Portal prides itself on offering training by leading educational practitioners from inside and outside the classroom.
Based in South Wales, we work across the United Kingdom delivering wide-ranging Continuous Professional Development training and consultancy. Our work focuses on improving learning environments, curriculum development and bespoke project management.
Our management team and consultants have decades of experience in teaching, youth work, inspection and educational policy.
Gwawr Booth is Managing Director at Portal and has been with us since 2010, joining after spending more than fifteen years teaching in large secondary schools. During her classroom career she held a number of posts including Assistant Head, Head of Department and Key Skills Coordinator.
She is passionate about helping achieve improvement across all types of teaching for learners of all abilities and aims for Portal to provide equal quality of training provision in both English and Welsh.
Nerys Evans is a Strategy Manager for Portal. A former member of the National Assembly for Wales, she has extensive experience in educational policy development. She was spokesperson for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning for Plaid Cymru and was a member of the Assembly's Enterprise and Learning Committee. Since then she has served as an Advisory Education Commissioner for the Welsh Government, overseeing services in Blaenau Gwent.
At Portal Nerys' work is focused on ensuring that our provision is at the forefront of educational policy developments across the UK.
Nerys is also a Director at the Cardiff-based Public Affairs Consultancy Deryn..
Martin Lloyd joined Portal as a Director in 2013 and has over thirty-five years of experience in the education sector. He was Headteacher at the bi-lingual Ysgol y Preseli secondary school from 1991 to 2008. Under his leadership the school was recognised as one of the best in Wales, leading to him becoming a tutor on the course for aspiring headteachers 'the National Professional Qualification for Headship'.
Subsequently, he became Manager of the NPQH Qualification; training, coaching and assessing scores of prospective Primary, Special and Secondary Headteachers.
Previous to his current post, he was Head of School Effectiveness for Pembrokeshire County Council and has overseen significant improvement in the end of Key Stage 4 results and banding positions of the county's secondary schools.
Former Rugby League and Union star Jonathan Davies MBE has joined the Portal team assisting in our work with their innovative new qualification sweet* which is targeted at those young people at risk of becoming disengaged or NEET and help further expand the work of the company to West and North Wales.
“I’m delighted to be working with Portal in the important work in engaging those young people at risk of being disengaged with the education system. They’re a Welsh company and work bilingually, and I’m impressed by their commitment to making a difference to young people’s lives.
Their passion about reducing the number of NEET young people in Wales by making them understand the choices they have also attracted me to the role. I was fortunate to find Sport at a young age to keep me focused, but not all young people are lucky to have the support that I had when I was a teenager. Portal has written a book called Sweet* – Succeeding with Education Employment and Training – to try and address the issues that affect the disengaged. I’m looking forward to working with them on this project too.”
Gino Brancazio joined us as Course Manager in 2012 after training and working as a science teacher in secondary schools in South Yorkshire and South Wales.
He also worked for the Department for Work and Pensions' Performance Team where he won awards for his work improving efficiency and systems in Jobcentre Plus at a national level. Gino became Office Manager for Portal in July 2014.
His main areas of interest are using digital technology in the classroom and STEM learning.
Dr Glenda Jones works with Portal as a Development Manager & Consultant, bringing extensive experience of school standards to her roles having been a lay inspector for Estyn since 2009.
She has previously worked in the field of bilingual training and facilitation for clients in both the public and private sectors including the Welsh Government, Urdd Gobaith Cymru and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
She is also a member of the S4C Authority which oversees the governance of the public service broadcaster.
Dulyn Griffith has thirty seven years of experience in the primary Welsh-medium sector. He was Headteacher of Ysgol Gymraeg Sant Baruc in the Vale of Glamorgan for 21 years before retiring in 2010. Following a short break, he returned as an Acting Headteacher in two Welsh-medium primaries in Caerphilly County.
During his teaching career he was involved in creating a strong Welsh-ethos in the schools to try to ensure that all pupils had the necessary tools to become bilingual for life and be able to gain access to both Welsh-medium and English-medium cultural life. He has also shared this philosophy during training with clusters of schools in other local authorities.
At present he is a member of a Federated Governing Body of a Welsh-medium primary and Welsh-medium secondary in the Vale.
Nicola Thomas is a Manager Assessor at Portal. She has taught in Secondary schools in Wales for the past 20 years. The majority of her teaching career has been as Head of Department or Head of Faculty.
Nicola is passionate about language teaching and learning and has recently worked as a Language Teacher Adviser for CILT Cymru-the National Centre for Languages. She has also been an assistant examiner for the WJEC for the past 15 years.
Terry Williams has over 40 years of experience in education as teacher, headteacher, lecturer and adviser. He started his teaching career in the East End of London before returning to Wales. He was deputy headteacher in Pentyrch in the 80’s and became headteacher of Garth in Maesteg before moving to Litchard in Bridgend. In both headships he oversaw the amalgamation of the infant and junior schools.He spent a period as a lecturer on the Primary PGCE course at UWIC.
He was seconded to Estyn and worked with the Primary, Initial Teacher Training and Local Authority Teams. He is a registered inspector of schools and was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours for services to education in Wales. He continues to work part time as an inspector, education consultant, trainer and assessor.
Jos Andrews is sweet* project manager and also a freelance writer and producer. She was the Series Producer of BBC’s 'Raise Your Game with Colin Jackson'. She was the writer, designer and developer of this TV/Web/radio project, produced in conjunction with the Welsh Government, aimed at inspiring learning through sport. She has worked on a range of television programmes and websites for BBC Wales, BBC, HTV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
Previously, she was Head of English and Head of Access to Humanities at Secondary and FE/HE level. She was also a WJEC examiner in GCSE and A Level English Language and Literature along with her work as Associate Assessor, OHMCI in English and Humanities.
She is also the author of Quick Reads books with Colin Jackson, Jamie Baulch, a number of Welsh Olympic and Paralympic athletes and Jade Jones. She was nominated to be a torchbearer for London 2012 for her work with learning projects and ran with the torch in Newport. She also worked as an Associate Producer at London 2012 on both the Olympics and Paralympics.
Mel Kraay is a Management Assessor at Portal and joined us in February 2014. Originally from the Netherlands and fluent in both English and Dutch. She is a qualified PE teacher and graduated from Brunel University with a degree in BSc Sports Science and Secondary Education. Mel worked at an Education Recruitment company after graduating and specialised in recruiting and vetting secondary teachers for supply work in London from the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Mel then taught at the Bridge Academy in Hackney as a PE teacher before moving to Cardiff in 2011. Here she became the Head of Department at the Military Preparation School where she was an integral part in raising attainment within the 14-16 education programme and implemented and designed the Level 1 and 2 BTEC Public Services curriculum that is delivered within the centre. Mel is passionate about teaching and learning and is very interested in raising the standard of provision in education especially at management level and through social and collaborative learning techniques and research methods.
Elen Davies joined Portal in October 2013 she has over 15 years teaching experience having successfully taught across a broad range of schools and age groups; from inner city to valley.
With substantial MFL teaching experience Elen has worked as a Language Teaching Adviser, complemented by time as a Head of French as well as an Examiner. Elen is a Management Assessor at Portal and is passionate about upskilling middle managers in schools.
Jane Evans has 36 years experience in primary education. She was Headteacher of Kitchener Primary School in Cardiff until August 2013, when she joined Portal. Earlier on in her career she lectured on the Primary PGCE course at Swansea University.
During her headship, she was an elected member of the Steering Group for the Cardiff Primary Headteachers’ Conference, organizing leadership conferences with international speakers to inspire school leaders in Cardiff for many years. She was also an NPQH tutor, where she mentored candidates, offering support and challenge throughout the programme.
From her experience of training and nurturing leaders in her role as a Headteacher, and as a masters graduate in management and administration herself, Jane is passionate about the importance and value of focused development and training, and thoroughly enjoys the engagement in schools with teachers aspiring to senior leadership roles.
Dr Chris Howard OBE has a deep knowledge of the secondary sector and, being married to a primary head who also holds a senior position in the largest heads’ association in Europe, also has a profound understanding of the primary sector.
He is a very experienced public speaker and contributor to current aﬀairs radio and television commentary. Chris received an OBE for services to education in 2012.
Zak King is an Operations Support Assistant and has been a part of the Portal team since late 2013. He joined us on a six week Business Administration placement with ACT and is now a member of the team.
Rob Venus joined Portal in March 2014 from his previous role as the School Improvements Officer for one of the UK’s largest education providers for SEBD, HSB and SEN cared for children. He has previously worked as a teacher specialising in art, business studies and ICT, Head Teacher and Child Safeguarding Officer. Throughout his education career Rob has focussed on hard to reach young people and those that have disengaged with traditional teaching for a variety of emotional, social and cognitive reasons. This has instilled a particular passion to ensure that leadership within schools has, at its core, a true concern for the wellbeing and attainment of all pupils, regardless of background, behaviour or social circumstance.
Rob has held leadership and senior leadership roles in the manufacturing, creative industries and education sectors and feels that there are practices across each which can compliment and support leadership and development within schools.
Cathryn Ings joined Portal training in June 2014 as a Management Assessor following more than 20 years in management roles in the media industry in South Wales.
Cathryn trained as a journalist in Llanelli and has worked for the Western Mail in Cardiff and South Wales Evening Post in Swansea. Cathryn went on to become editor of her hometown newspaper – the Carmarthen Journal in 2008.
In 2012, Cathryn left the newspaper industry to become business manager at a leading third sector organisation which promotes the Welsh language and community development. She has delivered media training to several tourism businesses in Carmarthenshire.
Cathryn is a Welsh-speaker and works with Welsh Medium schools across Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
Samantha Scott is a Manager Assessor at Portal as well as IQA for sweet*. She joined the team in April 2014 after 10 years in teaching.
Samantha held leadership positions since her first year in teaching from Director of KS3 to Curriculum Manager. Over this time she wrote content for an interactive resources company, worked with partnership schools facilitating best practice forums, coaching a number of trainee teacher and NQTs as well as leading a technology department.
Prior to working in education Samantha lived in Manchester working for a national company as marketing product manager.
Samantha is passionate about raising standards in teaching and learning and is keen to work with and develop learners of all abilities.