David Benson

David Benson

Principal of Kensington Aldridge Academy

David is the founding Principal of Kensington Aldridge Academy. He was appointed in March 2013 and took up his post in September that year. Over the last five years he has led to development, set-up and expansion of KAA to this point.

Prior to this role David worked for ARK schools, one the UK’s leading academy chains, for 8 years. He worked first at Burlington Danes Academy, a turnaround school, and then Ark Academy in Wembley, a start-up which – just like KAA – opened in new buildings with initially just Year 7.

At Burlington Danes, David was part of the leadership team which turned the school around, raising attainment from 35% 5 A*-C at GCSE (inc. EN & MA) in the year he joined to 75% in the year he left. He worked closely with Dame Sally Coates, the Principal at BDA, to deliver this improvement.

In 2009 he was promoted within ARK to be a founding Vice Principal at Ark Academy. Along with Delia Smith OBE, the Principal, David led the planning and set-up of that school: recruiting the staff and students, inducting them, and planning the systems and structures that would underpin the school’s success. The school opened to Year 7 in September 2010 and was judged “outstanding” by Ofsted in its first year. As VP in charge of Assessment & Curriculum and Teaching & Learning, David was instrumental to both the school’s initial success and then to maintaining its high standards as it grew.

The assessment and tracking system David developed at Ark Academy has been recognised as a model of best practice and was implemented across all ARK schools (and in some others outside the network). In his final year at Ark, David took on the role of ARK Network Lead for Assessment alongside his VP responsibilities, undertaking school improvement work in other ARK academies for one to two days each week. David has co-authored a book about the leadership and management of teaching & learning and assessment, ‘Creating Outstanding Classrooms’ (Routledge 2013), and edited a set of case studies which describe the process of opening a new school and leading it to outstanding (http://www.arkacademy.org/2012-casestudies). More recently he was named by TES as one of the 10 ‘most influential people in education’ in 2017 for his work at KAA (https://www.tes.com/news/tes-magazine/tes-magazine/10-most-influential-people-education-2017) and the Evening Standard included him in their Progress 1000 list, shortlisted as one of London’s most influential people in Education in 2017 (https://www.standard.co.uk/news/the1000/the-progress-1000-londons-most-influential-people-2017-social-pillars-education-a3653956.html).

Keynote Session 1 | Robert Halfon MP & David Benson

County Hall Suite

Keynote speaker one | David Benson, Principal of Kensington Aldridge Academy School Resilience This talk will highlight how three aspects of school like – culture & values, teaching & learning and leadership & management – helped Kensington Aldridge Academy to navigate its way through the Grenfell Tower disaster whilst minimising disruption to students’ education. Keynote […]

Keynote sessions