Welcome to Education Star Solutions. (ESS)
Here at ESS we offer business solutions to both employers and training providers of all sizes through a range of integrated services that meet your business needs, add value, and drive bottom line impact.

Our mission is to assist the organisational development of employers by building workforce solutions including Accessing the Many Types of Public Funding Available to them.

For training providers we offer a wide range of services including but not limited to;

  • Strategy Development
  • Bid Writing
  • Quality Assurance
  • Sourcing Funding
  • Recruitment
  • Partnership Management
  • Learner Finder
  • Employer Engagement

ESS is a network of highly experienced professionals who understand the needs of both employers and training providers and works with them to deliver the best and most cost effective quality solutions possible.

The founding directors Gavin Newbold and Ian Peacock have over 40 years of experience in the training and education sector having both previously successfully run, developed, and sold national training organisations.

During this time we have assisted hundreds of companies, securing funding for projects with total contracts successfully won in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

Please contact us on 01977 705203 or Get In Touch using the online form if you wish to have a confidential discussion regarding our services and how we may be able to assist your organisation.

Our People

Ian Peacock MBA, Managing Director

Ian has a track record of building, transforming and selling £multi-million training businesses. Key strengths include: assembling and leading high performing management teams / Boards of Directors and delivering performance through people; creating operational infrastructure across people, processes and systems; embedding performance management programmes to drive efficiencies and superior service delivery; engaging with blue chip clients at CEO level to achieve strategic level engagement; and strong management skills with multi-disciplinary teams of up to 320 people across the UK.

He has also led not for profit training organisations, is an IOD member, and has attained the certificate of strategic development from the IOD’s Chartered Directors Programme.

Gavin Newbold Funding Director, Tender Procurement

Gavin is a professional bid writer with over 25 years of industry experience. During this time he has assisted hundreds of clients helping secure funding for a wide range of activities with total project costs in excess of £1billion. Clients have ranged from micro training providers through to some of the world’s largest accountancy firms, colleges, universities, charities, Government Agencies, Local Government, Central Government and many more. Funding has been secured from sources including OJEU tenders, Trans-national EU programmes, DWP, ESFA/SFA, Lottery and the EU Structural funds etc.

He can assist in the full funding “life cycle”, from the initial identification of opportunity, through EOI, PQQ, ITT and then management and evaluation.

Reena Chandarana, Development Director

Reena Chandarana takes a vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development.  She intuitively sees the threads of opportunity that wind through an organisation, brings them together into a coherent whole, helps others extend their thinking, and drives material business advantage. She is an inspirational leader who shares her personal business experiences that inspire action whilst at the same time is grounded in financial information that levers the business. Respected as a credible voice in decision making, finding strategic partners, and establishing both internal and external boundaries, Reena earns recognition wherever her involvement.

Currently as Development Director at Education Star Solutions, covering mainly the London area, to support in identifying, developing and leading strategic business solutions for both employers and training providers.

Previously, as a consultant, Reena led business development for the education sector for both training providers and colleges. During this time, she drove the development of the companies and achieved a great deal of success with various external bodies.
Reena holds a BA Hons in Criminal Justice from Thames Valley University.

Steve Dobson, Development Director

Steve is a highly experienced Operations Director and has a proven track record over 20 years of driving strategic, operational and commercial transformations. Working for large Third Sector providers delivering £multi-million Central Government contracts, he has led on major business change & improvement programmes to optimise operations and oversee risk management. As a National Operations Director for several years Steve led a team of 320+ staff located across the UK, with control of a £160m+ budget. In 2016/17, he led on business development across multiple industry sectors for a large Recruitment & Training company.

Steve offers a bespoke service to individuals, businesses and organisations who are looking to grow and thrive.

Kim Hailstone, Tender & Procurement Manager

Kim has over 20 years’ experience of driving successful business development, including 7 years as a consultant to Government funding bodies such as the ESFA. She is an APMP qualified bidding and tendering specialist who brings her consistently high win rates to organisations she works with.

Kim’s experience includes leading the set-up and development of post-16 training provision and supporting over 150 providers to access new areas of funding, delivering new and sustainable business and retaining existing contracts.

Jo McDonald, Development Director

Jo has over 25 years’ experience working with the education and training sector. She started her career in the sector as a Work Based Assessor for a large retail which lead to a role within an ITP. For seven years Jo worked for Manchester TEC supporting the launch, implementation and contract management of a diverse range of public funded programs. Jo relocated to London in 2000 where she was employed with Reed in Partnership as National Head of Skills Contracts for twelve years leading operational delivery of a wide range of ESFA and Local Authority programs for young people and adult learners.

Jo acts in the “role of non-executive director” for several ITPS. Jo prides herself on keeping up to date with operational requirements to deliver outstanding public and commercially funded learning. Jo works in partnership with a range of specialist consultants to compliment her skill set and ensure her clients have access to the best person to support any business needs that she feels are outside of her knowledge remit.

Michael Ware, Corporate Finance Partner, BDO UK LLP
We have arrangements in place to directly refer you to BDO UK LLP for accountancy support.  As one of the world’s largest accountancy networks, BDO helps a diverse range of clients with a diverse range of needs.  Their professionals are drawn from a variety of multidisciplinary backgrounds, allowing them to deliver insightful, innovative solutions – no matter the challenge, no matter the need. 
Karren Culshaw, Quality Professional

Karren is a qualified teacher, trainer assessor and IQA with over 10 years experience in undertaking inspection preparation, staff observations and contract reviews, more recently leading on quality and curriculum for independent training providers. Her strengths in learning, development and design means she is able to quickly understand actions needed to improve provision by developing and implementing quality self assessment as well as policies and procedures to support delivery. She also has experience in developing IAG strategies to improve provision. Her areas of experience include designing curriculum and learning solutions for new standards for employers and Levy paying stakeholders and all aspects of quality assurance. She regularly undertakes CPD to keep her skills current and up to date with changes in industry.

Karren holds a degree in Education and Professional Practice.

Deva Odedra

Experienced Director of Training Provider for 16 years and experience over 25 years within the Education and Training Sector. Supporting Training Providers with strategic direction with a proven ability to challenge and improve existing processes and systems. Audit Compliance and Matrix standards are a few of the extensive systems and procedures Deva has been involved in. Significant amount of experience of working with learners, employers and stakeholders. Deva’s experience has been gained from programme design and delivery through to strategic management, within the public and private sector. Supporting Employers and Providers with Levy processes and recruitment processes, securing Bids for ESFA Contracts. Deva holds an MBA in Business Management, Assessor, IQA and PTLLS qualifications and has taken a vast range of training qualifications to keep his CPD upto-date. Has extensive experience and knowledge with OFSTED inspections over the last 16 years.

Stuart Atkinson (MSc; BSc (hons); P.G.C.E.; M.I.F.L)

Stuart has a wealth of experience within education across Private Training, Further Education and Higher Education. He has enabled several training companies to be founded and thrive, providing them with multi-skilled expertise to enable companies to launch, develop successful strategic partnerships that facilitate both academic achievement and vocational excellence.

Stuart also has significant experience in Awarding, as a lead external quality assurer; qualification author; sector qualification reviewer and within business development. Stuart has developed highly successful graduate programmes and led the implementation of innovative awarding and training solutions for large multinational companies and SME’s alike. This strength in curriculum and learning design demonstrates his understanding of provider and learner needs.

Stuart maintains current CPD and ensures currency, holding roles as University lecturer and National Trainer for a large Awarding Organisation.

Michael Kennedy

Mike is a highly motivated business professional with a wealth of experience working with learners, employers and stake holders across the DWP, ESFA/SFA funding structures. His extensive business relationships built up over the last 25 years with colleges/prime contractors and local referral partners, has ensured the successful delivery of multiple contracts on an Annual basis.ROTO applications, MATRIX accreditations and CRM management are a few of the systems and procedures Mike has been involved with.

Utilising his solid communication skills, he has consistently developed strong working relationships with a vast range of high-profile clients, managing expectations, assessing needs, and delivering transparent feedback to enable operations to move forward. His ability to negotiate and secure new contracts is always at the forefront of his decision making process.

Katherine Wynne

Kate is an experienced business development and commercial director, with 20 years’ experience across health, social care, employment and justice sectors. Her wins for clients are in excess of £1bn.

Kate is a senior leader with experience across public, private and third sector. She is a strategic visionary with strong commercial skills with a track record in business growth and diversification. Experienced in change management, developing sales pipelines and promoting collaborative approaches to finding solutions.

Kate’s particular expertise is supporting clients to understand and respond to Commissioning opportunities, developing compelling and commercially viable propositions.

Kate has an MA in health and social care and is trained in Principled Negotiation techniques and Programme Management. She has an enhanced DBS and has a L2 safeguarding qualification.