Teaching & Support Team

Pauline Riley


Following an early career in fashion design with her own successful label, Pauline’s passion for interior design developed from extensive business interests in property development, using interior design as an effective way of making buildings more attractive.

Having investigated other training opportunities at that time, she set up the Academy to ensure that training was available to all. She has steered the Academy expertly, ensuring that all courses have academic rigour and are recognised internationally whilst remaining relevant to the practical application of modern interior design.

She is adamant that learning should be fun. Her design skills have been applied to a multi-award-winning high-quality apartment complex close to the Academy.

Andrea Bedworth-Cook


Andrea’s professional career began in the creative industries with the study of fashion and accessory design and manufacture, followed by a short time employed in the footwear industry alongside designing and creating leather goods to commission.

Now with many years’ experience in post-compulsory education, having fulfilled a diverse range of technical, teaching and management roles, she has been involved in the development, delivery and quality assurance of a wide range of courses at Further and Higher Education level, and encompassing Adult and Community Learning. Subject areas have included the Arts, Design, Social Science and Engineering.

Andrea is a qualified teacher and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in addition to a variety of creative qualification, she holds a Master of Business Administration Degree (MBA).

Having personally benefited from the availability of alternative non-traditional study, Andrea is an advocate for widening participation in education and is committed to helping students to reach their full potential through access to high-quality, flexible and stimulating courses.

Dr. Anthony Rayworth


President of the International Decorative Art and Design Association and Director of Design Studies at the National Design Academy in Nottingham; Anthony holds a Master of Design Degree from the Royal College of Art, London and has over 30 years experience in interior design, garden design and decorative arts management.

He is a Freeman of the City of London, Educator Member of the British Institute of Interior Design, a Member of the European Academy of Design, an Educator Member of the Society of Garden Designers and an Accredited Lecturer for the Arts Society.

He has taught and been an external advisor at numerous art colleges and universities. He has run a design gallery and participated in many exhibitions throughout Europe. He has extensive experience in course development and has worked with the government as Director of Creative Enterprise at Edinburgh College of Art and later as part of the Lambert Review producing recommendations for a government white paper.

Meet The Tutor Team

Every NDA student has a Personal Tutor to guide them through their qualification. You have unlimited access to your tutor and can contact them by email, telephone, Skype or in-person as often as you wish.
Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm UK Time.

Simone Haley

Senior Tutor

Simone graduated from Birmingham City University with a BA (Hons) and a Masters in Interior Design. She then went on to study at Derby University and gained her Graduate Professional Diploma Teaching in the Life Long Learning Sector. Since then she has worked within Residential and Hospitality interiors and taught interior design within college and adult education.

She also enjoys developing her creative skill set and has completed projects in branding and advertising. Her personal interests in Interior Design include micro-living and multifunctional spaces as well as keeping up to date with the latest designs across the discipline. Simone currently teaches on the BA Degree and Masters in Interior Design.

Alison Grace-Gahan

Senior Tutor

Qualified & experienced in Art/Design, Interior Design and Project management. Involved in a number of architectural and design fields including, residential, commercial, hotel, leisure, medical, aged care, conservation, retail and correctional facilities.

Along with a wealth of experience, Alison has gained International exposure working on projects in Ireland, UK, Europe, Australia & Dubai thus strengthening her understanding of the industry, design trends and developments.

Alison strengths are not only in design but in the sociology of people and how they work, live and learn. Alison is passionate about introducing, nurturing, and encouraging creativity through design projects, design writing and design tutoring.

Sarah-Jane Wilkinson

Senior Tutor

Sarah Jane graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a BA (Hons) Interior Design.
Since gaining her BA (Hons) Sarah Jane has worked within the Retail and Exhibition Design sector, as well as Residential Interior Design and Project Management.  This industry experience has enabled Sarah to combine her passion for Design and Education together by gaining her Professional Diploma in Preparing to teach in the Life Long Sector with Leicester College. In 2012, she gained her Post Graduate Certificate in Education with the University of Staffordshire.  

Sarah Jane has been teaching at the Academy since 2010 on the Diploma and BA Degree courses. She is extremely passionate about enhancing student experiences to ensure that they successfully achieve their qualifications through high quality teaching, learning, and ongoing support.

Amy Payler-Carpenter

Senior Tutor

Amy graduated from NTU with a BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture and Design. Before joining the NDA she was the sole interior designer at a Nottingham practise that specialised in residential and commercial projects. Amy later gained an MA in Art History which has allowed her to combine her passion for interior design with her love of art and heritage. Throughout her time in industry, Amy has developed a strong skill set including CAD, freehand drawing and presentation. Having worked at the Academy since 2013, Amy has become increasingly passionate about the student journey, and is proud to be part of the lives of those starting in the industry.

Karen Butterfield

Senior Tutor

Born in Durham, United Kingdom, Karen’s professional career began in the fashion industry and having spent several years studying creative subjects, she subsequently qualified as a teacher in 1997 to focus on interior design. Following this, she has worked in several UK Colleges teaching interior design, fashion, dressmaking and soft furnishings.

Working in education led her into project management where she has been involved in managing a wide range of public and not for profit education projects for the last 20 years, mainly in the UK but also in Indonesia, Africa and also Dubai.

In Indonesia, she managed the ‘GREAT Britain’ Campaign. Led from No.10/cabinet office, the campaign is a cross-Government initiative to promote the United Kingdom as a world-class destination for trade, investment, education and tourism by harnessing the best that Britain has to offer under a single brand and promoting the United Kingdom’s strengths to the rest of the world.

Being an advocate of lifelong learning she focused her BA (Hons) dissertation on ‘access to education for students with disabilities’  She has since initiated support from ‘Gulf for Good’ a charity in Dubai  to form a partnership to raise money to build a school in a Maasai village in Tanzania. 

Karen is a fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management (MInstLM), holds a BA Hons in Post Compulsory Education  ILM level 5 Diploma in Leadership & Management qualification and in addition to having a variety of creative, fundraising and management qualifications.

Karen’s hobby and passion has always been interior design. She has renovated several properties of her own over the years whilst working as a professional interior designer. After a diverse career, she is glad to be back teaching in the creative industries with the National Design Academy in Dubai and following her passion for interior design.

Sarah Watts


Sarah has come from a retail training background with over 10 years experience in management. During this time she was responsible for training and developing teams with in-depth product knowledge while providing excellent customer service. Sarah completed both the Diploma in Professional Interior Design and the Diploma in Professional Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings. Following her outstanding performance, she became a tutor at the NDA. She graduated from the Foundation Degree in Interior Design in 2010 – with a Distinction – which gives her excellent insight into her role, heading the Diploma in Interior Design course.

Stephen Matthewman-Knowles


Stephen graduated from Teesside University with a BA (Hons) Degree in Interior Architecture and Design, and before joining the NDA, Stephen spent 15 years working in the design industry. His experience covers a number of different design disciplines, but having spent a number of years working for luxury brand Clive Christian, he specialises in high-end residential projects. Stephen continues to work on projects as a freelance consultant, challenging others to achieve results that go beyond expectation.

Throughout his time in the industry, Stephen has gained a proficient knowledge base that includes CAD, Photoshop and both technical and freehand drawing. He has also developed a strong understanding of genres within both historical and contemporary design.

Stephen has always been passionate about design and relishes in sharing his enthusiasm with others. Whatever level of experience someone has with design, Stephen is committed to helping them to improve and facilitating them reaching their full potential.

Andreia Vidas


Andreia graduated with a BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design from Nottingham Trent University after completing a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Previous studies also encompass a Foundation Diploma in Conservation and Restoration of Paintings which widen her interest in art history and heritage design.

Since graduating, Andreia has worked on a variety of projects in the workplace, healthcare and heritage sectors in the UK, working in both architectural and interior design studios in London and Lincoln. Her experience and passion for traditional and contemporary designs prompt her to pass on that knowledge to future designers and help them strive in their studies and grow in the design industry. Andreia is fluent in AutoCAD, Sketchup, Revit, Indesign and Photoshop.

She currently tutors students in both Foundation and BA Degrees in Interior Design, Retail Design and Heritage Design.

Ruth Skrytek


Ruth graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BA (Hons) Degree in Interior Architecture and Design after completing a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. Ruth also has qualifications in Digital Photography, Graphic Design and English Language & Literature. She is also a musician alongside freelance work in graphic design, illustration and visualisation within architecture and interior design. Ruth has expertise in Photoshop, AutoCAD, SketchUp and many other computer programs.

Ruth embraces subjectivity, sustainability and uniqueness in her projects, encouraging her students to explore their own perceptions of good design. As well as exampling an extensive portfolio, Ruth has helped designers and aspiring artists positively change their attitudes toward effective design development by perfecting the technique of hand sketches and drawings before using the computer to finalise designs.

No matter where students are on their journey to becoming an accomplished designer, Ruth aims to make a creative impact on her students during their time with the NDA.

Gill Lotter


Graduating from the English Gardening School (EGS) with Distinction and 3rd prize in 1999, Gill has a solid background in garden design and education. In addition to tutoring the distance learning courses at EGS, she delivered HNC Garden Design and Level 2 Horticulture at Pershore College and Moreton Morrell for a number of years.

In private practice, she has worked on a wide range of projects, from large rural gardens of several acres to small town courtyards. Her passion is for Garden Design Consultation, thereby rendering good design accessible to all.

Dalia Hanno


Dalia graduated from Alexandria University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. Her passion for Design resulted in her involving herself in various Architectural projects as well as being part of the Interior Design team. Projects covered most parts of the Middle East and both residential and commercial sectors for over ten years.

During this time, she developed a great passion for teaching, specializing in the commercial side of the Interior Design process and conducting Design Software workshops. Her other interests include Art painting with both oil and acrylic, which complements her Interior Design work and adds to its creativity.

Molly Johnson


As a BA (Hons) graduate in Interior Architecture & Design from Nottingham Trent University, Molly has since gained valuable, creative experience as an Assistant Designer for a commercial interiors and product design company, as well as working as a Stylist prior to being an Interior Design Tutor with The National Design Academy.

With a personal minimalist design approach and an advocate of “less is more”, Molly is a conceptual and contemporary thinker. She strives to encourage students and future designers to identify their individual design style, ensuring distinctiveness within their work.

Molly currently teaches on both the Diploma and Degree courses and is software proficient in Rhino3D, SketchUp, AutoCAD, and the entirety of the Adobe Creative Suite.

Sarah Yazji


Odette Maine


Odette began as a Visual Merchandiser and Interior Stylist working with one of the UK’S leading retailers. She has a BA in Graphic Design and a Master of Interior Design Degree from Suffolk University, Boston, USA.

Odette worked for several years as a Designer and Project Coordinator for design firms in the UK and USA. Her design experience covers Retail Design, Residential, Hospitality and Workplace Interiors. Odette’s interest includes Universal Design and the design issue of ageing in place.

She has previously taught workshops covering Sketchup, Artlantis and AutoCAD. Odette tutors students on the Masters, BA and Diploma courses.

Claudia Francis


Claudia thoroughly enjoyed undertaking the study of Interior Design with the NDA when she commenced with the Diploma. She progressed through the Foundation, BA and then ultimately graduated with BA (Hons) Interior Design.

Since graduating, Claudia has worked on various residential interior design projects as a freelance Interior Designer and has now joined the NDA as an External Tutor. She understands the expectations of the course and the challenges of studying from a distance and would like to pass on her passion and enthusiasm to offer advice and support to Interior Design students studying at Diploma level.

Janet Bewicke


Janet worked in IT, insurance and retail sectors before following her passion for Interior Design. Janet studied the Diploma in Professional Interior Design and the Foundation Degree and was delighted to achieve a Distinction.

She has experience in coaching and training and works for the NDA on a part-time basis, tutoring students studying for the Diploma in Interior Design. Janet spends the rest of her week working with clients on residential interior design projects. Janet loves visiting trade shows to keep up to date with new trends and inspiration for her clients.

Catherine Gatehouse


Catherine started her early career in Accounting and then switched paths into Museum Education. Following an international relocation, she began studying by distance through the NDA and completed both the Diploma in Professional Interior Design and the Foundation Degree in Interior Design.

Catherine has her own interior design company with a particular interest in residential design, interior styling and home staging. She provides tutoring for Interior Design students at the Diploma level.

Bilquees Nestor


Bilquees graduated from Kingston University with a BA Hons in Interior Design. Bilquees has had experience in retail and pop up Interior Design. She was a part of a small team who were asked by a charity called the Young Foundation to design and fabricate a pop up ‘mobile’ interior for one of their ventures called The “U”- A citizen’s university. The design and finished product were successful in that it featured in Blueprint magazine and won the ‘Best Pavilion’ title at the 2012 Free Range exhibition in London.

She is fluent in Photoshop Indesign and Vectorworks 2d and 3d. She very much enjoys Design in Detail, photography and producing excellent presentations. Bilquees tutors students on the Interior design Diploma course.

Caroline Walsh


Caroline Graduated with a BA honours in Interior Architecture and Design from Nottingham Trent University which combines interior design and Architecture in the repurposing of existing buildings.

Caroline has worked for several companies including architect’s practices as an interior designer. Whilst studying at Nottingham Trent University for her Certificate In Education and working at a local college as a design teacher Caroline set up her own craft textile business which she runs in evenings and weekends.

She has an interest in photography, craft, sustainable design and using contemporary architecture to enhance old buildings. She is fluent in AutoCAD, Sketchup, Photoshop, illustrator and Indesign.

Eleanor Loaring-Adams


Ellie has had a varied career path, gaining first her BMus (Hons) degree in classical music performance, and subsequently a Law degree. She spent much of her early career in Learning and Development before choosing to pursue her passion for Interior Design. She began her Interior Design studies with the NDA Diploma course, before progressing onto the BA (Hons) Interior Design degree programme. She now tutors students on the Interior Design Diploma.  

Ellie owns her own Interior Design Franchise, and has worked on commercial and residential projects around the UK. She is passionate about sustainability, and hopes to attend the New York School of Interior Design to complete her Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Interior Environments. 

An advocate for continuous learning, Ellie is dedicated to helping shape the onward careers of her students.

Marc Hagerty


Marc graduated from De Montfort University in Leicester with a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Interior Architecture and Design. Marc’s experience covers a number of different disciplines including restaurant, office, retail, exhibition and residential design.

Specialising in Multi – Generational design at University, Marc has a strong passion for helping people with varying abilities, impairments and aging to become more equalised by using the strengths of interior design to support their daily activities.

Before setting up his own business 20 years ago, Marc managed a multi-disciplined design studio in the Lace market in Nottingham. Marc now provides tutoring for Interior Design students at the Diploma level.

Michele Thomas


Michele previously worked in a senior managerial position within the retail home interiors industry. During this time she provided training and mentoring to new and existing staff and management for new stores. She loved designing interior room sets, and visual merchandising displays.

Pursuing her passion for interiors, Michele studied with the National Design Academy where she achieved her Diploma in Interior Design followed by her degree to which she achieved a
distinction, after which she was appointed as an Associate Tutor with the National Design Academy.

She has great people and communication skills and a working style that puts people at their ease and creates a simple but effective working environment.

Michele enjoys renovating properties and putting her interior design knowledge to good use. She is thrilled to be helping diploma students achieve their goals and visions in a subject she loves.

Lucy Cullen


Lucy studied foreign languages at Brighton University and then pursued a career in international banking, enjoying a variety of roles including Client Experience Manager where she was responsible for analysing complaints and running customer satisfaction surveys and focus groups.

This role has left Lucy with a strong understanding of customer journeys and a passion for delivering outstanding customer service.

When an opportunity arose for Lucy to leave the corporate world behind she embraced the chance of a complete change and commenced her studies with the NDA, completing the Diploma in Professional Interior Design before moving on to the BA Hons Degree.

Lucy now tutors on the Diploma course and enjoys engaging with the students throughout their studies. Lucy is passionate about reducing waste in the interiors industry & loves to include vintage pieces in her designs, encouraging clients to mix old and new to create their own unique style.

Nicci Aplin