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Schools and Academies Show – April 2022

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Catherine Kelsall, stakeholder and engagement lead

Catherine Kelsall, Stakeholder and Engagement Lead for the Schools Commercial Team at the Department for Education (DfE) tells us more about the upcoming Schools and Academies Show on 27 and 28 April.

Hello, I’m Catherine Kelsall, Stakeholder and Engagement Lead in the DfE’s School Commercial Team. Back in November 2021 our team was at the live Schools and Academies Show in Birmingham. It has been amazing to get back to face-to-face events and meeting people after such a long time.

It has been great talking to school business professionals again, meeting some familiar faces and meeting new school colleagues too. By day two it felt like we’d never been away due to the pandemic, as we easily picked up the conversations, hearing about the challenges and rewards from the sector. I am looking forward to this year’s show and  I’m hoping that you will be able to make it to the Schools & Academies Show Agenda on| 27 April 2022.

Along with my colleagues, I will be in the Government Village, so please come along and say hello.

We have some great sessions lined up. We can’t wait to tell you all about our new Get help buying for schools service that went live in February this year.

Before joining the Department for Education (DfE) I was a school business manager with over 24 years’ experience of working in a special needs primary school. I was an associate governor at the school and so I’m very familiar with the challenges special schools face. On joining the DfE I was instrumental in driving forward a network for school business professionals in special schools, which led to the launch of National Network of Special Schools (NNoSS).

I’m really excited to be joined in the SEND Theatre at the show by Pauline Aitchison who is lead for NNoSS, to present a session on the power of networking. NNoSS is a network whose members understand and can help with the unique challenges faced within special schools.

If you work in a special school, please come along - I’d really like to meet you and see if there is any support our team can offer you. Pauline has also kindly agreed to stay and will be available if you want to talk to her about the benefits of NNoSS and how to join the network. For more information and how to join visit NNOSS website.

If you can’t make it to the Schools and Academies Show, Pauline is hosting the second annual NNoSS conference in Nottingham 28 April 2022. Dr Carrie Grant MBE is a keynote speaker.

We will also be holding two smaller workshops in the DfE Theatre on the Schools Buying Programme and Schools Water Strategy.

On 28 April, the day after the live event in London, the Schools and Academies Show Extra will provide an opportunity to listen to pre-recorded sessions online. I’m pleased to say that we have been able to secure a couple of fantastic sessions for you to enjoy virtually.

I know from conversations with schools of the ever-present challenges you face managing cyber security. Our colleagues from the Risk Protection Arrangement  (RPA) will run a session on the new cyber security cover available to schools. If you are considering membership for your school, or are interested to know more about the benefits of this alternative to commercial insurance, don’t miss this session.

You can also find out more about how to make your school more water efficient and hear more about reducing flood risk and sustainable drainage systems.

Registration is free and all the session for each day can be booked via the Schools and Academies website.

On behalf of the Engagement and Outreach Team, I want to express how much we are looking forward to seeing you and discussing how we can support your procurement.


Here are the full details of all of our sessions at The Schools and Academies Show:

Wednesday 27 April – ExCel London

Get help buying for schools with the DfE Schools Commercial Team

10:00 - 10:30, Business and Finance Theatre

Our speakers are:

  • David Allen, Stakeholder and Engagement Lead - DfE
  • Rachel Cammiss, Service Lead for Get help buying for schools - DfE
  • Kevin Draisey, Head of Procurement Operations - DfE

This session will:

  • Introduce Get help buying for schools and how to access the service
  • Detail the DfE’s approved frameworks and what they cover
  • Advise how using DfE approved frameworks could help your school get value for money and support your purchasing of goods and services.


Supporting SEND: The power of the network

11:40 - 12:10, SEND Theatre

Our speakers are:

  • Catherine Kelsall, Stakeholder and Engagement Lead – DfE
  • Pauline Aitchison, National Network of Special Schools Lead

This session will cover:

  • an introduction to the network and the importance of supported peer-to-peer networks
  • the impact of the network on the sector and how your school can benefit
  • the impact of the network from an SBP and CEO perspective
  • the impact of the network on buying for special schools.


DfE Theatre workshops with the Schools Commercial Team

11:40-12:00: Schools Buying Programme 

Come along to this session and find out more about the services and guidance available to help those responsible for buying goods and services in schools. 

Get first hand details of the support available now, including details of the new Get help buying for schools service to help you get the best possible value of your school


13:10-13:30: Schools Water Strategy  

Come along and join in the discussion on how the DfE’s Schools Water Strategy can work with and support your school to save money and support climate change actions. 


Thursday 28 April - online

Schools Commercial Team – Helping your school with cyber

28 April 2022 – online

Our speakers are:

  • Arati Patel-Mistry / Helen Lumb (TBC), Stakeholder and Engagement Manager – DfE
  • Georgia Shephard, Product Delivery Lead for RPA – DfE
  • Suleyman Salih, Head of Account Management – CyberClan

This session will:

  • explain why cyber cover is now being included in the RPA
  • give an Overview of RPA cyber cover and the conditions of cover
  • introduce the 24/7/365 Incident Response Service provided by Cyber Clan.


Schools Commercial Team – How to make your school water efficient

28 April 2022 - online

Our speakers are:

  • Arati Patel-Mistry, Stakeholder and Engagement Manager – DfE
  • Laura Walton, Water Efficiency, Education, and awareness Lead – DfE
  • Ben Hannan, Schools Water Strategy Project lead - DfE

This session will introduce the school’s water strategy and in particular, the support the team can provide to your school including:

  • flood Risk Reduction
  • sustainable Urban Drainage Systems
  • environment Agency partnership
  • property flood resilience
  • water efficiency
  • education and awareness.

The team and I will be on the stand in the Government village, in the Excel London, all day on the 27 April to answer any procurement questions or challenges you may have, just come along and see us.

Please follow us via our LinkedIn page, we will be posting more details of our plans for the show in the coming days.

If you do have any questions beforehand, please contact the team on:

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