Our team

The Planning Team

Our planning team has the role of backbone organisation, this is a separate organisation which is dedicated to coordinating the collaborators involved in the initiative. Supporting this infrastructure is essential to ensuring impact and momentum throughout the approach.

Carol Tannahill

carolCarol is the Director of the GCPH, having been involved in establishing the organisation and leading its development since 2004. The GCPH is focused on supporting processes of change to reduce inequalities in health, through generating evidence and fresh insights into effective practice.  Carol has contributed to many international, national and local public health policy and strategy developments and is one of the senior leads for Children’s Neighbourhoods in Scotland.

Chris Chapman

Professor Chris Chapman is a Co-director of What Works Scotland, Director of Policy Scotland (from September 2017) and holds the Chair of Education and Public Policy and Practice at the University of Glasgow, based at the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change. Chris is also a member of the Scottish Government’s International Council of Education Advisers, Senior Academic Adviser to the Scottish Attainment Challenge and a member of the UK Department for Education advisory group for the Evaluation of Early Education in England. Chris is one of the leads for Children’s Neighbourhoods in Scotland.

Nick Watson


Nick Watson is the Chair of Disability Research at the University of Glasgow and is a co-director of What Works Scotland.  He is also director of the Centre for Disability Research based in the School of Social and Political Sciences.  Nick has written extensively on disability and public policy reform and has contributed to a large number of national and international advisory groups and strategic initiatives.  Nick is one of the leads for Children’s Neighbourhoods in Scotland.

Kevin Lowden

Image result for chris chapman glasgow

Kevin Lowden is a Senior Researcher in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC) and a member of the What Works Scotland team at the University of Glasgow. He has a background in sociology and education. He is also the Scottish Work Package leader for the Horizon 2020 YOUNG_ADULLLT project. Kevin has over 30 years experience leading and conducting major national and international education research and evaluation projects for Government, charitable organisations and research councils. Key themes in his research include: collaborative working and enquiry to drive educational and social change, assessing the impact of innovative education programmes and professional learning and development. His recent research has included providing evaluation and support for the Schools Improvement Partnership Programme (SIPP) and national evaluations of STEM CLPL programmes. Kevin is also involved in research and development activity conducted by the Robert Owen Centre regarding promoting teachers’ Collaborative Action Research (CAR) and partnership working to tackle educational inequity.

Jennifer McLean


Dr Jennifer McLean is a Public Health Programme Manager at the Glasgow Centre Population Health. Jennifer is supporting the development, delivery, co-ordination and introduction of Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland and also contributes to the research and evaluation function of the initiative. With a focus on improving health and wellbeing and tackling health inequalities, Jennifer also supports the translation and synthesis of research findings and local learning into actions for local decision-making and for policies and practice at local and national level.

Nancy Clunie

nancy cropNancy Clunie is Head Teacher of Dalmarnock Primary and has taken up the role of Local Co-ordinator for Children’s Neighbourhoods. During her time in Dalmarnock she has seen the area change beyond recognition and the school double in size to over 400 children. She has succeeded in turning the primary school in to a community hub where parents and children feel they are able to come for help and support. Nancy is a trusted member of our community and we are extremely pleased to have her as part of the team.

Lizzie Leman

lizzie cropLizzie is the Knowledge Exchange and Research Fellow for Children’s Neighbourhoods and works alongside Nancy in leading the project on the ground. Much of her work involves supporting and developing the conditions needed for a collective impact initiative to be successful. Lizzie will be managing relationships with partners, facilitating learning and guiding the strategy.

Research and Evaluation Team

The research and evaluation team has the critical role of supporting the planning team and our partners with research. They will be leading on the process evaluation, monitoring community outcomes and synthesizing evidence useful for action planning.

There is some overlap, with Lizzie, Kevin and Jennifer from the planning team also sitting on the research and evaluation team alongside:

Sarah Ward


Sarah Ward is Research Associate with Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland. Recent research has focused on the evaluation of assets approaches, and using the Capabilities Approach in community settings. She is a Community Development practitioner and member of CLD, and has worked in a range of roles and neighbourhoods across Glasgow over the past twenty years, including youth work, schools collaboration, parent and family support, and the development of Whiteinch Community Centre, a locally-owned community asset.

Maureen McBride


Maureen is working as a Research Associate for the Children’s Neighbourhoods. Maureen has conducted research for What Works Scotland, focused on a project exploring community responses to prejudice and hate crime. She is now working on a project to explore the educational needs and experiences of refugee children in Scotland. Maureen’s PhD research intended to develop more theoretically-informed approach to the study of sectarianism in Scotland than the current mainstream scholarship offers. She explores how people make sense of new hierarchies of belonging and exclusion that have emerged in contemporary society, and aims to develop a critical framework which places power and inequality at the centre of analysis. Her publications include a report for the Scottish Government entitled What works to reduce prejudice and discrimination? A review of the evidence, (2015) and she is co-editor of a book entitled No Problem Here: understanding racism in Scotland, which is due to be published in November 2017.

We also have three PhD students with us:

Taylor Sawyer

Taylor Sawyer is an Urban Studies PhD researcher at University of Glasgow. Her dissertation asks questions about place, co-production of place, and young people’s development. She is especially interested in the use of temporary / pop-up urbanism as an educational tool. Taylor is on the research team of CNS to both learn from and support their work. In addition to her research, she is the co-founder of SAMMEN Project, a start up making tools to improve foreign language education in schools.

Craig Orr

Craig has worked in the Early Learning and Childcare sector for over 12 years. He recently graduated from the University of Glasgow with a M.Ed in Childhood Practice. His interests led him to the Children’s Neighbourhood Scotland, where he hopes to investigate the ways in which leadership manifests, develops and is distributed throughout the network in order to best promote children’s educational outcomes. Through exploring the relationships and communication strategies within the collaborative network, it is hoped that considerations on multi-agency partnerships will develop to reflect the ways in which multi-agency leadership can more fully support educational outcomes.

Amanda Ptolomey

Amanda’s research aims to facilitate the co-production of new knowledge about transitions from primary to secondary school from the perspectives of children and young people. In addition to generating new knowledge, the research aims to demonstrate ways to employ participatory approaches to support the improvement of outcomes in practice. As part of the research process, children and young people will generate and consider practical recommendations for change. Amanda joins the project with a background in researching, creating, and leading innovative community development projects, locally, nationally, and internationally. Experience facilitating community development initiatives using assets based approaches and participatory action research has led to a commitment to stimulating the production of new knowledge from seldom heard perspectives. Following the completion of a MSc in Citizenship and Human Rights (with Distinction) at Glasgow Caledonian University, Amanda is based within the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research, University of Glasgow.