The Lord Nash. Parliamentary under-secretary of state for schools and co-chair Pimlico Academy.
Chairman: Sian Griffiths
High quality education for all individuals is a priority in today’s society. The Debrett’s list defines those who play an influential role in realising this. It recognises individuals operating at the primary, secondary and higher education levels; those forming education policy, those regulating it and those providing support for persons who would not otherwise have access to or benefit from the opportunities on offer.
Sian Griffiths is the education editor at The Sunday Times and the deputy editor of the Sunday Times News Review. For a number of years she has provided an informed and influential commentary on many matters of education; from exams and university admissions to school selection and private tuition. She is a reliable and prominent authority.
Sir Michael Wilshaw. Chief Inspector of Schools in England and head of Ofsted.
In 2012, Sir Michael Wilshaw was appointed to the position of Chief Inspector of Schools in England. As head of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), Wilshaw leads the independent organisation responsible for regulating and carrying out inspections of those services that care for children and young people. Prior to taking on this position, Wilshaw spent 43 years as a teacher in various London schools. In addition, Wilshaw was director of education for a charitable education trust that runs numerous of academies across England, ARK.
The Rt Hon Michael Gove, MP. Secretary of state for education.
Michael Gove is the secretary of state for education. In this role, Gove is devoted to helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds to maximise their academic potential and to raise the standards in state schools. Upon assuming the position, Gove rebranded the department. This included declaring plans to allow schools assessed “outstanding” by Ofsted to be converted into academies. Gove is committed to improving the quality of leadership and teaching within schools and reforming qualifications and the curriculum to prepare pupils better for life after school.
The Rt Hon David Laws, MP. Minister of state for schools.
MP for Yeovil David Laws became the minister of state for schools in 2012. Included in his responsibilities are raising attainments, teachers, improvements to schools, funding, admission, raising the participation age, Ofsted and social mobility strategy. Having graduated from Cambridge with a double first in economics, Laws joined JP Morgan in their Treasury Division. In 1994, Laws left The City to become an economics adviser to the Liberal Democrat Party. In his current role, Law’s department is committed to tackling underperformance in weak primary schools and promoting the national curriculum.
The Hon Dr Tristram Hunt, MP. Shadow secretary of state for education.
Tristram Hunt was appointed to the role of shadow secretary for education in 2013. The Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central was educated at the independent school University College School, before reading history at Cambridge University. A passionate academic, Hunt plays a crucial role in presenting the opposition policy on education and is focused on raising standards and improving attainment in school.
Lucy Heller. Managing director ARK Schools.
Lucy Heller is the managing director of ARK Schools. ARK's education programmes aim to harness the academic potential and life opportunities of as many children as possible. 100,000 children have profited from the organisation’s global education programmes. ARK is the first UK not-for-profit organisation to operate schools for public benefit in the UK and in the developing world. In 2004, Heller joined ARK Schools from her position as managing director at TSL Education. Previous roles that Heller has held include general manager of The Observer and executive chairman at the trade and academic publisher, Verso.
Dame Sally Coates, DBE. Director of United Learning's southern academies.
Sally Coates is the director of United Learning's southern academies, and was previously the principal of the Burlington Danes Academy. When asked about her career in education, Coates reminisces: “I got into my career by accident really. I originally wanted to do law but did not get the grades and ended up at teacher training college for what I thought would just be a short period whilst I reconsidered my options. I did one teaching practice and absolutely loved it and I realised that teaching was what I was good at and never looked back.” Burlington Danes Academy was once recognised as London’s worst comprehensive school, but under Dame Sally's leadership in 2013 Ofsted judged the school as outstanding in all four categories. In her new role she will oversee the performance of United Learning's 15 academies and free schools in the south of England.
Christine Blower. General secretary NUT.
General secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Christine Blower, is the daughter of a former miner. Educated in the grammar school system, Blower trained as a teacher, taking her first teaching post at a state school in Kensington and Chelsea, Holland Park School. In her current position, Blower leads the trade union that represents qualified teachers in England and Wales. The NUT has frequently spoken out against various government education policies such as the Academies programme, Free Schools and SATs.
The Rt Hon David Willetts, MP. Minister of state for universities and science.
David Willetts has been the Conservative MP for Havant since 1992, and in 2010 he was appointed as minister of state for universities and science. In this role, Willetts is responsible for higher education in the UK. This includes monitoring the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Student Loans Company. Willetts works with colleges and universities in order that they may continue to offer high quality research and teaching and create well skilled graduates and post graduates. During the recent period of education reform, Willetts has played an influential role in driving and informing policy.
Ms Mary Curnock Cook, OBE. Chief executive UCAS.
As the chief executive of the University and College Admission Service (UCAS), Mary Curnock Cook has overall responsibility for the organisation’s performance. The company manages applications to higher education courses in the UK. Curnock Cook is also on the board of The Access Project, which aims to support students from less-privileged backgrounds to gain places at top universities. Curnock Cook herself left school at the age of sixteen and began work as a secretary at International Biochemicals. She left the company as international sales and marketing director, and in 2001 he graduated from the London Business School with an MSc in general management.
Tony Little. Headmaster Eton College.
Tony Little is head of the prestigious Eton College. Despite the public school’s historic connection to a wealthy elite, having educated numerous generations of aristocracy and nineteen Prime Ministers, the school ardently supports the concept of free schools. Later this year, Holyport, a state boarding school, is planned to open near the College with Eton as its exclusive educational sponsor, and they currently co-sponsor a free school in Stratford. Little is also an authority on education matters, and has met with numerous ministers for schools over his time.
Dr Anthony Seldon. Master Wellington College.
As the master of Wellington College, the high-profile Anthony Seldon heads one of the top independent schools in Britain. He is a trusted authority on many education matters and is frequently called upon by governments to provide opinions which later influence policy. Seldon is a fervent and committed supporter of independent schools sponsoring academies to overcome the divide between the two sectors. In 2009, Seldon established the Wellington Academy and became its executive head in 2013. It is the first Academy to bear the name of its founding independent school.
Sir Peter Lampl, OBE. Chairman Sutton Trust.
Sir Peter Lampl, the son of a Viennese émigré, comes from a very modest background. Having been educated in the state system, Lampl gained a place to study at Oxford University. After completing an MBA at the London Business School, Lampl started work for the Boston Consulting Group in Boston. Returning to the UK 20 years later, Lampl claims that he was shocked by how the opportunities for those bright children from low-income backgrounds had deteriorated. This was his motivation for establishing the Sutton Trust. Since this time, the Trust has funded over 200 programmes supporting tens of thousands of young people in education and addressing social mobility.
Brett Wigdortz. Founder and CEO Teach First.
Since launching Teach First in 2002 Brett Wigdortz, the founder and chief executive, has led the organisation to become the third most prestigious graduate recruiter in the country. Teach First aims to close the inequality and achievement gap in education in the United Kingdom by developing and inspiring talented people to teach in schools. Wigdortz was working for the management consultancy McKinsey & Company when he constructed the original business plan for the charity, before further developing the idea during a six month planned leave of absence. In 2013, Wigdortz was awarded an OBE for his services to education.
The Lord Harris of Peckham. Sponsor Harris Federation.
At the age of 15, Lord Harris of Peckham took over his family’s carpet business following the sudden death of his father. 20 years later Harris was running 93 shops. It is for his extensive contributions to education, however, that Harris is recognised. He is the sponsor and chairman of the Harris Federation, a non-for-profit organisation which he established so that London children might have a better education than Harris himself had. Many Academies have been founded from Harris’ donations such as the Harris City Technology College, Harris Academy Merton and Harris Manchester College, Oxford.
Elizabeth Truss, MP. Parliamentary under-secretary of state for education and childcare.
In 2012, Elizabeth Truss was appointed to the role of parliamentary under-secretary of state for education and childcare. Raised in a northern, left-wing household, Truss’ politics were not positively influenced by her parents. In fact, her father refused to campaign for her when she ran for election. Various areas of education policy have been developed under Truss’ watch, such as A-level reform, and her remit also includes childcare and early learning, assessment qualifications and curriculum reform and school food review. Truss is also focused on providing greater care for parents and offering a wider choice of quality education.
Prof Les Ebdon, CBE. Director of fair access to higher education Office of Fair Access.
Les Ebdon is the director of fair access to higher education at the independent, non-governmental Office of Fair Access, which strives to advance fair access to education. Following the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2006-2007, the Office has been instrumental in promoting the accessibility of education to those under-represented groups, particularly those from low-income backgrounds. According to Ebdon, “I was fortunate to be inspired by many great teachers, who persuaded me that a lad like me, from a corporation estate, could aspire and achieve, and helped me develop me love of practical chemistry. Higher education gave me so much...and that’s why I’ve dedicated my later career to putting something back into higher education for others.”
Chris Keates. Head NASUWT.
As the head of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), Chris Keates is responsible for initiating and leading various campaigns to influence government policy. In the UK, the NASUWT is the largest teacher’s union and Chris has been re-elected to her position unopposed. Having graduated from Leicester University with a degree in history and archaeology, Keates began her career as a teacher in Birmingham secondary schools. Throughout the entirety of her working life, she has been involved in the trade union movement in the UK and held a number of positions with the NASUWT before being elected to her current role.
Brian Lightman. General secretary Association of School and College Leaders.
Brian Lightman is the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders. Prior to assuming the role in 2010, Lightman had a long-established career in education. He had been the head teacher in various English and Welsh comprehensive schools allowing him great insight into the sector. According to Lightman, the biggest challenge he faced “was helping those young people whose lives outside school present immense difficulties to develop enough confidence and self-esteem to believe in themselves and experience success. Succeeding in that is enormously satisfying.” As a leader of head teachers, Lightman recognises that his greatest inspiration has been “the young people themselves who often overcome even the most enormous physical, social, or economic barriers to progress to successful and happy lives.”
Russell Hobby. General secretary NAHT.
Russell Hobby is the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the independent trade union which represents head teachers, deputy heads, assistant heads and other college leaders in the UK. Hobby began his career in IT having graduated from Oxford with a degree in PPE. According to Hobby, “a memory of the actions of my first head teacher, Mr Peacock, was a big motive for joining the NAHT. Mr Peacock took some simple decisions with profound consequences for my family. More importantly, he did it without any fanfare or self-aggrandisement. These are the ethical decisions heads must make every day which appear on no league table or inspection report. They are ignored by the authorities by remembered for decades.”
The Lord Nash. Parliamentary under-secretary of state for schools and co-chair Pimlico Academy.
Lord Nash is the parliamentary under-secretary of state for schools. Under this remit, Nash is responsible for the Education Funding Agency, the Department of Education Review, school organisation and governance not to mention state schools, grammar schools, independent schools, boarding schools, faith schools, studio schools and university technical colleges. In 2005 Nash co-founded Future, a charity aimed at sponsoring academies and working with other small charities to promote education. Lord Nash is co-chair of the Pimlico Academy, a free school which aims to have 490 pupils by 2019. The school has received outstanding results from Ofsted. Nash studied law at university, beginning his career as a barrister.