Thomas Packer is currently a freelance educational leadership consultant and teacher trainer. He brings teaching, leadership, governance and inspection experience alongside business acumen in a variety of settings, both maintained and independent schools, primary, secondary, all-through, day and boarding.
His last school post was as Founding Principal of the West London Free School, the first free school to sign a funding agreement with the Secretary of State. He had just 92 days to open the school in the spotlight of intense media debate and with considerable hostility. Before his appointment to West London, Tom was Executive Head of two schools: Stover School and Teesside High School. Prior to that, Thomas was Deputy Head and Acting Head at Victoria College, Jersey, Head of Science at Downe House and teacher, Assistant Housemaster and Officer Commanding the Combined Cadet Force at Hereford Cathedral School. In the very early days, Thomas was a computer programmer and VAT accountant - commercial experience which has served him well in his different roles in schools.
Tom also has experience of school governance, having served on five boards over a period of 25 years; for seven of those he was Clerk to the Governors and Company Secretary. Thomas served for a time as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education, specialising in science, maths, music and leadership & governance. He was a member for many years of the MEI Development Group for Further Mathematics ‘A’ level. He has advised the Department for Education and the All Party Parliamentary Select Committee for Education on curriculum matters and school finance. More recently, he worked with the National College for School Leadership, devising modules for the NPQH Programme. Tom is an Honorary Member of the Society of Heads of Independent Schools, and is also much in demand as a speaker at national education conferences.
A graduate of University College, Durham in Physics and Maths, Thomas subsequently studied employment and education law and undertook research in musical acoustics, as well as gaining Qualified Teacher Status. He is a Chartered Physicist and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. He holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship. Thomas is an assessor for the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and held a commission in the Royal Naval Reserve for 32 years. In his spare time, Tom is a keen semi-professional musician (timpani and percussion, flute and conductor), having broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Radio 2 and local radio.