The WISE Awards


Mr. Mike Gibbons

Position: CEO of Richard Rose Federation
Country: United Kingdom
Mike Gibbons’ career in education and public services began in 1972, teaching English and Drama in a large comprehensive school in the West Midlands. In 2002, thirty years and four headships later, he joined the Senior Civil Service as the founding Lead Director of The Innovation Unit. The Innovation Unit was inspired by then Secretary of State for Education and the Prime Minister as a way of connecting the ambition of government with the expertise of the country’s best and most innovative educational practitioners here and abroad. In 2006 Mike became The Innovation Unit’s first Chief Executive when it subsequently became independent of government. The Unit, with its unique mission of connecting practitioners with policy makers, now has links with education in all parts of the globe. In 2009, he was asked by the Minister for Schools, Jim Knight, to become the Chief Executive of The Richard Rose Federation in Carlisle after one of the federation’s academies was placed in “special measures” by Ofsted.

Mike has deep experience in school leadership.  He now leads a federation of academies. Previously he led four large schools, three in the Midlands and the North and then became Principal and Chief Executive of a 3-18 International School in Brussels with students from 65 different countries. He is a founder member of the Governing Council of the National College for School Leadership.

He speaks extensively in the UK and internationally on innovation and reform in education and public services and has worked with a wide range of agencies and organisations, both public and private. In December 2008, he was part of the Government’s delegation to the International Education Leaders Dialogue in Melbourne. In 2007 he spoke on Innovation and Reform at the Public Services Summit that happens in tandem with The Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies.