HR Update 2023 - London - Speakers

Wednesday 24 May 2023
America Square Conference Centre, London

Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services, Browne Jacobson LLP (Chair)

Emma is the Head of HR Services and manages the team responsible for providing HR consultancy services to a range of clients across multiple sectors.


Lisa Blatchford, HR Director, Viking Academy Trust

Lisa has worked in the education sector for 15 years as a school business professional and is an experienced Trust HR Director. Within her role, Lisa is an enthusiastic advocate for supporting employee wellbeing and uses her skills as a trained wellbeing and stress management coach to help others thrive instead of languishing. Lisa is hugely passionate about raising awareness of poor mental health for the purposes of inspiring hope through the power of training and connection. She is a proud member of the CIPD, International Coaching Federation and International Society for Coaching Psychology.

Mandy Coalter, Founder, Talent Architects

Mandy provides consultancy and advisory support to school groups along with coaching, mentoring, and training. Her successful book Talent Architects; how to make your school a great place to work was published in 2018. From 2012 to 2019, Mandy was Director of People at United Learning and responsible for HR, talent management, leadership development, and marketing and communications. United Learning is one of the largest school groups in the UK, running around 80 schools across both state and independent sectors and employing over 8000 staff. Mandy built the group reputation as an employer, taking forward key priorities such as developing leaders, talent management, employee engagement, wellbeing, recruitment, pay and performance management. HR Magazine listed Mandy in the top 10 HR Most Influential in both 2018 and 2019. Mandy has previously worked in senior roles in the NHS, local government, the charity sector and with schools. Mandy is also the co-founder of Trust Inclusion – developing inclusive leaders in school trusts.

Dai Durbridge, Partner, Browne Jacobson LLP

Dai is an expert education lawyer at Browne Jacobson and heads up the North West team.  He advises schools, academies and MATs on frontline education matters, including admissions and exclusions, parental complaints, GDPR and all safeguarding issues. Dai supports schools with employment related safeguarding issues, including the single central record, overseas checks, positive DBS disclosures and complex investigations following allegations against staff.  Dai works closely with the expert HR advisors and specialist employment lawyers at Browne Jacobson on a range of issues for schools where safeguarding and/or GDPR is a complicating factor.  Dai also carries our MAT safeguarding audits to support trusts with improving safeguarding practices at each academy and developing consistent approaches and structures that support best practice trust-wide safeguarding. He is also a recognised expert in GDPR and data protection for schools, supporting schools with all aspects of data protection and has devised and delivered DPO training to over 400 school DPOs to support them in their role.

Ernest Jenavs,  CEO, Edurio

Ernest is the CEO of Edurio, England’s leading stakeholder feedback platform for schools and school trusts. He is a frequent public speaker both in the UK and internationally on effective use of stakeholder feedback in schools and has published extensive research on stakeholder feedback, staff wellbeing and school improvement.

Sarah Linden, Senior Associate, Browne Jacobson LLP

Sarah has specialised in providing employment law advice within the education sector since 2010. She has extensive experience of the unique challenges that employers face in the sector, ranging from safer recruitment of staff through to dismissals and onward referrals to external bodies. Sarah has a wide range of experience in both contentious and non-contentious employment work. In addition to providing advice and representation in respect of employment tribunal proceedings, she works closely with clients, advising upon school and trust-based employment processes. She regularly advises upon disciplinary and grievance procedures and redundancy processes. Prior to joining Browne Jacobson, Sarah led the legal department at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Sarah has published articles in TES and SecEd and she has regularly spoken at ASCL conferences.

Tom Wallace, Senior HR Consultant, Browne Jacobson LLP

Tom specialises in educational HR, with a particular focus on academies. Tom has managed and led on a variety of change management projects including restructures, workforce reductions and pay reviews.


Peter Woodhouse, Partner, Stone King LLP 

Peter has been assisting clients in employment matters since he qualified in 1991. He advises on a full range of employment matters and aims to provide support to clients managing change in their business. He was a partner at a large Bristol firm before becoming a partner at Stone King LLP in March 2006. He is qualified as a solicitor and barrister and for 10 years was believed to be the only solicitor on the panel of Treasury Counsel. Peter has acted for numerous clients over the years including owner-managers as well as multi-nationals. Peter considers that businesses prefer to act responsibly both as a matter of policy and economics. He works with clients to ensure their outcomes in terms of responsible business are delivered.