Ed has 20 years' experience running and growing businesses in numerous sectors, but most recently focused on Education. Prior to joining First Class Learning in June 2016, he was CEO Europe for Cognita Schools - a leading global group of Independent Schools - with a portfolio of 66 schools across Europe, Asia and Latin America. At Cognita, Ed was responsible for 47 schools in the UK and Spain and the education of around 20,000 pupils, focusing on improving educational standards and inspiring every child to exceed expectations. Ed spent the first six years of his career with Bain & Company, a leading global consulting firm, working across many sectors both in the UK and international markets. He has previously run businesses in consumer goods, food manufacturing, restaurants and hospitality and retail and distribution. He has a BSc degree from Bristol University and a Corporate Finance qualification from Wharton Business School in the USA.
During a career in the telecommunications industry, David taught key skills in maths and English and ran a training organisation responsible for conducting BTEC examinations in telecommunications. After a brief period working on famine relief programmes in East Africa, David worked as a mentor for children with specific learning needs as well as teaching psychology and running a successful teacher training programme. He also ran three successful tuition centres in the North East. David is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Training and Development and a graduate of the University of Durham. A qualified Mountaineering Instructor, David enjoys mountain walking and motorcycling.
David is responsible for financial matters, as well as aspects of Marketing and IT. Born and educated in Aberdeen and a graduate of Business Studies at The Robert Gordon University, David is our Financial Controller with over 20 years' experience in finance roles. Beginning in the Oil industry in Aberdeen, a move south to London - to work in the domestic energy supply sector - was followed by a decade-long placement as VP - Group Financial Controller for a global Financial Technology business. He has recently settled in Buckinghamshire with his partner and two young daughters.
Stacey has spent her entire career in education, following the completion of her BA (Hons) degree at Exeter University and further qualification as a teacher with a PGCE in English, Media and Drama. She has taught in both state and grammar schools, spending a number of years as Head of Media, and is also an alumnus of the Teaching Leaders programme. For a number of years, she has been a GCSE examiner for two exam boards. Stacey is also a First Class Learning Centre Manager and co-owns three centres in West London. She leads a team of qualified English teachers and subject specialists in the continuous development and renewal of the First Class Learning English programme.
Simon’s extensive career in maths and English began after his time as an Engineering Officer in the Merchant Navy, with whom he travelled extensively and experienced different cultures around the world. Over the past 15 years, Simon’s entrepreneurial instincts led him to developing innovative products to assist children with specific learning objectives in mathematics. He has applied these in his own after school tuition centres and he currently works with around 140 students of all ages, including small groups in a local primary school. While mainly tutoring to GCSE level, has also worked with adults working towards Qualified Teacher Status, taking great pleasure in helping them to achieve their career goals. Simon’s extensive experience teaching maths and his innovative approach to pedagogical techniques led him to found the highly popular 3-minute maths programme and website. Simon leads a team of qualified maths teachers and practitioners in constantly updating and improving the First Class Learning maths programme, as well as developing new modules in line with the changing curriculum.
Pat is a co-founder of First Class Learning and helped to design, develop and implement the FCL English Programme. As a Modern Languages graduate, she recognises the importance of secure grammar and vocabulary skills in mastering language and using it effectively and creatively. Following her degree, she qualified as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her experience in this field gave her a valuable insight into how students acquire and use language in everyday situations. Pat has worked for many years as a tutor of English and other languages, as well as gaining extensive experience supporting literacy in mainstream education.
Chris is a co-founder of First Class Learning and helped design, develop and implement the FCL Maths Programme. He began his teaching career after leaving university when he joined Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) working in Fiji as a Teacher of Science and Mathematics. Here, he became convinced that secure arithmetical skills are fundamental to success in Maths. Chris has over 25 years of experience as a tutor and ran a highly successful tuition centre for 17 years.
Celia Stone is a specialist Teacher of Children with Dyslexia with over 35 years of experience. She is co-author of the Beat Dyslexia and Beat Dyscalculia programmes. Celia has a wealth of experience and has become a recognised authority in the field of special needs education. Driven by an appreciation of the significance of highly structured multi-sensory teaching as an essential requirement for concept building, she was encouraged to develop her successful Addacus programme. Celia is Director of the Irlen Centre - North East and has been a member of our Advisory Board since 2005.
Dr Madeleine Portwood is a Senior Specialist Educational Psychologist, who has more than 20 years’ experience. Her vast research into Dyspraxia has led to her producing movement programmes for children with coordination issues. As well as her movement programmes, she has written several books on the subject. Madeleine is an internationally recognised speaker, Madeleine is an Honoured Fellow of the University of Durham and has been a member of our Advisory Board since 2005.