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Mike Buchanan

Executive Director
Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (Confirmed)

Mike Buchanan is the Executive Director of HMC, the English-speaking world’s oldest association of Head Teachers. From 2005-2018 he was Head of Ashford School (part of United Learning - a group of 60+ private and state-funded academies/grammar schools), where he oversaw its transformation from a small girls’ school to a thriving all-age, co-educational day/boarding, independent school of over 1,000 children and young people.  Mike has experience in secondary education, all-through schools and boarding, and has held a variety of leadership posts in London and elsewhere. He helped to establish two state-funded Academies in London and a Free School in Kent. He is or has been a Governor of several leading independent schools, a trustee of a children’s charity, a Reporting Inspector, a National Leader of Education and a qualified Executive Coach. He was the elected Chair of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) in 2016/17 and was elected as a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching in 2018. He plays at being a farmer. Mike’s interests are in school culture and climate, coaching, leadership, inspection, character development, the use of positive psychology in education and the role of independent schools within the worldwide educational landscape.

  • Supporting independent schools to flourish as a key part of a diverse and liberal education system
  • Attracting high quality career-changers to the independent schools sector, with over 30% of Ashford School’s staff previously engaged in other careers
  • Enhancing the school experience by recruiting people who have worked in other fields before going into teaching
  • Allowing professionals to teach the subjects they are qualified for and bringing a different perspective to the classroom
  • Changing the way schools approach teacher training through the HMCTT and implementing effective school-based training schemes for those accessing the profession