"I spent over half of my school career as a headteacher, achieving my first headship after only ten years in the profession."

Alex Atherton

Karen Watkins

In my view my success did not come because my career was my focus, I was not on a ‘fast track’ programme, or one of the national schemes which exist today. I made progress because I built relationships across and beyond the school I worked in, ran the sports teams, supported the whole school productions, helped people when they needed it, prepared thoroughly and worked hard.

It is true that you have to apply for the next job to get it, but I was encouraged by others because they could see me in the role and told me I had their support. I got my assistant headteacher post at 27, my deputy job at 30 and then, from a speculative punt, ended up as headteacher of a large 11-18 comprehensive school in Tottenham at 33.

My experience includes over twenty years in inner-city schools, the vast majority in London and the first five years in Manchester. I have worked in five schools and led three of them. This includes two mainstream secondary headships for over eleven years between them and a further interim spell in alternative provision (which I recommend to everyone!)

On the way I’ve had significant highs and lows, been to the High Court, the Old Bailey, found myself in the middle of two sustained national press storms (international in one case), overseen two huge Building Schools for the Future projects and, with rare exception, enjoyed it all.

My consultancy work enables me to use my knowledge and skills across lots of organisations. My work is mainly in schools (primary, secondary and alternative provision) but not exclusively. I have also worked with various companies and a parliamentary commission. Lots of young people need more than a great school to succeed in life. I am interested in anything that supports the life chances of young people and those who work with them.

"Experienced and visionary" - Ofsted 2014

"Highly regarded and inspirational" - Ofsted 2013


Paul Dix

Alex is an exceptional leader who is driven by core values that run deep and strong. His recent relevant experience makes him an ideal consultant. As a Headteacher of a large inner city school Alex created a culture of consistency and kindness coupled with the highest expectations. As Head of one of the toughest Pupil Referral Units in London I saw children's behaviour and motivation improve radically at first hand. Alex's ability to lead change in seemingly unchangeable organisations is evidence of his personal drive and commitment. He is a doer not a dreamer; resilient and hugely experienced. I recommend his work unreservedly.

Paul Dix
Executive Director at Pivotal Education, Behaviour Specialist, Speaker, Teacher Wrangler

Let us assist your organisation