Conference Advisory Group

The conference programme is being put together by an advisory group, made up of senior educational professionals. Its job is to ensure the three conference streams address both the strategic issues and day-to-day challenges facing education built environment professionals.

Three Conference Streams:

  • Schools
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Asset Management & Maintenance

Advisory Group Members:

Steve Beechey

Group Strategy Director and Managing Director Government Affairs

Wates Group

Steve joined Wates in 2010 and is responsible for Wates’ Group Strategy, Group Communications and Government Affairs. He is accountable for guiding, informing and co-ordinating relationships with government departments, including the Department for Education, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice. In his previous role as Managing Director Education and Investment Solutions, Steve was instrumental in the development of Adapt – the Wates kit-of-spaces design solution for cost effective schools. He was also responsible for investments across the Wates Group, focused around social infrastructure. With over 28 years’ experience, Steve has an excellent industry track record. He began his career as an Engineer with Tarmac in 1987 and progressed into a number of commercial roles before moving into a development and programme management role with Schal. Subsequent roles included Development and Sector Directorships with Jarvis and Laing O’Rourke, where he was responsible for over £2bn worth of PFI contracts across education, social housing, MOD, MOJ and infrastructure. He is a Chartered Surveyor, Chartered Builder and a Trustee of XP Free School in Doncaster.

Victoria Emerton

Conference Director

Education Estates

With a degree in nutrition and food science, and after 15 years working in consulting and conference management for the food industry, Victoria joined Step Exhibitions in 2011 initially to manage NutraFormulate, an exhibition and conference for the functional foods sector, adding Making Cosmetics, Healthcare Estates, Education Estates and Making Pharmaceuticals to her conference management portfolio.  Victoria has worked on the Education Estates conference for the past three years, coordinating the activity of the Advisory Group and curating the conference programme. Victoria is responsible for pre-event and onsite conference management, as well as contributing to marketing of Education Estates.

Marcus Fagent

Education Sector Lead

Arcadis LLP

Marcus Fagent is a Partner of Arcadis and acts as Sector Leader for Education.  In this role he manages Arcadis’ work with clients including the Education Funding Agency, local authorities, schools, Trusts, and leading Universities and Colleges.  Marcus directs the work of the 150 UK staff that Arcadis have working in the sector, delivering capital projects but also providing strategic advice and asset management services.  Marcus is a civil engineer by training, and has extensive experience in capital programmes, but also in strategic asset management and support services for schools.

Claire Jackson

Education Director

Galliford Try

Education sector lead responsible for education strategy nationally and for management of EFA Frameworks. Our education work is the biggest single sector across the country for the Galliford Try Building Division, with the value of projects on site and on the order book touching the £1billion mark for the first time in 2016. Galliford Try is now one of the most active and successful players in the education sector nationally and has become known for being at the forefront of innovation in school design and construction.

Steven Jenkins



Steven Jenkins is Head of Higher and Further Education at Arcadis and has over twenty five years’ experience in the construction industry. Steven has managed a number of major projects, delivering construction-led initiatives, strategic asset management and estate improvement programmes. He is a trustee at the Higher Education Design Quality Forum and is a core member of their research Group.

Mairi Johnson

Mairi Johnson Consultancy

Mairi Johnson is a built environment professional with extensive experience on both the client and supply side of well-designed projects.  She has worked in the public and private sectors, always for organisations that strive for quality in design and are at the heart of making decisions about the built environment. She is an authority on design for education and is a frequent contributor to discussions about the future of learning.  She has collaborated with the best school designers in the UK in order to define what makes a good school and has worked to shape government school procurement so that fit for purpose, low energy, elegant buildings are the result. As AECOM’s lead for the education sector, she led work on schools, further education and universities in Europe, the Middle East and the USA which involved providing leadership, co-ordination and oversight to teams of design and delivery experts in multiple locations.

Paul Kingsmore

Director of Services

Manchester Metropolitan University

Responsible for a wide range of services to the University including, IT, Estates, Facilities, library, Sport, capital projects, learning And Research Technologies, Business Improvement, Transport, Sustainability, Security Commercial Services and Residential Services.

Scott Leeder

VMS Commercial Manager


For over 10 years, Scott has worked hard to bring industry leading rooflight products to the commercial market. Scott has led the VELUX Modular Skylight division of VELUX Company Ltd since July 2015 and aims to drive daylight consideration within the Education sector through a focus on pre-fabrication and modularity. Designed with architects in mind, VELUX Modular Skylights offer innovative, modular and sustainable solutions for glass roofs in larger commercial spaces. Scott is the VELUX representative within the National Association of Rooflight Manufacturers and National Federation of Roofing Contractors. His national sales and specification teams have worked closely with architects and contractors on over 700 education projects to create better living and working environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof.

Lucy Plumridge

Associate Director


Lucy Plumridge is an Associate Director of HLM and University design tutor specialising in social, sustainable architecture with a particular focus on education projects.  Her award winning designs explore how architecture can enhance the student experience and support changing educational pedagogies. Projects range from strategic master planning, brief development and stakeholder engagement through to design development and innovative active learning spaces. Most recently Lucy has been working with teams from the University of Glasgow and University of Sheffield to develop designs for immersive learning environments and collaborative research hubs.

Jon Roylance



Jon is a director and higher education sector leader at ADP. He has worked for twenty-one university clients in the last ten years, delivering sector leading facilities and recently winning the Guardian Newspaper Higher Education ‘Facility of the Year’, the Cubo HE student project of the Year, S-Lab, SCONUL University Library of the year, and an RIBA National Award 2016. This experience has allowed Jon to develop a knowledge base of HE sector best practice and innovation, to understand sector concerns, and to develop new thinking.

Rachel Stephenson

Programme Director for Priority School Building Programme

Education Funding Agency

Rachel Stephenson is the Programme Director for the government’s £2.4 billion Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).  The PSBP is a centrally managed programme set up to address the condition needs of the schools most in need of urgent repair. Through the programme, 261 schools will be rebuilt or have their condition needs met. Rachel has worked in the education sector for 13 years. She is an experienced multi-disciplinary programme and project manager who has managed teams of professionals delivering the Free Schools, Building Schools for the Future (BSF) and Academies programmes, and Group School Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects. Rachel was previously the Regional Programme Director at Partnerships for Schools (PfS).  She was responsible for the management of the BSF programme in the south of England. Prior to joining PfS, Rachel was a Director at Mouchel Consulting and was responsible for the management of Mouchel’s academy project management business.  Rachel also undertook a number of projects with Mouchel Consulting; Education, Health and Justice PFI Projects, restructuring of the Property Services Team at Devon County Council and the Met Office Relocation Project.  Rachel is a chartered civil engineer, with 18 years' experience of working in the construction sector.

Elaine Todd

Education Services Director Communities and Regions,

Carillion plc

Elaine joined Carillion in November 2015, and is currently responsible for education services, with a current focus on increasing awareness of customer experience and developing solutions to improve standards and reduce costs to clients. Carillion deliver a full range of Education Services, including operating two brand new primary schools through the Carillion Academy Trust, the construction, remodeling and extension of education buildings, hard and soft facilities management, energy management, school library, education development and training and strategic asset and estate management services. Elaine is a qualified accountant by profession and a Fellow of the ACCA. She has over 30 years experience of  financial and asset management of over 3,000 buildings. This included bidding for and delivering over £500 million investment in school and corporate assets over the last 5 years, through PFI and PPP contracts.

Will Wareing

Deputy Director, Education

The Girls' Day School Trust

As Deputy Director of Education at the Girls' Day School Trust, I am involved in setting the education strategy for our 24 independent schools and 2 academies, with a particular remit for junior schools and for shaping the learning environment. Before joining the GDST in September 2014, I was a teacher for ten years in both the independent and maintained sectors and fulfilled a variety of roles including Deputy Head, Senior Master and Head of English. Prior to teaching, I was an editor and journalist producing economic inserts on emerging economies which appeared in newspapers in the UK and the US.