John Dunford chairs Whole Education, an organisation that aims to support schools, colleges and other education providers in giving young people the fullest possible education.
Whole Education believes that a gulf has opened up between what education systems provide and what children and young people need. Schools and colleges rightly try to ensure that young people are literate, numerate and gain academic qualifications, but the emphasis on testing and passing exams often squeezes out other skills and qualities that are just as vital in today’s world.
Whole Education brings together leading education organisations that demonstrate a commitment to a more rounded education for young people, an education that:
- develops a range of skills, qualities and knowledge that young people will need for the future
- makes learning more relevant and engaging for young people, with them at the centre of their own learning, providing a mix of practical and theoretical learning
- recognizes that learning takes places in various settings, not just the classroom, and the best schools engage the wider community in learning.
The changes have already begun. Whole Education is not just about schools and colleges but about spreading a different approach to learning throughout the community and throughout people’s lives. Everyone should have the chance of a Whole Education.
John Dunford is chair of Step Together Volunteering, which helps those people most in need of support to transform their lives through community volunteering. Working through a team of outreach workers it provides tailored one-to-one support to help individuals into volunteering placements that match their needs and interests, and helps them to develop the personal and practical skills required to build a more positive future.
Having been a governor since 1999 of St Andrew’s CE Aided Primary School, North Kilworth, in the village in Leicestershire where John Dunford lives, he is now a trustee of the Learn Academies Trust, a multi-academy trust of seven primary schools, including St Andrew’s. The Trust was founded in 2016.
In July 2010, John Dunford was asked by the Secretary of State for Education to conduct an independent review into the powers, functions and remit of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner in England. The report, which was published in December 2010, was well received across the children’s services sector. The report contained 46 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the government. You can read it here.
From 1998 to 2010, John Dunford was general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, which changed its name in January 2005 from the Secondary Heads Association. During his 12 years at ASCL the Association’s membership among secondary school and college leaders (including bursars and business managers) climbed from 8000 to 15000.
In December 2010, John was awarded honorary membership of the Association.