David Weston MEng (Oxon) PGCE ALCM
I’m the Founder and Chief Exec of the Teacher Development Trust, the national charity for effective professional development in schools and colleges. I also the Chaired of the Teachers’ Professional Development Expert Group at the UK Government’s Department for Education during 2015 and 2016.
I taught Maths, Physics and ICT for 9 years in two state schools in the South-East of England, and was leading data management for the last five. During the last few years of my teaching career I began some consultancy work around data and professional development, including a role setting up a new data management award for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and some teaching on the PGCE Mathematics course at Brunel University and the Teach First (Science) course run from Kings College & Canterbury Christ Church.
During my teaching career I became seriously ill with a rare condition called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. This led to me taking some time out and having a life-saving liver transplant in February 2009 after many months of battling for my health. Since then I’ve become an advocate for organ donation and try to spread the word and tell my story.
My increasing involvement in professional development and teacher learning led to a sense of frustration at the poor state of ongoing training for teachers and I created GoodCPDGuide.com in late 2011 followed by setting up the Teacher Development Trust in early 2012. This was an exciting time as the charity began with just an idea and no financial backing. I soon realised that it wasn’t going to be possible to combine my role as Chief Executive of the Trust with teaching and reluctantly took my last classes through to their exams in May 2012 and then left to become full time at the charity. This coincided with the formal launch event which was held at the Department for Education’s offices in London.
Since that time the charity has gone from strength to strength. The Teacher Development Trust is the national charity for effective professional development in schools and I am privileged to work alongside a fantastic team there as well as with amazing trustees, advisers and schools. Together, we are re-shaping the view of teacher professionalism and transforming school improvement processes based on the research in to the most effective practices.
I have written extensively for a number of media outlets including The Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement (where I now also co-author a column with Bridget Clay), Telegraph, SecEd, Headteacher Update, Senior Leadership Today and Education Investor. I have also appeared on Sky News, Newsnight, ITV London, Channel 5 News and some national and local radio stations as well as having given a TEDx talk in the USA. I write a number of blogs (mainly on the TDT site) and tweet rather more than I should under the name @informed_edu – a relic of a name I invented to do a bit of consultancy around data.
During 2017 I co-wrote a book alongside my (now former) colleague Bridget Clay. Unleashing Great Teaching: the secrets to the most effective teacher development is a handbook for school, system and policy leaders about how to support and improve teachers in schools all over the world.
My work with the Trust has allowed me to build up very extensive contacts around the education world and I have been privileged to work with a number of politicians and think tanks of all political persuasions.
I’ve given hundreds of talks and workshops, both in the UK (including the Wellington Festival of Education, Education Show and ResearchEd) and around the world (including in the USA, Canada, India, Italy and UAE).
In 2014 and 2015, I helped to bring together a coalition of organisations, teachers and other supporters to present a proposal to create the new Chartered College of Teaching. Working alongside the Prince’s Teaching Institute, the SSAT and the existing Chartered College of Teachers, we secured initial funding plus a promise of significant government funding, created a new teacher-led trustee board and set up the constitution. I stepped away from the organisation at that time, and was delighted to be appointed a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College in May 2018.
In 2014, to my surprise, I found myself in the middle of a rather nice viral media story after I tweeted a section of a letter from a student about my coming out at school back in 2011. As a reaction to that, I set up OutTeacher.org and now occasionally write, speak and comment on LGBT issues in schools.
I am fortunate to be governor at a brilliant secondary school and on a few different advisory boards of charities. My great interests include teacher professional development (not surprisingly!), teaching, psychology, politics, data, physics and maths. I retain an enthusiasm for coding and technology having become reasonably proficient in coding in Ruby on Rails. Perhaps slightly more unusually I am/(was?) also a very proficient Latin American dancer having competed and trained for nearly 13 years (and even reached a ranking of 13th in the UK) although I no longer have the time, unfortunately.
Some work I’ve been involved: