Ambition and IfT CEO leaves after eight years

Jan. 25, 2019

Chief Executive of Ambition School Leadership James Toop has announced he is to step down from the role after eight years. He leaves to join a start-up charity with a mission to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

James joined Teaching Leaders in 2008 and went on to become CEO of Ambition School Leadership following the merger of Teaching Leaders and the Future Leaders Trust.

Since then he has led the growth of Ambition School Leadership and taken the organisation through a second successful and more recent merger with Institute for Teaching. The new organisation will be ready to launch with a new identity in the Spring.

James will leave the organisation on 1 March.

The organisation now offers programmes for educators at every stage – from new teachers through to executive leaders of groups of schools, with the aim of ensuring there are expert teachers in every classroom, being led by exceptional school leaders at all levels.

Deputy CEO, Melanie Renowden, will lead the charity on an interim basis from 1 February until a permanent successor is appointed. The process to find a replacement will be led by the Board.

Ambition School Leadership and Institute for Teaching Chair, Baroness Sally Morgan, says:

“On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank James for everything he has done for our organisation. James has been a committed, enthusiastic and focused leader. Above all his personal mission has shone through; simply put he knows that by helping teachers and leaders to keep getting better the life chances of the students they serve are enhanced.

“It’s been a pleasure to work alongside James and his influence will be missed across our organisation. In handing over the reins, he can be sure that he’s left Ambition School Leadership and the Institute for Teaching in excellent shape for his successor, ready to take the organisation forward on the next phase of its journey.”

Reflecting on the last decade James Toop says:

“The last ten years have been an amazing period in my life and I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved, but the call of another start-up with a big, bold mission so close to my heart was something I could not refuse. I leave Ambition School Leadership and Institute for Teaching at an exciting time; confident of a secure and sustainable future and poised for the next chapter of its growth and development. I've worked closely with Melanie for eight years and she is absolutely the right person to lead the organisation forward as Interim CEO. I wish Melanie and the team all the best and will continue to be a supportive friend of the organisation as it embarks on its exciting new era.”