Our Team - What makes us different

We talk a lot about culture. How we act with each other, what we believe in and the experience we bring to the table are all ways we know we have the best team for you.

At our core, we have the experience to understand – your challenges, your aspirations, your goals and your fears. We have great connections and a love of our industry and the impact we can all have on the education of young people.

We also believe in the personal approach. We are growing, but still at a size where we are agile, and can give you the time and dedication you need.


Our vision is for every child to receive an outstanding education, underpinned by excellent school and trust management.


To play our part towards achieving this, our mission is to provide schools and MATs with quality management services and solutions embedded in best practice and delivered by committed sector specialists.


We believe in creating partnerships with schools and trusts, and our values reflect the way that we work.

Pippa Lloyd, Head of HR talks about the Keystone values in practice

As a team and individually we:

act with
It is at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make.
to contributing towards school and sector improvement.
working together and sharing best practice.
act with
ensuring all our interactions are open, honest and accountable.
friendly and approachable, caring about the people we work with.

Meet some members of our team

Stephen Mitchell

Time in schools: 10 years

Positions in education: CFO, CEO and COO. Stephen a qualified accountant, is a Fellow of the ISBL and holds an MBA from the University of Nottingham.

Specialism: Strategy, CFO support, finance support and experience of growing multi-academy trusts.

Key achievements: Supporting the rapid growth of several trusts whilst ensuring excellent educational outcomes. Being a national voice for effective resource management. Founding SchoolMark being the sector’s only accreditation framework for effective resource management.

Matthew Clements-Wheeler

Time in schools: 20 years

Positions in education: Former Chair of the Institute of School Business Leadership. Chair of a MAT, Deputy Headteacher, experienced School Business Leader

Specialism: Non-teaching aspects of running schools

Key achievements: Playing a significant role in supporting some of the best schools and trusts in the country as well as playing a significant role in turning around a number of the most challenging settings.

Pippa Lloyd

Time in schools: 5+ years but I have been managing complex cases outside of education for several years.

Positions in education: L7 CIPD Practitioner, HR manager, Director of HR

Specialism: Human resources - Skilled in mediation, Pip combines a flair for making HR accessible with a tenacity for detail and a straightforward approach, ensuring that colleagues across the organisation can thrive and that schools can achieve their desired outcomes with minimum hassle and risk.

Key achievements: I've dealt with some complex cases and had the privilege to work and support across many schools from primary, secondary and specialist education. I've worked on many things that I am proud of, from supporting people in work through serious illness, supporting the implementation of health charters and reduction of staffing absences, setting up systems and processes that have left schools and care homes in a position to move forward smoothly for the long term.

Tracey Farwell

Time in schools: 15 years

Positions in education: Trust Business Manager, School Business Manager, CFO, Chair of Governors, Trustee and Trust Member. Member of ISBL and an experienced and qualified School Business professional with a DSBM.

Specialism: Operational support and management to include HR, finance and audit, procurement, governance and clerking, hard and soft facilities management, health and safety, responsible officer roles.

Key achievements: Working with several schools and trusts to implement, improve and support effective change management within operational services. Coaching and mentoring teams and staff to achieve and improve services within schools.

Sheena Hodgson

Time in schools: 20+ years

Positions in education: Strategic Director, an experienced COO. Holds a BSC in Information and Library Management, a Master’s in Education Management and Prince 2 Project Management award.

Specialism: HR, marketing, fundraising and large-scale capital infrastructure projects.

Key achievements: Raising in excess of £3.6million in capital infrastructure grants. School HR restructures and managing organisational change. Project research (Likes making lists and researching the whole picture!). Brand marketing for school growth.

Claire Bamford

Relevant experience: Claire has spent her career carrying out finance functions in various sectors and is now supporting the education sector with her extensive knowledge through Keystone. 

Specialism: Operational Finance, including management accounts, budget setting, purchase ledger and payroll.

Key achievements: Solving complex payroll issues across multiple settings. Working with third party suppliers to ensure efficient systems and processes are in place to support school resource management.


Les Keates

Relevant experience: Les has 22 years’ experience in HR management. An associate member of CIPD and graduate of the City and Guilds Institute in leadership and management, Les brings a wealth of HR management skills to Keystone.

Specialism: Human Resources, operational support, and data management. Working with Pippa, Les specialises in implementing HR processes and maximising team efficiencies.

Key achievements: I’ve worked with HR teams across Europe to develop effective operational best practice and change management processes. I’ve been responsible for a complex data analysis project that led to a saving of £7.5 million and have coached and mentored staff to improve HR and accounting services within the Armed Forces.

Sian Sweeting

Time in schools: 16+ years

Positions in education: Academy Trust business manager, school bursar, self-employed school bursar/SBM, governor, Chair of Governors, Clerk to Governors. I am a member of the ISBL.

Specialism: Operational support and management in schools in HR, finance & budgeting, audit work, administration, procurement, and health and safety. I also provide advice and guidance to Trustees to support them in carrying out their role and adhering to the Academies Handbook. I adopt a common sense, calm approach to problem solving!

Key achievements: I have worked with multiple academy and maintained schools over the years and am proud both of the relationships I built with the people in those schools and of the quality and standard of work I provided in relation to the operational support, guidance and management they needed. 

I hold the CSBM and DSBM qualifications and have recently achieved a Masters in Educational Business Administration from the University of Gloucestershire. I am also a fellow of the Chartered Management Institute

Keystone Knowledge

Registered Office: Nightingale Way, Etwall, Derbyshire DE65 6RT

Keystone Knowledge is a Registered Company in England, no. 12092122

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