Maria Morris has worked in the Education sector for many years and she has held a number of senior leadership roles in the Schools, Academies and University sectors, including the roles of Finance Director and Vice Principal. Maria is an experienced financial consultant who has provided direct support to schools involved in mergers, and in making the transition to academy status. As well as her financial and accountancy training, Maria has completed a degree in Business and she has also worked in industry in the areas of project management and the provision of support for small businesses. Maria’s early career was spent working in the Education department of a Local Authority where she worked as Business Manager for a successful traded services unit providing curriculum support to schools. Maria has worked with local authority audit teams on the development of audit resources for schools and, in recent years, through her private consultancy services, Maria has supported schools and academies with internal audit services, budget planning, staffing advice and reorganisations, bid writing and oversight of capital projects. Maria’s work at a national level has included Education policy related work with the DfE, serving as Primary Representative with the, then, NBA (now NASBM) and a national judge for the support staffing awards, and she has been a regular monthly columnist for Education Executive.
Mike Ford has been in the Academy sector since 2007 carrying out a number of senior roles such as Financial Controller, Head of Academy Finance in multi-academy trust settings and as Director of Finance and Business for a number of Academies. Mike plays a significant role in schools transition to an academy trust environment, establishing finance systems, sustainable budget planning, internal audit and EFA reporting and has worked for Oasis Community Learning, E-ACT and Academies Enterprise Trust. Mike also spent a year setting up the Education Division and consultancy for PS Financials, a major academy software provider to the academy sector. Prior to this Mike spent a number of years in the charity finance sector and prior to this in the commercial insurance industry.