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‘It’s about helping people to achieve, making a difference’

Interviewing our new National Education Lead

As progress continues on our DfE funded BASE Project (a fully funded, fully-resourced resource to support Post-16 English and maths students, teachers and leaders), we took some time out to speak to our National Education Lead, Jonny Kay, and find out what makes him tick.

Tell us a little about yourself…

Starting with a tough one! Well, I’m a former English teacher, second in Dept and Head of English in Secondary, and moved to Further Education in 2017 as a Head of English and maths. In 2020, I became Head of Teaching, Learning and Assessment at a large college in the Northeast and I’ve been with The Development Wheel, working on the BASE (Building Academic Self-Efficacy) Project, since January 2023. I love spending time with my family, playing guitar and watching football (when I can!).

What is The BASE Project?

The BASE Project is fully funded by the DfE with the specific goal of supporting FE students, teachers, and leaders to achieve in English and maths. This all starts with The Development Wheel – a web and smartphone-based application which support students and teachers to identify strengths, areas for improvement, progress and next steps, and has a library of resources for teachers (lessons, PPTs, tasks, multimedia content) and students (revision materials, multimedia content). I could talk about it all day to be quite honest, but you’re better going to our fantastic website at and seeing for yourself!

What brought you to The BASE Project?

It was a real range of things: all the people connected to the project are genuinely inspirational. Each one of them, from the CEO to the backroom support teams, has a passion for helping people to achieve (whether it’s young people, adults, or colleagues). That’s infectious and I got excited about working with them quite early on! Outside of the folks I immediately work with, I get to go to and collaborate with colleges all over the country and see the fantastic practice in English and maths up-close. From the Northeast to the South coast, it’s the most exciting time that I can remember in Further Education English and maths.

What has been your highlight in education?

I mean, qualifying as a teacher is pretty hard to beat! High aspirations were not always something that was emphasised when I was at school, so becoming a teacher was massive for me. Without that first step, I wouldn’t have been able to do the vast majority of things I’ve done over the last 10 years (including meeting my wife). Second to that, I wrote a book on best practice in English and maths in 2021 and that sits pretty highly up the list.

What has been your toughest challenge?

Moving to Further Education from Secondary was really challenging – there were lots of similarities, but also lots of element which were very different (and I didn’t know how different it would be!). Managing workload is always a big challenge for me – as a teacher, I always wanted to do as much as I could for my students and that followed when I moved into leadership. Knowing when to step back (to take a break, as well as let others perform) has always been something I’ve had to work hard at.

What are your hopes for the future?

World peace, of course! In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to seeing The Base Project flourish and working with colleges, teachers, leaders, and students across the country in the next year. I think what we’ve developed can have a huge impact on the sector, and I can’t wait for that to happen: it’s an exciting time for us, and for the sector. Delivering training to teachers is a real passion of mine, so I’m excited to be doing lots of that.

Thanks to Jonny for sitting down with us – great to hear from our National Education Lead and we look forward to seeing what comes next from Jonny and the team.

Want more information on The Base Project? Visit or contact Jonny directly at to see the support, resources and huge impact the project and our team can have.

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