The Backdrop team

‘Putting your consultancy, coaching and mentoring centre stage’

Meet the Team

Knowledgeable, Experienced and very Human

I am really pleased to introduce you to the Backdrop Leadership Group family.

They are a warm, talented and experienced team of:

executive and leadership coaches and mentors

well-being and life style coaches and mentors

educational consultants

school improvement advisors and so much more

As some one who was born in the 7o’s I cannot help but draw upon analogies based on war movies and westerns. I like to think of us like ‘Kelly’s Heros’ and ‘The Magnificent 7’ (the one with Yule Brynner), but also functional, trustworthy and honest.

We at Backdrop work together as a family unit and we invite you to become part of that brethren.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jon Gibson, Director, Coach & Consultant

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Jon Gibson – Lead Consultant & Executive Coach
Jon is an educational consultant, ILM Level 7 executive coach and SEND mentor who has conducted over one hundred reviews in secondary, primary, middle, first and special schools. Jon has worked/led projects in Education Opportunity Areas and their equivalent in Wales.
Sara Alston – Safeguarding & SEN Consutant
Sara is an independent SEND and Safeguarding Consultant and Trainer with over 30 years teaching experience. She works as a multi-agency trainer for Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Board. She is accredited by CEOP and the Safer Recruitment Consortium. She is also a published author of books on SEND and TA deplotment.
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Sue Allingham – EYFS Consultant
Sue is an EYFS consultant with expertise and passion for teaching and learning in the Early Years sector. She started with her classroom experience and Senior Lead role as Early Years Co-Ordinator in the late 1980’s. Moving into research Sue gained an MA followed by a Doctorate, both in Early Years Education from Sheffield University.
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Kate Browning – SEND Consultant
Kate is a well-regarded lead professional in school improvement for SEND. She has over 25 years of experience as a teacher, SENCo, Local Authority School Improvement Officer for SEN and Education Officer for NASEN. She teaches the NASENCo course and facilitates SENCo Networks across the Midlands. She also lecturers on SEND for Warwick, Northampton and Derby Universities.
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Myles Pilling – Assistive Technology Consultant
Myles has been a special schools teacher for over 30 years. He was Wiltshire’s ICT SEN Advisor for 10 years where he ran a loan bank of ICT equipment to support individual pupils with special needs in mainstream schools. He is a well-known speaker both in Wiltshire and Nationally. Myles is a part-time, external lecturer to Bath Spa University inputting expert ICT information within their BA and MA Dyslexia courses.
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Michael Purchase – Leadership Consultant
Michael is a former special head teacher of 19 years with a number of successful chnage projects. He is a successful school improvement partner, coach and mentor. He is also a teacher trainer with a well-regarded university. He specialises in SEND and inclusion, working with single schools and multi-school projects (local authorities and MATs).
Yola Jacobsen – FE SEND Consultant
Yola’s career started as a practitioner and manager of provision for people with learning disabilities returning to the community from long-stays in hospitals. Her work for national education organisations focussed on SEND reforms policy and project management covering supported employment, apprenticeships, person-centred working, and transition to college for young people with autism. Yola is the manager of Natspec’s specialist CPD service.
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Andrew Steward – Executive Coach & Leadership Consultant
Andrew has a masters in education and a considerable depth & range of experience in leadership (up to Headteacher level). His experience includes strategic planning at school, MAT and system level, and complaints investigation. In addition, his has expertise in curriculum, safeguarding and vulnerable children work. He is on the ILM L7 executive & leadership coaching award and is a qualified mediator. Not forgetting that he is also a C-Me colour profiling facilitator.
Catherine Pearce – Executive and Well Being Coach
Catherine is a highly-skilled ICF-accredited coach (ACC). She has extensive business experience with a natural empathy and positivity which provides practical support for executives and any other established and emerging leaders. She particularly benefits those in times of transition and challenge, focusing on growth and new possibilities. Helping organisations to create inclusive cultures, where individuals can thrive, she works with leaders to improves wellbeing and performance.

How Would You Like To Work With Us?

Classroom of young adults
Education Consultancy
I want to know more about your consultancy, coaching, mentoring or supervision services for education professionals.
Education Consultancy
Leadership coaching or mentoring
I am looking for leadership coaching or mentoring and would like to know more about your offer.
Leadership Coaching
Wellbeing support
I am looking for wellbeing or personal coaching or mentoring and would like to know more about your offer.
Wellbeing and Personal Coaching

Get In Touch

Have Some Questions?

Almost everyone can benefit from coaching or mentoring.

If you are ready to set yourself professional or personal goals, want to make a positive difference in your life (at work or at home) then the coaching and mentoring team can help you.

The short answer is yes.

The Backdrop team have a wide range of experience in mainstream, independent and special schools and have supported hundreds of settings.

Whatever your issue, we will introduce you to the right person for your needs. Contact us for an initial chat

Contacting us is one click away.


As you’d expect, the exact cost depends upon the service you need, but we will endeavour to work to your budget.

Please contact us and we will discuss your needs and give you a great cost effective quote.


'Easy to talk to but equally we feel challenged which is a good thing! The strategic plan has given us a clear structure'
- Principal - SEN Setting
'An excellent process. Challenging but very supportive. Lots of new ideas, even when we are doing very well, we could do better. Areas to improve made clear. Professional dialogue and deep questioning. Thorough understanding of my two tiny schools and our unique processes gained over the day. A good experience.'
- Executive Headteacher, First School
'[Backdrop] was understanding of the context of the schools and challenges we face. The process was solution focused, non judgmental and passionate about showing our strengths and looking for areas to improve. The whole day allowed me and colleagues to spend time focusing on attendance. I feel a lot more ready to discuss our data and strategy moving forward.'
- Headteacher, Primary
'Content of the workshop was good and everyone was involved and made contributions. It was a relaxed environment and the facilitator put us at ease in order to be able to share openly."'
- Headteacher, Primary
'Excellent analytical support from an engaging and incisive consultant. We have already improved the accountability of HR in the workplace as a result, so that we can be sure targeted funding is used to raise student outcomes.'
- Secondary SENCO