Our Staff

Ashley Hodges, Chief Executive

Ashley joined AccessEd in 2019 as Chief Executive. Before this, she helped found, scale and lead the UK charity Speakers for Schools with journalist Robert Peston as CEO, creating national school programmes and leadership networks that level the playing field for young people who need it the most. Her background in cross-sector education investment, communications and social mobility interventions has seen her hold positions with not-for-profits and tech companies. She was also a staff member for the 2008 Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. She advises charities and organisations on their youth outreach programmes and is a Fellow of the RSA, a governor of Welbourne Primary School in Tottenham, and a Trustee of Elizabeth House in Finsbury Park London.


Katie Booth, Director of Programmes

Katie joined AccessEd in 2020 as Director of Programmes. Previously, Katie worked as Head of Strategy and Planning at The Challenge, a UK based social integration and social mobility organisation. Before that, she worked as an English teacher in Colombia, as well as having former teaching experience abroad India and China. Katie started her career as a management consultant where she specialised in International Development, working on global Department for International Development and Foreign Office programmes specialising in education and climate change. Katie is a school governor at Kingsley Academy, Hounslow.


Polina Reichert, Project Assistant

Polina is a PhD researcher at Queen Mary University of London and has joined AccessEd in the summer of 2020. In her PhD research, Polina is studying metabolic proteins that form aggregates in ageing cells in hopes to better understand how older cells make energy. Having worked as a tutor for the past eight years and participated in a mentoring initiative with local schools during her undergraduate years, she appreciates the importance of increasing access to education. In her role at AccessEd Polina supports curriculum development, project administration and programme support for Scholars Ireland.


Dr Richard Branch, Curriculum Advisor

Richard joined AccessEd in 2018 as Curriculum Manager and as of 2020 now advises the charity on curriculum programming for maximum student subject impact. Before joining the organisation he was a physics teacher on the Researchers in Schools programme at Lampton School in west London, where he continues teaching three days a week. Prior to training on the programme, he was a postdoctoral research fellow in biophysics at Harvard University.


Dr Goitseone Lucy Hopkins, Botswana Scholars Founder

Lucy completed her PhD at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, after completing her BSc, MSc and PGC-THE in the UK. She also studied at the University of Botswana where she won a scholarship to study abroad. She was an Associate tutor at Cardiff Metropolitan University. In 2016, Lucy became one of The Brilliant Club’s first PhD tutors to work in Wales. She has led Botswana Scholars since 2018.


Dr Chi Chi Huang, Hong Kong Scholars Founder

Chi Chi joined Hong Kong Scholars in 2018 as Programme Manager now undertaking a research fellowship at the University of Strathclyde. She led on the delivery and growth of a new university access programme in Hong Kong. Chi Chi completed her BA at the University of Sydney, her MPhil at the University of Cambridge and her PhD in History at the University of Hong Kong. She has led Hong Kong Scholars since 2017 and now advises their delivery team. 


Our Board of Trustees

Simon Coyle, Co-Founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees

Simon is a co-founder of AccessEd and led the organisation through its start-up growth phase as Executive Chair.  As well as his current role of Chair at AccessEd, he is also a trustee of The Elephant Group, a university access charity that fosters collaboration between schools, universities and third sector partners. Simon began his career as classroom teacher in an inner-city school through the Teach First programme. He left teaching in 2010 to co-found The Brilliant Club, an education charity that mobilises the PhD community to engage with state schools. In his seven years as a co-leader, Simon helped to establish The Brilliant Club as a highly regarded national charity with externally validated impact on student outcomes. As well as heading up the charity's strategy, programmes, governance, fundraising and evaluation, he also led on a £13m DfE contract to create a new teacher training route for PhD graduates.


Dr Rajbir Hazelwood, Co-Founder and Board Member

Rajbir completed her PhD on decolonization at Washington University in St. Louis and was Assistant Professor of Modern British History at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. After 10 years in academia, Rajbir joined The Brilliant Club as Regional Manager in 2015. She then joined AccessEd as a co-founder in 2016. Rajbir is currently Head of Student Outcomes in the Social Mobility and Student Success division at King’s College London. In her role Rajbir develops and delivers a whole-institution strategy to improve outcomes for underrepresented groups.


Anna Machin, Board Member

Anna is a chartered secretary and for the past six years worked as Deputy Company Secretary & Governance Manager at international education charity Ark. Anna now delivers advisory support to a range of charities and academy trusts and performs the role of governance professional for several public sector organisations. Anna is Co-Founder of Trust Governance Professionals, a training and development programme for academy governance professionals, and a Governor of Ark Globe Academy in Elephant and Castle. Anna is passionate about education as a means of enhancing young peoples’ life prospects.


Dr Chris Wilson, Board Advisor

Chris was most recently the CEO of The Brilliant Club in the UK. During his time at The Brilliant Club, Chris has been a PhD tutor, rolled out the charity’s provision across the UK, co-founded the teacher training programme Researchers in Schools, and launched the charity’s five-year strategy, The Path to Outcomes. Chris trained as a medieval historian at the universities of Cambridge and Exeter. He sits on the AccessEd Board in an advisory capacity.