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Education & Young People

Dame Julia has a long-standing reputation for developing cross-sector partnerships to improve the quality of leadership and teaching in schools and inspire young people to achieve active, fulfilling lives.

Julia co-produced an independent report in July 2013 to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, setting out a vision for government, business and the voluntary and education sectors to work together in support of young people between the ages of 10 and 20 enaging in social action. The resulting organisation called Step Up To Serve which Julia co-founded and served as trustee from 2013-2020, launched and coordinated the #iwill campaign. It supported cross-sector organisations to collaborate with one another and work in partnership with young people to embed youth social action action across their work. A good example of this is the #iwill Fund, a collaboration of over 26 funders, led by the National Lottery Community Fund, dedicated to encouraging more practical action by young people in the service of others.

During this period Julia served on the board of the National Citizen Service, and was a founding Board member of the Youth Futures Foundation. Julia now chairs the #iwill Partnership Board bringing together young people and initiatives looking to build youth leadership across society and reaching and supporting young people from low income and global majority backgrounds to take part in social action activities.

As Chair of Teach First (now Vice Patron), Julia pioneered efforts to address educational disadvantage by transforming exceptional graduates into effective, inspirational teachers in low-income communities across the UK. She also served on the board of Teach for All, the international partnership that seeks to spread the experience and mission to other social entrepreneurs across the world and now chairs the UK board of Teach for All.

Julia’s education work is rooted in her early career at the Industrial Society, where she pioneered leadership programmes for deputy heads. She joined Business in the Community in 1988 to develop 'Compacts', the early education-business partnerships. Since then she has energetically campaigned for greater engagement from business in raising the aspiration and achievement of young people.

Julia led the Business Workstream of the National Council for Education Excellence commissioned by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in 2008 and developed recommendations for business to help raise achievement levels in schools and colleges.

She now sits on the BITC Education Leadership Team and is Vice Chair of the Fair Education Alliance. She is also a trustee of the Careers and Enterprise Company, was trustee of the Youth Futures Foundation from 2018 - 2022, and chaired the National Literacy Trust from 2013 until 2022. She is an Advisory Council member for the Foundation for Education Development.

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