Education charity appoints former special schools’ chief as CEO

Education charity ASDAN has appointed Melissa Farham as its next chief executive.

For 12 years until 2023 she had chaired the National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools, which lobbies government around special educational needs and disabilities issues.

She takes up her new role at ASDAN this month as it develops a new strategy to develop qualifications and sets out new goals for its learners.

ASDAN provides courses and regulates qualifications to support learners with diverse needs globally. There are 3,500 centres aligned with the Bristol based charity, operating in more than 30 countries.

“Melissa has an evident passion for education, an excitement for all that ASDAN is and will be, and extensive experience as teacher, headteacher and executive leader across a broad range of education communities,” said the charity’s chair Rik Boxer.

“Her values, professional background and wide experience make her the ideal candidate to lead ASDAN into its next phase of development.” 

Farnham, who replaces Jenny Williams who had led the charity since 2016, added: “I have long been a passionate advocate for the role education has as an enabler of equality and social mobility.

“Inspired by ASDAN’s growth and impact on a national and international level, I am honoured to lead this remarkable charity into its next phase of development.

“The role and nature of the education landscape is ever changing; ASDAN is well positioned to help learners fulfil their potential and thrive in the future, regardless of their background.”



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