Mark Neale (Chair)

 Mark Neale is currently Chief Executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). He has a long and successful career across many government departments having served in the Cabinet Office; the Department for Education and Science; the Treasury; the Employment Service and the Department for Work and Pensions, before becoming a Director General at the Home Office and then returning to the Treasury to be Director General for Budget, Tax and Welfare. 


His considerable educational experience within government included responsibility for the establishment of polytechnics as independent institutions, and authorship of the report which set up the universal regular inspection of schools and the establishment of OFSTED. Mark is also a trustee and director of the University of Roehampton, and lives in utney with his wife and two children. 


Penny Chapman

Penny Chapman is a Partner and head of the charity law team at Bircham Dyson Bell solicitors. A graduate of Somerville College Oxford, she has particular expertise in advising charity trustees on their roles and responsibilities and on all aspects of charity governance. 


Penny is a trustee of the College of Radiographers, the Marjorie Deane Financial Journalism Foundation and World Book Night. 


Sultana Choudhry Sultana is currently a lecturer at the Centre for Psychiatry, based at the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine. She leads on the MSc. course on Cultural and Global Perspectives on Mental Health. 


She is also a Director of Research at the University of East London, as well as Company Director and Research Director of Browny Blue Ltd, a production company for television and films. Sultana has published academic books and had a successful career as a Course Director for the MSc. Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Course. Before this she worked in the Cabinet Office, the Home Office, and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as a senior policy analyst. Working closely with ministers and across government, she led on a range of issues such as Criminal Justice System Efficiency, Human Rights Legislation, race and religion, extremism and social exclusion. 


Sultana's expertise is in children and adolescent psychological development and mental health. She is committed to these issues as well as in mental health generally. 


Peter Elfer Peter Elfer is Principal Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Convenor of the Masters Programme in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Roehampton, London where he has been for the last thirteen years. Prior to this, he worked for ten years in the Early Childhood Unit of the National Children's Bureau in London. 


He has a long standing interest in the wellbeing of babies and children under three and has published a number of general media (Siren Films; magazine articles) as well as academic papers on this theme. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, Chair of the Froebel Research Committee and a Vice President of Early Education.


Michael Pearson Michael Pearson is CEO of Sharp Surveys, a business he founded to help organisations collect feedback and opinions more easily, and use them to make better decisions. 


Previously he was CFO for a variety of real estate services and investment businesses, where he led successful debt and equity fundraisings in excess of $10 bn. 


Michael studied at Magdalen College, Oxford gaining a BA in Mathematics. Subsequently he became qualified as a Chartered Accountant, registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales. 


Michael has a keen interest in early childhood wellbeing, and brings his financial expertise to his position as Treasurer and Trustee. 


Sue Robson Sue Robson is Principle Lecturer and Subject Leader for Early Childhood at the University of Roehampton. Her research interests include young children's self-regulation and metacognition, the development of creative thinking, children's voice and children's perspectives in research and practice, and the contribution of the physical environment to young children's wellbeing and development. She has published extensively in these areas. 


She was a member of the Froebel Research Fellowship Project, 'The Voice of the Child: Ownership and Autonomy in Early Learning'. Sue is also interested in the development of teaching and learning in Higher Education, and is a National Teaching Fellow. 


Before moving into higher education, Sue worked in early years and primary schools, including as Deputy Head of a large infant and nursery school, and leader of a 102 place nursery. 


Jane Whinnett Jane is head teacher of two maintained schools in Edinburgh. After studying in Edinburgh, she completed her PGDE at the University of Christchurch in Canterbury. She taught throughout the primary school before specialising in the early years. While studying for a Diploma in Professional Studies in Early Education at the University of Edinburgh, she met a Froebelian and was inspired to continue her studies at the University of Roehampton. Most recently, she is a founder member of the Edinburgh Froebel Network and a tutor on the Froebel course at The University of Edinburgh. 

Executive Team

Sacha Powell

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Sacha Powell joined the Froebel Trust on 17 September 2018 as Director of Education, Research and Strategy. Sacha is an Honorary Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Education University of Hong Kong and was Director of the Research Centre for Children, Families and Communities at Canterbury Christ Church University from 2013-2018. Her first degree was in Modern Chinese with Japanese from the University of Durham and she has a postgraduate diploma in International Marketing. While living in Beijing in the 1980s, Sacha worked as a nanny and subsequently as an EFL teacher in a kindergarten in Taibei. After working for five years as an International Officer at The British Academy in London she brought together her interests in China and early childhood in a PhD entitled, ‘Constructions of Early Childhood in Contemporary Shanghai’ while also working part-time in schools and nurseries in Kent. She has been an Early Years researcher since 1996, was a co-author of the Birth to Three Matters Review (DfES / Sure Start, 2003) and a principal investigator for The Baby Room research and development project (funded 2009-2012 by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation), Mothers’ Songs in Daycare for Babies and Pedagogies of Care for One-Year-Olds in Four Countries projects (funded by The Froebel Trust in 2013 and 2017). In recent years she has co-authored or co-edited many books and articles including the Routledge International Handbook of Theories and Philosophies of Early Childhood Education (2017), An Introduction to Early Childhood Studies for Sage (2017), and the Routledge International Handbook of Froebel and Early Childhood Practice (2018). In 2015, Sacha was elected Chair of the UK Association for Professional Development in Early Years (TACTYC) and she continues to be an active member of Early Years organisations and networks. She lives near Deal in Kent with her husband and four children.


Oksana Lissovets

Finance Manager

Oksana joined the trust in February 2012 and was appointed as Finance & Grants Manager in May 2015. She brings more than 18 years of experience, previously holding various financial roles for leading UK companies.


Victoria Arneil

Communications Manager

Victoria joined the Froebel Trust in June 2017. She has considerable long term experience in working with children, young people, families and schools. Victoria has management experience in both the private and charity sector. 


Deborah Brodie

Grants Manager

Deborah joined the Froebel Trust in March 2019 from the London Community Foundation, where she oversaw a number of major grant funds. Her previous experience included managing practitioner and parent outreach early years programmes at Family and Childcare Trust, and international projects in Africa and Asia, including with Save the Children.


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