Staff profiles

Introducing the LU team:

Mary Devlin,
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Family Learning Specialist

Kelly, B., Devlin, M., Giffin, T. & Smith, J. (2021). Family Learning Online During Lockdown in the UK. Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal.

Experience: Mary has worked in Family Learning, Children’s Services and Early Years training and consultancy for over 15 years. In that time, she established and led a Children’s Centre for 7 years and worked for the National Children’s Bureau as a trainer and consultant, including working on a national rollout of the PEAL – Parents, Early Years and Learning – training, and Making it REAL – Raising Early Achievement in Literacy – project. She is also an artist and enjoys designing creative workshops for parents and children.

Whilst at Learning Unlimited, she has delivered a range of courses and workshops for parents and carers including Best Start for Boys, Best Start for Nursery and the Teaching Assistant training programme.  She also participated in the research project Family Learning Online and co-ordinated the Bags of Fun project, designing activity packs for families who were stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Karen Dudley,
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ESOL specialist, project manager, LU Director

Family Skills toolkit – editor and contributor
Literacy for Active Citizenship for ESOL readers – editor and illustrator
Parents’ Integration through Partnership (PIP) toolkit – editor and contributor
Teaching and Learning English topic based units – editor and contributor
Welcome to the UK materials toolkits – editor and contributor
Skilled to go – consumer education materials – editor and contributor

Experience: Karen has worked in ESOL, adult education and Family Learning for over 25 years as a teacher, trainer, FE manager, project manager, writer, materials developer, researcher, moderator and consultant. She has led  a number of LU projects including INTEGR8 (EU AMIF funded); Family Skills (funded by EEF, Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy); Active Citizenship and English,  Parents’ Integration though Partnership (PIP), Teaching and Learning English and Welcome to the UK (all funded through EU EIF); London Community Foundation funded TULIP and THE projects.  Previous work has included setting up and running a teacher training educational charity in Bangladesh, managing a volunteer teaching and ESOL programme for the African Women’s Welfare Group in London and training for the Refugee Council. Karen has undertaken a wide range of consultancy work for national bodies and government departments such as NIACE, the LDA, the Home Office and DfES. She is an active member of NATECLA (the National Association for Teachers of ESOL and Community Languages) and a member of the ESOL Strategy Steering Group. She is also a trustee for UKBET (the UK Bangladesh Education Trust) an educational charity and NGO in Bangladesh.

Ian Foster,
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LU administrator

Experience: Ian has over 15 years of administrative experience, working with a range of voluntary sector organisations to implement information systems, publicity campaigns, communication strategies and record keeping. He has previously worked on European-funded projects, offering funding advice and writing applications for charities across London, and developing an e-network of over 3,000 organisations. At Learning Unlimited, he works across a number of projects, providing administrative support to team members and partner organisations. He has also developed the website for LU.

Tessa Giffin,
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Family Learning  and Offender Learning specialist

Kelly, B., Devlin, M., Giffin, T. & Smith, J. (2021). Family Learning Online During Lockdown in the UK. Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal.
Co-edited and written Family Learning in Prison – a complete guide

Experience: Tessa has worked in Family Learning and adult education for over 10 years. Previous work has included being the project co-ordinator and trainer for the Best Start for Families prison project. This involved developing and delivering training for parents in prison, prison staff, volunteers and museum staff as well as designing activities for Children and Family Visits. She has been a course trainer for a number of courses aimed at parents and carers. These include Helping My Child With Reading And Writing, Healthy Families, Best Start for Toddlers and the Teaching Assistant training programme.

Graham Griffiths,
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LU Director
Numeracy and Mathematics Education specialist

Teaching adult numeracy: principles and practice. Maidenhead OUP (2013) Co edited with Rachel Stone
Numeracy Works for Life Proceedings of the 16th international conference of Adults Learning Mathematics – A Research Forum London LLU+/ALM (2009) Co-edited with David Kaye
The Teacher Educators Handbook Co edited with John Sutter and Helen Sunderland

Experience:Graham has more than 20 years experience working in the post compulsory education sector as a teacher, teacher trainer and manager. For 12 years he worked for City and Islington College, initially as a teacher of mathematics and numeracy for a range of age groups and then as a Curriculum Manager responsible for adult learners. In 2003, Graham joined LLU+  developing adult numeracy teacher training programmes and supporting the continuing professional development of teachers.

Dr Beth Kelly,
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LU Director
Mathematics and Numeracy specialist


Beth Kelly, Financial literacy and numeracy: exploring the skills and knowledge needed to survive in complex financial systems. Twelfth Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education (CERME12), Feb 2022, Bozen-Bolzano, Italy. ⟨hal-03745529⟩

Kelly, B., Devlin, M., Giffin, T. & Smith, J. (2021). Family Learning Online During Lockdown in the UK. Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal.

Kelly, B., (2019) What motivates adults to learn mathematics through trade unions in the workplace: social factors and personal feelings. Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education. Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands. ⟨hal-02409302⟩

Kees Hoogland, Beth Kelly, Javier Díez-Palomar. Introduction to TWG07 Adult Mathematics Education. Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education, Utrecht University, Feb 2019, Utrecht, Netherlands. ⟨hal-02409248⟩

Kelly, B., (2019) What motivates adults to learn mathematics through trade unions in the workplace: social factors and personal feelings. Eleventh Congress of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education. Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands. ⟨hal-02409302⟩

Kelly, B. (2019) The role of Emotions and Confidence in motivation to learn Mathematics. In Kelly, B., Kaye, D., Griffiths, D., Dalby, D., Stacey, J. (Eds.). (2019). Boundaries and Bridges: Adults learning mathematics in a fractured world. Proceedings of the 25th International Conference of Adults Learning Mathematics: A Research Forum (ALM) (pp.67-69) London, UK: UCL Institute of Education at

Kelly, B. (2018). Motivating adults to learn mathematics in the workplace: A trade union approach. International Journal of Lifelong Education,1-16.

Kelly, B., Moulton, R., Stone, R (2013) Teaching Everyday Maths and Finance through Open Online Learning: Open Online Learning: Some Critical Perspectives in Proceedings of the 20th International Conference of Adults Learning Mathematics. Wales 1-4 July. London: Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM)- an international research forum, pp. 223-235.

Kaye, D., Kelly, B (2013) Financial Literacy Competencies Project: Reflecting on the resources, activities and outcomes in Proceedings of the 20th International Conference of Adults Learning Mathematics. Wales 1-4 July London: Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM)- an international research forum, pp. 211-222.

Experience: Beth has wide-ranging experience in Education, Health and working with the community. She has been a mathematics specialist for over 25 years teaching and assessing adults, teachers, teacher trainers and trainers of teacher trainers from Entry Level to Level 7. She specializes in working in vocational contexts including trade unions, construction, health and financial literacy. She is currently the Chair of ALM, an international research forum for people working with Adults Learning Mathematics.

Judy Kirsh,
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ESOL specialist

Kirsh, J., Akthar, A., Dudley, K., Kelly, B. & McGerty, J. (2013) Welcome to the UK project Year 3 Impact Assessment Research Report.
Kirsh, J. & Dudley, K. (2014) Active Citizenship and English project Year 1 Impact Assessment Report
Teaching and Learning English topic based units – contributor
Welcome to the UK materials toolkits – contributor
Integration for ESOL workshop article (2016) RaPal

Experience: Judy has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of English Language Teaching, as a teacher, teacher-trainer, external examiner, consultant and materials-writer. She was project co-ordinator for the ‘Active Citizenship and English’ project (2013-2015) and the ‘Welcome to the UK’ project (2012-2013), having previously worked at LLU+ on a range of projects and courses including the development of the Citizenship materials for ESOL learners, ESOL subject specialist modules, combined and blended learning ESOL/Literacy DTELLS and the Teaching Basic Literacy to ESOL learners course, to name but a few. Judy led on the development of ESOL CPD modules for the British Council ESOL Nexus project (2011-2014) and she has recently undertaken consultancy work for the Education and Training Foundation and Learning and Work Institute. She is a trustee and former co-chair of NATECLA, the professional association for ESOL practitioners in the UK, and a member of the ESOL Strategy Steering Group.

Julia McGerty,
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LU Director
LU Operations Manager

Experience: Julia has worked in the community and education sectors for over 25 years, firstly as a teacher and then as an adviser and manager. She taught EFL, ESOL and adult literacy for over 12 years in the community, FE and private sectors before moving into project and operations management. She has considerable experience of managing projects of all sizes from small grants to very large national and international programmes funded by a wide range of funders and commissioners. She is an experienced staff and finance manager and project evaluator and also leads on the quality management of Learning Unlimited, which currently holds the ISO:9001 quality mark.

Marie-Josée Ollivierre,
Email Marie-Josee here

Family Learning Specialist and Workforce Development specialist
Internal Verifier

Marie-Josée is a literacy subject specialist with 15 years experience in the field of family learning, delivering a range of courses and developing course materials for embedding literacy into existing family learning provision. She has played a leading role in developing Learning Unlimited’s Parents as Mentors Course to develop adult’s knowledge and skills in literacy and as mentors. She also has considerable experience in Primary School Education, delivering Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools”, at all levels. She is a qualified internal verifier. Marie-Josée is a Southwark School governor at Bessemer Grange Primary School and a Community Governor at Grove Children’s Centre.

Sarah Rees

Family Learning Specialist


Foufou Savitzky,
Email Foufou here

LU Director
Family Learning and Literacy Education Specialist

Bilingual Children – A Guide for Parents
Helping My Child with Reading & Writing with Shan Rees
On the Road – Journeys in Family Learning with Shan Rees and Attilah Malik

Experience: Foufou has 25 years experience of family learning developing new courses, accreditation, materials and teaching as well as being a teacher educator and consultant in family learning, Skills for Life awareness. She has worked in two inner city London boroughs to develop appropriate family learning provision, liaise with a wide range of agencies and providers, develop working partnerships and recruit learners. Foufou has 20 years project management experience including international projects in family learning, bilingualism and offender learning. For the last 15 years she has worked with the offender learning sector in various projects, developing programmes and training teachers. In addition Foufou has 5 years as teacher educator and consultant on Caribbean language issues and Caribbean literature and 6 years of teaching at secondary school level.

Sarah Sheldon,
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ESOL specialist

Experience: Sarah has fifteen years experience working in community-based ESOL. She is currently managing and delivering “Picture This!”, an online ESOL and photography project, and coordinates the Communities Language and Integration (CLIP) project. Sarah has been involved in developing resources and is now delivering training for the “New to ESOL” programme. She also teaches ESOL in a school in Tower Hamlets. Previously, she has contributed to the Integr8 and Family Skills projects, the Council of Europe toolkit for language support for adult refugees and co-ordinated the Parents Integration through Partnership (PIP) project, including developing a toolkit. Her strengths and expertise are in supporting language and literacy development and building confidence using participatory teaching methods to those with low level English and/or literacy. Right now, her particular area of interest is bringing photography and poetry into the classroom and using them to unlock language learning for all levels of both English and literacy.

Linda Smith,
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Language, Literacy and Dyslexia Education specialist

Kelly, B., Devlin, M., Giffin, T. & Smith, J. (2021). Family Learning Online During Lockdown in the UK. Adults Learning Mathematics: An International Journal.
Family Learning in Prisons (co author) 2011

Experience: Linda has worked for over 30 years in Further Education, Adult Education and Higher Education managing, designing and delivering programmes across a range of levels for ESOL, Literacy and Dyslexia. She has wider sector experience through Continuous Professional Development consultancy (LLU+ and LSIS), material development (‘Excellence Gateway’) and curriculum content for Initial Teacher Training for the Lifelong Learning Sector. Previous work has included projects for OLASS, the Prison Service, the Home Office and Family Learning. Linda is currently an External Examiner for Literacy and ESOL Subject Specialist Diploma programmes.

John Sutter,
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Language (ESOL and ELT) and Literacy Education specialist,
LU Director

“Critical Collaboration: an ethnographic narrative account of a newly established cross-specialist team.” (2014) in Collaborative Learning Development Innovative Libraries Press
“A Social Turn in Language Teaching?”  in Innovations in Language Teaching ed Mallows, D. (2012) OU / British Council
The Teacher Educator Handbook: Principles and Practice (2010) Griffiths, G, Sunderland, H and Sutter, JS (eds) LSIS
Two chapters (“Second Language Acquisition and the contexts of UK ESOL practice” and “Planning and assessment; reflection, evaluation and the learning cycle” ) in Teaching Adult ESOL: Principles and Practice (2010) eds Paton, A and Wilkins, M Open University press/NRDC London

Experience: John has worked as an ESOL/literacy specialist in the context of teacher education and national improvement projects since joining  LLU+ at London South Bank University in 2004, and then going on to co-found Learning Unlimited in 2012. He has designed, run and taught on a wide variety of ESOL, Literacy and generic teacher education courses, ranging from initial qualification to MA level, and has also worked in HE enhancement and learning development contexts, where he led a team embedding language and literacies in creative arts subject areas.  John has had a long involvement with many national and regional projects in ESOL and Literacy including:

  • working as researcher, consultant and writer for the new Adult ESOL Core Curriculum
  • working as researcher and writer for the Lifelong Learning UK Professional Standards ESOL and Literacy
  • working as researcher, consultant, and materials writer for the ESOL Citizenship Project and Materials Pack
  • working as researcher, consultant and writer for Lifelong Learning UK CPD Framework for Teacher Educators
  • leading the LSIS ‘Films of principled practice’ project (films of embedded ESOl/Literacy/numeracy)
  • providing mentoring and evaluation for the ETF Joint Practice Development project
  • leading, with Judy Kirsh, on the development and delivery of LU’s nationally acclaimed Teaching Basic Literacy to ESOL Learners courses

Former staff members

David Kaye

Emeritus Numeracy Education and History of Mathematics specialist

Experience: David has had a varied working life over the last fifty years. He worked in adult numeracy since 1986, was an adult numeracy and mathematics teacher trainer since 2003 and also worked in adult numeracy professional development on a range of development projects. He contributed actively to Adults Learning Mathematics (ALM) and to the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM) as well as regular participation in national and international conferences on adult mathematics education research.