Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

The Department for Education (DFE) is committed to being a diverse & inclusive organisation where we attract, develop, and retain talent to make a difference in realising the potential for all learners and for safeguarding vulnerable children. DfE is a place where people from diverse backgrounds bring their best to work and thrive in a supportive, inclusive environment.

Talent is found everywhere, and we strive to be representative of society. Partnering with Women in Data is one way we can help expand the diversity of our workforce and demonstrate our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion while also encouraging a more representative gender balance in the data sector.


Alix Crabtree
Service Owner, Head of Data Service Management
Caroline Kempner
Head of Data Transformation
Corinne Richardson
Deputy Director, Head of Data Engineering
Tejinder Manik
Data Governance and Quality Lead

How DFE SYSTEMS see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

These are exciting times in the world of data with the emergence of LLM (Large Language Models), which has catapulted AI firmly into the public vocabulary and not just the domain of data people. Being data driven as an organisation is now a must have rather than something only cutting-edge companies aspire to.

Across Government, data and its innovative exploitation is increasingly recognised as being key to effective decision making, ensuring efficient delivery of public services, and supporting national growth.

Within DFE we see the continued and rapid growth of data-relevant capabilities being critical in supporting our ambitions to deliver a world class education system and modernising the way Children’s Social Care operates in England. We are increasingly using AI and machine learning capabilities and are pushing the boundaries of innovative technologies to pull in data from across our sectors in near real time. Since COVID we are increasingly supporting digital and data delivery in schools too, changing the learning landscape within the sector and expect that will accelerate rapidly too over the next 5 years to really modernise the delivery of Education

about DFE

The Department for Education (DfE) is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills in England, and equalities.

Our mission is to help create a country where there is social mobility and equality of opportunity by providing excellent education, training, and care, and to help everyone reach their potential, regardless of background.

Expertise: Strategy, Service Management, Product Management, Business Analysis, Statistics, Data Service Delivery

Education: BSc Mathematics

Social Media: LinkedIn

I’m a Service Owner and head up Data Service Management at the Department for Education (DfE) for new data services.

I joined the Civil Service straight out of university in 2016 and have since worked in multiple government departments in data analysis and delivery roles. I didn’t expect my career path to go the way it has, but that’s the great thing about data, it’s everywhere.

Within the DfE my focus is on transforming legacy data services to bring them into the modern world considering people, process and technology whilst ensuring we continue to feed the department insights to enable the best opportunity in life through education and learning to every individual.

My usual way of explaining my role is with a car analogy – would you buy a car if it looked good but didn’t drive well? My role is to ensure there’s a great engine so that the users can create a view that’s underpinned by services that provide good quality data when and where it’s required.

Although I’m still early in my career, I’ve had some real highs and successes. A couple of the ones that stay at the front of my mind are:

  • I enabled the expansion of electric car charging points in HMRC and making it onto the budget.
  • My key delivery programme won the 2023 IT Industry Award for ‘Data Project of the Year’, and work undertaken by Test Engineers received the 2022 European Software Testing Award.

Social Media: LinkedIn

I’m the Head of Data Transformation at the Department for Education (DfE), where we deliver digital and data products that support young people to realise their potential through learning and supporting vulnerable children in care.

I started my career in data as a statistician working for a private sector social forecasting organisation, before moving to a local authority for a good stint working in research and statistics across a range of local government services.  It was here that I discovered my passion for the power of data, statistics and evidence to shape public policy and make a difference to the lives of citizens.

Since then I’ve worked in various education quangos, and latterly at the Department for Education in a variety of statistical and data roles, with a brief stint back in the private sector as Head of Statistics for a large market research firm.

An early highlight in the field of education was working on a review of Further Education “Learning Works” chaired by Baronesss Helena Kennedy.

Within DfE, I’ve worked on all parts of the data lifecycle in further education and schools.  Most recently I supported our Chief Data Officer to modernise our data capability in DfE creating a data architecture and data engineering function.

Building this new capability has allowed us to embark on one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs of my career – automating and modernising the flow of attendance data between schools, local authorities and DfE, so that across the system everyone has easy access to up-to-date information on pupils attendance at schools in England so support can be targeted where it is needed most.  No other country has done this.

Feel free to reach out and connect: linkedin.com/in/caroline-kempner-7a755a19b

Social media: LinkedIn

I’m the Head of Data Engineering at the Department for Education (DfE), where we deliver digital and data products that support young people to realise their potential through learning and supporting vulnerable children in care.

I’ve worked in numerous data roles across Government for the past 25 years (MI/BI delivery, Technical Business Analysis, Project management, technical development and delivery of services ranging from large digital services to complex data pipelines). I’m passionate about how the power of data can really make a difference to the services we deliver to citizens. I was lucky to work with the Cabinet Office on building the Government DDAT (Digital, Data and Technology) data capability framework that really recognises and support the skills we need to deliver quality services.

I’m really proud of the work I achieved at Department for Work and Pensions, where I was the Head of Profession for Data Engineering and Data Management. Working with some really great data teams to deliver critical services that make a difference to people’s lives:  working in collaboration with BEIS and the Energy companies to identify people in fuel poverty, supporting the Home Office by identifying people who had the right to remain from Windrush when the records had been destroyed, collaborating with the NHS around free dental, eye care and prescriptions, working with the Cabinet Office to verify eligibility of people to vote on line during all local, European and General elections to name but a few services.

Within DfE, I’ve been building capability from scratch since 2020 to deliver a really ambitious data transformation programme. From a very low level of data capability I’ve built up a strong team of around 80 working across delivery, business analysis, user centred design, software and data engineering, test engineering and cloud Infrastructure engineering. We are delivering some really cutting-edge services that radically transform how data is used within the Department, schools, children’s social care and Local authorities. We’ve been fortunate to win several Industry awards for our delivery too, including the European Software Testing award for most innovative project, the British Data Award for data transformation project of the year and a civil service award for data project of the year.

Feel free to reach out and connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/corinne-richardson-b3b418134/

Expertise: Data Governance, Data Analysis and Visualisation, Forecasting and Modelling, Service Management
Education: BSc Honours Business Systems Modelling
Social Media: LinkedIn

I am lead Data Governance in DfE and have been in this role for the last two years leading on strategic Data Governance to support our Chief Data Officer function. I am proud of what I have achieved so far, having developed a central capability and framework, and worked with Cabinet office on setting the Data Governance DDAT roles. I am now leading on Data Mapping for the Department, a key foundational project to support and enable the wider Departmental data strategy.
Over the last 20+ years I have had the privilege of further developing and progressing my career in data and have gained a full understanding of the lifecycle and its end-to-end journey. Having worked in and across Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), local and national Government, in a variety of roles and professions from data collections, analysis, and visualisation, forecasting and modelling, data engineering and data governance.
One of my earlier key achievements at the Education Skills funding Agency (ESFA) is where I led on a project on Data sharing and streamlined and rolled out a single service for the DfE.

My journey into data began way back when I went to Sheffield Hallam University. Here I discovered my love for data and wanted to do and learn more.
I’m always happy to have a chat, so please do get in touch.