Who We Are

the-learning-crowd was founded by Gareth Long in association with a team of outstanding Senior Associates.  We work on a variety of projects, the success and enjoyment of which have ensured that teams we work with repeatedly ask us to work with them again.

  • We do not believe in trying to mould people to suit projects. We ensure that the most experienced or qualified advisors are selected to suit the needs of each project. This ensures that each team has confidence in its advisor and can focus on achieving the best outcomes.
  • We believe in consistency and fantastic working relationships - the advisor that starts a project remains with it wherever possible.
  • the-learning-crowd and its team of advisors has built its reputation on trust, confidence, relationships, reliability and success.  We are determined to maintain this reputation.  Whilst there is fantastic ambition within the team, we are determined to remain a small group that is known for delivering the highest quality results.
  • We are determined not to take on more than we can handle – we would rather limit the number of projects and ensure the highest level of service.
  • We are all committed to the success of every project – any work we undertake is taken personally and the team will do whatever it takes to ensure a successful solution

The Learning Crowd is:

"Gareth has been focused on supporting the design of new schools from an education perspective for over 14 years, working throughout the UK and also extensively internationally.Having worked in schools for decades, including as Headteacher of four secondary schools, he understands how schools work and how the smallest design change can impact the efficiency / effectiveness of spaces."

Gareth Long

Sharon has particular expertise in school design, including linking pedagogy and space, developing the educational vision and creating effective briefing documents, engaging stakeholders in the design process, and evaluating school buildings Sharon is one of the-learning-crowd’s busiest consultants working throughout the UK and on international projects.

Dr. Sharon Wright

Zenna is a highly regarded education expert with a national and international reputation.
Until September 2010, Zenna was the Chairman of Ofsted, the UK’s children and learners’ inspection and regulation body. In this role she spearheaded a new inspection regime, significant costs savings and the shift to put young people at the heart of inspection and education.

Zenna Hopson

Hannah has extensive experience in the strategic national integration of ICT in learning. She has led several of the UK’s largest leadership programmes at the National College for School Leadership (NCSL), including the highly successful Strategic Leadership of ICT (SLICT) and Building Schools for the Future programmes.

Hannah Jones

Natalie is an experienced senior education consultant who has taught in and led a variety of urban schools over the last twenty years.As a headteacher, she has designed and set up a number of exceptional primary schools through the free schools programme and led the creation of three school buildings from start to finish.

Natalie De Silva

Janet has been a teacher and headteacher for over 25 years in schools in England and Wales. She is a Computer Science graduate and is passionate about harnessing the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Janet Hayward obe

Dawn Larkin is the newest Senior Associate of the-learning-crowd team and is
a professional Early Years consultant with over twenty years’ experience in
education and children’s services..


Fiona is widely regarded for her skills and experience and she bringss considerable higher education experience to the team. Using a combined background in architecture and organisational psychology, Fiona works at the place where users and buildings meet, seeking ways in which the design and use of space can support academic and/or organisational change.


Neil is a dynamic leader of teaching and learning, with 14 years of teaching and leadership experience both in the UK and internationally. Now based in Wales, his passion for education is centred around the philosophy that every child can achieve excellence and this has been at the core of his teaching pedagogy during his career.

Neil Thomas

Mike has extensive experience of Further Education College major capital projects from a building design perspective. He understands the design process from the customer, user, learner, and community focus, working to ensure their voice is heard and acted upon. He has worked closely with main contractors such as BAM (Tresham’s Corby Campus). Specialist, vocational and technical learning spaces are his main area of expertise having been involved in more than twenty eternally funded such projects across all subject sector areas since 2002. Mike is a passionate advocate for fully inclusive and accessible buildings, that maximise the potential for the opportunities presented through integration.

Mike Welsh


All members of The-Learning-Crowd hold up to date DBS enhanced disclosure checks.