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!
David L. Perry MA (RCA), FRSA (Chair)
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.
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 GRASP in both education and business.
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, twin grandsons and enjoys spending time with family and friends, her hobbies include sewing and cooking.
Amrit Singh BSc, ACMA
Graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BSc. in Mathematics and Computer Science, Amrit is currently the Finance and Commercial Director at nasen and a Director of Leading Learning for SEND Community Interest Company. Amrit is passionate about helping people achieve their potential through a strong foundation of education (formal and informal), coaching and raising self-awareness.
Prior to joining nasen, Amrit was in the Financial Services sector, most recently as Finance Director at a FinTech in the Automotive sector and was also a 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 called Hugo.
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.
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.
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 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. He 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 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.