Turning education and skills policy into practice

The AlphaPlus Directors

John Hamer

John Hamer – Chair of AlphaPlus Consultancy Ltd

John Hamer is a director of AlphaPlus and has been part of the company since its foundation. He has long experience of developing and managing national examinations, and has written and lectured extensively on aspects of assessment – particularly in relation to history education.

At AlphaPlus John has worked on e-portfolios and led the research on the development of the 2010 skills for life survey, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). AlphaPlus subsequently carried out the survey in partnership with the social research company TNS BMRB and Bradford Technology Ltd. He was a member of the team that conducted evaluation studies for the DfE on the impact of changes to GCE A Levels and GCSEs, and of the pilot of the linked pair of GCSEs in mathematics. For the Welsh Government he helped with the design of a means of measuring the impact of provision on the outcomes achieved by young people as part of the Extending Entitlement and Learning Pathways 14–19 programme.

Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith – Vice Chair of AlphaPlus Consultancy Ltd

Jenny has a long history of implementing change and innovation in education, educational research and evaluation. She has worked with schools, and further and higher education organisations as a teacher and researcher. Jenny is experienced in leading complex national evaluation and research projects, using mixed-method methodologies. Her work has included the management of large multi-discipline teams, overseeing all aspects of data collection, analysis and reporting, and stakeholder relationship management e.g. presenting to, or facilitating, subject expert or policy advisory groups. She has led AlphaPlus’ evaluation and consultation work for clients such as DfE, BIS, Ofqual and the Institute of Physics.

Jenny’s work has also included supporting education leaders, managers and teachers to implement and evaluate quality improvement initiatives.  She brings expertise and experience in leading course development and delivery to the team.

Tom Mitchell

Tom Mitchell – Director

Tom has been a Director of AlphaPlus since 2010, and has worked in education and educational technology for the last 20 years. Tom was trained as a software engineer, and obtained a PhD in Machine Vision from Brunel University, where he subsequently worked as a lecturer and research team leader. Tom subsequently ran an e-assessment technology company for 10 years, developing and deploying innovative e-assessment products for customers in the private and public sectors. As a consultant, Tom has been retained by some of the UK’s largest companies, including Unilever, National Power, and British Aerospace (Airbus).

Gavin Reynaud

Gavin Reynaud – Director

Gavin is a professional engineer with a successful track record with both start-up and blue chip companies in the UK and the USA. Gavin worked as an independent e-assessment consultant for a number of years until joining AlphaPlus as a Director in 2006.

He brings to the team strong project management skills developed on contracts for both public and private sector customers, and experience gained asa  process manager in extracting business value from major IT investments through process redesign, system integration, innovation and training.

John Winkley

John Winkley – Director

John is a director of AlphaPlus Consultancy Ltd and an experienced leader of projects in education. He is an experienced business manager with a track record of business growth in UK education and technology businesses. He has specialised in providing world-class services for standards, qualifications and assessment agencies in the UK and overseas through the three companies he has helped to found and build over the last 15 years: BTL Group Ltd (, The Virtual College plc ( and his current business, AlphaPlus ( #

He has led design, development and evaluation work for academic, vocational and professional qualification systems, including English and mathematics for adults, UK and international GCSEs and A Levels, and vocational qualifications in several countries. This includes managing the development and delivery of high-stakes examinations and skills-based assessments. He is currently working on a number of major TVET reform projects. His work for these and other clients includes quantitative and qualitative analysis, marking, moderation and standardisation programmes, assessment setting, and various quality assurance roles. John has a BSc and MEng in Electrical Engineering from the University of Bath. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors. He is also Chairman of an academy trust chain in West Yorkshire.


Gavin Reynaud, Director

0161 238 4928