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Free school head to lead campaign for a 'knowledge-rich curriculum'

The founder and head of Bedford Free School, Mark Lehain, is stepping down to lead Parents and Teachers for Excellence

Mark Lehain is leaving free-schools charity New Schools Network

Headteacher Mark Lehain has been appointed as director of an organisation which promotes a knowledge-based curriculum, rigorous assessment and effective behaviour policies. 

Mr Lehain, who founded Bedford Free School, one of the first free schools in the country, will step down as headteacher to take up the new role at Parents and Teachers for Excellence (PTE). 

The organisation was launched in the autumn last year as a coalition of “education reformers” – many supporters of school reforms brought in under Michael Gove.

Members include the likes of Tom Bennett, founder of ResearchEd and chair of the Department for Education Behaviour Group; Dan MoynihanCEO of Harris Federation; and Rachel Wolf, founder of the New Schools Network and former education special adviser to the prime minister.

Now PTE is keen to recruit more teachers and parents to the cause of a knowledge-rich education. 

Campaign 'moving to the next level'

Mr Lehain, who was previously a member of PTE’s advisory council, said: “I am delighted to have been chosen as PTE's first-ever director.

"PTE has done wonderful work in the months since its inception, and now is the time for the campaign to move up to the next level.”

He added: “I intend to work with people from across the country to further PTE’s aims in schools throughout England, making sure that as many children as possible benefit from a great knowledge-focused education that also encompasses a wide range of enriching extra-curricular activities.

"I have no doubt that parents and teachers from across England will continue to join our campaign to ensure that their children – and all children – get the best education possible.”

Stuart Lock, another member of PTE’s advisory council and headteacher at Cottenham Village College in Cambridgeshire, will replace Mr Lehain at Bedford Free School. 

During his time at Bedford Free School, Mr Lehain formed Advantage Schools multi-academy trust and received permission to open another free school in September 2018. 

Dame Rachel de Souza, the founder of PTE, said : “We are absolutely delighted that someone as talented and as experienced as Mark has agreed to become our first director.

"Mark has had plenty of first-hand involvement on the front line, and knows what needs to be done in education after founding the well-renowned Bedford Free School.

"I can’t wait to see where he takes our campaign at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

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