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Helen Cairns, Principal Associate

Helen Cairns

Principal Associate

Practice areas

  • Education

Practice notes

Helen is a principal associate in company commercial and a key member of the education sector group. Helen works with Glynne Stanfield in leading the national company commercial education team and works closely with Diane Gilhooley as head of sector.

Helen has considerable experience in providing commercial advice to the education sector (to universities and higher education institutions, further education colleges and academies), having acted solely for education clients since her qualification. Helen advises on all types of commercial work, from general contracting matters to advising higher and further education institutions on mergers and collaborative working.

Helen, together with Ben Wood, has responsibility for leading the national cross departmental academy team. Helen has lead on over 50 converter academy conversions, including acting for numerous multi academy trusts, sponsored academies and University Technical Colleges, working closely with project managers such as PKF and Mouchel. She has close links with the Department for Education.

Helen is also an governance and constitutional expert and is currently advising colleges and speaking at national conferences in respect of the changes to the further education sector following the Education Act 2011. She has written articles on governance for publication and is an editor of Purposive Governance: An Annotated Office Copy of the Instrument and Articles of Government of Further Education Corporations.

Helen regularly leads seminars and speaks at external events. Recently she has hosted and spoken at a national academy seminar programme and has spoken at the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. She has also hosted a series of national risk management seminars for academies in conjunction with PKF.