Schools Leadership Programme

Past speakers

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Lord Wilson of Dinton

Lord Wilson of Dinton

Former Cabinet Secretary

Effective leadership

​Lord Wilson has served in a number of Civil Service departments including 12 years in the Department of Energy where his responsibilities included nuclear power policy, the privatisation of Britoil, personnel and finance. He headed the Economic Secretariat in the Cabinet Office under Mrs Thatcher from 1987–90 and after two years in the Treasury was appointed Permanent Secretary of the Department of the Environment in 1992. He became Permanent Under Secretary of the Home Office in 1994 and Secretary of the Cabinet and Head of the Home Civil Service in January 1998.

After retiring as Cabinet Secretary, he was created a life peer on 18 November 2002 with the title Baron Wilson of Dinton, of Dinton in the County of Buckinghamshire. In September of that year, he was made Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He has been Non-executive Director of British Sky Broadcasting Group plc and is currently Chairman of C. Hoare & Co, Non-executive Director of Xansa plc and Chair of the Board of Patrons of The Wilberforce Society.

Baroness Helene Hayman

Baroness Helene Hayman

Former Lord Speaker of the House of Lords

After-dinner speaker

​Baroness Hayman was the first Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, from 2006-2011. She was previously MP for Welwyn and Hatfield and chairman of Cancer Research UK.

Dr Gavin Alexander

Dr Gavin Alexander

Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge

The meaning of ethos

​Dr Alexander is a Reader in Renaissace Literature in the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, where he has lectured since 1998.

Sir Paul Grant

Sir Paul Grant

Headteacher of Robert Clack School, Dagenham

Developing a culture of high aspiration in a school in challenging circumstances

Sir Paul Grant has been Head Teacher at Robert Clack School in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham since April 1997. He originally joined Robert Clack School in 1990 as the Head of Humanities. At that time, the school was in a very challenging period, with low examination outcomes and poor pupil behaviour creating an appalling reputation. Plans to close the school down were well advanced.

However the Humanities faculty led by Sir Paul continued to go from strength to strength against this background. This striking pupil progress came to the attention of the Governing Body and Local Authority, and they asked him to replicate this success across the entire school. What happened next has been the subject of much study by government and academia, especially as the school serves one of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK.

In June 2004, December 2007 and March 2011 Robert Clack School was designated by OfSTED as an ‘outstanding school’. Robert Clack School now has over 2,000 pupils on two sites, is featured in the prestigious Good Schools Guide and is one of the most over subscribed schools in London. It is a High Performing School with Specialisms in Science, Maths & Computing and Languages. The school was the highest placed education establishment in the 2010 Sunday Times Best Hundred Companies to Work for List, and winner in the medium-sized company section.