Secondary Committee biographies

Published: 4th August 2023

Meet our Secondary Education Committee

Find out more about the HA's committees here 

Helen Snelson (committee chair)

Helen Snelson is the current chair of the Secondary Committee. She is the course leader of the History PGCE at the University of York. Helen taught history in 11-18 schools for over 20 years. In addition to supporting HA work, she also works with colleagues across the continent as part of EuroClio, and she regularly presents and writes things for the history teaching world. 

Sharon Aninakwa

Sharon is an Assistant Headteacher in an inner London school, with thirteen years of school history teaching experience across KS3-5. She is passionate about diverse histories and all things history! She is a course leader on the Subject Leadership Development Course and she was awarded a Historical Association Fellowship in 2022. Sharon has an MA in History Education from the UCL Institute of Education.

Philip Arkinstall

Philip holds a degree and MA in History from the University of East Anglia and is currently Curriculum Leader for History and Politics at an academy in Wiltshire. He has been a history teacher for 18 years and made contributions to the wider profession through a variety of outlets. He began by delivering talks at SHP, the HA and for Keynote and has written articles for Teaching History. Having been an examiner for OCR, AQA, IB and Pearson he has experience across the exam boards, which has used to create blogs and YouTube videos (Tweedteacher) to share resources aiding pupil knowledge and access to exams beyond the classroom. Philip has published both written and online resources to support GCSE courses.

One of the highlights of his career to date, was working on an archaeological dig on the Somme in 2012, which allowed him to deliver talks to the local community about the impact of the First World War. This was followed up in 2018 with the completion of the HA Teacher Fellowship on Art, Conflict and the First World War. As a Fellow of the HA, Philip has pursued a pathway of improving the provision of access to history for his pupils alongside the sharing of ideas and resources at various network opportunities. Philip is a trustee of the HA and member of the Secondary Committee, where he hopes to enable change in history teaching and support those new to the profession.

Will Bailey-Watson

Will trained as a History teacher in 2009 and became a Head of History in 2012. Since 2015, Will has been involved in History Initial Teacher Education in various capacities at the University of Reading. Will has been involved with the Historical Association in many ways: sitting on the Reading Branch HA Committee, writing multiple articles for Teaching History, presenting at and attending many HA Conferences, and both partaking in and leading HA Teaching Fellowships. Over the past decade, Will has made it a mission to empower history teachers to fulfil ambitious curricular objectives. Examples of this can be seen in the history teacher website that Will set up five years ago called ‘meanwhile, elsewhere…’ and continues to edit, and in the Curricularium – a series of talks about history teaching that Will organised during the first lockdown.

Martyn Bajkowski

Martyn has over 10 years experience as a Head of Department across two schools. He is currently working in Blackburn at Pleckgate High School where he has been sinxe 2015. In addition to this role Martyn has been an SLE in history and the curriculum since 2019. Martyn helps to facilitate both the NPQLD and the ECF for Star Academies and the National Institute of Teaching. Martyn is also the Teaching and Learning Lead at his school for ITT and ECF trainees. He has been a member of the HA Secondary committee since 2019.

Katharine Burn 

Katharine Burn is Associate Professor of Education at the University of Oxford, where she is Course Director of the PGCE programme. She also teaches on a range of part-time Masters courses for practising teachers. She is co-editor of the HA’s professional journal Teaching History and a member of the Editorial Board of the History Education Research Journal (HERJ) published by UCL Press. Her research interests focus on history education and on teachers’ professional learning. She co-directs the HA’s regular survey of history teaching in secondary schools and her publications include MasterClass in History Education and The Guided Reader to Teaching and Learning History.

Sally Burnham

Sally is a history teacher in a school in Lincolnshire and also works one day a week at the University of Nottingham on the History PGCE. Sally has been a Head of Department and is now a Lead Practitioner in charge of CPD and ITT/ECTs. Sally has worked with the Historical Association and Schools History Project for many years and has led workshops and webinars on a range of topics from A level teaching to using historical fiction in the classroom to supporting all students to study history at KS3 and GCSE.

Alex Fairlamb

Alex Fairlamb is a Senior Leader in charge of Teaching and Learning and CPD, based in the North East. She is an Specialist Leader in Education and an Evidence Lead in Education. Alex is a proud member of the Historical Association Secondary Committee and the Schools North East Steering Board. Alex is a History teacher and former Lead Practitioner of History and Teaching and Learning, with a strong commitment to ensuring that curriculums are diverse. Her research interests centre on diversity within the curriculum, evidence informed teaching and learning practice within schools, and social justice in education. 

Alex tweets as @lamb_heart_tea

Kath Goudie

Kath has been teaching history for over 20 years as a history teacher, mentor, Head of History and PGCE tutor and continues to do so as part of a Senior Leadership Team in a comprehensive school. She trained teachers on the University of Cambridge History PGCE between 2005-2017 and has extensive experience in supporting history trainees and their mentors to develop their curricular and classroom thinking and practice. She has experience of publishing for SHP through Hodder at KS3 and 4 and contributed to the most recent GCSE specifications with SHP for OCR. As Vice Principal for Quality of Education she has extensive experience of supporting non-specialist senior leaders and subject leaders to develop their own curriculum and be able to articulate that curriculum to others. She continues to take an active role in the history teaching community through contributions to the HA Conferences and as a member of the Secondary Committee.

Gemma Hargraves

Gemma Hargraves is Deputy Headteacher (Safeguarding, Inclusion and Wellbeing) at The Crypt School in Gloucester. She has been a member of the Secondary Committee since 2019 (I think!) and was involved in the Black Tudors teaching resources group since its inception in 2018. Whilst Gemma's role is school is now primarily pastoral, she continues to teach History to several year group and has previously been an A level examiner and Team Leader. She has led CPD on using Art History to make A Level History more accessible for Teach First and at HA Conference. 

Simon Harrison

I have nearly 30 years of classroom experience as a history teacher and have been an active member of the HA throughout this period. I have been a Secondary Committee member since 2006, was Committee Chair from 2010-13 and was made an honorary fellow in 2015. Currently I am a secondary Headteacher in Hampshire.

Although I have many years’ experience teaching and leading history in secondary schools, as well as supporting the development of history teachers, my more recent expertise is in secondary school senior leadership. As a Headteacher of a large mixed comprehensive school I have direct experience of leading a school through many of the changes the Secondary committee has influenced and supported in the recent past. Throughout my time working in school senior leadership teams I have constantly been an advocate for a subject centred approach to staff and curriculum development, and wrote about the importance of this to my own career development in Teaching History 172.

I zealously promote HA a membership to any history teacher who will listen, and passionately believe that engaging with all the HA has to offer is a critical element in the development of exceptional history teachers.

Mike Hill

Mike Hill is Head of History at an academy in Acton, West London. He graduated with an MA in History Education from the UCL Institute of Education and regularly provides CPD for history teachers, both virtually and in person. Mike has written for the HA's professional journal, Teaching History, and established the HA's History Teacher Development Programme, a structured CPD course for classroom teachers. Mike is a textbook author for the upcoming Hodder series, Changing Histories.

Rich Kennett

Rich Kennett is a senior leader working across numerous schools in Bristol. History teaching is his passion. He is a fellow of the HA, writes history textbooks and helps deliver training for history teachers at conferences and universities. He drinks too much coffee, watches too much Star Wars and is obsessed with cats (he has two of his own).

Abdul Mohamud (observer)

Abdul Mohamud is currently a doctoral student on the Empire, Migration and Belonging project. Prior to this he was a classroom history teacher and later Head of Department for thirteen years. Abdul has an interest in a wide range of historical periods and issues but is passionate about the history of migration to Britain, the history of the Black diaspora as well as the role of history in shaping personal identity and belonging. He has conducted educational research in South Africa and the UK, contributing to scholarly volumes. Abdul co-founded Justice to History, authored textbooks, and worked on a range of projects addressing inclusive histories including jointly planning and leading the 2019 Teacher Fellowship on Britain and the transatlantic slave trade. Abdul was co-opted into the Historical Association’s Secondary committee and after a four-year hiatus whilst he was working abroad, rejoined in 2023.

Catherine Priggs

Catherine Priggs has been involved in History education for 15 years. During this time she has led and supported history departments within and outside her school setting as an SLE. She led history SCITT in Bedfordshire, and has worked with various other ITT providers. Since 2014, Catherine has worked as an Assistant Headteacher in two contrasting schools. In her current school, she leads on Teaching and Learning, ITT, and is CPD Lead for Astra Teaching School Hub.

Catherine enjoys being part of the history subject community. She is a member of the Historical Association’s Secondary Committee, has contributed to the journal Teaching History, and authors history textbooks/handbooks and online resources. She regularly presents at conferences and delivers CPD for the Historical Association and Hodder Education, and is a GCSE Examiner and Author.

Catherine has completed multiple deployments as an educational consultant (deployments have included whole-school and history-specific foci).

Gabrielle Reddington

Gabrielle began teaching History in West Yorkshire in 1992. Over the last thirty years she has taught History in primary, secondary, sixth form and special schools, as well as designing and leading teacher training. She has worked as a subject lead for the SSAT, an examiner at GCSE and A Level and been involved in European initiatives linked to History education. From 2011, she was the Specialist Inspector for the Humanities in County Durham, working with all phases and a range of providers to develop History education for all. From September 2023, Gabrielle will take up post as Director of School Improvement in a multi-academy trust.

Hugh Richards

Hugh has been teaching History since 2010 and has been Head of Department at a York 11-18 comprehensive school since 2015. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Historical Association and has co-led the HA Subject Leader Development Programme since 2021. He has presented at national conferences, as well as a range of in-person and online CPD, on a wide range of history pedagogy, curriculum and leadership topics. He has written sections of both textbooks and teaching handbooks. He blogs regularly for One Big History Department, the Secondary Committee’s blog.

Yvonne Roberts-Ablett (observer)

Yvonne Roberts-Ablett is currently seconded to Welsh Government as a Professional Advisor for Curriculum for Wales. Working on curriculum and assessment design, she is a passionate advocate of the Curriculum for Wales reform having been part of the co-construction process to create Curriculum for Wales. She has been a senior leader for the last decade in a large Welsh secondary school, having taught history and politics in multiple schools across England and Wales over the last 20 years. As a EdD student with University of Wales, Trinity St David, her research is focused on developing a theoretical framework for curriculum design within the context of Curriculum for Wales.