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Meet the Team

Leadership Team

Kieran McCarthy, Director

Kieran has been Director of Brighter Futures since the organisation was founded in 2012. Kieran has worked in education for 35 years as a primary and secondary teacher, SENCo and Deputy Head. He has 12 years experience as a Head Teacher, including headship of therapeutic residential school, head of a special school and head of county pupil referral and outreach services.

Kieran is a Thrive Lead trainer and Mindfulness teacher. Kieran’s specialist interests include children and adult emotional well-being, neuroscience and learning, mindfulness, the Thrive Approach, creativity and innovation to support vulnerable children and families. Kieran’s qualifications include Masters in Inclusive Education and SEND, PGCE, NPQH and Post grad diplomas in Mindfulness, Counselling, Therapeutic Child Care.

Kieran McCarthy,  Director image

Ruth Fergusson, Senior Educational Psychologist

Ruth is a Chartered Educational and Child Psychologist. She worked in a Local Authority setting for twelve years before moving to lead the team of Educational Psychologists at Brighter Futures. She is also the lead practitioner of the Nurture Outreach Service in B&NES which supports children with complex early life experiences to transition into and maintain their placements in mainstream schools. Her area of special interest is in the effect of children’s early relationship experiences on their education progress.

Ruth is currently undertaking a doctorate at UCL looking at effective ways to support staff in schools who work intensively with children who have experienced developmental trauma.

Ruth Fergusson, Senior Educational Psychologist image

Fred Lacey, Paediatric Psychotherapist

Fred is a Child Psychotherapist, clinical supervisor and education consultant.

Fred started his career as a primary teacher then Deputy Head of a Primary school. Fred then retrained as a play therapist and psychotherapist as well as a clinical supervisor. His work now includes specialist practitioner Nurture Outreach Team, clinical supervisory work for school staff, therapists and trainee therapists, and psychotherapy work predominately with Fostered and adopted families. Fred is a Thrive Practitioner.

Qualifications – BEd Hons, MA, Cert&Dip in practice-based play therapy, Clinical Supervision, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy practitioner. Areas of professional interest: working with children who have experienced early trauma and unified approaches with parents and professionals.

Fred Lacey, Paediatric Psychotherapist image

Dr Sue Wise, Specialist Practitioner

Sue is a Specialist Practitioner/Consultant and joined Brighter Futures in 2013.

Sue’s specific expertise is in the education of children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, removing barriers to their learning and supporting inclusive practices in schools. Sue has 35 years of wide ranging experience in a variety of settings, including leadership, management and teaching in mainstream, special and alternative settings, university lecturing and training/consultancy. Sue is an Associate Consultant with the Institute of Public Care (Oxford Brookes University) working on a range of children’s services projects.

Publications: Sue’s book ‘Listen to Me’, capturing pupil’s perceptions, was shortlisted for an award by the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) and the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Dr Sue Wise, Specialist Practitioner image

Ed Harker

Ed is a Senior Consultant specialising in School leadership, Inclusion, Early Years Education, and Creativity in Education. Recent significant experience as Headteacher of an Infant School (for 12 years). Chair of BANES Schools Forum 2015-19.

Qualifications: BA Hons, PGCE Primary and Early Years. NPQH, Thrive Practitioner.

Educational Psychology Team

Sonia Mainstone-Cotton

Sharon Cooke

Andy Hattersley

Nicky Spencer-Hutchings


Kate Parmar

Juliette Marsh

Katie Harris