AlphaPlus Key Associates

Angus Alton
After teaching English and English literature for 12 years, Angus worked as an examiner and senior examiner at O level, GCSE, A level and KS3. He has 10 years in research department of one of the leading awarding organisations, including providing staff and examiner training, and 12 years as senior officer at examinations regulator, involved in research, AO and specification approval and extensive staff training, leading on the design and implementation of significant and innovative research programmes.

Angus has extensive knowledge and experience of qualitative and qualitative research methods. He has worked with AlphaPlus on a wide range of projects, including qualifications development for Saudi Arabia, initial testing for teacher training, on-line tests for functional skills for BIS/DWP, the use of accommodations in general qualifications for JCGQ, and various training and evaluation activities. He is a consultant for both VTCT and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, and has overseas experience in Japan and Hong Kong.


Newman Burdett
Dr Newman Burdett is an educational assessment expert and has previously been Head of Ministry Partnerships working on state education and examination reform projects for Cambridge Assessment and also the Head of Centre for International Comparisons at the National Foundational for Educational Research in the UK, responsible for PISA and TIMSS in the UK and is on DFID’s Intellectual Leadership Team for Research Informed Systems of Education.

He is a fellow of AEA-Europe and the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors. He has worked with AlphaPlus on several test development programmes as well as international projects such as helping develop subject standards for Rwanda and assessment criteria for tour guides in Abu Dhabi.


Claire Callow
Claire has worked with AlphaPlus on a range of projects. She has authored and developed a number of English assessment materials, including for the Key Stage 2 SATs Level 6 Reading test for the Standards and Testing Agency, Ofqual National Reference Tests for GCSE English and the Welsh National tests.

Claire’s research projects have discussed topics such as DfE Linked pair of GCSEs in mathematics evaluation project, DfE Evaluation of GCSEs and A Levels and LSIS Evaluation of the 14-19 Vocational Curriculum Development Programme, among others.


Alphaplus associate Mike Collett

Mike Collett
Mike has worked with AlphaPlus for over 10 years on a wide range of projects with diverse clients. He has experience of developing curricula and qualification frameworks and of creating, reviewing and marking assessments. He has been involved in several European projects and has chaired international, European and national standards groups.

He has used his mathematics teaching and examining experience in developing assessments at several levels and mapping them to curricula. His computer science experience was valuable in reviewing and revising national occupational skills standards and then creating qualification frameworks for Saudi Skills Standards. He is supporting AlphaPlus in the delivery of national reading and numeracy assessments for the Welsh Government, with a focus on project management of online systems.

Mike is skilled in the use of information technologies, is able to develop and adhere to style guides and is familiar with literacy levels and simple English. He has sharp analytical skills, is able to identify and define real use cases and is familiar with equality and diversity issues.


David Foster
David began his career in the engineering industry, working with UK and export markets. After returning to university to study for a teaching qualification, he has pursued a career in further education, and has extensive teaching experience and curriculum management responsibility.

David has subject expertise in Functional Skills Mathematics and ICT, and Business & Economics. His experience has included working with government agencies and awarding organisations in the development of qualifications, assessments and quality assurance. David has experience of authoring learning and assessment resources, e-learning and e-assessment materials and delivering training for teachers and assessors.

David has worked on a wide range of projects with AlphaPlus over several years. This work has included assessment authoring and editing for a range of assessment models, assessor training and authoring teaching resources for an international market.


Rachael Meech
Rachael worked for 10 years for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority where she was involved in a number of high level initiatives including the review of the National Curriculum in 2000, the development and accreditation of general, vocational and occupational qualifications, developing strategies for learners working at Entry and level 1 in the National Qualifications Framework and the development of the Qualifications and Credit Framework.

Rachael has worked as a freelance Educational Consultant since 2006, providing specialist advice and support for a wide range of education and training organisations. Her work with AlphaPlus has been varied, including the development of qualifications for use in Saudi Arabia, the development of Tech Level qualifications for inclusion into performance tables, developing curricula and qualifications for employability skills and the analysis of qualification specifications and assessment materials against government regulations and Equalities legislation.


Jim Murray
Jim is a professional educational and training consultant specialising in engineering and construction technologies. He trained as an engineer in the marine and associated industries, and worked in various management roles in a wide spread of engineering and manufacturing before leaving the engineering sector in 1987. Jim worked as an engineering lecturer in a major College of Further Education, where he progressed to Senior Faculty Head for all of Technology. He then took on the role of Commercial Business Director for the College until leaving in 2004 to set up his consultancy company Humble Opinions Limited which he continues to do.

Jim spent 15 years as an inspector in learning and skills, from the Training Standards Council through the Adult Learning Inspectorate, and has now recently retired from OfSTED.

Jim has worked on a range of projects for AlphaPlus, including developing the curriculum for Saudi Skills Standards, working as a lead reviewer for Saudi Colleges of Excellence and developing curriculum and assessment materials for the Royal Saudi Air Force.


Alphaplus associate Jayne NormanJayne Norman
Jayne has 20 years’ experience as a freelance educational trainer and technical author of standards, qualifications, skills and knowledge assessments and learning materials in a range of topics, including Functional Skills, retail, hospitality, customer service, tourism and English literacy and language.

Jayne has consulted for AlphaPlus for over 10 years. She has developed national skills assessment specifications and on-screen knowledge assessments for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a range of National Occupational Skills Standards and qualification Frameworks for the Kingdom. Jayne has also authored new English qualification on-screen assessments from entry level 1 – level 2 and Functional English assessments at levels 1 and 2.

Jayne is an international teacher trainer, working most recently with clients across the Gulf, Levant, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.


Kathy Seymour
Kathy has been an AlphaPlus Associate since 2012. She undertakes research using a range of methods including surveys, interviews, focus groups, mobile ethnography, documentary analyses and secondary data analysis. She is also an experienced evaluator and fully trained theory of change practitioner. Kathy has particular expertise in survey design and analysis (a subject she has taught to undergraduates) and usually undertakes AlphaPlus’ online survey design, administration and analysis.

Currently Kathy is working towards NVivo Accredited Expert status to further enhance her existing high-level qualitative data analysis skills, and she is proficient in the use of SPSS for quantitative data analysis.

Kathy has worked in educational research since 1997 and has been a researcher for the National Foundation for Educational Research, Nottinghamshire County Council and the University of Nottingham. Since 2012 she has run her own research company and has worked for a range of clients in the public and private sectors. She has a master’s degree in Research Methods and a PhD from the University of Nottingham’s School of Education. She is a member of the British Educational Research Association and the Social Research Association.