James Toop

CEO, Ambition School Leadership @

James became Chief Executive of Ambition School Leadership in November 2016, a school leadership charity created from the merger of Teaching Leaders and The Future Leaders Trust.  Before that he was Chief Executive of Teaching Leaders for 5 years, leading its national expansion and becoming a national figure championing the importance of middle leadership.

He started his career as a French teacher in the inaugural Teach First cohort, and joined Teaching Leaders following three years as a management consultant at Monitor Group.  He is currently Chair of Governors at St Mark’s Church of England Academy, a secondary school in Mitcham since 2015, and has also served as Chair of Governors of Ark Conway Primary Academy for three years which was the first primary Free school to become Ofsted outstanding in 2013.  He has also served a trustee of The Access Project since 2014, a charity which aims to get more disadvantaged children into top tier universities.

10. How to build and lead a high-performance team