Les Walton CBE


Once described by the Yorkshire Post as ‘the public speaker everyone wants’. His latest book, ‘Education the Rock and Roll Years’, describes his experience of school and education leadership in the northeast since the second world war.

‘Education the Rock and Roll Years’ has been described as: ‘‘Visionary, rebellious, Insightful, entertaining, funny, clever, compelling and wise. A beautiful book chronicling an astonishing life in education and an extraordinary leadership journey’.

Les’s career has seen him directly involved in almost all the significant changes in the education landscape stretching back to the 1960s

Les has vast experience, having a unique record of being a successful leader and innovator within most education sectors. The list of his roles is remarkable.

Headteacher at Norham Community Technology College, North Shields
Education director at North Tyneside Council
Founder and managing director of Northern Education Associates
Founder Principal of Tyne Metropolitan College
Set up Schools NorthEast
Founder chair of the Young People’s Learning Agency
Founder chair of the Education Funding Agency advisory group
Founder chair of Northern Education Academies Trust
Founder of the Association of Education Advisers
Chair of the National Leaders of Governance Advisory Group

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 including being an adviser to Ed Balls. He then worked as an advisor to Michael Gove during the Coalition Government.

He has been recognised for his work by being awarded the Order of British Empire (OBE) in 1996 and Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2013.