Our growing team

Oriel Square puts together the right team for your project.

Photo of bicycles at Radcliffe SquareWhat’s most important to you is your customer; so at Oriel Square that’s where we start. From opportunity to publication, our experienced team will be working for you at every step. Just as we can lead or facilitate strategic discussions, our publishers and editors are there to add breadth and strength to your team’s capacity, giving you and them the space and time you need to achieve more.


From customer insight and strategic understanding we identify opportunity, then research and develop the concept for commissioning. Finally, we take the project through until it’s ready to go to press or for switch-on.

Oriel Square is led by John Deans and Sam Derby. John and Sam have between them four decades of experience in the UK and international schools education markets, with leadership roles in a range of education companies, from digital startups to market leaders.

Photo of Sam Derby
Sam Derby has 20 years of experience in educational publishing as editor, publisher and strategist. As Director of Partnerships at Pearson he led the development and execution of a business strategy to win significant business in the growing Multi-Academy Trust sector of the UK Schools market.

Sam has an active interest in education policy, serving as Chair of Governors at an Oxford primary school, and in the past as Chair of the Primary Maths Panel at the EPC as well as on the Board of the Global Learning Programme, a consortium led by Pearson to deliver a contract for the Department for International Development.

Photo of John Deans
John Deans has almost 20 years of experience in UK and international educational publishing as editor, publisher and author. As Development Director at Boardworks he led the digital team responsible for the company’s highly successful online products, driving growth at home and in the United States.

John keeps in touch with the classroom through volunteering as an English teacher, teaching newly arrived workers in Oxford.


Photo of Sally Bolton
Sally Bolton has more than 10 years’ experience as an editorial project manager and senior editor, in a range of publishing roles at Macmillan, OUP and Oxfam. Sally has worked on numerous complex projects, spanning UK Education, ELT, and international development publishing.

Prior to this she worked as a sub-editor and reporter for the Guardian website, and taught English as a foreign language in Spain.

We are able to bring together great people with the most relevant sector experience and skill set to deliver your project. Here are some of our specialist associates.

Photo of Martin LambMartin Lamb is our theatrical and event production associate. Martin is an experienced writer, producer, director and performer. Highlights of his educational work include the sellout Science Museum Live: The Energy Show and numerous site-responsive works in the heritage sector including productions at the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, English Heritage, Tate Britain and independent museums and sites around the country.

Photo of Rachel ColyerRachel Colyer is our sales associate. A very experienced senior sales professional with more than 22 years in the UK schools market, Rachel has led, developed and executed successful sales growth strategies for a variety of the UK’s leading educational publishers including Heinemann and Pearson.

Schoolzone logoSchoolzone is a specialist provider of market research and marketing services in the UK education sector based just down the road from us in Cheltenham. They have over 80,000 educationalists they can call on for your project, and have been delivering integrated research, evaluation and marketing services to tight budgets and short turnaround times since 1998. See who they’ve worked with here.

Surge Online logoSurge Online is an experienced platform development company, entirely UK-based and headquartered in Oxford. Through their unique 3 Stage Process, which incorporates Controlled Agile and which works in synergy with our process, they are able to take your concept to market in under 6 months, all the while building the best solution to address your users’ pain points, with predictable costs and schedules. Their team consists of innovative and resourceful technical specialists and quality assurance engineers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience, which they are ready to share with you. Each team member contributes their own unique skill to the business helping to build a friendly, productive and professional working environment.

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