Who we are

Bowden Education's contributors are education professionals with decades of experience in a range of roles across different educational sectors - Primary, Secondary, Further Education and Higher Education and with varying areas of expertise.

All our contributors have experience of supporting and developing those training to teach, early careers teachers, experienced teachers, middle and senior leaders as well as acting as, and supporting those in governance roles.

Meet Our Contributors


Dr Jonathan Barnes

B.Ed (Hons), MA, PhD, FRSA

Jonathan  has taught throughout Asia and Africa and in primary and secondary schools in England. After working as an education officer for English Heritage in the early 1990s he took over as head of a successful and popular primary school.  He became a teacher educator in the early 2000s and was granted a National Teaching Fellowship in 2015. Currently he is Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University.  Jonathan has written widely on the arts, creativity, curriculum and values in education. His books on cross-curricular approaches,  Cross-Curricular Learning 3-14, and Applying Cross-curricular Approaches Creatively, are used  in schools and teacher education courses throughout the country. In 2018 he founded the charitable company Education4Diversity dedicated to celebrating the huge creative and social value of our diverse society.

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Adrian Bethune


Adrian Bethune is dad to two young boys, a part-time teacher at a primary school in Aylesbury, and the Education Policy co-lead at the Mindfulness Initiative. He delivers wellbeing-focused training in schools across Europe through his organisation www.teachappy.co.uk. In 2012, he was awarded a ‘Happy Hero’ medal by Lord Richard Layard at the House of Lords for his work on developing wellbeing in schools. In 2015, he was invited to speak at the Action For Happiness event, Creating A Happier World, on stage with the Dalai Lama. Adrian is author of the award-winning, Wellbeing In The Primary Classroom – A Practical Guide To Teaching Happiness (Bloomsbury, 2018).

Dr Virginia Bower 


Virginia has a particular interest in English as an Additional Language and Primary English.  Her PhD focused on English as an Additional Language.  Virginia is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and has experience of senior leadership. Virginia has written and edited several books focussed on teaching in primary.

Catherine Carden


Catherine's expertise is in educational leadership at all levels as well as policy and the wider educational landscape.  She is an experienced teacher educator and is currently working as a Director of Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education at Canterbury Christ Church University.  She is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE and a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching.  Catherine was also awarded a University Teaching Fellowship for teaching and learning excellence in Initial Teacher Education.  She has experience of senior leadership and is currently a Chair of Governors in a primary school. Prior to her work in teacher education, Catherine worked in Further Education and Secondary Education.

Catherine is an experiences mentor and currently mentors a number of teachers and leaders.

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David Gumbrell


David has over 25 year’s experience in education, including 7 as a Headteacher of a Junior school. Now working as an education consultant, David is passionate about keeping the best early career teachers in the profession. With this mission, he created The Resilience Project, a series of materials to encourage teachers to look after themselves in order to allow them to be the best teachers that they can be. This resulted in the publication of his first book LIFT! in 2019, and the sequel, RISK will be out in 2020. Both books seek to support teachers with their resilience and to improve decision-making processes so that learning is exciting and engaging. 

Dr Lee Hazeldine


Lee has a PhD in Philosophy and has over 20 years experience within a variety of education sectors.  He has recently worked as a learning consultant and provided guidance and training on good teaching practice.  He has particular expertise in technology based learning.

Professor Rachel Lofthouse

Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education in the Carnegie School of Education. She has a specific research interest in professional learning, exploring how teachers learn and how they can be supported to put that learning into practice. 

Rachel is a teaching educator and researcher. Her interest starts with student teachers, but extends to teachers and educators at all career stages and in all sectors. Ensuring that teachers keep learning is critical when the policy and practice landscapes of education keep shifting. Rachel has a particular interest in how teachers learn through approaches such as coaching, mentoring, lesson study, professional enquiry and inter-professional practice. She marries these interests with a concern for the development of innovative pedagogies and curriculum design. Key to all of these are the opportunities for that professionals at all stages of their career and in all roles have for dialogue and creative and critical thinking.

Tracy Parvin

Until retiring in 2019, Tracy Parvin was a senior lecturer and the Programme Director for the BA Primary Education programme at Canterbury Christ Church University and a member of the Primary English team.  She joined the university in 2008 following fourteen years of working at a senior level in Kent Primary Schools.

She taught on the Primary English courses across a range of initial teacher education programmes alongside professional studies courses. Her areas of academic interest lay in the development of: children (and students) as readers and writers: oral storytelling in the classroom, and drama.

Being a passionate reader, she derives great professional pleasure from encouraging children's and students' deep engagement with books: especially children's picturebooks and novels. Such is her interest in this field that for 10 years she ran a successful weekly children’s literature book club for the BA Primary Education students. She continues to have close professional links with schools and has built a community of readers with two Teachers’ Reading Groups for the Open University Research-Rich Pedagogies, Reading for Pleasure initiative.

 During 2014-16, she was a member of the judging panel which identifies the long list for the UKLA Children’s Book Awards and for the past five years has been a member of the panel supporting the Cheltenham Literature Festival’s school based project Reading Teachers=Reading Pupils.

From 2017-19 she was the President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association and is currently the Association’s immediate past president and an active member of its board of trustees.

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Mark Roberts


Mark has been a teacher for 28 years, 19 years in Special School teaching and senior leadership. He has also worked and managed in the Specialist Teaching and Learning Service (STLS) for Kent with a particular focus upon supporting children with physical and medical needs. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, with a particular focus and interest in Special Educational Needs (SEN). Mark’s research interests include children with complex communication difficulties and the impact and implementation of SEN policy. Mark is also a Governor of a special school.

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Harriet Smith

BA, PGCE (maths specialism) 

Harriet is in her 4th year of Primary teaching. She has a special interest in maths as well as reading for pleasure in the classroom.  She is keen to develop her own skills as a professional to enhance her understanding of the children she teachers and their needs.   Harriet is undertaking her MA in Education.

Nicola Owen

Nic is a primary trained teacher with 20 years of classroom experience.  She is a mum of two teenage boys, and the Director of Zennic Wellbeing Ltd

During her teaching career Nic has successfully coordinated the pastoral care side of the curriculum, taking the lead in RE, PSHE, PE and Mental Health and Wellbeing. Her child centered approach sees her train and work with children, young adults, parents, teachers, senior leaders and outside agencies that support children and young adults within their role, such as social workers.

She firmly believes that in supporting others with their wellbeing, everyone can then, in turn, help to support to become happy learners. Nic offers a variety of courses, creative workshops, and educational programmes to give people the tools to support positive mental health and wellbeing. Giving people the skills to use the techniques taught to acknowledge their thoughts, regulate their emotions, build their resilience, and enrich their daily lives.


Her work with Primary Schools sees Pip, The Positive Pixie develop creative workshops involving drama and art therapy.

Nic is dedicated to work together with schools, colleges, FE, Local Authorities and the corporate world to improve mental health and wellbeing for all.

Meet our Ambassadors

Robyn Hayes


Robyn has just passed her NQT year and is going into her second year of teaching Year 4 pupils in a three-form entry school in a small town in Essex. She works in a close-knit academy which has several schools across Essex and London. The academy has a particular focus on reducing teacher workload and building up independence and confidence in its pupils, which interested Robyn and her own values. 


Robyn is particularly interested in differentiation, resourcing to make learning accessible for pupils and the importance of teaching to need. She is looking forward to continue developing her practice to help the children progress even further with their learning and understanding. Robyn is hoping to begin working her way up in the academy to be year lead and support NQTs in the upcoming years.

Francesca Storti

Francesca is a second year teacher working in a small one form entry school in Kent. She did part of her NQT year during the Covid-19 pandemic and has been able to develop her resilience and adaptive strategies. She has a strong interest in Art and English due to the creativity that they sparks in children and herself. She is greatly looking forward to working with Bowden Education. 

Matthew Young


Matt is currently a Year 4 teacher, entering his second year of teaching in a Church of England primary school in Kent.  He is also PE Lead for the school  Matt qualified from Canterbury Christ Church University with a First Class honours degree in Primary Education with Mathematics Specialism in 2018. He is thoroughly looking forward to furthering his teaching experience and expertise by taking on an ambassadorial role with Bowden Education. Outside of education, his interests include playing a variety of musical instruments, sports and travelling!