Former head Mark Lehain appointed as policy adviser

Former head Mark Lehain appointed as policy adviser


The new education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi has appointed Mark Lehain as his policy advisor.

A former principal and director of the New Schools Network and Parents and Teachers for Excellence is the newest addition to the Department of Education team.

He will join Will Bickford, a former policy advisor to Nick Gobb, who will now advise Mr Zahawi on schools policy, as well as Iain Mansfield, a former Gavin Williamson aide who will advise FE and HE minister Michelle Donelan.

He was educated at the University of Cambridge, and was a maths teacher before moving into school leadership.  Mr Lehain was a former Conservative general election candidate, and founding principal of Bedford Free School – one of the country’s first – in 2011.

Well-known in the education sector and a regular media commentator on school issues, Mr Lehain is a vocal advocate for the ideologies of traditionalist education, including a knowledge-rich curriculum and strict behavioural policies.

After six years at Bedford, he went on to lead Parents and Teachers for Excellence, a campaign group for education reform founded by Dame Rachel de Souza, the now commissioner for children.

Mr Lehain also served as Acting Director of the New Schools Network, a government-funded charity, for a brief stint in 2018.

He is currently director of the Campaign for Common Sense, which has published research on issues of culture warfare, including gender identity and “awakening.” He has also been a senior advisor to the communications agency PLMR since February.