Release date: 04/03/2016

Sir Michael Barber, one of England’s most respected and influential education experts, has been appointed as the independent chair of the new Foundation for Leadership in Education

Michael BARBER

His appointment is a major step forward in the work of the Foundation, an independent and profession-led body for the development of the outstanding school leaders and governors of the future.

Sir Michael is the Chief Education Adviser of education company Pearson. He previously served as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit from 2001 to 2005, and as Chief Adviser to the Education Secretary on school standards from 1997 to 2001.

Sir Michael said: ​"In a school system with devolved responsibility and clear accountability, the quality of school leadership becomes decisive. Every parent knows how important it is for each school to have a great headteacher. It is exciting to see the profession itself taking responsibility for making that possible. The Foundation will collaborate with all those committed to high quality, innovative school leadership."​

Stephen Munday, Executive Principal of Comberton Village College, in Cambridgeshire, and a member of the Teaching Schools Council, has been appointed vice chair of the Foundation.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governors’ Association, said: “The Foundation was created in recognition that successful leadership is the cornerstone of improving England’s schools and colleges. It will have a crucial role in realising a generation of superb leaders and governors by developing and promoting leadership standards and by hosting a constructive dialogue between education leaders and policy makers. It is important that the Foundation demonstrates its own commitment to good leadership and we welcome Sir Michael Barber to the helm.”

The Foundation will help schools build a pipeline of excellent leaders with the skills, knowledge and support to give every child an outstanding education.

NGA members: Peter Kent, founding trustee of the FLE and immediate past president of ASCL, introduces the new Foundation

It will focus on the development of school leaders, working with providers of professional learning to quality assure courses and devise clear progression routes for aspiring leaders. The Foundation will promote greater equality and diversity in leadership teams.

It will devise and oversee new standards for each phase of educational leadership and it will identify and share research on the most effective practice.

The Foundation is being established by the National Governors’ Association (NGA), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). It will be run by a board of trustees and developed in consultation with the profession. 

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sir Michael Barber to the Foundation for Leadership. The Foundation has ambitious and necessary goals; it will ensure a sustained focus on leadership quality. Sir Michael’s 20 years of experience in education improvement and government reform will be vital to our success.”

Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This is about the profession stepping forward and taking the education system to the next level. It is about school leaders taking ownership of leadership development and professional standards and making sure that their successors have the best possible preparation. They have the skills and experience to guide the most effective development. Owned and led by the profession, the Foundation will set the highest standards and help ensure there is a ready supply of great leaders.”

During her keynote speech at the 2016 ASCL annual conference, Education Secretary Nick Morgan, said: "I’m genuinely excited by the potential offered by the work [ASCL], NAHT and the National Governors’ Association are doing on the Foundation for Leadership, which in time will see ever more leadership development driven directly by those who know what it takes to make a great leader. For my part, I want to do all I can to remove the barriers to your success."



Notes to editors

The National Governors’ Association (NGA) is an independent charity representing and supporting governors, trustees and clerks in maintained schools and academies in England. The NGA’s goal is to improve the well-being of children and young people by increasing the effectiveness of governing boards and promoting high standards. It does this by providing information, guidance, research, advice and training. It also works closely with, and lobbies, UK government and educational bodies, and is the leading campaigning national membership organisation for school governors and trustees.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is a leading professional body representing more than 18,000 school, college and system leaders across the UK. Our members work in more than 90 per cent of secondary schools and colleges of all types, and are responsible for the education of more than four million young people. ASCL works to shape national education policy, provide advice and support to members and deliver first class professional development across the sector.

The National Association of Head Teachers is an independent trade union and professional association with 29,500 members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Members include head teachers, deputies, assistant head teachers, bursars and school business managers. They hold leadership positions in early years, primary, special, secondary and independent schools, sixth form colleges, outdoor education centres, pupil referral units, social services establishments and other educational settings.

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