The Natspec Awards will be judged by an independent panel of judges. The main judging panel is as follows:

  • Nigel Evans
  • Helen Brooks
  • Pete Vickers
  • Tracey Clare-Grey
  • Yolande Burgess

Meet the Judges

Nigel Evans

Nigel EvansFrom 2007 until 2018 Nigel was one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors for learning and skills, he was also Ofsted’s national lead for learners with high needs. During his time at Ofsted he worked on many projects relating to learners with learning difficulties including leading Ofsted’s survey report, Moving Forward, on the implementation of the Children and Families Act. Before becoming an inspector, Nigel had extensive experience in further education. He developed and managed a range of innovative programmes for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities, young people excluded from schools, adults with mental health difficulties and people returning to, or entering employment.

I am very excited about being involved in the Natspec awards; Natspec has always been at the forefront of encouraging and supporting the best educational practice for young people with learning difficulties and disabilities, and these awards are a fantastic way of celebrating innovation and excellence in specialist further education

Helen Brooks

Helen BrooksHelen Brooks worked for the Department for Education for nearly 30 years. She was closely  involved in developing the Children and Families Act and the SEND Code of Practice, particularly policies relating to the further education sector and preparing for adult life. She worked closely with post-16 colleges, in both the mainstream and specialist sector, to help them put the SEN reforms into practice. Previous career posts include widening participation to higher education, 14-19 vocational education and schools commissioning. Helen is also the SEN governor for a state comprehensive school in central London.

Pete Vickers

Pete VickersPete Vickers has been working in the sector for just over 30 years. Including local FE colleges, local authority services for young adults with complex needs and also in Specialist provision. He has long advocated for the funding of non accredited provision, person centred approaches and also that Supported Employment can work for anyone – however high their level of support need.

In all of that time there has been a constant pressure on funding provision for students with high support needs so Pete is no stranger to making applications to groups and organisation to enhance existing provision. He is very keen on seeing the Natspec award applications, especially those that can make a real and significant difference to our client group.

Tracey Clare-Grey

Tracey Clare Grey

Tracey worked in mainstream education for 23 years before joining Foxes Academy 8 years ago. Until July 2019 Tracey was first the Vice-Principal and then the Principal of Foxes. Guided by her leadership Foxes achieved its third consecutive ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted and was awarded  the TES Overall and the Specialist Provider of 2018. Throughout her time at Foxes Tracey worked relentlessly to raise the profile of employment and independence for young people with learning difficulties. For two years Tracey was the Director for Employment at Natspec, reflecting her commitment to challenging and changing attitudes around employing young people with learning difficulties.

I am absolutely delighted to be involved in the Natspec Awards this year.

Recognising the innovation, hard work and excellent practice of the professionals in this sector is so important.

Yolande Burgess

Yolande BurgessYolande leads on Young People’s Education and Skills, and Grants and Community Services. With over 25 years in the public sector, Yolande’s responsibilities have included partnership working and delivery, most notably the implementation of the New Deal programme across north London.

She has substantial experience of developing and implementing post-16 education policy and strategy – guiding work in areas such special educational needs and careers guidance – planning and commissioning learning provision locally and regionally, and managing portfolios of large and complex education contracts. Yolande actively contributes to national policy making and local implementation.

I am delighted to join Natspec colleagues and others to showcase the excellent practice, continuous improvement and effective partnership working that is fundamental to the specialist sector.