CaptureA COMPANY providing essential services to education is expanding again to meet the huge demand in academy conversions and school management.

The Avec Partnership was founded five years ago in response to Government plans to give schools more autonomy freeing them from the control of local authorities.

Demand for the expertise of the North-based Avec Partnership has reached an unprecedented level as more than 150 schools and academies across the North of England access the company’s expertise in a new era of education.

Advice offered by Avec, which operates only in the education sector, includes human resources, finance, health and safety, governance and academy conversion support.

Run by former local authority senior officer Julie Sowerby and Sarah Monk, a former school vice principal, the company has already moved to larger offices.

It has just recruited three new members of staff taking its workforce of educational experts to 30 as it operates across Yorkshire, County Durham, Teesside, Tyneside, Wearside and Northumberland.

Kay Harrison joins as an HR partner. Based in her native Featherstone, West Yorkshire, she will look after schools in Halifax and Leeds as well as working at Avec’s Darlington headquarters.

“With a background in local authorities, schools and multi-academy trusts, I will be working on a range of issues, from disciplinary cases to restructuring,” said Kay.

Sue Davison takes up a role of school and academy governance partner, using her experience in local authority education in Darlington, Durham, Redcar and Cleveland.

“I have spent my career so far advising schools on all manner of issues and handling complaints and am really looking forward to this new challenge,” said Sue, of Darlington.

Ex-soldier with 23 years service and former Royal Engineer Bob Farmer will be using his considerable expertise in the field of health and safety.

After being stationed in Ripon and Germany, he worked on the railways for four years and will now help academies with risk assessment and other health and safety issues.

“After working nights and very much on my own I am looking forward to working in a team again,” said Bob, of Coundon, near Bishop Auckland.

Avec supports more than 100 schools across Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Durham, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Halifax and Leeds.

It has also helped more than 80 schools in the region convert to academy status, many of which are now in formal school partnerships called multi-academy trusts.

Recent projects include project managing the academy conversion of Northwood Primary School into the Heathfield Academy Trust, Darlington, and supporting 11 schools in Middlesbrough to form a MAT.

Avec director Sarah Monk said. “Running an academy trust is very much like operating a large and sophisticated business and head teachers, governors and school business managers need increasing levels of professional support.

“The challenges are becoming more complex and the scrutiny even more rigorous so our services are aimed at relieving some of the mounting pressure.”

For more information on Avec contact Sarah on 07966 571818 or visit the website