Clare Howard, Chief Executive
With 25 years’ experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors, Clare became chief executive of Natspec in January 2016. Clare worked at the Association of Colleges for six years and her career has included posts in local authorities, funding agencies and in a range of education settings. As a management consultant between 1998 and 2012, Clare worked on more than 200 projects and took interim posts across the education, sport and health sectors, developing a passion for further education and a particular interest in services and education for people with learning difficulties and disabilities. She has worked with special schools, specialist colleges and national disability organisations and her expertise includes organisational development, funding bids, training, change management and governance projects.
Ruth Perry, Policy Officer
Ruth joins Natspec following 10 years as an independent consultant to the sector, having previously taught in schools and worked for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). Her previous work with NIACE and LSIS, and her relationships with organisations such as AoC, AELP, ETF, Nasen, the Preparing for Adulthood programme has given her a deep understanding of many of the issues relating to young people with SEND. She has been a strong advocate for both learners and providers, and recent projects include supporting a range of providers with design and delivery of study programmes, the use of RARPA, integration of maths and English, supported internships and learner involvement in provision.
Louise Keevil, Inclusive Skills Manager
Louise became the Inclusive Skills Manager for Natspec in December 2016. She has 13 years of experience working with people with disabilities in a wide range of contexts at Derwen College as well as locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Louise has a shared role as she is also the Director of Charity and Corporate Services at Derwen College. She has led the Inclusive Skills Competitions agenda from its infancy and now there is a growing portfolio and ever increasing interest in the education, business and political sectors. Louise has a very strong belief that everybody should have the opportunity to be the best they can be and this is evident in the Inclusive Skills work.
Rita Buckley, Company Administrator
Rita joined Natspec in September 2016. During her career, she has undertaken a range of roles within the administration, events, training, and project management sector. Rita is organised and efficient with extensive experience in all areas of administration, project planning and budget management. Outside of work Rita is a member of Girlguiding UK as a volunteer and has completed the Girlguiding Leadership Qualification and runs a weekly Brownie Unit of 27, 7-10-year-old, girls.
Marianne Sweet, Media and Communications
With three decades of journalism and PR experience, Marianne joined Natspec in 2016. During her journalism career Marianne worked in various roles including deputy editor and acting editor of a regional daily newspaper. Since 2012 she has been a PR and media consultant with a particular interest in the education and challenges of young people with disabilities and learning difficulties. She edits three regional education magazines for Archant. Since joining Natspec, Marianne has successfully received coverage about the specialist further education sector on BBC Breakfast, FE Week and the TES.