Our Trustees

We believe that good governance lies at the heart of a flourishing charity. We are a group of volunteers who have a strong commitment to the work of Speech and Language UK. We bring our respective skills to the Board, and act as ambassadors for the charity’s diverse and excellent work with children and young people. We are always looking to strengthen governance. If you might be interested in contributing to our work as trustees, please contact us on info@speechandlanguage.org.uk for a conversation.

Roy Blatchford CBE

Chair of the board

Roy Blatchford has had an extensive career in education, both in the UK and internationally. Over the last forty years, he has been a teacher, headteacher, school governor, government adviser and director of various educational charities. Roy was Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools in England, with responsibilities for school improvement and the national inspection of good and outstanding schools.

Roy is the author/editor of over 150 books, including the best-selling 'The Restless School'. His latest book is 'Must do better' published by John Catt. Roy was awarded a CBE for services to education in the 2016 New Year Honours.

Stuart Shepley


Stuart is an finance executive and a qualified actuary. A former partner of KPMG, he has also been chief actuary for number of well-known insurance groups including Lloyd’s managing agencies. Now based in the UK, Stuart maintains a number of business interests as chairman of a family owned insurance broking and risk management business.

He takes an active interest in the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries affairs, having been a Management Board member, an elected Council Member, as well as Chair of the General Insurance Board. He is also a member of two Worshipful Companies and contributes to their charitable and social activities. Stuart is married with two grown up children, living in Surrey where he enjoys playing golf and participating in other outdoor pursuits.

Riccardo Basile

Chair of the Social Enterprise Committee 

Riccardo is a Principal at Permira, a global private equity fund investing in growing market-leading companies in the consumer, tech, healthcare, financial and industrial sector. Prior to joining Permira, Riccardo was a director at AlixPartners, where he delivered a number of operational turnaround programmes mostly in retail, consumer goods and industrial sectors. Before that, he worked for PwC where he focused on delivering supply chain transformation programmes. Riccardo had previously held line management roles in industry. He holds a MBA and an MEng from Bologna University, in Italy.

Dr Judy Clegg

Chair of Dawn House Governors 

Dr Judy Clegg is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Communication Sciences at the University of Sheffield, UK. She trained as a Speech and language therapist at the University of Manchester and completed a PhD in developmental language disorders at the University of Nottingham.

Judy is the Director of Professional Learning overseeing the clinical degree programmes in speech and language therapy. Her research interests focus on the developmental trajectories and outcomes of children with language and communication needs, the impact of social disadvantage on children’s language and communication development, the complex co-morbidity between children’s social disadvantage, their developing language and communication and their behaviour and mental health, and evaluating the effectiveness of interventions designed to facilitate children and young peoples' language and communication abilities. Judy is also co-editor of the journal, Child Language Teaching and Therapy. Further information can be found at www.sheffield.ac.uk/hcs/staff/clegg

Simon Wright


Co-Founder and Director of Gatehouse Consulting Ltd., a leading internal communications consultancy. Clients include several FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 organisations. Prior to this he spent four years as Chief Operating Officer at Ernst & Young LLP. His interests and experience include digital communications, marketing, and branding.  Simon has been a Governor at three schools.

Ann Gross


Recently retired from the civil service following a distinguished career including the last 17 years in senior positions in the Department for Education and prior to that 16 years in the Department for Health.  Ann was responsible for strategy and policy on education for disadvantaged children, SEND reforms, mental health, children in care, the Child Poverty Unit and Sure Start Children’s Centres.

Luke Manning


Luke leads the corporate sustainability function for Refinitiv, the global provider of financial market data and infrastructure. In this role he develops Refinitiv’s position as a sustainable and responsible business, to help drive positive environmental and social impact, and chairs Refinitiv Charities.

Formerly a freelance journalist, with work published in the Financial Times, Guardian, Moscow News and the Times, Luke has subsequently specialised in developing and communicating core business strategies with tangible commercial, reputational and social impact. Prior to his current role, Luke worked with a number of global organisations in senior leadership and consulting positions, including Thomson Reuters, Balfour Beatty, Barclays Bank and Kier Group​

James Willan K.C.


James is a barrister practising from Essex Court Chambers in London. He has over 15 years’ experience of commercial dispute resolution, during which time he has advised and represented a broad range of individuals, businesses and government departments.  He was appointed one of His Majesty’s Counsel (K.C.) in 2021.  James has supported legal advice and rights charities throughout his career, including as a committee member of the Free Representation Unit and of Citizens Advice.

Julie Dockrell (FRCSLT, FAcSS)


Julie Dockrell (FRCSLT, FAcSS) is Professor of Psychology and Special Needs at the UCL, Institute of Education and qualified as both a clinical and educational psychologist. Her research interests are in patterns of language development and the ways in which oral language skills impact on children's learning, interaction, and attainments.

A central theme in this research has been the application of evidence-based research to support children’s learning through interventions, enhanced language learning environments and professional development.

She has published in a wide range of journals and written books and book chapters on language development and language difficulties. She was the previous editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology, associate editor for JSLHR and Learning and Instruction.

She was a co-director of the Better Communication Research Programme, UK. She is currently PI on a Nuffield funded research programme examining universal language support for nursery aged children in areas of social disadvantage and Co-I for the Education and Cognition stream for UKRI- GCRF Action against stunting hub.

Narayan Deb


Narayan is an Assistant Principal at Kingsley Academy, London. He has previously worked as a senior leader and teacher at schools in London and Birmingham. Prior to working in education, Narayan worked in the legal industry as a Paralegal. 

Narayan is passionate about education, particularly how to develop teachers and leaders in the most challenging contexts. He also has a strong interest in literacy, language and communication and how to develop a culture of reading in schools. 

Jean Gross, Trustee of I CAN, 2010 – 2021

Distinguished Fellow of I CAN

Jean Gross’s contribution to children’s speech and language should be seen in terms of major importance to the national development of children’s speech and language, with substantial personal recognition through peer review over a sustained career.

Reaching the unseen children: practical strategies for closing stubborn attainment gaps in disadvantaged groups www.routledge.pub/ReachingTheUnseenChildren


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