Meet our people


Les Walton

Les Walton has a unique record of being a successful leader and innovator within most education sectors.

As Headteacher, his school was identified by HMI as ‘one of the most successful urban schools in the country’. In his time as Director of Education the Council achieved Beacon Status for ‘tackling school failure’.  All its schools were deemed successful by Ofsted.  Les led the merger of two FE colleges, the process of which was described as ‘exemplary’ by the DfE.  The success rates moved from bottom to top quartile during the merger period.

Les was first invited to No. 10 to advise Prime Minister, John Major. During Tony Blair’s time in office, he was involved in numerous New Labour Government education initiatives.  Later, Les was appointed by Secretary of State, Ed Balls, to lead and establish the Young People’s Learning Agency. Secretary of State, Michael Gove, then asked Les to support the establishment of the Education Funding Agency and chair the Advisory Group.  Both Boards have been widely recognised as setting high standards for governance and effectiveness.

Les has also instigated and founded a number of influential and successful education organisations, including Schools NorthEast, the Northern Education Trust and the Association of Education Advisers.  He has been recognised for his work through being awarded the Order of British Empire in 1996 and Commander of the British Empire in 2013.

Les continues to radically influence the education system. He has a track record of education innovation. His work reflects his unwavering commitment to improving some of the country’s most challenging schools.

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