Learn About Britain is new organisation devoted to educating young people, new migrants and the wider public about British history, citizenship, culture and values. Building on the success of our flagship British Values Project, which supports schools in their work to explore British values, we are now expanding to work on British history and beginning our education programme for new migrants to the UK, which we launched with a London Coronation Tour coinciding with the coronation.
We were founded by Joe Hayman, the former Chief Executive of the PSHE Association and former Managing Director of the Holocaust Educational Trust. Joe is also the author of two books about Britain - British Voices and British Journey. Find out more about Joe here.
Our Head of History is Ben Fuller, a passionate educator and historian whose career has spanned the state school system, higher education, and at national level working with educational charities, publishers and providers. Find out more about Ben here.
We have a talented and ambitious Board with a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences all committed to ensuring young people, new migrants and the wider public have the best possible opportunity to learn about Britain. You can read more about each of our trustees below.
Alimatu Dimonekene is an award-winning leading Women and Girls Rights Advocate. She is a tireless activist who has dedicated her life to enhancing the reproductive health rights of women and girls especially those affected by harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child/early forced marriage and exploitation. Winner of the Rosie McGrath Activist Award 2018, Alimatu has also been recognised for her dedicated work by winning the African Achievers Award 2017 for her work in raising the voices of African women and girls through empowering the next generation. She also is the founder of A Girl At A Time (SL) leading organization in Sierra Leone engaging, empowering and educating young people around the issues of gender base violence and advocacy. A fellow of the OpEd Project the inaugural 2022 Public Voices Fellowship on Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls. A graduate of Middlesex University London, she was awarded an MBE for services to the prevention of violence against women and girls.
Aneeta was born and raised within the sound of the London’s Bow Bells, while her family originates from Himachal Pradesh, ‘The Land of the Gods.’ She was the first qualified female Black Belt karate instructor in the UK. Aneeta is a Magistrate, chairing adult, family and youth courts. Aneeta is the Founder of Freedom Charity, which works to eradicate abusive practices such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation, virginity testing and hymenoplasty. She is the author of “But It’s Not Fair”, a book for children and young people exploring Forced Marriage and “Cut Flowers”, which explores Female Genital Mutilation. Aneeta suffers from the condition Trigeminal Neuralgia and is the CEO of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association. She was awarded an MBE in New Years Honours 2023 for charitable service.
Haroona Chughtai is Director of Highways and Transportation at Kent County Council. She was previously a Deputy Director at the Department for Transport, focussed on roads, maritime trade and Britain's exit from the EU, having previously worked at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Cabinet Office during a 20-year civil service career. She graduated with First Class Honours from the University of York. She is the mother of two teenage sons and lives in Woodford, East London.
Dr Howard Williamson CVO CBE FRSA FHEA is Professor of European Youth Policy at the University of South Wales. Previously he worked at the Universities of Oxford, Cardiff and Copenhagen and has held visiting positions at universities and research institutes in Hong Kong, Malta, Croatia, China, France, Australia, and Iran.
He is a nationally qualified youth worker and ran a youth centre for 25 years in parallel with his academic research that spanned issues such as youth crime, youth unemployment, vocational training, enterprise and entrepreneurship, substance misuse, homelessness, school curricula and youth work. He conducted the original ‘status zer0’ research that produced political attention to young people not in employment, education or training (‘NEET’) and has followed the lives of a group of men (The Milltown Boys), whom he first encountered when they were young offenders in the early 1970s. His third book about the ‘Boys’ is The Milltown Boys at Sixty (Routledge 2021). His latest book, with Jim Côté, is Advanced Introduction to Youth Studies (Edward Elgar 2022).
He has advised many levels of governance on youth policy issues, from the Welsh and UK governments, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. He co-ordinated the Council of Europe’s international reviews of national youth policy and wrote three volumes on Supporting Young People in Europe. He is a board member of Grassroots – the Cardiff City Centre Youth Project, the Restorative Justice for All International Institute, the European Forum Alpbach Foundation, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People Foundation.
Since 2002, he has been Organisational Secretary of the International Sociological Association Research Committee 34, the global network for the sociology of youth. He was also chair of the European Network of Youth Research Correspondents until 2008. In his spare time, he rides horses and motorbikes, plays the guitar and harmonica, and is a football coach and qualified referee, and Safeguarding Officer for Pontypridd Town Association Football Club.
In 2002, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and, in 2016, a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO). In 2019, he received an Outstanding Contribution to Youth Work award from the First Minister of Wales.
Marcia is a business transformation and capacity building specialist with 25 years' experience of delivering large programmes of change in the public and private sectors. In 2008 she spearheaded delivery of the UK’s first regionally developed programme management approach tailored to local government which was adopted by over two thirds of London local authorities. Prior to this she was Deputy Director at the Department for Communities and Local Government delivering the Thames Gateway Strategy and delivery plan (Western Europe's largest regeneration programme). In 2010 Marcia moved to the private sector and spent 11 years delivering a diverse set of national change and transformation programmes at John Lewis. She then moved back into government as Programme & Project Management (PPM) Lead and then Director of Corporate Services at Salix Finance to build the corporate programme & project management approaches and capacity needed to successfully deliver the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Marcia’s interests include permaculture, sustainable living, singing and piano.
Paul was educated at St Paul's School, London before studying Nazi Germany and the Holocaust at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Paul trained as an accountant and is currently Director of a property development company focussing on residential new build and industrial investments. From the 1980s to the present day, Paul has been a Trustees of the British Friends of the Jaffa Institute, an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of the most deprived citizens of Jaffa across all ethnicities. From the early 1990s, he was involved in forming the War Crimes Committee whose aim was to establish legislation to prosecute Nazi war criminals who had sought refuge in the UK after the Second World War. He became a Trustee of the Holocaust Educational Trust in the mid-1990s and served as Treasurer, Vice Chair and, for 10 years, Chairman. He is now Joint President of the Trust. His interests are golf, modern European history and aviation.
Educated at Dulwich College and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Peter was a journalist for 40 years, split between the Financial Times and The Times, working mainly as a political correspondent and commentator. Towards the end of his time in journalism, he became involved with various charities—first as a council member and then as chair of the Hansard Society which promotes understanding of Parliament and organises mock elections in schools. Since leaving journalism in 2010, he has held various public service roles—as Director of the Institute for Government, a non-partisan charity concerned with improving the workings of government from 2011-16; Commissioner for Public Appointments, an independent office holder responsible for regulating appointments to arms-length bodies made by ministers; and as a Governor of Dulwich College, a south London independent school, for 12 years and board chair from 2015 until 2021.
Pooky has a PhD in child mental health from the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. She is the author of several books and is a former chair of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition. Pooky is a Director at Creative Education Limited and at Pooky Knightsmith Associates. Pooky is autistic; a late diagnosis has helped her to thrive following many years of anorexia, depression and anxiety.
Joe Hayman, the former Chief Executive of the PSHE Association and former Managing Director of the Holocaust Educational Trust. Joe is also the author of two books about Britain - British Voices and British Journey.
Ben started his career in education working with students in Sheffield with Special Educational Needs and those at risk of falling out of education before qualifying as a history teacher and spending over a decade in the classroom in Sheffield and London. Ben is also a specialist in Holocaust Education: he has an MA in Holocaust Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London and for two years worked at the Holocaust Educational Trust developing national programmes for site based and online learning as well as delivering teacher training and consultancy to organisations inside and outside of the mainstream education sector. Ben has additionally worked with educational publishers to produce core textbooks, and taught MA Education students at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, London.