Five new members appointed to Qualifications Wales Board

Friday 12 Mar 2021

The Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams has announced the appointment of Sharron Lusher, Hannah Burch, Douglas Blackstock, Michael Griffiths and Graham Hudson to the Board of Qualification Wales.  

Sharron Lusher 

Sharron Lusher retired as Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire College in July 2018, after over 20 years in the education and skills sector.  During her time at the College, she was instrumental in raising standards, forming strong partnerships, and establishing a successful work-based-learning Consortium. 

She moved to Pembrokeshire College following a career in Marks and Spencer, where having started as a management trainee, she was ultimately responsible for the European Logistics operation, based in Paris. 

Sharron is currently Chair of the Independent Welsh Pay Review Body, Chair of the Welsh Tourism and Hospitality Skills Partnership, and a member of the Haven Waterway Enterprise Zone Board.  She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Dyfed in 2010 and is currently High Sheriff of Dyfed until April 2021. 

Hannah Burch 

Hannah Burch started her career as a French and Italian teacher in North London, before returning to Wales to join the Teach First Cymru staff team in 2014. 

Hannah has worked exclusively with schools serving disadvantaged communities; she is an alumnus of the Teach First leadership development programme and holds an MA in leadership from the Institute of Education (University College London). 

Hannah has a strong commitment to educational equity and published an article on this theme for the  Wales Journal of Education  in 2018. She is an experienced coach and an enthusiastic advocate for diversity  and inclusion, and recently took up a new position as Project Development Manager for a UK-wide service delivered by Citizens Advice. 

Douglas Blackstock 

Douglas Blackstock is the Chief Executive of the UK’s independent Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), whose role is to  ensure academic standards are maintained and that student learning opportunities are of the highest quality.  

As well as providing advice to the Welsh Government, QAA works with Colleges Wales, ESTYN, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, NUS Wales, Qualifications Wales and Universities Wales. 

Douglas has been particularly interested in working to ensure all four nations needs are recognised; increasing the engagement of students in quality assurance; campaigning against ‘essay mills’; promoting the QAA Access to Higher Education Diploma; and  building trust and confidence in UK education through international partnerships and networks. He also serves on the Board of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).   

Michael Griffiths 

Michael Griffiths  was previously  Headteacher of Cardiff High School for 14 years and Headteacher of Barry Comprehensive School for six years. He was the first Chair of the iNet (International Networking for Educational Transformation) Wales Executive from 2008 to 2011 and  was seconded to Welsh Government in 2008 as a professional adviser. 

Michael has sat on a number of Welsh Government  committees and undertaken roles as a consultant for Welsh Government, including Co-Lead of one of six groups shaping the new ‘Curriculum for Wales’.  Currently, Michael is an educational consultant and since leaving headship has delivered post-graduate leadership courses for various Welsh universities and for schools and colleges both in the UK and abroad. 

Between 2012 and 2021 he was a Council member of the Arts Council of Wales and Chair of the Arts Council’s HR and Remuneration committee. 

Graham Hudson 

Graham Hudson  was previously a teacher of Physics and Sciences in Crofton Secondary School in Stubbington, Hampshire and moved to work for The Associated Examining Board, which became AQA. He administered science subjects, developing GCSE and National Curriculum specifications and was responsible for marking KS2 and KS3 National Curriculum tests for the south of England. 

Graham moved to work for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority responsible for marking all KS2 and KS3 tests for England and collection of data for performance tables and led a publicly-funded research programme involving all devolved nations into the use of technology in examinations and assessments.  He later worked for DRS Data Services Limited and developed one of the first systems for marking examination papers online in England – a system used today in the UK and internationally. 

He is currently supporting organisations wishing to make the move into mainstream digital assessment and championing the case for using technology enhanced assessments nationally and internationally and is Member of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Alumnus of the University of Southampton and Kingston University. 

David Jones, OBE DL Chair of Qualifications Wales, said:I am very pleased to welcome Sharron, Hannah, Douglas, Michael and Graham to the Board. 

Sharron brings leadership experience from business, education and the public sector and a broad perspective to our board. Hannah’s experience in teaching, leadership and commitment to educational equity will add considerable value to our work. 

Douglas’ experience as Chief Executive of the UK’s independent Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)in ensuring academic standards and high-quality learning opportunities for learners will provide a strong perspective of the needs of higher education. 

Michael’s experience as a head teacher and adviser to the Welsh Government and as a lecturer in leadership for postgraduate study, brings a wealth of knowledge of the new curriculum with a broad view of the Welsh education sector. Graham brings his experience in teaching, developing the national curriculum and of developing online assessment, which is an area we want to understand more in the coming years.”  

They will be taking up their positions on the Board of Qualifications Wales in April and June.