Digital and technology team

paul_osborne_circle_150px.pngPaul Osborne chief technology officer

Read more about Paul and the rest of the senior leadership team.




Joe Blair – director of product development

Joe joined The Key in 2008 as part of the research team, swiftly progressing to quality assurance manager after 18 months, followed by a further promotion to editorial team leader in 2011. 2013 saw Joe take the role of director of digital and technology. In this role, Joe leads the development of technology across the business, managing and driving the quality of The Key’s information systems, including websites and business systems, ensuring excellent usability and customer experience.

He’s passionate that IT should not be seen as something ‘other worldly’ in the organisation, saying: “I’m keen for all employees to engage with the idea of The Key as a technology company.The Key is a genuinely pioneering company. There is a lot more we can do, and I hope we continue to ‘disrupt’ the schools sector by introducing better, more efficient ways of doing things.”

Joe has had experience in direct education, teaching English as a foreign language in Japan for 18 months after graduating. On returning to the UK, he was keen to find a role that enabled him to continue working within education, taking posts in the International Office at the University of the Arts in London and subsequently joining The Key.

Joe brings a unique mix of art and science to his role – bringing creativity from his BA (Hons) in English Literature from Sheffield University, plus a logical, mathematical mind from maths and computer science qualifications.


Patrick Simkins- junior systems engineer patrick_simkins_circle_150px.png

Patrick previously worked in an administration and facilities role in the public sector. He holds a BA in Business Management.At The Key he is responsible for ensuring the office and IT systems run smoothly.



Rich Lloyd Judd – IT systems manager

Before he joined The Key, Rich worked in both technical and managerial roles at a variety of organisations including Barclays Bank, The National Lottery and most recently, The Royal College of Surgeons, where he built their digital training development and delivery systems. While Rich has only ever been on the receiving end of teaching, he was drawn to The Key with close family members filling SEN learning support, teacher training and chair of governor roles.



Nicola West Jones – head of product research nicola_west_jones_circle_150px.png

Before joining The Key, Nicola worked for Reuters Plc in new business sales, client training and account management for corporate clients. She also led a national programme on behalf of the National College for School Leadership, and previously worked as a consultant for Changing Our World in New York and as a primary school teacher. Nicola has a BA in English and American literature from the University of Warwick.


Jorrit van Hertum- head of UX jorrit_van_hertum_circle_150px.png

Originally from The Netherlands Jorrit has been based in London since 2014, and has also worked in both the U.S and Norway. He previously worked as a senior designer for a large academic publishing house and has also worked as a software developer and as a journalist.

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