James Aston

James Aston, MBE

National Head of Education

Not for Profit

Executive summary

I lead BDO’s Education Group and have worked in the sector for over 30 years. I oversee our services, which range from external and internal audit to due diligence, forensic investigations and tax (and everything in between). My team has exceptional experience across regulatory compliance (OfS, ESFA and DfE), change of ownership, governance and management, and is often engaged on ‘difficult’ matters. We work with organisations ranging from nursery groups to higher education institutes, and charities to corporate.

Following four years’ service (2018-2022), I recently stood down as a member of Ofsted’s Audit and Risk Committee and have previously been a member of both HEFCE's Audit Committee and the Training & Development Agency’s Audit Committee.

I am widely recognised as a sector expert (HE, FE, private providers, independent schools and academies) in governance, funding and data, and frequently act as an adviser to government departments and agencies across education. In 2002 I was honoured with an MBE for Services to education and charity management.