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Sir John Dunford
John is chair of Whole Education and the charity Step Forward Volunteering. He carries out educational consultancy for a range of organisations and is a governor of St Andrew’s CofE Primary School in his home village in 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, reporting back to the Department for Education on issues raised by school leaders and teachers.
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 have been incorporated into the Children and Families Act 2014. He has recently co-authored reports for the National College for Teaching and Leadership on academy chains; on closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and others; on the leadership of free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools; and on an evaluation of teaching schools.
John was general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (formerly the Secondary Heads Association) 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.
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 was chair of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors from 2011 to 2014. 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.
His undergraduate degree was in mathematics and economics from the University of Nottingham and he has a Master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Durham.
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.
After over 40 years in numerous education roles involving leadership, policy making and government relations, during which he has been influential in shaping national education policy and widely quoted in the media, John has retained a deep knowledge of schools and teaching. He has written an authoritative history of the schools’ inspectorate and has written extensively on national education policy, especially in the fields of accountability, curriculum, assessment, 14 to 19 education, leadership and inspection.
Sir John Dunford speaking about pupil premium at the Teaching Leaders conference in 2014