Meet the Team - Our Ambassadors
The work of Potential Plus UK Ambassadors is a vital component in raising the profile of children and young adults with high ability, helping to support and nurture them to achieve their potential. They raise awareness – speaking and writing publicly about the needs of children and young people with high learning potential – help to lobby key stakeholders; help to raise money to support our work and write or present workshops for us.
Bobby Seagull is a mathematician, teacher, and Cambridge University Doctorate in Maths Education student. Before moving into education, he was an investment banking trader at Lehman Brothers & Nomura, and he is a qualified Chartered Accountant from PwC. He is a national Library Champion, and an ambassador for the charity National Numeracy.
Bobby is also a presenter for an Open University course on personal finance for young adults, a regular contributor to Radio Four’s Puzzle For Today and a columnist for the Financial Times. He co-founded the social enterprise OxFizz (that supports Sixth Formers university applications) and is a trustee of charity UpRising (leadership development for young people). He is a co-presenter of the podcast Maths Appeal. With his University Challenge friend, he co-wrote The Monkman & Seagull Quiz Book and co-presented a BBC TV series Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain. His latest book The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers has recently published. Outside of maths, he is a long-suffering West ham fan!
Professor Jeff Forshaw
Jeff Forshaw is a particle physicist with a special interest in quantum chromodynamics (QCD). He became Professor Jeff at the age of 36, having achieved a 1st from Oxford in 1989 and a PhD in Theoretical Physics at Manchester in 1992 where he is currently Professor of Particle Physics. He is also a Scientific Associate at CERN. An accomplished presenter, Professor Jeff captivates audiences with his explanations of the beautiful, but often complex, ideas behind the laws of nature to a general audience.
The author of over 100 scientific papers, Professor Jeff has also written several popular science books, including Why Does E=mc2?, The Quantum Universe and Universal: A guide to the cosmos, and Black Holes: The Key to Understanding the Universe the latter two co-written with Brian Cox. He frequently acts as a science consultant to the BBC and is a columnist for The Observer. His television and radio credits include appearances on BBC Breakfast TV, BBC Five Live, Equinox, and Horizon.
Jeff is a recipient of the Maxwell Medal and Prize for his contribution to particle physics, and the Kelvin Prize from the Institute of Physics for his contribution to the public understanding of physics.
Professor Barry Hymer
Barry is Emeritus Professor of Psychology in Education at the University of Cumbria. He is an experienced secondary and primary school teacher and chartered educational psychologist, and the author of ten books and numerous papers and articles in the field of learning and teaching. He has been a national trainer for SAPERE (the Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education), for NACE (the National Association for Able Children in Education), and for Osiris Educational. He is Consultant Editor for the SAGE journal Gifted Education International.
A commitment to evidence-led, non-deterministic and learner-centred approaches to education underpins Barry’s research foci, and his writing, teaching and his in-service presentations, and he eschews quick educational fixes and a focus on teaching in favour of deep learning experiences and a focus on learning. He has particular interests in thinking skills and creativity, intrinsic learning motivation and independent learning, wise learning environments (with Deb Michel he co-founded the Centre for Wise Education in 2010) and in contextual, growth-oriented approaches to gift-creation. His Gifted & Talented Pocketbook has been a bestseller and it presents a learning-focused alternative to traditional approaches to G&T education – a theme that is also in evidence in the Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education, which Barry co-edited with Tom Balchin and Dona Matthews in 2009.
Barry has served on the National Committee of NACE (the National Association for Able Children in Education), and for five years he was the book review editor for the NACE journal Educating Able Children. In 1999 Barry was asked to provide oral and written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry into the education of able children. He has also been an Associate Tutor at Oxford-Brookes University.
Robert Ashton failed his 11+ and slipped through the education system untouched, only realising why when he joined Mensa. For 30 years he worked as a social entrepreneur, challenging commonly held assumptions that so often hold organisations back. Over the years he has built a reputation as someone able to see opportunities others miss.
His successes include setting up what is now a large grant making Trust; raising £12m to build a new complex-needs school and converting a redundant high school campus into a thriving community hub. In 2013 he founded Swarm Training, a social business that uses an enterprise qualification to connect bright young people with attitude with small business owners with aspiration.
In 2019, at the age of 64, Robert went to university for the first time, graduating in December 2020 with a creative writing MA. Already an established author, he is now writing full-time, his latest book Where are the Fellows who Cut the Hay shows how we are slowly rediscovering the sense of community and mutual support that our grandparents took for granted.
Robert and his wife live near the Suffolk coast, in the town where they both grew up. He is both a charity trustee and a Quaker.