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Plenary Speakers

Chair: Tanya Arkle

Head of the School Resource Management (SRM) Division

Department for Education

Tanya Arkle, Deputy Director, Schools Resource Management and Non-Executive Director at Diocese of Bristol Academies Trust.

Tanya started her career as a microbiologist before moving to a range of policy roles across government. She has worked in Cabinet Office, assisted UK companies establish export opportunities in China, led the team which designated the South Downs National Park, negotiated UK fish quota in Brussels and delivered Civil Service Reform across a number of Arm’s Length Bodies.

She has worked in the Education and Skills Funding Agency for the last four years. She was responsible for Academy funding in the Southwest and Southeast of England, before moving to lead the School Resource Management Division.

She is a strong advocate for improving diversity across Whitehall. Tanya is also a non-executive director for a Multi Academy Trust in Bristol.

Warwick Sharp

Interim Chief Executive

Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

Before becoming Interim CEO Warwick was Director of AMSD.  Warwick was Principal Private Secretary to three Education Secretaries leading Private Office Directorate at the Department for Education. He has 10 years experience in education policy.

Warwick started his career as a teacher in a secondary school and serves as a governor of an education group.

Jeminatu Alabi-Isama

Education Lead – England

Google for Education

As the Lead for Google for Education in England, Jeminatu supports school Senior Leadership Teams, Multi Academy Trusts and Managed Service providers on implementing a range of Google’s Education solutions across organisations and how best to incorporate sustainable IT strategies, reduce IT complexity and empower teachers. Jeminatu was an active member of the Department for Education’s Covid-19 Industry Coalition which supported deployment of Cloud platforms for remote learning.

Hayley Dunn

Business Leadership Specialist

Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)

Hayley’s background is in accountancy and finance, having worked in the private and public sectors. She is a qualified accountant and has held senior business leadership roles in the maintained and academies sector, most recently as the finance director of a multi-academy trust. She was one of the Institute of School Business Leadership’s (ISBL) CEO Award winners in 2017 and is the author of the School Business Manager’s Handbook.

Stephen Morales

Chief Executive Officer

Institute of School Business Leadership

Stephen has a 20-year career history in operations and finance, working at a senior level in the public and private sectors, both in the UK and abroad.

Stephen presided over the development and implementation of nationally recognised school business leadership professional standards and led the transition from the National Association of School Business Management to the Institute of School Business Leadership.

Stephen works closely with the Department for Education in areas of policy reform, and his commitment to research to aid our self-improving system includes ongoing engagement with international jurisdictions including Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the US.

Alan Parnum

Deputy Director

Department for Education

Minister’s speech

Minister of state at the Department for Education, Robin Walker MP

Robin Walker was appointed Minister of State at the DfE on 16 September 2021.
His previous roles in government include:

• Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office from 13 February 2020 to 16 September 2021
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office from 16 December 2019 to 13 February 2020
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office and the Northern Ireland Office from July to December 2019
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union from July 2016 to July 2019

Robin was elected as the Conservative MP for Worcester in May 2010.

Work Session Speakers

Stephen Blackbeard-Rapley

Area Sales Manager


Stephen Blackbeard-Rapley works closely with a variety of education-based establishments, drawing upon 13 years’ experience in the sector. In the past four years, he has specifically focused on HR and health & safety, supporting a range of staff members to ensure continuity in processes and reportable compliance. Stephen has a BA Honours in Marketing Communication and a GNVQ in Information Technology.

Rachel Cammiss

Service Owner for Get help buying for schools

Department for Education

Rachel Cammiss has a 20-year career history in strategic procurement and supply management at a senior level across the private and public sector.
As the Service Owner for Get help buying for schools, Rachel has used her commercial skillset to lead the development and implementation of the Department for Educations new national buying service for schools.
Rachel is committed to working in a user centred way to deliver a service that will empower every school with the capability to deliver best value from their buying for the benefit of every pupil.

Julie Carson

Director of Education

Woodland Academy Trust (WAT)

Julie has been in a Headship position since 2006, 11 years of which were in a local authority primary school in Salford, in the North West of England. Her work during this time included leading a group of schools on curriculum design, working across different local authorities; chairing the cluster of 7 schools to improve outcomes in their geographical area; and being the Primary Head Teacher representative on the LSCB. Whilst on the LSCB she set up and chaired the schools’ safeguarding sub-group, and was part of the private fostering sub-group. She was also successful with Erasmus bids for her school and staff, being the first primary school in Salford to do so. She led the opening of their children’s centre, working with many other agencies in order to provide the core offer.

Julie was then seconded to the local authority for a day a week for two years, setting up a self-sustaining school improvement system, and supporting in other schools as needed.

She then re-located to the South East of England, starting as Head Teacher at a school in a multi-academy Trust in Bexley. After 12 months in that role she became Executive Head Teacher in the Woodland Academy Trust, and then in 2019 became the Director of Education.

Michelle Charlton

Deputy Head of Financial Management Services

North Yorkshire County Council

Michelle Charlton has worked in School Business Management since 2006 leading the finance and support services in the schools she has worked with. Michelle is passionate about improving outcomes for children through effective resource management and in 2008 successfully demonstrated how effective and shared resources save schools’ money with one of the first clusters of primary schools. She took up a post with North Yorkshire County Council in 2021 to focus on the School Resource Management Adviser programme supporting the ESFA and schools across the country.

Michelle has a degree in School Business Management and has completed the Certificate, Diploma and Advance Diploma in School Business Management; along with the School Business Director Programme. Outside of work, Michelle enjoys swimming, travel and spending time with her family.

Gary Corban

Chief Operations Officer and Chief Finance Officer

Diverse Academies Trust

Gary has overall accountability for business quality and performance, with a key focus on organisation efficiency, agility, sustainability and value for money. He is also the Trust lead for succession planning and knowledge management.

Gary is a business and finance graduate and a qualified HR professional, and has worked in a number of senior roles within education and health sectors. He has over 20 years’ of experience in developing and managing business functions, and is passionate in leading the trust in promoting and fostering organisational culture in line with the Diverse Academies’ values.

Gary is also a trustee on the Institute for School Business Leadership (ISBL) Board.

Helen Dowsett

Budget Management Expert

School Business Services

Helen Dowsett is a former MAT financial controller and now a budget management expert for School Business Services, which provides financial planning and forecasting software for more than 2,200 UK schools.

Kevin Draisey

Head of Procurement, Get help buying for schools

Department for Education

Kevin Draisey is a procurement leader with broad experience in all aspects of strategic procurement, contract management, negotiation, spend management, financial analysis, and procurement best practice.

He was previously the Head of Procurement and Contract Management at North Yorkshire County Council and was the chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Procurement Group alongside being a member of the LGA National Advisory Group for Procurement.

Steve Edmonds

Director of Advice and Guidance

National Governance Association

Steve is the Director of Advice and Guidance at NGA. His role includes the development of high quality guidance for NGA members and supervising the delivery of high quality advice to NGA GOLD members as well as supporting NGA’s work on good governance practice.
Steve also serves as a governor and as a trustee in the West Midlands.

David Fugurally

Department for Education

James Garnett

Director of IT

United Learning

United Learning is a Multi-Academy Trust of over eighty academies and independent schools, with oversight of all the Group’s IT systems as well as educational use of technology to support teaching and learning. James is also the programme lead for the Department for Education’s EdTech Demonstrator programme created to provide DfE funded peer led EdTech support for schools and colleges. He leads United Learning’s Cloud First strategy and developed the Digital Strategy for the Group; his current focus is on the digital divide in education, cyber security and the importance of a coherent digital strategy.

James has been a school governor for many years as well as a Trustee of Sheffield Theatres Trust and the City of Sheffield Theatres Trust.

Lindsay Harris

Department for Education

Luke Holdcroft-Young



Luke is a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Academia, one of the UK’s leading Education focussed IT solutions providers. With over 10 year’s experience, Luke has been involved in many transformational projects and works closely with Education organisations to enhance teaching and learning outcomes with technology.

Passionate about innovative teaching and learning, creativity in the classroom and golf!

Nathan Jeremiah

Managing Director

EPI (Educational improvement through Partnership and Leadership)

Nathan is practicing school business professional and is currently Operations Director at Archway Learning Trust as well as being Director of EPI where he leads the SRMA Accreditation programme for the DfE. Nathan’s broad experience drives continual school improvement with a focus on effective school resource management that benefits young people.

Michael Larsen


Aspire Academy Trust

Michael Larsen is a Senior Managing Director of Harbert Management Corp, a U.S. based, privately-owned investment firm with an office in London. Prior to joining HMC in 2004 Michael held a variety of senior management roles in Europe and the Middle East, including 20 years with Citigroup/Citibank, returning to the UK in 2005. Michael is vice-chair at Aspire Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust comprising a group of 29 primary academies across Cornwall, where he also chairs the finance, audit and remuneration committee. In addition Michael is a member at Gatehouse Green Learning Trust, a multi-academy trust based in Bristol, and for the past four years has been an appointed member of the South-West England advisory board.

Michael is also a Freeman of the City of London and junior warden at World Traders, a London livery company. Originally from Los Angeles, California Michael received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Boston University, is fluent in German and French, is registered with the UK Financial Conduit Authority and holds his FINRA/NASD Series 7 and 63 licences.

Stella Lithgow

Vice-chair and Trustee

Gatehouse Green Learning Trust

James Miller

The Trust Network Co-ordinator and National Director of Estates and Technology

Ormiston Academies Trust

James has a strong technical background, with over 15 years supporting ICT programmes in education and seven years supporting the delivery and scrutiny of ICT capital building programmes for the Department for Education (DfE).

As Programme Director for the Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), James is responsible for leading and delivering the £94m Ormiston Capital Building Programme to rebuild and refurbish eight academy buildings and build one free primary.

James also leads the team responsible for supporting academies with procurement and for delivering the OAT facilities management and building life cycling strategy to develop and maintain a £700m+ estate.

Gavin Monument

Better Financial Reporting programme

Department for Education

Gavin qualified as an accountant at Hartlepool Borough Council where he worked in education finance. He worked for 20 years in local government education finance roles, including a secondment to the DfE from 2012-14 to support the early stages of the national funding formula. After a short spell in the private sector supporting academy conversions, Gavin returned to the DfE to work on removing the qualifications from the DfE accounts arising from the academy sector, and now works on the Better Financial Reporting programme.

Ali Muhammad

Schools FBP

Haringey Council

Katy O’Connor

Risk Protection Arrangement – Future Strategy and Delivery Lead

Department for Education

Katy joined the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) team almost 3 years ago to lead on the extension of the RPA to allow local authority maintained schools to join. Since April 2020, Katy has led on the identification and evaluation of potential additional covers and services to improve the RPA. Most recently Katy delivered a 12-month Cyber Risk pilot and oversaw the successful implementation of Cyber cover to the RPA from 1 April 2022. Now exploring Statutory Engineering Inspections and Motor Vehicle cover for future introduction.

Helen Otter

Deputy Head of Financial Management Services

North Yorkshire County Council

Helen has worked in a number of financial roles both in the private and public sector and has a degree in Financial Services. Helen has worked for North Yorkshire County Council since 2010 moving to the FMS team in 2014. Her role involves leading the team of financial specialists supporting schools and academies across North Yorkshire and the surrounding areas. Helen has been working with the DfE as an accredited School Resource Management Adviser since early 2019.

Outside of work Helen plays tennis, enjoys walking and spending time with her family.

Sarah Ray

ISBL Contract Manager for the DfE School Resource Management Adviser programme

Suleyman Salih

Head of Account Management


Suleyman carries over 14 years of experience in business operations and strategic development within business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) industries, and the public sector. This includes helping organisations identify, evaluate, and develop risks assessments, sales forecasting, budgeting, and marketing materials. He has overseen UK cyber Incident Response (IR) projects for many educational institutions and aided them in bringing operations back online quickly and securely. Suleyman currently Heads the Account Management Department globally at CyberClan, leading the team in advising organisations on how to improve their cyber security posture.

Peter Stopford

Policy Advisor on School Funding

Department for Education

Peter is a policy advisor on school funding in the Department for Education, having previously worked as a Curriculum Leader for Business & Economics in a secondary school in West London. Peter has advised on policy regarding the schools national funding formula and is currently overseeing policy on the department’s support for school business professionals and financial skills across the education sector, including ICFP. Peter oversees ICFP guidance, tools and training, available on gov.uk, and is considering how to further help schools to use ICFP at a strategic level to help to inform decision-making and ultimately pupil outcomes.

Lawrence Tijjani


Happy2Host Education (Google For Education Professional development partner)

Lawrence has been involved in Education for over 16 years, he began as a Computing teacher, progressed to Strategic IT Lead and later Head of Faculty. He introduced and developed a successful Computing curriculum at KS3 through to A-level, co-ordinated the implementation of IT within a new build.

Lawrence left classroom teaching to take up an exciting IT consultancy role supporting schools with the use and development of Google Workspace for Education, e-safety and general Edtech.

Lawrence founded Happy2Host Education and is now supporting Schools and colleges around the UK and Ireland with all digital needs.

Anne Thomas

Head of Serco Education

Peter Tomkins


TSO Education

Dan Tovey

Product Owner for the Schools Financial Benchmarking service

Department for Education

Dan has worked in the DfE, primarily as the Product Owner for the Schools Financial Benchmarking service, since March 2020. Before that he has worked at the Department for International Trade and as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher in South London.

Bridie Tooher

Deputy Director

Department for Education

Leading on digital strategy for education, building on the government’s investment in devices, platforms, training and digital services during the pandemic. Bridie joined the Department in 2014. Prior to working at DfE Bridie was a management consultant working with clients across the public sector.

More speakers here soon…

Speakers, agenda and times may be subject to change