Paul began his career with the Westland Helicopters Group as an Engineering Apprentice and subsequently a Graduate Trainee. He has held management roles in the Westland Group, Unigate, Alfa Laval and JCB. Though most of his work has been centred on People Development, with Alfa Laval he had assignments for periods in Italy and Holland and global responsibility for the mechanisation of cheese-making.

Since 1988 Paul has been with JCB, where he was Group Head of Learning and Development working closely with schools, colleges and universities to develop strong links between academia and business. JCB is a leading exponent of personal development for all their staff worldwide.

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, the JCB Academy is a regional 14 – 19 Technical Academy whose vision is to “Develop Engineers and Business Leaders for the future”. 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 R. Cridland MA (Cantab), CBE

John is Chair of Transport for the North having previously been Director-General of the Confederation of British Industries from 2010 to 2015.  In this role he was the key spokesperson for the business community in the media, on public platforms and with the government.  He led the CBI – the voice of business – in the UK and internationally.

John spent 10 years on the Low Pay Commission and the ACAS Council and was a member of the Commission on Environmental Markets and Economic Performance.  He was Vice Chair of the National Learning and Skills Council between 2007 and 2010 and is a member of the Council of Cranfield University.  He received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Lincoln in 2011 and the University of Bedfordshire in 2013.

John joined the CBI as a policy advisor in 1982 and was Deputy Director-General from 2000 to 2010. He was awarded a CBE for services to business in 2006.

In October 2015 John was appointed as Visiting Professor at University College of London Institute for Sustainable Resources. In November 2015 he was appointed Chairman of Transport for the North and in March 2016 he was appointed independent reviewer of the State Pension Age with recommendations published June 2017.  In August 2016 he was appointed as a member of the Board of OFSTED.

John P. Bothamley, CBE

John’s career started at the Economist moving on from research into several positions in industry before starting his own company in the building trade. Following an architecture degree in 1986 he turned to designing his own projects and built up John Newlands Limited into a property development company and in 1996 started Four Acre Trust, a charitable grant making trust, distributing his own funds. His interest and focus has been on education with the strapline “giving children a better start in life”.

Within the charity sector he served on the Board of the Association of Charitable Foundations from 2002 to 2006; serves on several charity boards and is a Governor of the University of Worcester.  In 2013 he was awarded a CBE for Services to Charity in the United Kingdom and Overseas in 2013.

John considers the ability to communicate confidently underlies a person’s ability to achieve in all aspects of life, and has his own Talk The Talk charity working with professional trainers across the country.  He lobbies for a widening of school curricula to encompass creative subjects.

Development Fellow:

Professor José Chambers BA, M.Phil, FRSA, MBE

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.

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 is the Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).  He was formerly Head of the No. 10 Policy Unit under Tony Blair.  He is currently heading a review for the government of worker’s rights and practices.  The Comino Foundation has had a ongoing relationship with the RSA since 1979.

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.