‘In conversation with’ Barry Cockcroft CBE

To help us think about what is needed to create a long-term vision and framework for education in England, Carl Ward (FED Chair), hosts a series of ‘In Conversation With’ videos with significant influential individuals to help move our thinking forward.

This week we are delighted to present our latest instalment with FED Ambassador, Barry Cockcroft CBE. Barry qualified as a dentist in 1973 and spent the first twenty-five years of his career working in mainly NHS general practice and becoming involved in dental politics at professional representative level locally and nationally. He moved to the Department of Health in 2002 as Deputy Chief Dental Officer. He became Chief Dental Officer for England in 2006 and oversaw many changes in the dental world including the opening of two new dental schools and a school for dental therapists. He worked with both Labour and Conservative led administrations. Barry joined the board of the Diocese of Coventry Multi Academy Trust in 2021 and became chair in October 2023.

In this fascinating conversation, Barry and Carl discuss a wide range of issues related to the role of Chief Education Officer. From Barry’s experience as Chief Dental Officer, Barry talks about the importance of this role in acting as a conduit between the government and the profession. Within the role, Barry highlighted the tensions that politicians face in addressing short-term issues, whilst the role of a Chief Education Office was also about identifying and addressing long-term issues. Barry indicated that the role of a Chief Dental Officer was important in building relationships across the system.


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