Our Board of Trustees
The Board is responsible for our overall strategy, policy, educational initiatives and development, and for steering AQA to fulfil its educational and charitable objectives. Trustees are drawn from various educational and business bodies to ensure a balance of skills and experience and serve for no more than three terms of three years.
- Justin van Wijngaarden (Chair)
Justin is currently Group Chief Operating Officer at a global financial services organisation, having held other senior roles at many other prominent companies during his career.
In addition to holding an honours degree in Physics from Imperial College, London and an MBA from Durham University Business School, he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and is a Chartered Director. Justin is also a governor at a large secondary school academy in Essex.
- Philippa Hird (Vice-Chair)
Philippa is an independent director with a particular interest in governance, people strategy, recruitment, remuneration and the delivery of complex change. She is currently Chair of the NHS Pay Review Body, Senior Independent Director and Remuneration Committee Chair of Ordnance Survey and Deputy Chair and Remuneration Committee Chair of AQA.
Philippa is a Non-Executive Director of UK Strategic Command, an independent member of the Remunerations Committee of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge and a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for Cambridgeshire. As Group Human Resources Director of ITV plc until 2009, Philippa led the consolidation of the regional ITV companies. Prior to that she held general management and then HR roles in Granada Group Plc.
She began her career in marketing with ICI and has an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from The Queen's College Oxford. Philippa has been a non-executive director of HMRC, a Board member of Opportunity Now and of Creative Skillset and Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She is a Companion of the CIPD and a fellow of the RSA.
- James Dahl
James graduated from Jesus College Cambridge in 1995 with a degree in Classics. He has taught at a number of leading independent schools and has, at various times, been Head of Department, Head of Sixth Form, Housemaster, Director of Admissions and Marketing, and Deputy Head (Pastoral).
He has worked at Wellington College in Berkshire since 2013, becoming the school’s first internally appointed Master in 2019. James has taught GCSE, iGCSE, A-level and IB Diploma throughout his career and is a passionate advocate of holistic models of education. He sits of the Board of Governors at three other schools.
- Dr Ali Hadawi CBE
Ali has been Principal and Chief Executive at Central Bedfordshire College since 2011, which offers a range of courses from Level 1 to higher education (HE), including Access courses, so that students aren't limited by their academic background. Some 85% of the college’s students come from what are described as deprived postcodes and hence Ali sees as paramount his college’s ability to make tangible to its students, their families and the wider community the transformative impact of education on their life chances and their futures.
Ali is also Vice-Chair of the UK-Iraq Further Education Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Strategic Partnership – work for which he received a CBE in 2011 for the successful partnership with further education (FE) colleges in Iraq to deliver education and training.
He's been an Ofsted inspector; currently chairs the Central Bedfordshire Skills and Employability Board which brings business, the local authority and education and training providers together to help close skills gaps; and is a member of the Board of the Association for Research in Post Compulsory Education (ARPCE), a peer-reviewed journal concerned with promoting evidence-based research in post-compulsory education and training.
- Colin Hughes (CEO)
Before joining AQA, Colin was at HarperCollins for eight years. During his time there, he was promoted to MD of Collins Learning, merging the Education, Language and Geo divisions of HarperCollins UK, and he launched Collins India. He also chaired the Education Publishers Council from 2014 to 2018.
Find out more about Colin from his Executive team profile
- Elizabeth Kitcatt
Elizabeth is head teacher of The Camden School for Girls, a voluntary aided comprehensive school for girls aged 11–16, with a large, mixed sixth form. She was appointed to this role in 2010, having worked on school improvement, teachers' professional development and improving academic outcomes as a deputy head teacher. Elizabeth has led the development of the school as a SCITT hub (school-centred initial teacher training provider), providing mathematics and physics jointly with another school.
Currently the Joint President of the Association for State Girls' Schools, an organisation which supports excellent secondary provision for girls in state schools, Elizabeth aims to raise girls' aspirations and provide networks for like-minded school leaders during her time in this role.
Elizabeth is a trustee of Young Enterprise, an educational charity, in which she'll shortly become Chair of the Remuneration Committee. She is also a member of the Camden Schools Forum.
A graduate of the University of Cambridge in Classics and English, Elizabeth holds an honorary MA from Cambridge and a Masters in Language and Literature in Education from the Institute of Education, University of London.
- Nadeem Kiyani
Nadeem is the Chief Executive Officer of Ultima Asset Management. Before that, he was a Managing Director at Credit Suisse as Global CFO. Nadeem has spent over 20 years within the financial services sector and has worked at a number of prominent Investment Banks during that period.
Nadeem qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen and holds an honours degree in Accounting and Finance from Birmingham University.
He is the Chair of the Finance Committee, a governance committee reporting to the AQA Board of Trustees.
- Lara Martini
Lara has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry and has lived and worked in the Middle East and Africa, Europe, and both North and South America.
She is a Senior Director at Salesforce, the US software firm providing customer relationship management solutions, leading sales enablement across Europe.
Before that, she worked for nearly two decades at Microsoft, in roles spanning marketing, business unit management, international strategy, customer success and channel development.
Lara is passionate about innovation and the power of technology to foster opportunity and social inclusion and has extensive experience coaching youth and young entrepreneurs.
She is also currently a non-executive director for Thomas Telford Ltd, the trading arm of the Institution for Civil Engineers, and part of the technical advisory board of Digital Divide Data, which focuses on equitable employment.
- Amina Modan
Amina Bibi Ali Modan is a passionate Educationalist who has maintained a plethora of roles in the education system. She has been an Assistant Principal at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School since 2015, a school and Sixth Form that delivers exceptional outcomes at GCSE and A-level.
Amina started her career in education teaching A-level Psychology in 2004, after graduating from University of Manchester with a First Class BSc (Hons) Degree in Psychology. She completed her Masters in Education with the University of Cumbria in 2013, before embarking a role as a Director of Learning: Humanities in 2014. She was a Senior Examiner for AQA Psychology from 2011 to 2020 and was appointed as a Specialist Leader of Education in 2019.
She has an excellent track record both as a Pastoral Lead and a Curriculum lead; with specialism in improving behaviour and attendance at a whole school level. In addition, as a Curriculum lead, she has supported improvement in outcomes for Humanities subjects both at KS4 and KS5 level. Furthermore, she is a trained Youth Mental Health First Aider which supports her role as a Designated Safeguarding lead.
She is currently working on a book entitled ‘Hats Off’ – exploring the lessons from Education, Leadership, Personal and Cultural ‘hats’.
- Sue Moore
Sue has been Head at Queen Elizabeth II High School on the Isle of Man since 1998, having previously held deputy headships at Holland Park School and the Heathland School in London. Sue has been a member of ASCL Council since 2004.
Sue is the Chair of the Curriculum and Assessment Quality Committee, an advisory committee to the AQA Board of Trustees.
- Mike Nicholson
Mike joined the University of Bath in October 2014, having previously worked as Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at the University of Oxford (2006–2014) and Head of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Recruitment at the University of Essex (1998–2006).
Mike heads the team responsible for managing undergraduate student admissions, student recruitment (UK and international), funding guidance, widening access and participation, learning partnerships, and student immigration.
He's a member of the Universities UK Fair Admissions Advisory Group. He co-Chaired the Social Mobility Practitioners’ Group established by Universities UK to advise the UK Minister for Higher Education on supporting progression from under-represented groups in society in 2016. In 2018 he joined the Evaluation Group for the Welsh Government’s Seren Gifted and Talented Programme. He was UK Chair of the Higher Education Liaison Officers’ Association from 2014-2017 and served as a member of the UCAS Council until January 2017. He represented English universities on the Welsh Qualifications Reform stakeholder group, and was involved in the SPA National Expert Think Tank on UK Qualifications Reform in 2015. Mike has previously served as UK Chair of the Higher Education Liaison Officers’ Association (2014–17) and was also a member of UCAS Council (2015–17).
Mike graduated in 1990 from the University of Sheffield with a degree in English and History. He also attended Allegheny College, Pennsylvania for a year as an exchange student. He was the first member of his extended family to go to university, after attending state-funded comprehensive schools in Gateshead.
- Deirdre O’Donoghue
Deirdre has over 30 years marketing and brand strategy experience in large multinational companies, Nestlé and Mars, ensuring that their strategies aligned with their corporate social responsibilities, including marketing responsibly to children, ensuring the sustainability the firms’ brands (through manufacturing, packaging and the supply chain), diversity and inclusion. She has experience of transforming business processes across large organisations and has worked in many markets (including Ireland, Switzerland and Ukraine).
Deirdre led a government/industry initiative in Ireland to give young people work experience and career advice. Between 2017 and 2020, she taught marketing strategy to students at Sheffield Hallam university taking an apprentice degree sponsored by Nestlé, giving young people the opportunity to study whilst working. Since 2019 she has been a volunteer with The Prince’s Trust as an advisor to young people in start-up businesses, and more recently advising young people on how to progress a career in social care. Deirdre has left full-time employment in order to use her experience to help young people find their path to study and work.
- Isabel Sutcliffe
Isabel Sutcliffe is an independent consultant working in the education and skills sector.
Prior to setting up her own company in May 2015, she was Pearson's International Standards and Quality Director, based in India, and before that Pearson Education’s Regulation, Standards and Research Director, which included the role of Responsible Officer. Isabel had left her position as Chief Executive of NCFE in 2006 to join Pearson.
Isabel’s extensive career in qualifications’ development, assessment and quality assurance has covered school, college and work-place standards, and has included national, international and customised awards.
She is an Independent Member of the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education’s Quality Assurance Committee, a Member of Ofqual’s Standards Advisory Group and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators. She is a Trustee of VTCT, Chairs the Awarding Body Board of CIPS and is a Member of the C&G Quality and Standards Committee.
Isabel is passionate about assessment, accreditation and the role of awarding organisations in supporting the lifelong learning needs of individuals, employers and society at large.
- Martin Turner
Martin was appointed to the AQA Board of Trustees in July 2017 and chairs the AQA Audit and Risk Committee. An accomplished senior executive, he has 18 years’ experience operating at board level in various roles with complex FTSE 100 organisations, as well as more recent experience of working in the public sector.
He brings specific expertise in risk, governance, regulatory engagement, business transformation and organisational change, combined with broader commercial skills ranging from strategy development to customer and client engagement.
Martin has an MA in Natural Sciences from St John’s College Cambridge, and an MBA from the University of Warwick Business School. He is a qualified associate with the London Institute of Banking and Finance, and holds a Diploma in Financial Studies. He is also a member of the Association for Project Management.