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Who’s Who

Project Director

Michael Riley – Director


I have been Director of SHP since 2008 having previously worked as a history teacher, local authority adviser, and teacher trainer. I am responsible for the strategic direction of SHP, ensuring that the Project provides an independent source of ideas for the teaching of history in schools. I use my three SHP days each week to promote SHP’s work nationally, to organize our annual conferences and to develop the SHP website. I work closely with OCR to support the SHP GCSE specification (OCR B) and with Hodder Education to publish a wide range of history resources.

Please contact Michael if you have questions or suggestions about any aspect of SHP’s work:

SHP Administrator

Liz Cairns


I have been Administrator for the Schools History Project since 2002 and am based at Leeds Trinity University. Much of my work for the Project involves arranging the national conferences. It has been good to see the continued growth of SHP over the years. It is always a pleasure to greet old and new faces at the Summer Conference here at LTU.

Contact Liz


Regional Advisers

Nicola Barthorpe – North West Adviser

nbI am currently Head of History and Classical Civilisation at Holy Cross College. I have been teaching for thirteen years and in that time have worked across Key stages 3, 4 and 5. I also mark with various exam boards for both GCSE and A level. Throughout my career, my focus has always been creating lively and engaging History lessons across all levels, and this is where my love of SHP started, as it allows the learner to explore the past in a way that enthuses students and allows them to see its relevance in modern day society. I also regularly work with trainee teachers and facilitate teaching and learning CPD. I am glad to be a part of the SHP family.

Contact Nicola.

Lesley Ann McDermott – North East Adviser

lamI’m an accredited SSAT Lead Practitioner and have taught History in schools across the North-East since 1997. I have over 10 years’ experience leading History in two comprehensive schools and other previous roles include Study Support, Literacy & G&T Coordinator.  I was a GCSE Examiner for AQA. I have presented CPD for Philip Allan Hodder Education on GCSE History teaching and ran workshops at the SHP History Conference.  I love sharing creative teaching ideas.  I am excited to be part of the SHP family.

Contact Lesley Ann.

Alex Ford – Yorkshire/Humberside Adviser

afI was Head of History at two large comprehensive schools in Yorkshire and am now the Lead Tutor and Senior Lecturer on the Leeds Trinity University PGCE course. I have presented workshops on assessment and life after levels at a number of conferences and events, including the SHP summer conference. I have produced assessment packs for the ‘Making Sense of History’ SHP textbook series, and am currently writing the ‘Making of America 1789-1900’ textbook for the upcoming OCR SHP GCSE. I am very excited to be part of bringing the SHP vision to a whole new generation of students.

Contact Alex.

Shaun McKenzie – West Midlands Adviser

I am Head of Humanities at Four Dwellings Academy in Birmingham. I have been teaching SHP for more than 10 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and finally decided I wanted to share ideas and experiences with my fellow hard working history teachers. As a regional adviser I would like to encourage greater collaboration and exchange of opinions as well as stimulate discussion about the future direction of SHP and history education.

Contact Shaun

Sally Burnham – East Midlands Adviser

SallyBurnhamI am a History teacher at Carre’s Grammar School in Sleaford. I am also an Advanced Skills Teacher and have been Head of History in two comprehensive schools. I have taught SHP for many years and I regularly run workshops at the SHP conference. I have written Dynamic Learning materials for Key Stage 3 and 4 and have recently been involved in the SHP A Level series. I am looking forward to working with teachers on the new SHP GCSE.

Contact Sally.

Luke Mayhew – East of England Adviser

lmI am head of history at Dereham Neatherd High School, Norfolk. I have been teaching for 11 years, and have taught SHP GCSE for most of that time. I have presented at SHP on several occasions and would encourage others to do the same; sharing good practice is so important! I am particularly interested in trying to get pupils to connect with the rich and wonderful history that is around them. I am extremely excited to be taking up this role and would like to support colleagues in the East in any way that I can.

Contact Luke.

Sally Thorne – South West Adviser and Website Manager

sallythorne2015I have been teaching History since 2003 and am currently Head of History at Matravers School, Westbury, Wiltshire. I am a senior examiner and author: I have worked on GCSE content for GCSEPod, Hodder and Pearson, and presented student and teacher workshops for Keynote and Philip Allan. I have presented workshops at several SHP summer conferences and try to embed the principles across my teaching. I trained to teach using the enquiry method and this has stuck with me ever since!

Contact Sally.

Izzy Jones and Julia Huber – London Advisers

ijI am an Assistant Headteacher leading Teaching and Learning and CPD at William Ellis School, an all-boys comprehensive school in North London. I have taught History in schools in Camden for 10 years, drawing heavily on SHP principles but mainly teaching a modern world specification at GCSE. I am really excited by the changes taking place for 2016. During that time I have also been seconded part-time to the London Institute of Education tutoring trainee History teachers on the PGCE at Teach First programmes, and as an advisor on the Centre for Holocaust Education’s Beacon Schools programme. I recently completed my MA in History Education, with a dissertation focused on girls’ perceptions of women’s history and its connections to gender identity, which developed from a workshop that I led at the SHP conference a few years ago.
Contact Izzy.

Having taugjhht History for nine years in a London comprehensive school, I am now Lecturer in History education at the UCL Institute of Education. I regularly deliver sessions on subject pedagogy and provide workshops on a range of aspects of teaching and learning. I am interested in the different ways in which we can improve teaching and learning in challenging schools and especially enable children from disadvantaged background engage in genuine historical thinking. In my research I am focusing on how young people make sense of the past and how teachers can work with and build on children’s existing historical understanding. SHP has inspired and guided my own history teaching since I first attended the summer conference almost a decade ago.

Contact Julia.

Andy Harmsworth – South East Adviser

Andy HarmsworthI have taught history in secondary schools for 36 years as a subject teacher, Head of Department, Advisory Teacher and Advanced Skills Teacher. I wrote the SHP Depth Study textbook ‘Elizabethan England’ and, with Ian Dawson, ‘King’ Cromwell? in the This is History! series. I have also written several books about local history for English Heritage and Canterbury Archaeological Trust, run several workshops at SHP conferences and have extensive experience of advisory work with History teachers and PGCE students. I am currently a part-time education consultant and university lecturer.

Contact Andy.

SHP Fellows

Jamie Byrom

JBI became a Fellow of SHP in 2011. I worked for over twenty years teaching history, mainly in a comprehensive school in Devon. I then joined the county’s advisory service. In that role I worked with teachers at all levels and with learners of all ages from 5 to 18. The SHP principles were never far away, no matter what the context.

I have written text books for Key Stage 3 and for A level and I am currently working on the new Hodder GCSE series that will support the OCR B (SHP) History specification. It makes me very aware of the SHPs long tradition of high-quality, high-clarity and high-interest writing that has reflected and promoted really good teaching. This is a very special community!

Donald Cumming


I’m an Assistant Headteacher at Holmfirth High School in sunny Yorkshire and have been part of the SHP family since my own school days, when I took GCSE History back in the 1980s! I am now lucky enough to be a Fellow, having previously been a regional advisor and author. I spent my formative teaching years in East London, as NQT, head of department and AST, and have a passionate belief that History is something that should be open for everyone to experience, no matter what their background or barriers to learning. It is our job as educators to make this happen, and the SHP principles are brilliant underpinning for teachers wishing to unlock the past in an engaging and exciting way for our students.

Outside of teaching I love to get outdoors with my family, try to keep fit and enjoy playing and listening to music!

Penelope Harnett


I am Emerita Professor of Education at the University of the West of England, Bristol and was delighted to be asked to become a Primary Fellow for the SHP in 2015. The SHP core principles have influenced my work over many years.

Most of my career has been training primary school teachers with a particular focus on history and humanities education. I have written history books for pupils and published a wide range of  guidance on teaching history for primary teachers. I am a former editor of the Historical Association’s journal Primary History and as an Honorary Fellow of the HA have contributed regularly to its website and conferences.

My research has focused on young children’s historical understanding and recent papers can be found in Writing History 7-11, and Teaching History Creatively, both edited by Hilary Cooper; the Journal of Curriculum Studies (2014) The understanding of historical time in the primary history curriculum in England and the Netherlands, with M.J. De Groot-Reuvekamp, Carla Van Boxtel, Anje Ros & Penelope Harnett  and a recent Council of Europe’s project, Shared Histories for a Europe without  Dividing Lines. 

Dan Lyndon-Cohen

DLCI am currently the Lead Practitioner for History at Broomfield School in Enfield and have taught History in schools across London for over 20 years. I have been a SHP Fellow since 2012 and have delivered workshops and plenaries at conferences for many years. Recently I have been co-authoring the textbook on the new OCR SHP GCSE history of migration course, with another Fellow, Martin Spafford and look forward to many years of teaching and sharing ideas about this exciting new thematic study.

Jo Philpott

I have beenJP guided by the principles of SHP ever since I was an NQT and having been a Regional Adviser for SHP I became a Fellow in 2012. I am currently Deputy Headteacher at a large comprehensive in Norwich where I lead teaching and learning and staff development. Prior to this I was a history subject leader, author and an AST working across the East of England. The principles of SHP are a driving force in all my work in teaching and learning as they resonate far beyond the history classroom.

Claire Smith


I was lucky enough to be taught history by teachers who were early enthusiasts of SHP. Throughout my teaching career as a History teacher/Head of History in schools in Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Bristol, I have always been a passionate believer in the SHP philosophy. I even managed to convert some Canadians to SHP teaching approaches when I worked in Alberta for four years whilst studying for my PhD. I’ve worked as a teacher educator since 2001, and up until last year I was the PGCE History Tutor at LTU. And that’s explains why I’m an SHP Fellow currently, working alongside Michael, and acting as the main link for SHP at LTU. Nowadays, I am the Deputy Director of the Institute of Childhood and Education at LTU, but retaining my connection to my history education roots is essential, so SHP is my community of practice, first and foremost. I still can’t help getting excited when July rolls around and hundreds of history teachers arrive in Horsforth for their annual SHP injection of history CPD. SHP is a unique and powerful educational community, and one I am very proud to be associated with.

Martin Spafford

MSI became an SHP Fellow in 2012. I taught history in East and Central London for 25 years and was previously an English and EAL teacher. In my school, in addition to running an SHP GCSE course, we did our best to apply SHP principles to our students’ learning in all years. I am now retired from school teaching, though not from history education. I am currently helping produce the resources for the Migration units for both OCR GCSE specs. I am also involved in a range of community projects involving young people in oral history work, investigating controversial issues, exploring the impact of major events on family histories, and seeing how untold stories of people’s campaigns for justice in the past can inspire action for change today.


SHP Honorary Fellows

SHP is also supported by a number of honorary fellows who offer their considerable collected wisdom when pertinent. These are Dale Banham, Chris Culpin, Ian Dawson, Angela Leonard, Kate Moorse and Jane Richardson.