Joanne Rees-Proud

Joanne Rees-Proud

Chair of the Karten Network Trustees

I have worked in the Specialist Further Education sector since 2006 being part of the original staff team when the college opened. I have been Principal at Hedleys College since 2014 and additionally became Head of Service for Hedleys Horizons, our adult social care Lifelong Learning Service, in 2020. As a senior leader within the Percy Hedley Foundation and member of the Executive Team I am passionate about our core values and believe a strong strategic direction is needed to provide the pathway of success to the people and families that we support. Over the years I have developed skills in leading transformational change and have a proven record of successful services and the desire to accept any challenge.

As a practitioner my background is teaching PMLD learners with complex needs and supporting people with behavior that can challenge and this is an area I feel very strongly about. Keen to promote learner voice and prepare all young people for adulthood. For many years I have been an advocate for how advancements in technology can support the development and independence of the people that we support.

In 2018 I joined the Natspec Board as Regional Director for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber. I believe in being outward facing and working closely with colleagues in the sector to benefit everyone that we support.

Rohan Slaughter

Rohan Slaughter

Vice chair of the Karten Network Trustees

Rohan has over 20 years’ experience of supporting technology in the education sector. Rohan has an IT, assistive technology, and education management background, and is a qualified teacher. Rohan joined the University of Dundee as a senior lecturer in Assistive Technology in November 2020. This role was created to support the development and delivery of the MSc in Educational Assistive Technology.

Rohan has worked on organisational strategy, general management and led a number of national-scale assistive technology projects. Rohan has undertaken consultancy work for large general further education colleges, higher education institutions, specialist colleges and schools in the areas of assistive technology, IT and technology and the integration of such with the curriculum.

Between September 2015 and October 2020, Rohan worked for Jisc, the EdTech not-for-profit that provides educational technology services and support to colleges and universities. As a member of the subject specialist consultancy group Rohan provided support to Jisc member organisations on assistive technology, accessibility, and infrastructure systems. Rohan has worked on various policy projects inclusive of supporting the DfE’s EdTech strategy through his membership of the DfE’s AT experts’ group and gave evidence at the House of Lords HE commission for disabled students experience early in 2020.

Between 2000 and 2015 Rohan was employed at Scope’s Beaumont College (a Natspec independent specialist college) as assistant principal and formerly as the head of technology. Rohan was the Karten Network contact at Beaumont College and worked to develop two Karten Centre’s at Beaumont College. Rohan led the development of the integrated ‘technology team’ at Beaumont College which consists of both mainstream IT staff and assistive technologists who work with students and other specialist staff to deploy assistive technology and IT hardware and software solutions.

During Rohan’s time at Beaumont College he led a number of national education sector projects such as the Jisc funded DART (disseminating assistive roles and technology) project. The Dart curriculum has informed the design of the MSc in Educational Assistive Technology that is being developed and delivered at the University of Dundee.
Rohan has worked on organisational strategy, general management and led a number of national scale projects. Rohan was the project manager of the Jisc funded DART2.1 project, which helped to establish the Assistive Technologist role and developed the Dart Curriculum, which has influenced the design on the MSc in Educational Assistive Technology.

In 2014 Rohan completed an MSc by research in computing and communication systems at Lancaster University that focused on how home automation / internet of things technology can be made accessible to disabled people.

Rohan was chair of the Natspec technology strategy group until July 2015 and continues to be a member of this group. Rohan is currently vice chair of the Karten Network Trustees, where he works to support assistive technology use in the network of ~100 Karten Centres. The Karten Trust part funds the Natspec TechAbility assistive technology service, Rohan is part of the TechAbility steering group.

David Finch

David Finch

David is currently Director of International Development and Technology Innovation at the National Star College, an independent residential college for students with physical disabilities and associated learning difficulties in Cheltenham in the United Kingdom. David spent 10 years as an additional Government inspector for Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) and the Adult Learning Inspectorates working in specialist post compulsory education.

David has worked within specialist education in the UK for over 25 years as a teacher, manager and senior director. He is a passionate driver for enabling technology, specialist teacher education and International development.

David has significant experience in working with people who have physical disabilities and additional learning needs, particularly work in sustaining employment, advising on environmental access, advocating rights and responsibilities and promoting equality.

David has developed a range of innovative technology solutions including SITE – A video resource bank for teacher educators learning about specialist teaching, MEMO a smartphone app to support people with early onset dementia, EMBER a task learning system to support learners in work, HandyClix a one handed wheelchair lap belt and ArkHive – an online resource bank of specialist teaching resources. David is currently developing InTime a video assessment program to allow learners to measure their own progress.

David works internationally with organisations supporting the education of people with disabilities across Europe, Kenya, Brazil, China, Lebanon, India and the USA.

Robert Boyce

Robert Boyce

Robert is a qualified computer programmer and worked in private business before joining Share Community in 1998. He first worked as a trainer at Share, teaching Information Communications and Technology (ICT). Now, as well as supporting the Chief Executive in managing Share, Robert is responsible for devising and developing Share's training programme to include both accredited and wellbeing workstreams to support students' vocational skills and interests. Robert is passionate about learning and teaching, with a particular interest in the use of technology as an aid to training.

Max Bianconi

Max Bianconi

Max manages Jewish Care Explore - the Karten Centres run by Jewish Care - and joined the Karten board in July 2019.

He is passionate about the transformational role that technology can play in older and disabled people‘s lives, and is driven by playing his part in ensuring that digital exclusion is a thing of the past.

Max has worked in the health and social care sector since 2001. He has amassed a wealth of experience and understanding of the lives, wants and needs of Jewish Care Explore‘s customers, which enables him and his team to best support them along their learning journeys.

Paul Doyle

Paul Doyle

Paul Doyle has been engaged in the field of Assistive Technology since 1995 in a variety of operational and strategic roles. He is currently engaged as an expert witness for Assistive Technology at Bush & Company.

Paul also provides AT consultancy support, with current clients in the assistive robotics and smart home developer industries. Prior to that he was the Assessment Centre Manager at Hereward College (which played an integral role in the origin and development of the Disabled Students Allowance programme).

Paul has collaborated with academia, industry and government on national and international AT and assisted living programmes.

Past research projects have included 3D printing and design, robotics for independence, App development for individuals with cognitive challenges and projects with objectives as diverse as capturing the user experience of innovations in AT to workforce development projects based on the installation of telehealth and telecare assistive technologies.

Paul is a council member of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA) and is active in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology (APPGAT) where he promotes the need for nationally recognised and accredited education and training and professional recognition of the role of assistive technologist.

David Webster

David Webster

David Webster has a wealth of professional experience in supporting adults with learning difficulties in a number of roles. David has a social work qualification and has supported children and adults in both residential and day service provision. David is motivated by working alongside other professionals in a multidisciplinary capacity to provide a more holistic service and improve outcomes for the individuals concerned. David developed a looked after children advocacy service and helped to create a Children in Care Council, giving children the opportunity to meet on a regular basis with service managers and decision makers. Advocacy remains close to David’s heart and is integral to the services he now leads.

David is currently the Services Development Manager at St Helens CDP, with his team he created Buzz Hub. Despite the challenges of the last few years Buzz Hub has gone from strength-to-strength. David is proud to lead a service where the team strives to allow members to reach their goals, fulfil their potential and to meet their aspirations.

Samantha Haddock

Samantha Haddock

Sam is the current manager of Orchardville Works, a Social Enterprise and Karten Centre based in Belfast, set up to provide training and support to enable adults with learning disability and autism to live, learn and work.

“I have supported adults with learning disability or autism for more than 12 years. I have a passion for developing people to achieve their individual, social and employment goals. I can adapt environments and tasks to suit individual skillsets by providing reasonable adjustments to ensure everyone is given equal opportunities to develop and progress at a pace they are comfortable with.
I have degrees in Creative Multimedia and Technology & Design and use this knowledge to provide various learning techniques for participants attending the Centre.

Since 2014, I have strategically planned and diversified the services of Orchardville Works to suit the changing times and customer demand, providing more purposeful activity for participants and an income for the Charity. By establishing new services such as embroidery and launching an Irish linen scarf brand “Worthy Crafts with a Cause” we were able to provide participants with a wider range of work experience to further develop their skillsets.”

Emma Stewart

Emma Stewart

Emma Stewart has 9 year’s experience of working at Linkage College, a Karten centre located in the North East of England. Linkage is a registered charity which provides a high standard of care, specialist further education and employment services with our core values at the heart of everything we do.

Emma has a personal passion to support people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities to fulfil their aspirations and dreams, increasing the use of assistive technologies to develop independence and employability skills.

Emma is a qualified accountant with a broad base of finance skills, this has given me the experience to support budgets to have the maximum impact to the learners we support. During Emma’s own time, Emma is often found outdoors working closely with a local Scouts group ensure that best quality scouting can be delivered to young people within the group.

Julie Moores​

Julie Moores

I love to dig into problems and solve them with a mixture of technology and pragmatism. I have enjoyed many positions throughout my career in sport, community service and education that have allowed me to solve problems.

My education and career journeys seem all backwards; I did my BSc Hons in Business Strategy and Computer Science before my GCSEs (thank you the Open University) and ended starting to become a teacher well into my 40’s.

In 2015 I started working with young people that struggled with mainstream education, firstly by volunteering to run study support and homework clubs in my local libraries and eventually moving to work as a teacher and pastoral care lead at an alternative provision in the West Midlands.

In 2018 I joined Homefield, where I am currently a Project Manager. whilst the job can be full of systems and processes at the end of the day, my job involves people. The complicated, always changing, every surprising and equally inspiring students and staff that make solving “problems” very rewarding.

As a complete 180 for relaxation, I attempt to be an artist. Self-taught (and it shows!!). I also spend time with the real boss in my life, Fudge, my 11-year-old Sprocker Spaniel.