Plenary Speakers

Chair: Lara Newman

Chief Executive, LocatED

Lara has over 23 years’ experience in property and development. Having worked with many of the UK’s biggest landowners, agents and developers, Lara has held a number of strategic leadership and board positions.

Her experience of property deals and complex capital investment projects for government education capital programmes underpinned her determination to bring commercial insight and rigour the DfE’s free schools development programme.

Lara’s vision for LocatED has brought together a team of experts able to bring both experience and pace to the delivery of new schools.

Under Lara’s leadership, LocatED has acquired more than 150 sites for schools, facilitated over 75,000 new school places, and in doing so, has driven saving of many millions of pounds.

Baroness Berridge

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System

Baroness Berridge is currently Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System at the Department for Education and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Women) at the Department for International Trade, appointed on 14 February 2020. She was a Government Whip (Baroness in Waiting) from 29 July 2019 to 19 March 2020.

Before becoming a member of the government she sat on the Ecclesiastical Committee and was a founder and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Prior to joining the House of Lords in January 2011, she was a practising Barrister at Kings Chamber in Manchester, specialising in personal injury and licensing law. She was also Executive Director of the Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF), a membership organisation that serves as a relational bridge between the Conservative Party and the Christian community.

Mike Green

Chief Operating Officer of the Department for Education and Director General of the Operations Group

Mike Green is the Director General and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Department for Education and Director General of Operations Group. He joined DfE in 2012. As COO, he is a member of the DfE Board, Audit and Risk Committee and the department’s Leadership Team.

He is responsible for:

• effective management of the department’s resources;
• delivery and improvement of the main corporate functions including analysis, data, technology, human resources, finance, capital and commercial and;
• governance and relationship with DfE’s Non-Departmental Public Bodies

His previous roles in the DfE include Director of Commercial, Director of Capital and departmental lead for the response to Grenfell.

Mike is a graduate of the Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA) at Saïd Business School, Oxford University. Before joining the Civil Service, Mike was a Civil Engineer and spent his career in the private sector working for companies such as Boots

Rory Kennedy

Director of Capital, Department for Education

Rory is the Director of Capital at the Department for Education (DfE). Capital Group delivers new schools, rebuilds and refurbishes existing schools and works to improve the condition of the whole school estate. It helps to provide high quality school places where they are needed.

Rory has 15 years experience in DfE across both policy and major programme delivery, including a year’s secondment to New Zealand Ministry of Education policy and another to London Borough of Haringey as Assistant Director of Schools. Rory’s previous background includes journalism, teaching and local government.

Stuart White

Managing Partner, Barker

Stuart is Managing Partner at Barker. An education sector specialist with over 20 years of experience, Stuart provides strategic advice on estates management and compliance.

He helps identify needs, secure funding and deliver diverse projects to Schools, Academies, Multi Academy Trusts and HE/FE providers. Stuart’s expertise in Good Estate Management has made a significant impact by enabling education providers to successfully maintain and manage their estates to create effective teaching and learning environments.

Work Session Speakers

David Allen

David Allen

Engagement & Outreach Lead, Department for Education

David Allen has extensive experience of working in both the public and private sector. David is a former Cluster School Business Manager, Academy Finance director, Regional Advocate for the National College and Academy Trustee.

David is a Fellow of ISBL and has a long association with the organisation, being a former Associate Practitioner. He has done much to support the professional growth and recognition of School Business Management in the sector. David’s experience also extends to having worked in Local Authority settings overseeing academy conversions. David has a wealth of experience covering the operational, governance and leadership spheres in Maintained Schools and Academies.

Currently David leads the Outreach and Engagement team in the Department for Education’s Schools Commercial team. The team support the delivery of the Schools’ Buying Strategy. Within this team David is responsible for engagement with School Business Professionals and wider sector stakeholders.

Jonathan Coyles

Jonathan Coyles

Director, EO Consulting (part of Barker)

Jonathan is Director at EO Consulting and has over 20 years of experience within the education sector.

He advises organisations on data collection, reporting and analysis to ensure that evidenced based decision making sits at the heart of everything and all projects deliver value for money.
Jonathan supports School Trusts develop their estates strategies and has helped secure over £17 million in funding for sustainability projects over the last five years.
Robert Gould FRICS

Robert Gould FRICS

Partner, Barker

Robert is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Partner heading up education sector.

He works predominantly with Academies, Multi Academy Trusts, Colleges and Universities to deliver capital projects and surveying services including condition surveying and estate planning. He also assists education clients in applying for capital funding and advises on energy efficiency strategies.
Simon Hanson

Simon Hanson

Economic Development and Policy Manager, NEPO

Simon was previously North East Development Manager at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

For over twelve years he has supported smaller businesses through advice and by influencing the government. His wealth of experience will help NEPO and the twelve North East local authorities deliver economic growth across the region and nationally.

Catherine Kelsall

Catherine Kelsall

Schools Engagement Lead, Department for Education

Catherine Kelsall is a former School Business Manager with over 24 years’ experience of working in a Special Needs Primary School and was an associate governor at the school.

Now working for the Department for Education’s Schools Commercial Team as a Schools Engagement Lead. The team’s role is to support delivery of the Schools’ Buying Strategy.

Simon Lindsay

Simon Lindsay

Stakeholder Manager, Department for Education

Simon Lindsay is Stakeholder Manager with the Department for Education.

He has worked in the education sector for 30 years, with training providers, Training and Enterprise Councils, and the Learning and Skills Council. His roles include Senior Contracts Manager, Inclusion Manager, and Programme Manager in the DfE Capital division, and he is chair of The Trust Network steering group.

Simon joined the Department in 2012 and has worked on a number of projects related to capital and condition funding, complex case work with academies, and Good Estate Management for schools. His other projects include:

• Development of capital funding arrangements for Multi Academy Trusts

• Publication of Essential Schools Maintenance in 2016

• Production of the directory of suppliers who can provide financial health checks for schools across England.

Alistair Mackenzie-Ross

Alistair Mackenzie-Ross

Legal Manager, Department for Education

I am a Legal Manager, helping to run the DfE’s Land Transactions triage team.

Triage looks at new cases as they come in to check they include the required supporting information, and also helps applicants with general queries. I work on our standard templates, guidance documents, and knowledge management for the Land Transactions team.

I am a remote worker and I am based in Devon.

Paul Mander

Paul Mander

Procurement Director, Bloom Procurement Services

Biography soon…

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

Category Specialist, North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO)

Michael has worked with NEPO for over two years now, starting off in our energy category to lead the regional transition and implementation for our electricity contracts to EDF.

Michael now is the category specialist in our corporate services category, focusing on our national solutions including the Dfe recommended NEPRO(3) Specialist professional services Framework.

Hershil Patel

Hershil Patel

Head of Energy, Department for Education

Hershil Patel is the Head of Energy with the Department for Education.

He has been involved in delivering education projects in both public and private sector. As a building services and sustainability engineer, he is responsible developing the DFE standard and delivering a more sustainable and climate resilient education estate.

Jeremy Pilgrim

Jeremy Pilgrim

Managing Director, School Property Matters

Jeremy has 25 years’ experience as a Pupil Capacity Consultant working in the field of Education Estates Management.

As Managing Director of School Property Matters, Jeremy has supported many schools, authorities and trusts with independent pupil capacity analysis and estates data.

Hayley Porter-Aslet

Hayley Porter-Aslet

Chief Operating Officer, Gen2 Property

Hayley is a Chartered Accountant and has been Gen2’s Chief Operating Officer since May 2019. Her career has been in both the Private and Public Sector, most notably within Education where she has fulfilled various roles at several Multi-Academy Trusts in Kent.

Throughout her career, Hayley has successfully planned and delivered long term capital strategies utilising land assets to meet capital development requirements to significantly regenerate and provide transformational improvement to education provision. She has extensive experience in providing significant productivity savings across all operational functions – ensuring that resources are maximised within front line services.
Hayley has brought her vast education experience to Gen2 as part of the production of various low or no-fee products to the education sector to help schools ensure that estates maintenance fees are kept to a minimum, to invest as much funding as possible into frontline teaching, learning and pastoral activities. Hayley champions the importance of tailoring services to meet end-user requirements, being fully recognisant of the stringent processes and objectives Public Sector organisations must meet. For this reason, she advocates for building strong and trusted relationships with clients so that our service delivery compliment and support their service delivery.
Charlotte Shevlin

Charlotte Shevlin

Senior Case Worker, Department for Education

I joined the Civil Service in 2015, initially working at Public Health England. I moved to the Department for Education in 2016.

my previous roles include working in the Pupil Place Planning Team on the School Capacity Survey, and in the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner for the North on academy conversions.

I joined the triage team in Land Transactions in 2019 which involved reviewing new applications and being the first point of contact for applicants. I am now a caseworker dealing primarily with disposal applications.

I am based in the Darlington office.

Richard Tapply

Richard Tapply

Head of Estates and Development, Gen2 Property

Richard has 16 years’ experience in the Property Industry, fulfilling a number of senior roles within the Estates function. He has also worked in both the Public and Private sectors and has worked extensively with Local Authorities and District and Borough Councils across Kent and London.

Richard has fulfilled roles from Head of Estates and Head of Estates and Asset Management for a major county-wide Local Authority where he led on the operational estate services and management of an 1,800-property estate worth £2 billion. He has extensive experience in legislative, statutory and policy requirements, working in collaboration with Public Sector client to ensure property risks are minimised and potential is optimised. More recently, he is working with a number of organisations within education on development schemes to maximise their land to generate income back into the curriculum, as well as Local Authorities on how to rationalise their estates in post-Covid-19 era.
His specialist arears are: Estate and Property Portfolio Management; Budget, Expenditure and Forecasting Management; Strategic Asset and Property Management; Asset Utilisation; Estates Rationalisation and Acquisitions and Disposals.
Adam Watson

Adam Watson

Director, Every

Adam Watson is the founding director and co-owner of Leeds-based Every® – a specialist compliance and HR software provider for the education sector.

Responsible for leading and developing the wider business strategy, he is armed with a passion for all-things tech and supporting efficiency in education.

Adam has been working within the software and education spheres for over 25 years and has extensive experience in working together with professional associations, institutes, local authorities, Single-Academy, and Multi-Academy Trusts, providing them with software and solutions that help to empower their staff and streamline the operational aspects of the organisation.’

Oliver Williams

Oliver Williams

Solicitor/Team Leader, Department for Education

I am a solicitor and team leader in the Land Transactions team and I manage one of the teams of Legal Managers and caseworkers.

I am also a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and an Arbitrator. I bring more than 30 years’ experience of property development and investment in public, private and charitable sectors to analyse and resolve applications for consent to school land transactions.
I have worked in the education sector since 2005, initially supporting FE colleges to improve the efficiency of their estate in support of technical education, and since 2010, with schools. I have contributed to land policy and the development of processes to support the academisation programme and to streamline the land consent processes.
Being a governor at a large secondary school means I am sensitive to the strategic and operational issues faced by schools. I absolutely share the government’s commitment to ensure that all young people from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their full potential through education as well as having high quality outdoor spaces for recreation, play and to support their resilience and mental well-being. Land consents that result in existing pupils and future cohorts having better facilities are a means of achieving that.
I grew up in south London, went to school in Peckham (long before it became fashionable), am married, currently have just one dog but lots of God-children.
Isabelle Wragg

Isabelle Wragg

Senior Case Manager, Department for Education

A graduate of the London School of Economics, King’s College, London and CASS Business School.

My team deal with applications for change of use of playing field land, utilities, short-term disposals and acquisitions. I joined the DfE in 2017 and I’ve worked in public sector legal teams for over 20 years including the Marine Management Organisation and the Environment Agency.

I am a remote worker and I am based in Cheshire.

Panel Debate and Q&A Speakers

Jaswinder Didially

Jaswinder Didially

Head of Service Education Infrastructure, Birmingham City Council

I am Head of Service of Birmingham City Council’s Education Infrastructure team. Fulfilling council’s statutory duty for sufficient school places through the delivery of the City’s basic need programme, I am responsible for the annual school place planning cycle which includes forecasting and publishing additional places requirements to meet basic need.

This comprises of carrying out statutory school organisation and the delivery of the schools’ capital programme.
School status changes including the academy conversion process is also under my remit as well as providing contracts management support to our 27 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schools. I oversee landlord responsibilities for the education portfolio which includes maintained schools and settings, unattached playing fields and numerous other education properties. This consists of regulating any third-party arrangements on education sites, providing guidance and support to schools on statutory compliance, the effective maintenance of school buildings, including planned maintenance and emergency repairs to prevent school closure.
I am a special needs teacher, choosing to exit the profession at a senior level to take up local government work. I thoroughly enjoy the wide remit of my role and all the challenges that come with supporting all schools across Birmingham.
Nick James..

Nick James..

Head of Public Administration, Education and Volunteering Sector, Health & Safety Executive

Nick joined HSE in 1991 and has worked across a wide range of industry and business sectors as both a front line Inspector and Principal Inspector of Health and Safety.

More recently, Nick has headed up HSE’s operational policy team for Entertainment and Leisure Sector and is currently Head of the Public Administration, Education and Volunteering Sector. His team have a lead role in setting HSE’s policy for schools, as well as further and higher education institutions, working with DfE and the Scottish and Welsh Governments, employers, Unions and stakeholders to drive health and safety improvements across the Sector, including estates management and duty to manage asbestos.
James Miller

James Miller

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 capital building programmes for the Department for Education.

At Ormiston Academies Trust, James is responsible for leading and delivering the Capital Building Programme. He 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. James is one of the founding members of The Trust Network, a peer support network committed to good school estates management.
Lindsay Harris

Lindsay Harris

Deputy Director, Capital Strategy and Intelligence, Department for Education


Speakers, agenda and times may be subject to change