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James Croft founded and directed the Centre for Education Economics (previously known as CMRE think tank) until 2017, establishing it as an authority in education economics and leading its development into a leading contributor to education policy formation in England and internationally. 

James is now Editor of EducationInvestor Global magazine which provides a portfolio of specialist business information services and events to advisors, investors and operators globally, from early years, through schools, post-16 and vocational, to higher and professional education. 

James remains CfEE's Chair and convenor of its Education Executives' Policy Forum. He speaks and chairs frequently on matters relating to education economics and reform, and writes and comments regularly in the press.


Baroness Perry of Southwark graduated from Cambridge University in Philosophy, and taught philosophy in universities in Canada, USA and UK before joining HM Inspectorate of Education, becoming Chief Inspector in 1981 after 10 years. From 1986 she served, for a period of 8 years, as Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of South Bank University (previously South Bank Polytechnic), and then for 7 years as President of Lucy Cavendish College in the University of Cambridge. 

She was appointed to the House of Lords in 1991, where she was Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Universities Group for 13 years, and vice chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Education Group. 

In 1986, she collaborated with John Cassels and James Prior to create the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) which would become National Centre for Universities and Business in 2013.

Barnoness Perry remains a regular and active chair and speaker for a number of different policy-related forums in education, and across a range of other sectors. 


Neil McIntosh, CBE, is the former CEO of the CfBT Education Trust, a charity he describes as a ‘social business’, which he led from being a one service EFL provider in two or three countries to become a worldwide provider of education services. He has been at the forefront of significant education policy developments, including the growth of free schools and academies, and was the driving force behind the development of the CfBT Schools Trust multi-academy chain. Prior to joining CfBT, Neil was director of Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, and before that Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), a UK charity providing skilled fieldworkers to developing countries around the world.

He is also an Honorary Norham Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Department of Education. Neil was appointed CBE in 2013 for services to education.

Board members

Deborah Eyre is the Founder of High Performance Learning, an advanced pedagogy that helps schools become world class through systematically developing superior cognitive performance iall students. Prior to founding this new venture, Deborah held a variety of senior executive roles both globally and in UK as well as advising governments and educational foundations in UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, USA and Singapore. From 2010-2014 she was Education Director for Nord Anglia Education. Formerly she served as Director of the UK government’s innovative National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY), based at the University of Warwick. She is a Freeman of the Guild of Educators and has served on a number of national and international boards including the UK TDA (Training and Development Agency for teachers), NCSL (National College for School Leadership), WCGTC (World Council for Gifted and Talented Children), Council for British International Schools (COBIS) and Centre for Talented Youth Ireland (CTYI). A widely published author, Able Children in Ordinary Schools (1997) is a seminal text still in publication. Her most recent policy publication was 'Room at the Top' (Policy Exchange, 2010). A new book for teachers on High Performance Learning: How to Build a World Class School was published in January 2016.

Neil Calvert is Chief Executive Officer of The Northworthy Trust, a Multi-Academy Trust which runs three secondary Academies in Derby and Derbyshire and works extensively in initial teacher training with universities in the UK and overseas. Neil was Headteacher at The Long Eaton School from 2008 to 2016, an 11-18 institution of 1,300 students which was one of the first in Derbyshire to convert to Academy status. In 2012 it became the only state school in the UK to open a purpose-built astronomical observatory, and it has gained national recognition for its work in environmental education and developing an international dimension to its curriculum. Neil also served as Executive Headteacher at King Edward VI School in Lichfield, supporting the school through a change in leadership and a successful Ofsted inspection. Neil is Vice Chair of Governing Council at the University of Derby, and chairs its Remuneration and Student Affairs Committees. He has also served as a Director of FASNA, and gave evidence on its behalf to an Education Select Committee enquiry into school governance in 2013.

Board member and company secretary

Chris Lenton fulfils the duties of Treasurer and Company Secretary for CfEE through his consultancy Lenton & Associates. Chris is a former Chair of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (2008-13) and was previously COO and then CEO of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators. His career as a director has focused on strategic planning, marketing and corporate governance, with ethics and corporate social responsibility being guiding aspects of his business framework. Chris’s interest in education is reflected in his co-directorship of The Tutors’ Association, an organisation he has led through a period of rapid growth in membership. He is also a consultant at Wild Search executive recruitment consultancy, which specialises in appointments to the education sector, and was formerly chair of the London Academy of Professional Education (LAPRO).