Sir John Dunford

Speaker Photo

Speaker Topics

  • Workforce Reform
  • Systems Leadership
  • System Change and Transformation
  • Secondary
  • School Improvement
  • Policy Making
  • Policy into Practice
  • Policy
  • Partnership Working
  • Leadership
  • Inspection
  • Governers' Responsibilities
  • Education without failure
  • Education Policy
  • Academies and Trusts


John is chair of Whole Education and is a trustee of the Learn Academy Trust in his home area of South Leicestershire.
John was the government’s National Pupil Premium Champion from 2013 to 2015, an independent role in which he worked with schools, trusts, teaching schools and local authorities on the effective use of the pupil premium to raise the educational achievement of disadvantaged pupils.
He has co-authored reports for the National College for Teaching and Leadership on an evaluation of teaching schools, on academy chains, on closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and others, and on the leadership of free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools.
During the autumn of 2010, John conducted an independent review of the Office of the Children's Commissioner, reporting to the Secretary of State for Education, who accepted the review’s recommendations, which were incorporated into the Children and Families Act 2014.
He was a member of the Councils of Durham and Nottingham Universities for 11 and 6 years respectively and was a member of the Local Government Association's Commission on the Organisation of the School Year. He served on the board of trustees of Teach First and the advisory board of Future Leaders from the inception of those organisations and was a member of the governing council of the National College for School Leadership. He was chair of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors from 2011 to 2014 and of the charity, Step Together Volunteering from 2010 to 2017.
John was general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders from 1998 to 2010. Prior to that, he was a member of the leadership team of three secondary schools in the North East of England from 1974 to 1998, including 16 years as head of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, an 11-18 school with 1500 pupils.
In 1994 John was awarded the OBE and in 2014 he received a knighthood for services to education. He has an honorary degree from the University of Nottingham and is an honorary fellow in the School of Education at Durham University.

Current Positions Held

Chair of Whole Education

Chair of WorldWide Volunteering

Governor of primary school in Leicestershire

Personal Achievements and Awards

Knighthood for Services to Education, 2014
• OBE for services to education, 1994

Relevant Career and Professional Background

• 1998-2010 - General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders
• 1982-1998 - Head of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School

Additional Information

"knowledgeable and informative"
"very inspirational, good insight, excellent speaker"
"John was likeable, easy to listen to and shared a wealth of practical tips which delegates found extremely useful. In fact, some delegates found the information John gave them the most practical of any speaker we’d had in the 12 years we’ve been running the heads annual conference."

For availability or to book this speaker please email or call 07595 820211 / 07919 216280