Ralph TabbererChairman at BBD EducationSpeaker
Ralph Tabberer is an expert educator with more than 35 years experience in the school sector, in higher education and in government. He was Director General of Schools in England between 2006 and 2009, a post in which he was responsible to PM Tony Blair for the development and performance of 23,000 primary, secondary and special schools in the UK. He held responsibility for a budget of some £34 billion per annum and supervised all policy development and operational delivery affecting government schools.
Before that, he spent six years as Chief Executive of the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) and the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), overseeing national strategy for teacher recruitment, teacher training and the modernisation of the school workforce. The cutting edge work of the TDA in transforming teacher recruitment was un-precedented and it is highlighted in McKinsey’s 2007 report, ‘How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top’.
At the end of the 1990s, Ralph had moved from his role as Deputy Director of the National Foundation for Educational Research to lead the UK e-learning initiative for schools. He has overseen programmes to put computers in schools, increase bandwidth, provide high quality content, and broadcast high-quality lessons via Internet, cable and VSAT.
Ralph left the UK civil service in 2009 and moved to the Middle East to join the international private school operator, GEMS as Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Schools. In 2012, after a highly successful period steering GEMS through the recession and preparing it for growth, Ralph established the first of his own businesses, supporting schools. He now owns, co-owns and chairs five educational businesses providing consultancy, solutions, management and HR support for schools and for international school chains.
Ralph is renowned as an education leader who is steeped in classroom practice. As a former teacher and researcher into how children study and learn, he has expertise in curriculum, pedagogy, student assessment, teacher development and the new technologies. At GEMS he supervised schools running the American, UK, Indian, Arab and International Baccalaureate systems.
Ralph is a graduate of Cambridge University and a qualified teacher. In the New Years Honours list of 2009, Her Majesty The Queen invested Ralph as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB) in recognition of his services to teacher training and to schools. He is a visiting professor at the Institute of Education, University College of London and an Honorary Professor at Warwick University. As a former regulator of one of the world’s largest national systems, he is often in demand not only as a business leader but also as a governmental adviser. In the last year he has co-authored reports on low-cost schools in Africa and Asia, and on the expansion of international schooling globally.