Meet our Education Team
Stuart and Tessa Casely
Simon Gould Contact
Simon has an extensive career in public sector senior management and educational delivery that complements a strong foundation of formal studies in organisational change and financial management. He spent more than 20 years as part of outdoor learning teams that excelled at engaging children and families across England. As Director of Learning, Simon’s focus is broadening the Trust’s educational opportunities by developing an ambitious education strategy and leading on its delivery.
Emily Crawley Contact
Emily is a qualified Forest School leader and an experienced project and events manager. Her career has taken her around the world, working for environmental and children NGOs, think tanks and consultancies in London, the Middle East, Nepal and Malawi. She has an MSc in environmental management and is the founder of a social enterprise for refugees in Jordan.
Gloucestershire – Fairford Estate and Slimbridge Estate
Education Officer : Liz MacKenzie Contact
Liz has been teaching since 1997, most recently at Kempsford Primary School. She has a degree in Ecology so her job with the Ernest Cook Trust is a perfect match for her interests and skills. “The children have fun and they are learning so many things at the same time, without even realising it,” she said. “It’s a way to help children understand where their food comes from, how things grow and how we need to care for our environment for that to happen.”
Education Officer : Katherine Geracitano Contact
Katherine has taught in primary schools in the UK and Kuwait, and trained as a Forest School leader before joining the Trust. She said: “Working with the Ernest Cook Trust is like being part of a big family – everyone’s so friendly. I’m particularly enjoying watching the magical effects of Forest School on children, especially those for whom conventional school has had a negative impact.”
Education Officer : Peter Tatham Contact
Peter has had a varied career. He studied sculpting, launched a company designing and manufacturing mountain boards, and worked for the renowned Pangolin art foundry in Chalford, Gloucestershire. Passionate about outdoor education, he also trained as a teacher. “It’s a great job,” he says. “Each day is different and I also get the chance to work one-to-one with secondary school students who are having a difficult time in the classroom.”
Education Officer : Ruth Chillitupa Contact
Ruth began her career leading high-altitude trekking tours in South America and the Middle East. After qualifying as a teacher, she taught in a primary school in Wiltshire, and spent a year teaching in Peru. “For me, this job brings the two strands together – the outdoor side and the teaching,” she says. “Bringing children into such a rich environment really brings out the best in them.”
Education Officer : Umbareen Daniels Contact
Umbareen has been a primary school teacher in Dursley and trained with ECT as a Forest School teacher. “It’s lovely to be working with the Ernest Cook Trust – it’s like joining a family,” she says. “I don’t think there are enough opportunities like this for children. When I’ve taken my own classes, the differences in attitudes and learning I’ve witnessed have been incredible.”
Education Officer : Sue Nixon-Lea Contact
Sue has been a teacher for over 20 years – she got to know the Trust while bringing her classes to Forest School sessions on the Hatherop Estate. “It’s so inspiring to see the enthusiasm of the children – even ones who seem reluctant when they appear in the morning,” she says. “By the end of the session, they’re beaming and it’s been a great experience for them.”
Education Officer : Susan Perry Contact
A former primary school teacher, Susan was appointed in 2009 to develop the new Hollies Education Centre on the Trust’s Little Dalby Estate in Leicestershire which is housed in former farm buildings and can accommodate groups of up to 30 schoolchildren. She was formerly a science co-ordinator and she combines her subject knowledge with a passion for the environment.
Education Officer : Emma Turner Contact
Emma qualified as an early years primary teacher in 1994 specialising in art, and has worked in a variety of schools. She joined ECT in April 2012, working part-time at the Hollies Education Centre in Little Dalby. “I think the work the Trust does is fantastic,” she says. “I was brought up in the countryside and spent my childhood in the fields and woods – children don’t get the opportunity to do that as much these days. Learning outside is a really motivating experience for children.”
Education Officer : Stuart and Tessa Casely Contact
Stuart and Tessa’s 400-acre Gore Farm in Trent grows wheat, barley, maize and grass and supports 200 head of beef cattle. They have been organising the outdoor education visits with help from their sons David and Mark since 2005 after giving up dairy farming and wanting to find a new use for the redundant dairy buildings. Gore Farm has been in the Casely family since 1957.
Education Officer : Angela Webb Contact
Angela Webb joined the education team at Gore Farm on the Trent Estate after a 19-year teaching career. She has a long association with ECT, having taken her reception and Year 1 classes from West Coker CofE Primary School on regular visits. She says: “I think I have landed in paradise. I live in the countryside and have a great interest in it, so this is a really happy balance.”
Education Officer : Dorothy Howes Contact
Dorothy Howes, from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, started her career in secondary education and has been a primary school teacher for the past 14 years. “I love the outdoors and have always had a keen interest in wildlife,” she says. “This seemed the ideal opportunity to combine education, with which I’ve been involved my whole career, with my love of the outdoors.”
Education Officer, Chatsworth House : Nicola Spence Contact
Originally from Sheffield Nicola is a former primary school teacher who is aiming to grow the number of educational visits to the iconic Chatsworth Estate.
Outdoor Learning Officer, Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership : Alison Cross Contact
Alison studied Environmental Science (MEnvSci) at Bangor University, before following a career path in environmental education at a variety of nature charities, including National Trust, RSPB and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Alison joined ECT in 2018 to work on the Pendle Hill Landscape Project in Lancashire’s AONB. She provides opportunities for outdoor learning for school groups, families, and young people in and around the Pendle Hill area.