John is an experienced and accomplished teacher and school leader who has been instrumental to the rapid improvement of several inner city schools in Leeds. He recently relocated to Edinburgh to deepen his professional knowledge through an MSc in Education at the University of Edinburgh. He is now Depute Headteacher at Portobello High School in Edinburgh.

In 2010, as part of the UK government’s sponsored academies programme, John was appointed as the headteacher of a failing school. At that time only 32% of young people secured five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics and the school received a ‘Notice to Improve’ from Ofsted.

John’s work transformed outcomes so that 73% secured five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, placing the academy well above national averages in all key measures and resulting in an ‘Outstanding’ judgment from Ofsted in 2013. Inspectors noted that ‘teaching across the academy in all subjects and in all years is outstanding’ and that ‘the Principal ensures leaders at all levels constantly strive to make things even better’. In recognition of his achievements, John received ‘The Award for Headteacher of the Year in a Secondary School’ in the 2014 Pearson Teaching Awards.

John has a keen interest in global education policies as well as in the development of strategies to further the achievement of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. He is excited to be joining the Board of Penumbra where he is looking forward to supporting the organisation in extending its work with young people. John has recently taken up running and has ambitions to take part in the Edinburgh marathon!

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