Graham Willett

Community Trustee and Chair of the Trust Board

Graham has been involved in The Kingston Academy from the inception of the project in 2009 and he was the lead proposer when application was made in 2012 to the Department of Education to open a free school on The North Kingston Centre site.

Since November 2015 Graham has been developing his own business, Scholis Education Limited, an independent education consultancy. Scholis specialises in brokering the skills and expertise of highly- experienced, successful, senior professionals. Its goal is to provide support for schools, senior leaders, governing bodies and local authorities as they navigate their path through the significant changes introduced by government legislation.

Previously Graham was Director of Education Services for Achieving for Children. AfC is an innovative approach to the provision of children’s services, being a community interest company jointly owned by Kingston and Richmond councils on behalf of which it provides services. Graham was one of the senior leadership team directors. In that role he was the overall lead for all education issues within the early years to age 19 cohorts and responsible for the standards within 105 schools.

Before the formation of AfC he was the Lead School Improvement Partner within EducationKingston, a partnership between schools and Kingston Council. He was one of the original architects of the project, working with headteachers and other officers throughout 2011 on shaping it prior to its launch on April 1, 2012.

Graham has worked in Kingston since 1992. For the six years until 2012 he was a member of Kingston’s Inspection and Advisory Service, as a Link Inspector and School Improvement Partner, supporting and challenging schools to raise standards. It was while in this role that Graham first embarked on the TKA project.

Prior to joining the local authority Graham taught in schools in the state sector for 25 years, mostly in senior positions. He still always describes himself as a teacher when anyone asks and he intends never to lose that perspective as he believes it most appropriately defines his approach. His particular areas of expertise in school were science teaching, ICT, curriculum planning, timetabling and leadership and management.

He believes greatly in the ability of partnerships to achieve more than the partners could alone. He also believes that the changes that we hope to see take place in our schools are more successfully realised if we start from a position from which we recognise and respect the autonomy of schools to determine their own path for improvement.

His aim always is to develop empathetic, supportive and genuine relationships with school leaders and governors based upon the same principle. He believes that working together to ensure that all children and young people are prepared and able to attend a good school is the single most effective thing we can do to support their development and well-being.

As well as being a trustee at The Kingston Academy, Graham has been a governor at Kingston College since 2008 and was previously lead proposer and chair for The Richmond upon Thames School.