New Horizons & Embracing Change at TDT

A personal blog from our co-CEO and founder, David Weston

As I reflect on the incredible journey of the Teacher Development Trust since its inception in 2012, I am filled with immense pride and gratitude. Our recent Ofsted Outstanding judgement is not just a testament to our commitment to excellence in teacher development but also a fitting moment for me to announce my decision to step down as one of two co-CEOs and welcome a new era of leadership at TDT.

After twelve years of a journey from teaching to leadership of the charity, receiving the confidential result of our Ofsted back in January began this thinking process for me and for TDT. This month’s publication of the wonderful Ofsted report felt like an appropriate moment to pass the baton to my incredible co-CEO, Gareth Conyard, fresh off the back of his powerful and influential work on CPD entitlement policy. In becoming TDT’s substantive and sole CEO, the charity will benefit enormously from his vision for a better way to support and grow school staff, influencing research, practice and policy to weave together the change that is still needed. It will benefit from his experience, not only at TDT (as Director of Education and then my co-CEO) but also from many years of senior experience as a Deputy Director at the Department for Education, as well as his work in governance of schools and charities. But it will especially benefit from his values as a truly passionate, kind and wise leader with some of the most admirable qualities of anyone I’ve ever worked with.

From 1st April I will be moving to six months of a part time role at TDT, as Director of Innovation, finishing here at the end of September 2024. During that period, I’ll be taking up a new part time secondment from 1st April, as Artificial Intelligence Lead at Purposeful Ventures, exploring the potential of philanthropic funding in ensuring that AI has real impact in education, particularly in mathematics, in the UK.

Setting up and working in TDT has been the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m extraordinarily grateful to have worked with amazing trustees, colleagues, partners as well as all of those who have trusted TDT to be their guide in their own school and leadership journeys. All the while, our mission has been to improve the way that staff develop in schools, creating the sorts of schools where staff thrive and grow, drawing on the best evidence to develop deep expertise to ensure that all children succeed. 

These past 12 years, TDT has had a significant impact; I’ve picked out a few highlights here. 

Research & Innovation

Key highlights include publishing the Developing Great Teaching Review (alongside Tes Global), a document that underpinned government workforce development policy and frameworks for many years. Other key work has included a review into teacher autonomy with NFER, as well as our own review of teacher working conditions, and a new report on the effectiveness of the Early Career Framework. We’ve recently been innovating in the Artificial Intelligence space, piloting new AI-powered simulations that will sit within expert-written courses. 


We’ve had a significant impact on policy over the years, being a strong voice for the importance of professional development. This has included contributing to the formation of the DfE Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development and the more recent ECF and NPQ frameworks. We were also a core part of the coalition that campaigned for, and helped to create, the Chartered College of Teaching, winning government support for the early funding that helped set up the new body. More recently, we published a report on a new potential entitlement to Teacher CPD.

Schools and teachers

At the heart of our work has been the fact that TDT has maintained a relentless focus on making these ideas happen in reality, on the ground, in real settings, solving real problems. We’ve had hundreds of schools and leaders involved in our Expert Schools Programmes (previously known as our Network and before that our National Teacher Enquiry Network). We’ve helped each leadership team gain confident insights into the strengths and challenges that they can address, how to address them and how to draw on our guidance and support in building in key leadership and process improvements. We’ve seen significant impact from our work operating programmes through hubs, such as our DfE-funded TLIF project and the CPD Excellence Hubs.

More recently, we became one of the government-approved Lead Providers of National Professional Qualifications, recruiting and training thousands of current and aspiring leaders. This took all of our learning about real problems and real solutions in schools, and I can think of no better testament to this work than our recent Outstanding Ofsted report which said:

Participants experience highly effective, expert training from Teacher Development Trust. The positive impact that this has on their wider professional development is exceptional and far-reaching in the educational settings in which they work.  

You can read more here.

TDT will continue to stand for thriving schools, for rich and empowering professional learning, for genuine teacher expertise and agency, and for thoughtful and impactful programmes and policy. Under Gareth’s leadership, there will be more opportunities than ever for TDT to be the expert guide that your school or trust needs to achieve insight and excellence in improving teaching, learning and professional development. It will continue to be an innovator, a champion of change that happens with people in schools, not to them.