Nisai Education Trust

Nisai Education Trust Staff

Paul Keenleyside

Paul spent over 20 years as a special educational needs teacher, school leader and advisor in both mainstream and special education settings. As an educator his focus has always been on two key groups of young people; those with social and emotional difficulties, and those who are neuro-diverse – and on the significant overlap between the two.

From 2006-2011 Paul was the head of the Education Development Trust subsidiary ‘include’ which provided education for 1900 socially excluded young people in England and Wales. He then went on to spend the last decade working at the Board level with non-profit organisations delivering educational provision and support to children and young people with special education needs as Director at Dyslexia Action, Young Epilepsy and currently Nisai Education Trust.

Having spent much of his career successfully dealing with change and ambiguity – working with both Executive and non-Executive Boards in responding to environmental change – Paul is focused on the role that true innovation and positive disruption can play in creating change in education systems for the most vulnerable learners and how this might enable us all to meet the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Dhruv Patel

Dhruv Patel is the Chief Executive and Founder of The Nisai Group, an organisation dedicated to providing education to students around the world. For over 25 years, Nisai Learning has utilised online and virtual technology as an effective and innovative way of making education accessible to those in and out of school.

Nisai Learning is an online school that provides an inclusive, social and student-focused community for every student. Through  the online platform, the Nisai Virtual Academy, Nisai provides learners from all backgrounds with a bespoke, personalised and holistic education.

Nisai Group worked with thousands of students with various barriers, from special needs to medical illness, mental health or geographical location both in the UK and abroad in locations such as Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Japan where Nisai is a global strategic partner of the National Open College Network (NOCN) for technical and vocational qualifications.

Dhruv has been recognised as a Fellow Doctor of the Royal Institute of Education by The Royal Institute of Singapore, and listed in the Financial Times Top 100 BAME Leaders in Technology. He has been invited to speak at a number of conferences in the ASEAN region on 21st Century and Inclusive Learning.

In recent years, his involvement with UNESCO IITE has provided him with a platform to increase awareness of how quality assured accessible education to those learners who would otherwise miss out, through the use of technology and qualified teaching staff and thereby helping to achieve SDG2030 goals.

Ahmadul Hoq

Ahmadul got his start as the General Manager of METEX COTTON Ltd. a family-owned textile manufacturer and held a series of national and international roles with ‘blue-chip’ companies,  including British American Tobacco Group (BAT) and Augmedix

He was the Founder and President of Bangladesh Association of Call Centre and Outsourcing (BACCO) until 2017 and continues to make a significant contribution to the strategic development of the sector in as the Vice Chairman of the Bangladesh Industry Skills Council (ISC) for ICT, a body supported by the government of Bangladesh.

Currently, Ahmadul is the Managing Director of Nisai Bangladesh Ltd., a fully interactive Cambridge affiliated virtual secondary school, which aims to provide all learners access to quality education regardless of their geography. He is also the Managing Director of Virgo Contact Center Ltd., a BPO company, and owns a brokerage house at Dhaka Stock Exchange.

The desire to create sustainable middle-income jobs for the youth of the country, whose population is becoming younger each year, is an important driver. In parallel to his business interests Ahmadul was a founder Director of Bangladesh Youth Enterprise Advice and Help-Centre (B’YEAH), a Mentor Program for Entrepreneurs of Bangladesh since 2008. With their mission to ‘turn job seekers into job creators’ and affiliated with Youth Business International (YBI). It has successfully developed thousands of entrepreneurs who went on to become profitable business owners and created numerous direct jobs.

Currently, Ahmadul is the Managing Director of Nisai Bangladesh Ltd., a fully interactive Cambridge affiliated virtual secondary school, which aims to provide all learners access to quality education regardless of their geography. He is also the Managing Director of Virgo Contact Center Ltd., a BPO company, and owns a brokerage house at Dhaka Stock Exchange. He has taken up his latest challenge around Cyber Security and Software development. He is currently creating a world-class team of IT Professionals to service the various sectors in the country and globally.

Denise Yates

Denise Yates has worked in education and training for over thirty-five years to enable all individuals to maximise their potential. Over the years, she has worked with children and young people excluded from school, ex-offenders, children with moderate learning difficulties, adults with numeracy and literacy problems and in inner-city areas working with young people at risk of offending. 

For ten years, Denise was Chief Executive of the national charity, Potential Plus UK (formerly The National Association for Gifted Children) which supports children and young people with High Learning Potential. In 2017, Denise left to pursue her passion which could be summarised as ‘hidden potential’; children and young people with Dual and Multiple Exceptionality ( high ability and Special Educational Needs and/ or Disabilities), those with mental health problems and those who have been failed by the system, for whatever reason.  

A Cambridge economist, Denise is currently, as well as being a non-executive Director of Nisai Education Trust, a Trustee of The Potential Trust, a charitable trust which supports more able children from low-income backgrounds and a member of the Above and Beyond group which looks to work in partnership with organisations in the UK, in whatever sector, for the benefit of children and young people with gifts and talents (including those with DME).  

Denise is a Fellow of the RSA, a consultant on issues related to inclusion and also a trained Adviser with Citizens Advice. In 2020, Denise was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to children and young people. 

Joe McCann

As Chief Executive Officer Joe has been the driving force behind the Inclusion Quality Mark since it first started as a small pilot project in Hertfordshire in 2004 – guiding it to being what it has become today.  Joe has developed the award into the only national award in the country which examines inclusive education in all its facets.  He has worked with schools in all local authorities and increasingly with more and more local authority organisations themselves and academy trusts who have made the strategic decision to ensure that all their schools meet the standards of the Inclusive School Award.   IQM provides free support to all schools/local authorities/academy trusts etc who require it. 

In addition, Joe has set up a network of 23 cluster groups comprising of schools from different phases and local authorities which meet regularly in each other’s schools to develop their inclusive practices and share ideas and resources.  These groups are very important and have provided invaluable support for school colleagues never more so than during the pandemic.

During his teaching career as a teacher Joe worked both as a classroom teacher and senior leader in different settings and in a variety of capacities, working with both high achieving schools as well as those in Special Measures.  Both provide challenges in their own right but also afforded opportunities for continual improvement which were relished and helped to drive the school forward.

Joe has also worked as an educational consultant providing bespoke courses for teachers across the UK and internationally. Joe has delivered training in England, Ireland, Egypt, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Kuala Lumpur on various aspects of inclusive education and helping schools to develop strategies to promote inclusive schools for the betterment of all.

Jim Pugh

Dr. Jim Pugh is the Director of the Institute of Education at Staffordshire University, leading an innovative collection of academics and professional staff. Jim is member of the University’s Executive Board and works across several cross organisational projects.

Jim has worked at Staffordshire University, primarily as an education studies academic since 2006. When Jim began, Education had around 150 students across a handful of awards. Jim has been instrumental in the development of these award areas into becoming the Institute of Education which now incorporates over 2000 students situated on campus and within national and international partnerships. Jim’s career has developed from multi-level teaching; to award development, and cross faculty leadership and management. Jim has led the Institute to recent achievements of being ranked 15th in the Guardian subject guide 2021, and judged as OFSTED Good in all areas of Initial Teacher Education (2017).

Jim is an Associate Professor and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Jim also remains an activate researcher, currently working on both UK and international projects.

"At Nisai Education Trust we really believe in the power of innovation in education. The past 25 years have seen the start of a revolution in how we think about education and in how we relate to technology - all borne out in the response around the world to the Covid-19 pandemic. But there are huge questions to answer around how we are going to harness the innovation, and how new technologies will interface with more traditional education structures as we move forward. Our hope is that we can make some contribution to the understanding of online and blended learning, and share it widely with educators. If you share that vision, please do get in touch!"
Paul Keenleyside Executive Director, Nisai Education Trust

Nisai Education Trust Ltd is recognised as a charity in England & Wales. Registered Charity number 1195283

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