Plenary Speakers

Chair: Tanya Arkle

Head of the School Resource Management (SRM) Division


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

Tanya started her civil service career as a microbiologist before moving to a range of policy roles across government. She has worked in the Education and Skills Funding Agency since 2016. She was responsible for Academy funding in the South West and South East of England, before moving to lead the newly established School Resource Management Division. Tanya is a strong advocate for improving diversity across Whitehall and also a non-executive director for a Multi Academy Trust in the South West.

Baroness Barran MBE

Minister for the School System and Student Finance

Baroness Barran MBE was re-appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education on 27 October 2022.

The minister’s responsibilities include:
– regulatory review and overall approach to academisation,
– intervention in underperforming schools and school improvement
– academies and multi-academy trusts
– school governance
– Education Investment Areas
– free, faith and independent schools
– school capital investment (including pupil place planning)
– school efficiency and commercial policy
– departmental data strategy
– student finance (including the Student Loans Company)
– safeguarding in schools and post-16 settings
– counter extremism in schools and post-16 settings
– home education and supplementary schools
– departmental efficiency and commercial policy

Claire Burton

Regional Director London

Department for Education

Claire Burton is the Regional Director for the London Region, providing integrated delivery for schools and local authorities, including children’s social care and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Prior to this she was the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South East and South London from August 2019. Before her appointment, Claire was Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Standards and Testing Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Education responsible for the development and delivery of national curriculum tests for primary schools.

Earlier in her career, she has also worked as Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills; Deputy Director for the apprenticeship programme; Deputy Director and Director of the academy programme.

Tom Goldman

Deputy Director Funding Policy Unit

Department for Education

Lindsay Harris

Deputy Director Capital

Department for Education

Lindsay Harris has been with the Department for Education since 2016, having previously worked in other Government departments, including Defra and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He is one of the Deputy Directors in Capital Directorate, responsible among other things for the Condition Data Collection (CDC) Programme, the Capital Advisers Programme and the department’s Good Estate Management for Schools (GEMS) and Managing Asbestos guidance.

Will Jordan

Co-founder and CEO

IMP Software

Will Jordan FCCA has worked with Academies and MATs since the first ‘phase two’ Academies opened in September 2010. As a Qualified Accountant and Financial Technology specialist, Will now works with established Multi Academy Trusts to strengthen their financial planning and reporting processes by replacing legacy software with MAT specific, agile tools.

Steve Taylor


Cabot Learning Federation

Steve is an experienced System Leader in education with 26 years’ experience across 3 countries. He has been a Senior Leader in education since August 2001, including two headships spanning 10 years, one in the Netherlands and one in Bristol, and 8 years as an executive leader.

For the past 6 years, Steve has been a National Leader of Education and the Chief Executive of Cabot Learning Federation (CLF), a multi-academy trust comprising 30 entities (21 URNs), serving 12,000 pupils 3-19 and employing over 2,000 staff. Steve is an active contributor to collaborative networks both regionally and nationally. He is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and a trained Lead Inspector for Ofsted, for whom he inspects in the South West. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Board of The Queen Street Group of 23 multi-academy trusts and holds governance roles with two other multi-academy trusts in the Midlands.

David Withey


Education Skills and Funding Agency

David Withey was appointed as Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in August 2022.

Prior to this, David was employed as the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary at the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education. He began his Civil Service career in the Northern Ireland Office, and has extensive experience working on public spending in Treasury departments in the UK and Australia, where he also led the NSW COVID Economic Taskforce during the first stage of the pandemic.

His most recent roles include:
•Deputy Secretary, Chief Operating Officer at New South Wales Department of Education
•Chief of Staff to New South Wales Treasurer
•Executive Director, New South Wales COVID Economic Taskforce
•Executive Director, Health, Justice and Communities at New South Wales Treasury

Work Session Speakers

Jeminatu Alabi-Isama

England Lead

Google for Education

Will Attlee

Associate Director –Development


Will is Associate Director of Development at LocatED and leads the Estate Efficiency team, providing development expertise to the DfE, Local Authorities, trusts, and other responsible bodies. Before joining LocatED, Will was a Senior Investment Surveyor in a leading firm in the South West advising landowners, investors, and occupiers on property acquisition and disposal matters. Will has over a decade of property and development experience, delivering complex mixed-use schemes on behalf of public and private sector clients. He holds an MSc in Real Estate from the University of Reading and is a qualified Chartered Surveyor.

Andy Ball

Co-founder and Schools Mentor

IAM Compliant

Debbie Beazer

School Business Leader

Blackhorse Primary School

Debbie Beazer is the School Business Leader at Blackhorse Primary School where she has worked since 2001. She is also currently working as the Business Lead for a new primary MAT that her school and 12 others are forming which is scheduled to open in September 2023.

Debbie has over 23 years’ experience working in education and prior to this worked for the Trades Union Congress and a Member of the European Parliament. Debbie is an ISBL Fellow and Trustee, a NAHT member and the Chair and Founder of the South Gloucestershire School Business Leaders’ Group. In November 2019 Debbie was awarded the ISBL CEO Award for Exceptional Contribution to School Business Leadership. Debbie is an Associate Governor at her own school and the Finance Governor of her local community primary school.

Gary Benn

Director, Building & Projects Consultancy


Gary is an experienced surveyor who has been within the industry for over 30 years. More recently he has focused his attention and specialisms to the Education sector, advising schools, academies and estate managers on securing specialist funding, premises planning and decarbonisation strategies.

As a primary school governor and academy trust director he can offer valuable insight and guidance, seeing the issues through the school’s eyes as well as a consultant’s, for effective estate management within a school setting and is passionate about driving change to improve the learning environment for all students.

Arti Bhanderi

Policy & Strategy Advisor – Teaching Workforce Directorate

Department for Education

Will Bourke

Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement Lead, Teaching Vacancies

Department for Education

Will Bourke is the Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement Lead for the Department for Education’s Teaching Vacancies. Prior to this, he was a Deputy Headteacher an outstanding secondary school, driving strategy and school improvement.

Laura Cahill

Head of Engagement and Outreach, Schools Commercial Team

Department for Education

Laura Cahill is Head of Engagement & Outreach for the Schools Commercial Team within the Department for Education. She is a communications and engagement specialist with a passion for the public sector. Laura has previously worked in senior PR, marketing and communications roles in education, Westminster and the NHS. She began her current role in the civil service in late 2019.

Warren Carratt


Nexus MAT

Warren is Chief Executive Officer of Nexus MAT, a medium sized trust providing education to children across the South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire regions. A “first generation” CEO, Warren was recruited to post following national advert in 2016. Warren has not become a CEO through the Headteacher route, instead having a background in local government and the NHS. Warren is a sitting Magistrate on the South Yorkshire bench, and is also an independent member of the South Yorkshire Police & Crime Panel, the statutory body which holds the Police & Crime Commissioner to account. He lives in Rotherham, South Yorks.

Rav Cheema

Senior Associate


Rav is a chartered surveyor with 10 years’ property experience, providing agency and development consultancy services to a range of public and private sector clients across the country. At LocatED, Rav advises a range of clients on acquisition, development and estate efficiency work, with a particular focus on the further and higher education sectors.

Matthew Clements-Wheeler

Education Leadership Consultant

Keystone Knowledge

Matthew Clements-Wheeler is an education leader, consultant and corporate governance specialist with 18 years’ board level experience of education/third sector leadership in the UK and internationally. He is also the former Chair of the Institute of School Business Leadership and has strong connections with the international community of School Business Leaders

Anna Crawte

School Improvement Director

HEART Academies Trust

Anna works at HEART Academies Trust as School Improvement Director. She works closely with the leadership teams in all schools within the Trust to ensure the best outcomes for children.

Anna has worked in schools in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, including a 4-19 school, so has both secondary and primary leadership and teaching experience.

Anna is able to support colleagues at various stages of their careers from ITT through to Leadership mentoring. Anna values how staff development is integral to the strategic vision for school improvement and has successfully coached staff at a range of levels to improve teaching and learning as well as leadership skills. This has included developing a Women in Leadership programme supported by the DfE. Her role also involves developing high quality curricula in both primary and secondary schools.
Anna studied French and Spanish at University College London and qualified as an MFL teacher from the University of Southampton. In addition to her Senior Leadership roles, Anna has previously been Head of Year, Head of Faculty and overseen transition. Anna has also completed her NPQH and volunteers as a school Governor.

Michael Conlon

Education Transformation Consultant


Michael is an Education Transformation Consultant at XMA, working to support institutions embed digital abilities to ensure the next generation develop skills for life, learning and work. Our 1:1 approaches help address a digital skills and equity gap, meeting the moment to increase participation in a technology rich modern economy.

Helen Dowsett

Finance Account Manager

School Business Services

Helen Dowsett has worked at School Business Services for 2 and a half years working within the account management team focusing on the Finance, Budgets and MIS services. Helen previously worked in multi academy trusts starting as a finance assistant and working up to a financial controller.

Kevin Draisey

Head of Procurement Operations, Get Help Buying for Schools

Department for Education

Kevin Draisey is Head of Procurement Operations for the Get help buying for schools service. He 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.

Andrew Dutton

Sector Leader for Education


Andrew Dutton is the Sector Leader for Education across the UK and Ireland. He has been supporting Education sector clients with developing and enhancing their estates for 20 years, with experience across Universities, Schools and Diocesan Portfolio Holder Clients as well as Multi Academy Trusts. His primary focus is around delivering large volumes of refurbishment and extension schemes, capital condition projects and strategic property related advice. Andrew has held key roles in supporting the Department for Education, particularly relating to condition strategy, leading the technical mobilisation of the Condition Data Collection Programme and more recently in the Energy Pods Research and Innovation Project. Andrew was also instrumental in developing the scope and delivery methodology of the DfE’s Capital Adviser Programme.

David Fugurally

Head of Capital Capability and Efficiency

Department for Education

David Fugurally is Head of Capital Capability and Efficiency. He is passionate about making a real difference in the lives of people in our country. In his current role, he and his team are working to ensure that school buildings are safe and support excellent teaching and learning. David has held a wide range of leadership roles, ranging from leading complex policy and Bills in Parliament to multi-million-pound delivery programmes. He is particularly proud of the work he has done to help our country’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable children to build a better future for themselves. David is a leadership, policy and delivery professional, with an MBA, and is a Fellow of the Westminster Abbey Institute.

Jen Halmshaw

Head of Digital Services Strategy for Schools

Department for Education

Ben Hardy

Stakeholder and Engagement Lead, Schools Commercial Team

Department for Education

Ben Hardy is a Stakeholder and Engagement Lead in the Schools Commercial Team at the Department for Education. The team’s role is to support the delivery of the Schools’ Buying Strategy.

Before joining the DfE, Ben was part of the leadership team at Schools North East, a school-led regional network for all 1,150 schools in the region. In his role as Relationship Manager, Ben was responsible for developing and implementing effective engagement with a wide range of stakeholders including CEOs, CFOs, Head Teachers, School Business Professionals, Local Authorities and other charitable organisations. He worked closely with schools, Multi Academy Trusts and clusters to identify and address the key challenges they face. Prior to this, Ben worked with leaders and governors at schools, MATs and LAs across the country for The Key.

Ben is Vice Chair of Governors at a primary school in Newcastle.

Allan Keating

Chief Financial and Operations Officer

Omega Multi-Academy trust

Stella Lithgow

Operational Delivery Lead for SRMA Programme


Stella Lithgow is the operational delivery lead for the SRMA programme and works within ESFA to promote the programme and support schools towards developing excellent school resource management. She has previously worked in teaching and is currently vice-chair of a multi-academy trust in Bristol, leading on finance.

Graham Macaulay

Director of Innovation & Growth

LEO Academy Trust

Graham is an experienced and well-respected teacher, senior leader and EdTech thought leader. He comes from a teaching background, having taught across various primary school settings. More recently, he has led the use of technology at the LEO Academy Trust and also lead the Trust’s support for EdTech through the Department for Education EdTech Demonstrator programme.

Jo Marchant

Head of Estates, Education for the 21st Century Trust and

Co-ordinator, The Trust Network

Jo Marchant is Head of Estates at a muti-academy trust and has worked in school business leadership and management for the last 14 years. She has an MBA and an MA Leadership and is a qualified Health & Safety Officer. She is a Fellow of the Institute of School Business Leadership and serves on the steering group of The Trust Network for school estates professionals.

Jo has been a School Resource Management Advisor for the last 4 years and recently published her first book, “The School Premises Handbook”.

Sharon McHale

Head of Nature Park and Climate Leaders Award team in the Sustainability and Climate Change Unit

Department for Education

Sharon McHale heads up the Nature Park and Climate Leaders Award team in the Sustainability and Climate Change Unit in Department for Education. The team was set up in April 2021, and the launch of the Department’s strategy in April of this year.

She heads up the Nature Park and Climate Action awards team. The National Education Nature Park and Climate Action Award scheme, led by the Natural History Museum, will launch this autumn, bringing together all the land from across education settings into a vast virtual nature park. Find out more about how the Nature Park will enable children and young people to get involved in taking practical action to improve the biodiversity of their setting and what it might mean for the development of young people’s skills and the horticulture sector.

The Nature Park is just one of many initiatives in the DfE’s strategy for Sustainability and Climate Change that will provide learners with the resources to live, learn, work and participate in a contemporary global society. Through climate education, green skills and careers, the DfE is helping to create a sustainable future through education, developing the skills needed for a net zero economy, and supporting our sectors to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Furthermore, the award scheme will recognise the brilliant work being undertaken in schools and colleges to protect green spaces and promote biodiversity. It will support teachers to develop their pupils’ skills and knowledge in biodiversity and sustainability further and celebrate their achievements.

Tom Meeks

Partner & Head of Academies

Price Bailey LLP Auditors

Alison Moon

Trust Business Manager and CFO

 Veritas Multi Academy Trust

Alison is Trust Business Manager (and CFO) of Veritas Multi Academy Trust.
She has 13 years working in education finance with experience of L.A. and academy systems. Currently developing our small but growing trust of 3 primaries. During this time securing a number of successful CIF projects and we are currently part of the School Rebuilding Programme.

MBA Educational Leadership & Management, ISBL Fellow (and Forum committee member).
She is a member of the DfE’s Finance and Assurance Working Group 1 and DfE’s Professionalisation Group (Estates Management).
In 2021 she was awarded the Business Manager of the Year Award by the National Schools Awards.
In 2022 she was delighted to receive an ISBL CEO Award for exceptional contribution to School Business Leadership.
Prior experience includes wholesale sales in the oil industry. Also, Project Management in the construction industry.
She has led the creation of a Trust Business Manager group, within The Kent MAT Alliance, a collaborative group of 12 trusts.

Stephen Morales


Institute of School Business Leaders

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.

James Murphy

Associate Director & Account Leader – Education


James Murphy is an Associate Director and Account Leader leading the education property, estates, and compliance service at Arcadis. A chartered building consultant, surveyor and facilities manager, James supports schools and academy trusts with their complex needs and challenges around project delivery, estates, and energy.

Patrick Overy

Chief Operating Officer

Learning Partners Academy Trust

Patrick is an experienced school business leader, and is currently Chief Operating Officer of Learning Partners Academy Trust; a trust of 12 schools in Surrey. Following a previous career in Electronic Engineering, Patrick worked as School Business Manager within a secondary school, led the formation of a Multi-Academy Trust, and subsequently a merger with another trust to form Learning Partners Academy Trust.

Alongside his trust work, Patrick has been engaged as a School Resource Management Advisor by the DfE, through ISBL, since 2019 and in this role has supported a wide range of schools and multi-academy trusts. Patrick volunteers for a youth organisation in the Guildford area, and has previously served as a trustee and vice-Chair of a national youth work charity.

India Payne

Audit Manager

Price Bailey LLP Auditors

Elizabeth Pisani

Deputy Director, Corporate Assurance  & Academy Returns

Department for Education

Warwick Sharp

Director of Schools Financial Support and Oversight

Education and Skills Funding Agency

Warwick is the Director of Schools Financial Support and Oversight at the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Before that he was Principal Private Secretary to three Education Secretaries leading Private Office Directorate at the Department for Education. He has over 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.

Nina Siddle

Chief Finance & Operations Officer, Humber Education Trust
Fellow of the Institute of School Business Leadership
Specialist Leader of Education, Humber Teaching School
Chair of the Humber & East Yorkshire School Business Leaders Network

With almost 29 years of experience in both maintained and academy sectors, Nina is the Chief Finance & Operations Officer for Humber Education Trust, a large MAT comprising of 13 primary and 4 special schools. Nina has also worked as a National College SBM Advocate, SBM Primary Partnership Adviser and later as a Regional Practitioner for ISBL. As a Fellow member of ISBL, she was involved in the development of the SBM Professional Standards. Nina is also the Founder & Chair of the Humber & East Yorkshire School Business Leaders Network.

Nina has used the ISBL professional standards to help develop roles in the trust central team as well as to support the performance management of SBMs across their schools.

Nicky Summers

Project Lead, Academies Chart of Accounts and Automation

Department for Education

Mark Vickers MBE


 Olive Academies Trust

Mark’s work in education is rooted in his belief that schools have the potential to break historic cycles of social disadvantage and to prevent the marginalisation of vulnerable young people. Mark has been a headteacher of a secondary school, an Ofsted inspector, a school leadership consultant and was a founding trustee of the PSHE Association. He continues to support numerous mainstream schools, PRUs and alternative providers across the country, offering strategic advice to help them secure rapid and sustained improvement.

Alongside his work as CEO of Olive Academies, Mark is also Chair of The National MAT CEO Network for Alternative Provision and SEND. He is also one of the founding members of the Suffolk CEO Network. Both these forums were established with Mark’s support to help the sharing of ideas, innovations and best practice. Mark’s determined approach to improving alternative provision for vulnerable young people in England is linked to this partnership work – successfully bringing together alternative provision with mainstream schools and engaging local authority, DfE and voluntary sector leaders to improve the life chances of some of the most vulnerable children in our country’s education system.

In 2021 Mark was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s New Year Honours List for his services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Speakers, agenda and times may be subject to change