Staff

The team at the English-Speaking Union comprises professionals in the fields of education, management, communications and charity finance.

All are committed to improving the prospects of young people in the UK and internationally through the charitable provision of training in debating and public speaking.

Jane Easton

Director-General

Our team is based in London but the ESU works internationally, with 36 branches across England and Wales and a further 59 around the globe. As Director-General I work closely with the chairman and the board on the charity’s strategy and governance, and act as Secretary-General to the International Council of the ESU, seeking to maximise the number of people who benefit from our work.


0207 529 1561

Sarah McBride

Company Secretary/Senior Executive Officer


Kay Dacey

Executive Assistant to the Director-General


0207 529 1561

Duncan Partridge

Director of Education

Our highly experienced education team runs a wide range of educational and cultural programmes from scholarships for school leavers, teachers and professionals to ground-breaking speech training and competitions involving hundreds of schools in the UK and around the world.

Our work is divided into three key fields: oracy, international programmes and the education network which recruits, trains and retains our mentors and ambassadors.


0207 529 1570

Anna England-Kerr

Head of Debating Programmes

anna.kerr@esu.org
0207 529 1573

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Anna England-Kerr

Head of Debating Programmes

As the Head of Debating Programmes, Anna takes care of the ESU’s teaching programmes and is the Team England manager for WSDC.

Prior to moving to the organisation she worked on QatarDebate’s English language debate programme in Doha as well as coaching their World Schools team and taught debate for Pro et Contra in Slovenia. She has also taught public speaking and debate for other educational organisations in Serbia, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Estonia and China.

She has been the chief adjudicator of numerous schools and university debating competitions in the UK and across Europe. She is a co-chief adjudicator for WSDC 2018 and was on the motions committee for WSDC 2016. As a competitor she was an EUDC semi-finalist, Slovenian national champion, winner of the Manchester and York IVs and Zagreb Open as well as reaching the finals of a couple of other competitions.

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Eliot Pallot

Debating Programmes Senior Officer

eliot.pallot@esu.org
0207 529 1564

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Eliot Pallot

Debating Programmes Senior Officer

Eliot graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Classical Civilization in 2014 and went on to work as a paralegal in a law firm and also worked running debating programmes in the UK before joining the ESU team in 2016. He has assisted in running debating workshops and competitions across Europe having done work in Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany amongst others.

At the ESU Eliot manages the variety of debating programmes the ESU works on, working closely with schools and students to spread passion and interest in Oracy.

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Josephine Gough

Debating Programmes Officer

josephine.gough@esu.org
0207 529 1583

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Josephine Gough

Debating Programmes Officer

Jo graduated from Cardiff with a degree in Education and Psychology. She then volunteered abroad and upon returning worked in a CAMHS adolescent unit in Devon. Moving to London she qualified as a Learning Mentor, implementing the role and resources to improve pupil wellbeing and prospects through 1:1 sessions, group work and classroom support. She later worked on the Thames as a Deckhand before moving onto piers to manage staff and operations, becoming the Training Support Officer developing and delivering induction training. Throughout this time she has organised, chaired and been a speaker at public meetings and events, which is where her passion for oracy first arose.

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David Bender

Debating Programmes Officer

david.bender@esu.org
0207 529 1577

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David Bender

Debating Programmes Officer

David graduated the University of Hull in 2012 in British Politics and Legislative Studies. He has worked as an ESU mentor, delivering debating and oracy to students across England. He has delivered, workshops, classes and lectures in the UK and abroad. He worked on a number of debating and oratorical projects to increase access to the activity. He joined the ESU team as a full-time member of staff in 2018, where he continues to work on the delivery of ESU programmes.

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Bob Saull

Debating Programmes Officer

robert.saull@esu.org
0207 529 1562

Melanie Aplin

Head of International Programmes & Cultural Exchange

melanie.aplin@esu.org
0207 529 1591

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Melanie Aplin

Head of International Programmes & Cultural Exchange

Melanie graduated from the University of Bath in 2011, after completing a Masters degree in European Politics. Prior to joining the ESU, she worked in a number of teaching and international politics posts, before joining the ESU’s Education team in 2013. Melanie now heads up the International Programmes and Cultural Exchange team, leading on the ESU’s international competitions and scholarships, as well as its work in the field of English Language Teaching. She is excited to be at the heart of an area of the ESU’s work which was central to its founding principles and which remains so relevant today.

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William Stileman

International Programmes Senior Officer

william.stileman@esu.org
0207 529 1595

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William Stileman

International Programmes Senior Officer

William has been at the English-Speaking Union since 2014. After working on the international creative writing competition My Magna Carta, he now convenes the International Public Speaking Competition, and organises international debate tours as well as working on the Secondary School Exchange.

Prior to working at the ESU, William received a BA in History and Politics from the University of East Anglia, and then worked as an educational organiser for the trade union UNISON. He has also volunteered for the NGO Center for Education and Development in Hanoi, Vietnam.

William is the resident ESU Hip-Hop fan and also enjoys travel, which is apt given his placement in the ESU international team.

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Catrin Richards

International Administrator

catrin.richards@esu.org
0207 529 1572

Amanda Moorghen

Head of Impact and Resources

amanda.moorghen@esu.org
0207 529 1565

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Amanda Moorghen

Head of Impact and Resources

Amanda studied Philosophy at the University of Birmingham before joining the ESU in 2013. As Head of Impact and Resources, she divides her time between finding out as much as possible about teaching oracy and applying this in the design of ESU projects, activity plans and curricula. Amanda’s belief in the importance of oracy education germinated at university, where joining the debating society took her around the world to speak, judge and coach – the last trip being to Vienna, where she was on the Chief Adjudication team of the European Universities Debating Championship.

Outside of the office, Amanda has discovered that spending her years of university doing something to do with debating pretty much every day has ruined her ability to take up a casual hobby. A friendly, occasional game of badminton has sprawled into a competitive activity involving many evenings and weekends – the long train journeys to debating tournaments are now treks across London for training and matches.

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Gavin Illsley

Impact & Resources Senior Officer

gavin.illsley@esu.org
0207 529 1565

Julie Jackson

Debate Educator and Ambassador - Midlands

julie.jackson@esu.org

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Julie Jackson

Debate Educator and Ambassador - Midlands

As a personal tutor and teacher of English for many years - too many years to count! - I've enjoyed teaching oracy skills and entering students into a variety of speaking competitions.

Moreover, it was very shortly after attending the ESU and RST Teacher Scholarship Programme that I was inspired to create, lead, organise and coach debating clubs at several secondary schools.

Naturally, this lead to many students entering debating competitions which have been a great source of fun and an enriching experience for all those involved.

In recent years, I have been a voluntary worker for animal and humanitarian charities.  These experiences have revealed the joy of caring for and learning from different environments, as well the discipline required for not taking too many furry friends home!

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Maia Gibbs

Head of Education Network

maia.gibbs@esu.org
0207 529 1593

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Maia Gibbs

Head of Education Network

From working with EAL learners in primary schools to develop their language and communication skills through performance, to encouraging young people to engage with heritage and archive materials through ‘telling stories’, Maia has followed her passion for helping young people to discover their voice to various organisations such as the Tower of London, City of Westminster Archives and Westminster Abbey.

Prior to joining the ESU, Maia worked for four years in Further Education where, among various roles, she managed assessments for vocational subjects in workplace settings and the raising of attainment levels and success in English and Maths GCSE and Functional Skills, including speaking and listening.

Although her first year at the ESU has been full of exciting developments with the launch of the Education Network team and the Oracy Network, Maia is adamant that her greatest professional achievement to date is being crowned ESU Bake Off champion 2016.

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Michael Hepburn

Education Network Officer

michael.hepburn@esu.org
0207 529 1559

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Michael Hepburn

Education Network Officer

Michael finished his BA in Economics and Politics at Strathclyde University in 2011. Strathclyde University Debating Society won their university’s society of the year in 2011 when Michael was president.  Both during and after university Michael coached debating and public speaking in schools, to university students and adults across Scotland.  In 2014/2015 he worked as a social studies teacher in Ecuador embarking on the ESU Japan and Denmark tours and then returning to Scotland to continue teaching debating and public Speaking.

Michael enjoys hiking, chess, poker and Indian food.  His favourite books are the Harry Potter series, Wheel of Time and His Dark Materials.  His favourite shows are Peaky Blinders, the Good Wife and the walking dead.

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Esther Olusanya

Ambassador
East

esther.olusanya@esu.org

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Esther Olusanya

Ambassador
East

Esther is currently a student of Comparative Literature and Portuguese at University College London, having previously studied Human Sciences and Spanish. Active in the student body, she serves as the president of the Leadership and Management Society, and sits on the committee for the Afro-Caribbean Society at UCL.

Esther began debating and public speaking in secondary school, winning the Credit Suisse Novice Cup and the Jack Petchey Speak Out Competition. Perceiving the benefits of debating, she grew passionate about using debate to raise the aspirations of young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. She is committed to opening doors of opportunity for them and empowering them through teaching. As a result, she has taught in numerous schools in London, just outside London and as far as East Africa! She has, and continues to work alongside companies such as the National Citizens Service, The Anne Frank Trust and The English Speaking Union, whose vision for young people matches her own.

She hopes to begin training to be a lawyer in the near future, and has spent her summers gaining work experience at firms such as Herbert Smith Freehills and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The remainder of her summer she spends rock climbing, painting and playing her pink ukulele.

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Craig McDonald

Ambassador
Wales & South West

craig.mcdonald@esu.org
07825 581 568

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Craig McDonald

Ambassador
Wales & South West

After graduating in English Literature and Cultural Criticism from Cardiff University in 2013, Craig spent the vast majority of his time working on several acting projects and attending various debating competitions, before becoming a Mentor in 2014 and eventually the South West Regional Ambassador in 2016 and then the Wales Ambassador in 2017.

Craig's experience working with the English Speaking Union has ranged from many School's Mace Judging rounds and Discover Your Voice Workshops, to being the Convenor of the John Smith Memorial Mace Welsh Leg many times, and Judge of the John Smith Memorial Mace International Final. He now spends his time organising the network of mentors across Wales. Fun fact: Craig does live on a farm. Nobody ever mentions it though.

This hasn't impacted on Craig's love of extra debating however, as he still finds the opportunity to go to tournaments across Europe. As a speaker, he has spoken in 5 finals at tournaments in Swansea, Aberystwyth, SOAS, Helsinki, and the Estonian Open where he was also 2nd best speaker. As a judge, Craig has judged the final rounds at 75 tournaments, being Chief Adjudicator at tournaments in Wales, England, and Finland, and a breaking judge at Vienna and Tallinn European University Debating Championships in 2015 and 2017. His goal is to break 100 times.

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Jackie Cobain

Ambassador
London and South East

jackie.cobain@esu.org

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Jackie Cobain

Ambassador
London and South East

After graduating in English from UCL, Jackie trained and worked as a journalist for 13 years, culminating in a period working as a lobby journalist at Westminster.

Following a year living in America, Jackie trained as a secondary school teacher and spent 16 years working in both the state and independent sector, including mentoring newly qualified teachers and helping to shape their professional development. During the past 9 years working with the Girls’ Day School Trust, she has been able to indulge her passion for both politics and oracy by launching a debating society, selecting and coaching entrants for public speaking competitions, including five finalists for the GDST’s annual inter-school competition, and preparing teams for EU Mock Council and Model United Nations events. She also initiated a partnership between state and independent school students to foster oracy skills through a series of friendly debates.

As well as working as an interviewer for the Office for National Statistics, Jackie enjoys the theatre, watching stand-up comedy, ‘social running’ (jogging with friends) and swimming.

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Alex Bailey

Head of Branch Education Liaison

alex.bailey@esu.org
0207 529 1586 or 07827 226 800

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Alex Bailey

Head of Branch Education Liaison

Alex joined the English-Speaking Union in August 2017. As Head of Branch Education Liaison he provides advice, guidance and support to the ESU’s regional Branches across England and Wales in the delivery of the ESU Education Strategy.

Alex’s background is in the education charity sector - building relationships, managing volunteers and delivering services for schools. Previously he was an English teacher and taught in the UK, Northern Nigeria, Kenya and Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has a degree in Politics and International Relations from Sheffield University.

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Matthew Christmas

Branch Education Officer

matthew.christmas@esu.org
07585 606 554 or 020 7529 1587

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Matthew Christmas

Branch Education Officer

As Branch Education Officer Matthew is responsible for the delivery of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition and the ESU Performing Shakespeare Competition. He is also a point of liaison for ESU branches about the ESU’s wider educational work.

Matthew Christmas studied Ancient and Modern History at The Queen’s College, Oxford before becoming a Change Management Consultant and then spending 28 years in secondary school teaching both in the UK and abroad, including being a Head of Department, Head of Sixth Form, Director of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, as well as a Deputy Head and a Headteacher.

Matthew debated extensively at school and at university and was Treasurer of the Oxford Union Society in 1988. After graduating, he became the Chairman of the 13th World Universities Debating Championship held in Oxford in 1993.

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Anna Quenby

Director of Communications

The communications team is charged with producing all materials needed for the ESU to do its work in recruiting schools for our programmes, applicants for our scholarships and exchanges, and in running our competitions.

We also produce a membership magazine, Dialogue, and play a vital role in engaging with a wider audience of press, trustees, donors and the general public.


0207 529 1574

Lucy McDonnell (Currently on Maternity Leave)

Head of Editorial


0207 529 1574

Sarah Matthews

Digital Marketing Manager


0207 529 1574

Ian Stokes

Director of Development

The Development team has responsibility for all aspects of fundraising and sponsorship to support high quality educational events, schools programmes, exchanges, training and competitions.  Working with strategic and corporate partners, alumni and members we also ensure the means necessary to maintain and improve Dartmouth House, the ESU’s international headquarters.


0207 529 1588


Tim Morris

Interim Director of Finance

The finance and operations team ensures the charity is on a sound financial footing, as well as ensuring the smooth running of Dartmouth House, our Grade II* listed headquarters and a thriving members’ club.


0207 529 1569

Victoria Kobus

Finance Manager


0207 529 1581

Rachel Fernandes

Membership Officer

rachel.fernandes@esu.org
0207 529 1571

Saqib Khalid

IT Service Manager & Trainer


0207 529 1582

Shikha Battershill (Currently on Maternity Leave)

Membership Administrator


0207 529 1571

Kemi Dada (Currently on Maternity Leave)

Finance Manager


0207 529 1580

Janet Russ

House Manager

reception@esu.org
0207 529 1566

Fiona Robinson

Receptionist

reception@esu.org
0207 529 1550

Claudine Johns

Receptionist

reception@esu.org
0207 529 1550

Daut Metolli

Porter


0207 529 1552

Micky Meah

Porter


0207 529 1550