Find an Expert

We are happy to provide expert opinion on music, educational and learning topics. Please do get in touch using the individual emails/phone numbers below or call our Press Office at Clarke Associates on 0121 702 2525 or 07808 735 255 email 

Services For Education is able to provide journalists, columnists and editors with expert opinion, commentary and background in those areas detailed below or you can download a copy here

Note: the areas of expertise are in alphabetical order with the experts also in alphabetical order except for the two Heads of Service, who appear first.



Alternative provision (i.e. education for children unable to access mainstream schooling due to exclusion, behavioural issues, illness et al) and access arrangements

Kirsty Jones
MUSIC AS A CAREER Stuart Birnie Charlotte Buxton  Adam Hickman
TEACHER TRAINING Emma Mudge Kirsty Jones  Lucie Welch
SAFEGUARDING Emma Mudge Jo Perrin  Kirsty Jones Lucie Welch
SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT Emma Mudge Kirsty Jones

Stuart BirnieStuart Birnie - Head of the Music Service, Services For Education

Stuart joined Birmingham Music Service in 1991 – prior to it becoming the charity Services For Education – as a brass teacher, then Advanced Skills teacher and following that Assistant Head to the Music Service.

He became Head of the Music Service in 2018 and is responsible for leading the Birmingham Music Education Partnership Music Education Hub. This is a pivotal role in disseminating DfE funding through partner organisations in the city and delivering on Arts Council core and extension roles as set out in the National Plan for Music Education.

Stuart has a passion to reach as many areas of the city as possible and works closely with external partner organisations to reach children and young people with additional needs and those living in areas of disadvantage through project led activity. Stuart also sits on the Birmingham Arts School Advisory Group which works to support cultural education in the city.

Kirsty JonesKirsty Jones - Head of School Support, Services For Education

Kirsty has over 20-years’ experience in school leadership spanning mainstream, special schools and alternative provision settings working with schools with both disadvantaged children and high attaining pupils.

Most recently, she was Executive Principal at Shaw Education Trust - which has 26 academies including two Institutes of Education. Prior to that, Kirsty was Executive School Improvement Advisor at Wolverhampton University Trust.

As Principal at Willenhall E-ACT Academy, from 2017 to 2019, she is credited with implementing a multi-faceted approach that enabled the Academy to go from being a school in special measures to one where Ofsted praised her energy and enthusiasm and acknowledged the dramatic rise in pupil attendance.

Charlotte BuxtonCharlotte Buxton - Deputy Head of Music Service, Services For Education

Charlotte began her teaching career in 2003 working for Bromley Youth Music Trust as a Licenced teacher. After graduating with a BMus(Hons) degree in 2005, Charlotte was appointed as a full-time member of staff at BYMT. Over 11 years Charlotte progressed through the ranks and ultimately held the post of Wider Opportunities Coordinator and Assistant Head of Woodwind for the borough.

Charlotte joined Services For Education in September 2014 as Head of Woodwind and enjoyed five years leading a vibrant department and teaching across the city. She was appointed Deputy Head of Music Service and Head of Ensembles in September 2019 and has since spearheaded exciting collaborations with international artists Nicola Benedetti and Jess Gillam whilst leading the ensemble system into the digital age to maintain provision throughout the pandemic.

She was the inaugural recipient of the Music and Drama Education Awards Gold Star Award in March 2021 for ‘formidable impact and reach, with a remarkable ambition and vision’.

Paul DouglasPaul Douglas - Head of SFE Music School, Deputy Head of Music Service, Services For Education

Paul studied music at the University of Hull before embarking on a varied portfolio career, including projects management, songwriting, performing, studio recording, and conducting at venues all over the UK, as well as many parts of Europe and the USA.

Paul joined the Music Service in 2006 as a brass, piano and keyboard teacher, as well as obtaining his PGCE. Paul was Head of Ensembles from 2014-2019, and has been the Head of the highly successful and growing SFE Music School since its inception in 2018.

Sophie Gray - Head of Inclusion, Services For Education

Sophie Gray has been in music education for the past 20 years working primarily in special schools/alternative provision and with those with complex disabilities. Sophie is Head of Inclusion, and teacher at Services For Education’s Music Service, and link tutor on the PgCert in Sounds of

 Intent which investigates and promotes the musical development of children and young people with learning difficulties - although the system can also be used effectively with adults. She is also currently studying for an MA in Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (SPMLD) at the University of Birmingham. Sophie is also co-author of Count Me In!, published in 2023.

Sophie has always believed in the power of music for everyone at any age, from any background, but especially for those with the most complex disabilities.

Helen GrundyHelen Grundy - Adviser, Services For Education

Helen qualified with a first class honours degree in English and Education Studies in 1998. A significant amount of her degree was spent studying in Amsterdam under the Hogeschool Holland, adding a TESOL element to her degree and enabling study and understanding of international approaches to education. Helen’s teaching career then took place across Staffordshire in infant, first and primary schools, taking on various roles in subject leadership, as SENCo and SLT, and achieving the NCTL Leadership Pathways award.

Noted successful practice resulted in Helen becoming a Leading Maths Teacher, supporting colleagues across the county. This became a role that she increasingly enjoyed and led naturally to a role in consultancy and advising.

Helen joined Services For Education in 2015 as an Education Adviser. Her role was primarily as a Maths Adviser however since joining the company has also become manager of the highly successful Health for Life in Primary Schools programme, NQT Manager as part of the LA approved Appropriate Body for NQT Induction and a member of the Statutory Assessment team.

Denise HarrisDenise Harris - Adviser, Services For Education

Denise has over 30 years of experience as a qualified teacher (B.Ed., (Hons), MA) working in schools and an Education Action Zone. She became a local authority primary consultant in 2003 with a focus on mathematics and assessment. From 2009 she worked with Edge Hill University as an Every Child Counts (ECC) Teacher leader to deliver a suite of early maths intervention programmes through which she gained an MA in Early Mathematics. Denise also gained accreditation from NCETM as a Primary Professional Development Lead. She continues to work with Edge Hill University to manage the delivery of the very successful mathematics intervention programmes: Success@Arithmetic and 1stClass@Number.

Denise successfully delivers the primary statutory assessment contract for moderation and monitoring on behalf of Birmingham LA. Through this role she works closely with other moderation managers both locally and nationally. She recruits, trains and accredits both KS1 and KS2 pool moderators.

Adam HickmanAdam Hickman - Deputy Head of Music Service, Services For Education

Adam graduated from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (formerly Birmingham Conservatoire) in 2008 with a BMus (Hons) degree, where he studied classical guitar with Mark Ashford and Mark Eden. Upon graduation, Adam completed a PGCE in Primary Education at Birmingham City University and has since worked as a peripatetic music teacher. He is currently Deputy Head of Music Service at Services For Education.

In the past, Adam has worked as an External Examiner at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and coordinated and lectured on music education modules at both Birmingham City University and The University of Birmingham.

In June 2019, Adam was awarded Honorary Membership of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in recognition for his work in music education. Adam is also active as a conductor and ensemble director through his work with the Birmingham Schools’ Training Guitar Ensemble and the National Youth Guitar Ensemble.

Emma Mudge - Adviser, Services For Education

Emma Mudge has over 20 years of experience working in primary education. Throughout this time, she has become a leader in a wide variety of areas throughout the school including Assessment, Teaching and Learning, Curriculum Management and Lead DSL, to name but a few. As Deputy Head Teacher and Acting Head Teacher, she has been at the forefront of school leadership and improvement.

During her role as English leader, she successfully introduced new approaches which significantly raised attainment. This led her to be approached to support other English coordinators across Birmingham, make presentations to school leaders and become a member of a small group of specialist teachers and leaders, tasked with improving the reading attainment in a number of schools across the city.

Emma now works as the Educational Adviser for English at Services for Education, sharing her experience and knowledge of working in primary schools to continually promote and improve the standard of teaching and learning in English, and in school improvement.

Jo PerrinJo Perrin - Adviser, Services For Education

Jo Perrin taught PSHE in schools for over a decade and held the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead and pastoral lead. She currently works as an Education Adviser for Services For Education which allows her to combine her experience in schools with a personal knowledge of childhood trauma as a former foster carer.

In addition, Jo worked as a West Midlands’ Adviser for a national PSHE resource, has delivered a presentation to the Sex Education Forum National Members’ Event and has created a variety of RSE resources as part of her role for Services For Education.

Jo’s advisory experience is not limited to training school staff as she works with non-education based organisations to support them in safeguarding and emotional health and well-being aims and is an affiliated trainer for Mental Health At Work.

Harjit Singh - Head of World Music & Percussion

Harjit is a specialist in Music Education and has been for over 35 years; his work also involves working in the community with various music projects. He was part of the pioneering and famous Bhangra Band of the 80s and 90s called Azaad from Wolverhampton and played Indian percussion with the band.

His mission is to make Indian drumming classical and folk genre accessible to a wider audience, and to see people from all cultures playing Indian drums in schools and the community.

Lucie WelchLucie Welch – Adviser, Services For Education

Lucie Welch taught in primary schools for over 13 years, holding the roles of Assistant Head of School, Designated Safeguarding Lead, Designated Teacher for Looked After Children, Attendance Lead as well as many subject lead roles.

Through the role of DSL, Lucie has garnered huge experience and knowledge of safeguarding which she is passionate about sharing with schools both across Birmingham and nationwide. With a strong understanding of policies and procedures, as well as safeguarding in schools at a day-to-day operational level, Lucie can provide bespoke consultancy and training on a host of safeguarding related topics.

Lucie also leads on PSHE and RSE and has a focused interest in children's emotional health and wellbeing, understanding how trauma and adverse childhood experiences can impact children, as well as educating staff and pupils on Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment and Harmful Sexual Behaviour in schools.

Lucie is also a part of our Health for Life team and helps deliver the Early Career Framework on behalf of the Best Practice Network.

Simone WhitehouseDr Simone Whitehouse-James - Adviser, Services For Education

Simone qualified with a PGCE in Religious Education following a Bachelors degree in Theology. Simone went onto lead RE in two demographically differently schools in Birmingham before working for the city’s advisory service.

Simone works in two areas: Religious Education and Early Career Teachers. Working in Religious Education Simone engages with faith groups and advises the Standing Advisory Council for RE (SACRE) on RE and Collective Worship. She has worked with others to design lesson plans for the Faith Makes a Difference website to support schools to implement the Birmingham Agreed Syllabus. She has worked on drafting the new Agreed Syllabus.

Simone also works with primary and secondary teachers and school governors. Working on behalf of the City Council as the Appropriate Body for ECTs Simone works with senior leaders and tutors to support their ECTs through induction.

Simone has recently been awarded her PhD – demonstrating her love of learning and Religious Education!

Our Press Office

You can contact Clarke Associates on  

  0121 702 2525 or 07808 735 255 

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SFE Facts and Figures

An education and training charity based in Birmingham, Services For Education brings music and learning to life.

Services For Education employs more than 200 staff delivering music tuition to children, and expert training and development to teaching and school support staff. It has annual income of £6.9m (Y/E August 2022). Part-funded by the Arts Council, England it also has its own fund-raising and subsidised commercial operations.

Services For Education’s Music Service, one of the largest in the country, works with 93% of Birmingham schools and each year teaches music to 32,000 children – as well as running 112 free ensembles. It provides 27,000 musical instruments free-of-charge so all children have access to playing and enjoying music together and its Youth Proms at Symphony Hall give 4,000 young musicians the opportunity to perform to an audience of more than 10,000. It also runs music schools, has a world music department, provides private music tuition to all ages as well as working with partners to deliver music and choral opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups. Its award-winning Online Music Educational Resource was completed and launched free to schools in 2021 to appeal to a young IT-connected audience attracted to learning online and to complement traditional tuition.

Services For Education’s School Support Service provides expert training and development to teaching and support staff in nearly 600 schools in the West Midlands and increasingly across England, to improve practice and ensure teachers are best equipped to respond to developments in curriculum and policy. As a leading provider of safeguarding education, Services For Education works with 400 schools delivering training in-person and on-line. It also delivers innovative programmes to support the physical and emotional health of children and young people through Health for Life and other community-based activity.

Services For Education has been recognised regionally and nationally for its work:

music & drama awards

2023 Winner
Excellence in SEND

In partnership with Soundabout


2022 Winner
the Arts, culture and heritage award

2022 Winner
Outstanding Charity of the Year

music & drama awards

2021 Winner

music & drama awards



2021 Winner
Innovation in Education Award

Birmingham chambers logo

2021 Winner
Excellence in Training and Education

2019 Winner
Excellence in Training and Education

2019 Winner
Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community

Music Teacher Awards For Excellence Logo - Services For Education

2018 Winner
Music Education Council Major Award

Birmingham Awards - Services For Education - Music Service

2018 Winner
Contribution to Education

Brass bands england award logo, won by services for education

2018 Silver winner
Birmingham schools' brass band championship sections

Services For Education’s Annual Review for 2022 is available at:

Our Press Office

You can contact Clarke Associates on  

  0121 702 2525 or 07808 735 255 

Page Last Modified:  01/02/2024 11:53