- Workforce Reform
- System Change and Transformation
- Student Engagement
- School Improvement
- School Effectiveness
- School Design
- Raising Standards
- Professional Development
- Partnership Working
- I.C.T. in Education
- Futures Thinking
- Curriculum Design and Assessment
- Challenging and Coaching School Leaders
- 21st Century Learning
David is a nationally recognised leader in school transformation, partnership development and change. David is committed to enabling every student to achieve their potential and has a particular interest in sustainable school improvement, developing effective collaboration including the developing of MATs and developing schools for the future. His proven, yet innovative ideas derive from his own four Headships and work with many other outstanding school leaders and academics. In his presentations and workshops David shares the ideas and thinking in his book Sustainable Transformation – an inside out approach that was published by Bloomsbury in October 2013 - www.bloomsbury.com/sustainable David is currently supporting the development of the Whole Education Network www.wholeeducation.org.which is chaired by Sir John Dunford. He is also a DFE Education Specialist supporting the work of the Regional School Commissioners.
He has a current interest and focus in exploring school improvement journeys from good to great. He gives keynotes and leads workshops on areas including: developing effective collaboration including supporting the development of small to medium sized MATs and Teaching Schools, Leadership Development at all Levels, innovative approaches to developing curriculum design and pedagogy including a focus on strategies that we know make the most difference. He has also supported a number of LA areas including Peterborough where he chaired their School Improvement board in in major change programmes and school to school networks including a Peer Review Process involving virtually all schools. Linked to this he was part of a team that produced the NFER report in April 2013; what works in enabling school improvement?: The role of the middle tier.
Given the challenges of static or reductions on budgets David’s focus on abandonment and deployment of existing resources and how best to sustain strengths and move forward and his experience of leading schools in a period of budget reductions is proving to be of interest too,
In addition a particular focus of much of his current workshops and keynotes is “narrowing the gap” including effective use of Pupil Premium, how to be better data and evidence informed plus wide ranging strategies and approaches to raising achievement and engagement of students entitled to free school meals. He also argues that an entitlement to a whole education is the only way to truly narrow gap and supports for SMSC including developing character and resilience and wider skills and attributes.
David is committed to ‘school-led system leadership’ and the ‘by schools for schools’ approach. He led the highly praised national RATL programme which developed an innovative and distinctive approach to raising achievement and involved over 700 schools between 2004 and 2008 that was described by Professor Andrew Hargreaves as, "One of the most distinctive, promising and successful reform models to emerge in the recent history of educational change and school improvement". He was also strategic advisor for the pilot of the development the National College Middle Leadership Development Programme between 2009 and 2010. During 2011-12 David was involved the design, contribution to the development and support for the initial implementation of a project involving 34 high priority schools in Tennessee. He also has contributed to a number of international conferences, workshops, consultancy and seminars in the Middle East, China, Brazil, Australia and Canada.
Personal Achievements and Awards
David is committed to enabling every student to achieve their potential and has a particular interest in sustainable school improvement and developing schools for the future.
He has contributed to a wide range of leadership and management programmes, master level courses in strategic financial management and international conferences in the USA, Hong Kong, Middle East and Australia.
He was co-author of the SSAT annual Outcomes Study - Data Driven School Transformation with Professor David Jesson from the University of York. He has written numerous articles and contributed to books on school development and on longer term school transformation.
His first book, Learn to Transform was published by Network Continuum in 2006 which Professor Brian Caldwell described as “ one of the most important and valuable publications on the transformation of schools and also the most credible”. Its second edition published in May 2010 is described by Professor Dennis Shirley of Boston College, Mass as" a masterpiece of school improvement literature! It provide theory of school improvement that is customized to fit a wide variety of particular school settings, vignettes that bristle with the messy on-the-ground realities of schools in challenging circumstances, and proven strategies for success for schools in all countries and contexts.
David is also currently undertaking a PHD with a focus on sustainable school transformation
Relevant Career and Professional Background
From 2004 – 2008 David was a Director at the SSAT. He is committed to ‘school-led system leadership’ and the ‘by schools for schools’ approach modeled in the Raising Achievement and Transforming Learning project (RATL) which supported over 700 secondary schools in England between 2004 and 2008. He also had responsibility for the Leading Edge Partnership Programme and other projects including e mentoring and engaging parents in raising achievement.
From 2008 – 11 He became an NLE and combined the role Executive Head teacher of Wildern School, a large successful 11-16 school of over 1800 students in Hampshire with a range of strategic consultancy roles. These included acting a Senior Education Adviser for the Tribal Group and Strategic Advisor to National College contributing to the development of the College’s new cluster based Middle Leadership programme.
From 2011 – 12 - He was Director of Strategy for Inspirational Schools Partnership programme in Tennesse which involved the design, contribution to the development and support for the initial implementation of the programme which involved major keynotes for all the districts 160+ schools and working directly with the 34 high priority elementary, middle and high schools.
2012 to date - Various Consultancy work including supporting a UK not for profit, Whole Education (www.wholeeducation.org) in the development of their network. Other clients range from schools and local authorities to organisations including the National College for School Leadership, NFER and the National Audit office.
David began teaching history in 1978. In 1991 he became Head of Cirencester Deer Park School In 1997 he was invited to be foundation Principal of a new 2-19 international school in South East Asia which had almost unparalleled access to leading edge ICT. From May 2000 he led a major regeneration of a previously failing school, which was highly praised by HMI, Ofsted and the wider community
Sustainable School Improvement
System Change and Transformation, School led system leadership, Developing formal and informal networks, effective collaboration and peer to peer support
Supporting the development of Multi Academy Trust and Teaching School Alliances
Leadership Development and Coaching school and system leaders at all levels
Creating capacity, Abandonment and redeployment of existing resources, Strategic financial management in schools
Strategies to raise achievement in the short, medium and longer term
School and Curriculum Design, Use of I.C.T. in Education, Student voice / Learner voice, Student Engagement, Futures Thinking
Strategies to Narrow Gap and meet the needs of Pupil Premium Students
“What was said was not only well received but also thought provoking. The feedback from colleagues was universally positive, your contribution was seen as excellent.
“The purpose of the day had been for headteachers to step back from the pressing day to day issues of running busy schools and to consider how to ensure that their students received the best provision possible. David provided an excellent balance of challenge and ideas, both at a theoretical level and set within the real context of a successful case study. All those who attended felt that the day had been extremely useful, as it provided an opportunity to reflect on the current educational climate and the provision within their schools. I would have no hesitation in recommending David to colleagues on school leadership teams.”
Praise for Sustainable School Transformation
“David understands the philosophy of devolving power to school leaders and teachers but knows the skill with which it will have to be deployed if it is to bring about significant change..
Estelle Morris former Secretary of State for Educationn commented
“David expertly turns concepts on their head, developing notions of lateral accountability and an "inside-out" approach. This timely book is a powerful but down-to-earth analysis of the changing landscape for schools. It is a book full of optimism and opportunities. It will be welcomed by those who are passionate about making a difference in education.”
Steve Munby, Chief Executive, CfBT Education Trust, UK
“Using his vast experience and knowledge David brings together a powerful set of contributions which show how courageous leaders can inspire their staff, working together and in genuine collaboration with colleagues in other parts of the system to unleash creativity and implement a genuinely appropriate curriculum which meets the needs of all of their students.
Brian Lightman, General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders, UK