Our Board

Our Board is currently made up of eleven Trustees. The Board oversees the work of THE Partnership and meets around five times a year. The Chair of the Board also chairs the Annual General Meeting of members where Trustees are re-elected.

Currently there is one Board sub-committee – the Finance and Audit Committee – which meets three times a year.

Aziz Choudhury

Aziz is Chair of the Spitalfields Small Business Association, with whom he has worked for over 30 years. In the 1980s and 1990s he was Finance Director at Spitalfields Housing Association.

He formed the Spitalfelds Business Club, ran the local business newspaper, East End Enterprise, and has been involved in the governance of many local community projects: East London Small Business Centre; ELBA; Bangla Housing Association and Consortium of Bengali Associations.

He was a Director of the Montefiore Centre until August 2016. Aziz also founded Jalalpur Degree College in Sylhet, and is General Secretary of the ROSAE Trust, which helps hospitals in Bangladesh.

Brenda Landers

A qualified teacher for 28 years and a National Leader of Education, Brenda has worked in Tower Hamlets since 2005 and has been Headteacher of Swanlea School, an Ofsted outstanding secondary school, since 2011.

During this time she has worked collaboratively with 7 local primary schools in the East 1 Partnership and is keen to use her commitment to collaboration to build the capacity of THEP to support school-led school improvement.

Christine Gilbert

Christine, a former teacher and secondary school headteacher, spent 18 years in secondary schools. She was Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector at Ofsted from 2006 to 2011, and before that worked as Chief Executive of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Corporate Director of Education in Tower Hamlets and Director of Education in the London Borough of Harrow.

Christine is currently Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute of Education, and is involved in a number of local and national education projects. She is the Chair of the charity, Future First.

Debbie Jones

Debbie brings a wealth of experience to the Tower Hamlets Education Partnership and has had an extensive and varied career. Debbie has previously held the post of Regional Director, London and National Director, Social Care with Ofsted and prior to that role she was Executive Director Children and Young People’s Services in Lambeth.

Debbie started her professional career in South London as a practitioner majoring nationally and locally in fostering and adoption, as well as services for disabled children. She has worked across a number of Local Authorities in both unitary and Shire Counties, as well as a spell in Further Education. With a Masters in Public Sector Management, Debbie has held a variety of senior leadership roles including: Assistant Director in Slough, Corporate Director Children and Learning at Luton Council, Interim Director of Children’s services at Stoke on Trent City Council and Acting Director of Social Care and Health for Durham County Council.

Debbie served as President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) from 2012-2013.

Michael Keating

Michael first became a school governor in 1986, serving several local schools and Tower Hamlets College. From 1994 to 2002 he was a councillor and served as Chair of the Education Committee and Lead Member for Education.

He later worked as a senior council officer with responsibilities including scrutiny, equality, cohesion and partnerships.

Michael is currently supporting the development of integrated health and social care in Tower Hamlets and has been chairing the Advisory Council of THE Partnership.

Owen O'Regan

Since 2015, Owen has served as Headteacher at Lansbury Lawrence Primary School, having previously been impressed with collaborative leadership in Tower Hamlets when helping establish the LETTA initial teacher training programme. He is particularly interested in how THEP collaboratively delivers high quality professional development linked to pupil outcomes.

Owen was a founding member of the Whitefield Academy Trust where he continues to sit on the Board.

Robert Crothers


Rob has served as a school governor in Tower Hamlets for over ten years, including as a member of the Interim Executive Board of a school in special measures.

He is also a partner at Clifford Chance LLP and was a member of THE Partnership Steering Group , which was key in the development of THE Partnership from its earliest beginnings.

Shahanaz Begum

From 2017 to 2018, and between 2010 and 2012, Shahanaz worked for Tower Hamlets Council as a Strategy, Policy and Performance Officer and as a Diversity and Equality Coordinator. Prior to 2012, she managed the Prevent strategy roll out across all London boroughs and contributed to the development of national policy on Prevent as the Regional Prevent Manager for the Government Office for London.

Shahanaz is currently the Chair of the Camden Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education and is a part of the only co-educational training programme for Muslim scholars at Ebrahim College in Whitechapel. She has also taught for Rashidun, an Islamic supplementary school based in Whitechapel, as well as developing and managing its Camden branch.

Sir Alasdair Macdonald

Alasdair was Headteacher of Morpeth School for 21 years until 2013, a school which was one of 12 schools nationally recognised by Ofsted as ‘Achieving against the odds’.

Alasdair has also worked in Malawi and Papua New Guinea, was a member of the DfE’s Headteacher Reference Group and led a national review of PSHE. He is currently working for the Welsh Government on their Schools Challenge programme and as Advocate for their Pupil Premium initiative.

Sir Kevan Collins

Kevan has worked in public service for over 30 years and became the first Chief Executive of the Educational Endowment Foundation in 2011, having previously been Chief Executive of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Having started off as a primary school teacher, he went on to be National Director of the Primary Literacy Strategy and then Director of Children’s Services in Tower Hamlets.

Kevan is a visiting professor at the IOE University College London, he was knighted for services to education in 2015.

Stephen Purse

Stephen was the Chief Financial Officer for Clifford Chance LLP from 2005 to 2016. He was responsible for all aspects of financial management within the firm, and a member of the Executive Leadership Group. Prior to that, Stephen held a number of senior posts: Finance Director of Management Consulting Group PLC; Finance Director of Westminster Healthcare Holdings; and some 24 years with KPMG, the last 12 years as a partner.

Currently, Stephen is also the Chair of Governors of Langdon Park School, a Governor and Chair of the Finance & Resources Committee of Harbinger Primary School, and a Governor and Chair of the Business Committee of Fairfield High School in Herefordshire. He has also served as Treasurer of Book Trust and Chair of Rail Settlement Plan and was a Numbers Partner for Shapla School.