Simon Coyle


Simon Coyle is a Co-Founder of RIS and oversees the business operations of the programme and strategic development. He read Economics and Politics at the University of Warwick, before going on to study for a Masters degree in Political Theory at the University of Sheffield. He joined the Teach First Graduate Scheme in 2008 and taught Citizenship and History at Kingsmead School, Enfield for two years. He left classroom teaching to co-found The Brilliant Club with his colleague Jonny Sobczyk, motivated by his experience of working with talented young people in the state sector and also by the opportunity to promote university-style learning in schools. Simon grew up in rural Nottinghamshire and outside of work is a keen musician and follower of Nottingham Forest.


Dr Chris Wilson


Chris is a Co-Founder of RIS and oversees the recruitment and university relationships. Chris became interested in medieval history at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge where he completed his undergraduate and MPhil degrees, receiving a double first and ‘distinguished performance’ (distinction) respectively. During this time there he was awarded the Taylor Scholarship. After leaving Cambridge he spent two years working as a government lobbyist in London for Keene Public Affairs. During the course of his PhD research at the University of Exeter he taught on the Department of History’s Foundation Course for three years and was a lead tutor on the course for two. During this time he became an Associate of the Higher Education Academy. Chris’ research focused on thirteenth-century ecclesiastical history and was generously funded by a University of Exeter College of Humanities Studentship.


Jed Cinnamon

National Programme Director

Jed is National Programme Director at Researchers in Schools and oversees the development of the programme, including managing school relationships, recruitment and participant training and support. After graduating from New College, University of Oxford  with a degree in History, Jed completed the Leadership Development Programme with Teach First in the East Midlands. He then led the English Department and literacy team at Prendergast Vale College, an all-through school in Lewisham, South-East London, before joining the Teach First London team to support trainee teachers and develop school relationships. Outside of work, Jed is a governor at a primary school in South London, and is a keen Tottenham Hotspur supporter.


Charlie Ledley

School Programme Director

Charlie is passionate about improving opportunities for young people from all backgrounds. After graduating from Lancaster University where she studied History and Politics, Charlie helped to establish a community radio station which had a particular focus on enthusing young people and encouraging them to take a more active role in their local community. In 2012 Charlie joined the Teach First Leadership Development Programme teaching English at Lodge Park Academy in Corby. Since then, Charlie has worked as a Teaching and Learning Associate at Barnwell School in Stevenage where she mentored trainee teachers and provided twilight CPD sessions for more experienced teachers in order to improve pupil progress. Outside of work, Charlie is a keen sports fan.


Alexandra Tanner

Programme Officer

Alex joined as one of the first RIS Programme Officers in August 2016. Alex joined the Teach First Programme in 2013, which involved teaching science in Manchester and following this was a Year 8 science teacher at a school in South London. Alex graduated with a Bachelors degree in bioveterinary sciences from the University of Liverpool and is particularly interested in STEM education and extra-curricular opportunities for students. In her spare time, she enjoys attending science lectures and events, fencing and running.


Sarah Brennan

Programme Officer

Sarah is a Programme Officer for RIS and is passionate about widening participation at highly selective universities. She studied French with Linguistics at the University of York and Université de Nantes. In 2009, Sarah completed a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages in North Yorkshire. She taught MFL for six years and was Head of Department at St Michael’s Catholic School, an all-through school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys theatre and live music, she is also a keen baker.

Rosa Smith

Rosa Smith

Programme Officer

Rosa joined the RIS team as Programme Officer in September 2017. She studied English (BA) at the University of Exeter, and became interested in Widening Participation whilst working in local schools as part of their student ambassador programme. She then worked for CRUK before completing the Teach First programme as part of the 2012 cohort. She taught English for five years, progressing to become KS5 lead and then Head of 6th Form at a secondary school in South-East London. Whilst there, she also mentored trainee teachers and NQTs. She remains committed to improving access to selective universities and raising student aspirations.


Rachel Lawrence

Curriculum and Development Director

Rachel read Theology at Trinity College Oxford, before doing a PGCE at St. Mary’s University College Twickenham. She later completed a Masters in Teaching at the Institute of Education, and is currently in her second year of an Educational Doctorate at Kings College London. Rachel worked as an Advanced Skills teacher for Hounslow LEA and London Challenge. She worked with primary and secondary teachers and in various subject areas including Humanities, Maths and Science. As part of her work as an AST she also worked as a visiting lecturer at St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham. She became Head of Religious Studies at Lampton School in 2011 and in 2012 led the department in their application to be one of the pilot schools for the national RE Quality Mark. The department was awarded the Gold Award which recognised the work of the department as consistently outstanding. Rachel is an Associate Senior Leader at Lampton School.


Gil Brandt

Curriculum and Development Officer

Within his role, Gil is responsible for delivering teacher training content for participants on the programme. Gil taught Mathematics in a secondary school in Leeds, Yorkshire for two years as part of the TeachFirst Leadership Development Programme (2012 cohort). He then went on to work as a curriculum coordinator in a South London school . He has also been on the Education Policy Network committee which organised discussions and debates for teachers around contemporary policy issues. Gil read History and Social Sciences at the University of Manchester.


Nicholas Cater

Recruitment Director

Nicholas is responsible for all aspects of the programme’s recruitment processes, from initial attraction and advertising, through to assessment and placement. Since graduating from Durham University with a degree in Modern Languages and a Masters in Translation, Nicholas worked initially as an Accountant, then freelance translator, before finally settling on recruitment. He worked at a boutique recruitment firm in Central London where he was responsible for the delivery of several national graduate schemes. Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys keeping his languages up to scratch and is a keen traveller, particularly around Europe and Russia. He is also Researchers in Schools’ biggest/only Huddersfield Town fan.

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Amy Broom

School Partnerships Manager

Amy is driven by a desire to increase the number of subject experts teaching in non-selective schools. Having completed her Masters in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in 2008, she undertook teacher training in South East London through the Graduate Teacher Programme. As Head of Physics at a new build academy Amy focussed on developing metacognitive approaches and promoting practical and thinking skills in science through evidence-based strategies. Prior to joining Researchers in Schools Amy was Director of STEM at a UTC in Kent, overseeing an enhanced curriculum in Engineering and Construction, employer engagement and CEIAG. Outside of work Amy is a keen equestrienne.

Beth Collier

Team Administrator