September 7, 2018

About Me

Colin Cattanach is an education leadership specialist, key note presenter, author,  blogger, teacher and champion for young people. He has had a successful 27 year career in MATS, schools, Local Authorities and most recently as an Executive Headteacher of two diverse schools in Bath.  He has expertise and headship experience in primary, secondary, PRU and Special school sectors and is passionate that leadership can act as a key catalyst to support personal growth and  organisational improvement.  He is passionate that schools must be places where all children thrive and have  access to a ‘Curriculum of Opportunity’ which has the power to transform and enhance life chances.

He works in schools, Universities and businesses coaching young people,  teachers and leaders about learning and leadership. He is also an author writing his first book on  School to School Improvement.   He has particular interests in talented and gifted provision, special needs, curriculum design, school and college improvement,  mental health of staff and young people. He is a highly accomplished expert in primary and secondary SEND education and was identified by Ofsted in 2017 as an ‘Inspirational leader.’ Source:   Aspire Academy Ofsted Report 2017

He is a pragmatic, grounded school leader, who believes that there are no ‘quick fixes’ to school improvement but that leadership must always have positive and influential  impact. He blogs extensively on leadership matters and is currently working on a University research paper arguing that education leadership has become too ‘toxic’ and a new paradigm for leadership is urgently needed.  He has very high expectations of pupils, staff and parents and believes that strong, authentic values must underpin great leadership.  Bath Studio School HMI Monitoring Report 2018

He does not subscribe to the view that school improvement is about a series of ‘quick fix interventions’, austere behaviour policies nor about endless ‘data drops;’  but pace of improvement is closely linked to  values and expectations, leadership capacity, a curriculum offer which promotes opportunity and progression, resourcing and relationships with students and families as strong authentic partners.

Colin has successful  experience in primary, mainstream secondary,  Special school, Alternative Provision and FE contexts and  has written two successful free school bids that opened in 2014 and 2015.  He has successfully tendered and has had responsibility for a multi-million pound Alternative Provision contract for a unitary authority. He has postgraduate certificates from Institute of Education, Warwick University and MBA diploma in advanced education management from University of Leicester.  He has been a Headteacher for 7 years;   initially as an interim Headteacher in Wiltshire and six years as an Executive Headteacher  in Bath & North East Somerset.  He has recently worked in Kazakhstan supporting school improvement for an Independent School  and has both UK and International knowledge of school systems. Colin is still a practising Geographer and has been an examiner for A level  &  GCSE geography for over 20 years. Colin is a governor of his local primary school and is Director of his  business Colin Cattanach Leadership Ltd.

He speaks at conferences and training events about leadership, school culture, curriculum, well-being and school improvement. He also engages with the business community and is an ardent supporter of high quality vocational learning working in partnership with  business and commerce. Colin has travelled extensively to strengthen his education leadership expertise and understanding of different school systems visiting schools in San Diego, New York, Almaty, Berlin and Nuremberg. Colin has three children of secondary school age across key stages 5, 4 and 3 and lives in Bath & North East Somerset.

Employment Record


Norton Hill School

Self Employed

Inclusion and Alternative Provision  interim leader & Author

Freelance Leadership Specialist & Author

November 2018 – Present

August 2018 – November 2018

Bath Studio School Executive Principal 2014 – July 2018
Aspire Academy Executive Principal 2012 – July 2018
Wellington Academy Senior Vice Principal 2009 – 2012
Writhlington School Deputy Headteacher 2004 – 2009
Great Marlow School Assistant Headteacher 2001 – 2004
Queens School Head of Sixth Form 1999 – 2001
Myton School Head of Humanities 1996 – 1999
Royal Latin School Head of Geography 1994 – 1996
Radcliffe School Teacher of Geography 1992-1994

My Interests

Travelling, cinema, mountain walking, cycling, urban challenges and 10 km runs, current affairs, video production, volunteering, photography and an aviation geek.

My Skills Set

  • Project Management
  • Computing
  • Business Planning
  • Financial Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • School Improvement
  • Trainer
  • Bid Writing
  • Leadership Development
  • Examining
  • New school visioning
  • SEND
  • Teaching and Learning

Major recent professional achievements

  • 2012 Free School bid author – secured £3.1 Million to open Bath Studio School – Creative Media School
  • 2013 Free School bid author – secured £3.8 Million to open IKB Academy – STEM Studio School
  • 2016 Bath Life Award winner – recognition for school leadership in City of Bath voted by industry experts
  • 2017 Special Needs Capital Bid author – secured £0.5 Million to build extension to primary special needs school

What People Say About Colin

Colin can provide a more detailed list of testimonials on request

Discover how Colin Cattanach Leadership can help your school or organisation