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Sir David Carter

Speaker Summary

Sir David Carter is the former National School’s Commissioner for the UK government, a best-selling author and one of the nation’s top leadership and whole-school improvement experts. In his role as the Commissioner, he oversaw the performance of over 6500 academies across the UK, with his work having a direct impact on the standard of education provided for over 3.25 million students. His work improving the system allowed struggling schools to settle and grow dramatically, and for strong schools to become world-class. His internationally renowned success means Sir David travels the world sharing his wisdom with leaders on every continent.

Areas of Expertise

Leadership and Management – Policy and Curriculum – Whole-school Improvement

Full Profile

David’s career into educational leadership didn’t begin on the traditional path. A keen violinist in his youth, he took on a Bachelor of Music degree from Royal Holloway in 1982, with the teaching aspect of this degree inspiring him to educate children as a career. For the next 15 years, Sir David would teach music to children in comprehensive schools across the country.

In 1997, Sir David became headteacher of the Cirencester Deer Park School in Gloucestershire. His first foray into senior leadership was incredibly successful, with his work improving the outcomes of students in his school dramatically. In 2003, he stepped down but not before his success was beginning to be recognised on a national level, as he then spearheaded the National Remodelling Team for the Department of Education, wherein he supported primary, special and secondary schools to introduce the workforce remodelling programme across the nation.

In 2004 David was appointed the Principal of John Cabot City Technology College in Bristol, and personally led the formation of the Cabot Learning Foundation, one of the UK’s largest multi-academy trusts. As CEO of the organisation, he was responsible for 12 schools, 5000 children and 1200 staff. His sterling work in this role, led to him being recognised as one of the very first National Leaders of Education with the Cabot Learning Foundation becoming one of the first Teaching Schools in the country.

David was knighted in 2013 by the Queen for all of his services to British education.


David’s published work includes:
- Leading Academy Trusts: Why some fail, but most don’t (2020)

Also speaking at the Summit: