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    Jean Gross CBE

    Jean’s work has focused on improving outcomes for children with significant difficulties in language, literacy and mathematics. Jean has promoted practitioner’s skills in inclusive teaching, and developed children’s social, emotional and behavioural skills through the SEAL (Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning) whole-curriculum approach. She has been a visiting fellow at two universities and is currently an associate fellow at the University of Warwick.

    • Served as national Communication Champion for two years
    • Awarded the CBE in the New Year’s Honours list
    • Founder Director of the Every Child a Chance Trust
    • Previous Senior Director within the government’s Primary National Strategy

    Bob Reitemeier

    Bob became I CAN's Chief Executive in January 2016 and has over 30 years' experience in the voluntary sector in England and internationally. Prior to his appointment at I CAN, he was Chief Executive of Essex Community Foundation and Chief Executive of The Children's Society.

    • Started his career as a secondary school teacher in Zaïre
    • Country Director for Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) in Chad
    • Served on The Youth Justice Board, The Social Work Task Force, The Children’s Workforce Development and Chairman of Children England 
    • Received a CBE for services to children in 2012

    Kamini Gadhok

    Kamini Gadhok has been the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) Chief Executive since December 2000. Her primary role is to deliver service change by building strong partnerships with key stakeholders across Government, charities, other professional bodies and the Health Professions Council.

    • Secondment to the Department of Health’s Care Record Development Board
    • Adviser to the Bercow review of services for children with speech, language and communication needs
    • Held three roles in Nottingham Community Health NHS Trust: as a locality manager; as locality coordinator for the speech and language therapy services; and as specialist adviser

    Professor Geoff Lindsay


    Geoff Lindsay is Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs at the University of Warwick where he is also Director of CEDAR (Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research). Geoff was previously an educational psychologist, moving to Warwick from Sheffield LA where he was Principal Educational Psychologist. His main research areas are special educational needs (SEN), particularly speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

    • Extensive experience directing research including a study to support the Bercow Review 2018
    • Consultant to the Lamb Inquiry into parental confidence in the SEN system
    • Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee for scrutiny of the Children and Families Bill
    • Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the BPS, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

    Kim Johnson

    Kim Johnson

    Kim took up the post of the National President of NAHT (National Association of Headteachers) in April 2016.  Kim will be engaged at a national level with politicians and officials at the Department for Education (DfE) and OFSTED to develop educational policy and practice on behalf of 29000 headteachers, principals, senior leaders and business managers.

    Rob Webster

    Rob joined the South West Yorkshire NHS Partnership Trust as Chief Executive from the NHS Confederation, where he was chief executive for over two years. He has worked in healthcare since 1990, including national roles at the Department of Health on policy, transformation and delivery.

    • Previous director for both the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in the Cabinet Office and a national public/private partnership
    • Seven years as a successful chief executive in the NHS in West Yorkshire
    • Chaired formal national networks including cancer, primary care, community services and learning disabilities
    • Leading the work of the West Yorkshire sustainability and transformation plan (STP)

    Janet Thompson

    Janet Thompson

    Janet took up post as headteacher of Dorothy Goodman School in September 2013.
    An Ofsted schools inspector for 10 years before taking up the post, this is the third special educational needs (SEN) headship that Janet has held.

    During her time as one of Her Majesty’s Inspector’s (HMI) she was national advisor for special educational needs across England.

    Dr Helen Jenner

    Dr Helen Jenner

    Helen is passionate about language and communication and their crucial role particularly in early education but also throughout our development. She is fortunate to have worked with equally enthusiastic colleagues in both Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham where great quality provision has been at the heart of improving children’s life chances.

    • Recently retired from her roles as Corporate Director of Children’s Services in Barking and Dagenham and Chair of the Association of London Directors of Children’s Services
    • Headteacher at Harbinger School, Tower Hamlets from 1985
    • In 2000 Helen became a School Development Adviser for Tower Hamlets Local Authority, and then became Head of Early Years for the Borough.

    Neil Carberry

    Neil Carberry

    Neil is the Director for Employment and Skills at the CBI, a role he has held since February 2011. Neil has worked at the CBI for the past decade on a wide range of business issues, including pay, pensions, agency work, work permits and skills. He is also a member of the CBI's Management Board and Chair of Business Europe's Employment Working Group.

    Before joining the CBI, Neil worked in consultancy on HR issues. He has an MSc in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics and is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD.

    Octavia Holland

    Octavia Holland

    Octavia Holland is the Director of The Communication Trust, which is hosted by I CAN. The Trust is a consortium of 52 not for profit organisations working to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication in England, especially those who struggle as they have speech, language and communication needs.

    • Worked across central government and the charitable sector in delivery, policy and campaigning roles.
    • Chief Executive of Coram’s Fields – a children and young people's charity
    • Held policy and Leadership roles for the Department of Children, Schools and Families

    Mary Hartshorne

    Mary Hartshorne

    Mary Hartshorne is I CAN’s Director of Quality and Outcomes, with responsibility for ensuring high quality, evidenced programmes of work. She also leads I CAN’s work with older children and young people, and leads I CAN’s Communications Team.

    • Experienced Specialist speech and language therapist
    • Specific areas of interest are language and communication in secondary schools
    • Developing effective ways of measuring functional outcomes and impacts in language and communication
    • She has authored many of I CAN’s discussion papers, notably The Cost to the nation of Children’s Poor Communication.
    • Currently studying for a PhD evaluating the impact of a whole school approach to supporting language and communication in secondary aged students

    Derek Munn

    Derek joined the RCSLT in 2010 with a remit covering policy, public affairs, campaigning and the RCSLT's work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. His last role was as Director of Public Affairs for equality charity Stonewall.Academic background in linguistics.

    • Special Adviser to the First Minister of Scotland
    • Chair of the Scottish council of environment group WWF

    Elizabeth Stanley


    Elizabeth is a mother of three beautiful children. Her eldest daughter (11) has severe learning difficulties and has just started secondary school in a specialist provision. Elizabeth has spent her entire career working in special needs which began as a teenager when she volunteered at the special school her daughter now attends. She then went on to become:

    • A special needs teacher both in the UK and abroad
    • Spent 18 years working as a Special Needs Coordinator and most recently as, Director of Learning within secondary schools.