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Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading

Sir David Bell’s extensive 30-year career has included many of the UK’s top education jobs. As well as being Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools (2002-2005), he spent six years as Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education (2006-2011). He joined the University of Reading as its Vice-Chancellor in January 2012.

Sir David was born in Glasgow in March 1959. Educated at a comprehensive school in his native Glasgow, he graduated in history and philosophy from the University of Glasgow in 1981 and obtained his PGCE from Jordanhill College of Education in 1982. He then went onto receive a Master of Education degree in Management and Administration, also from the University of Glasgow in 1987. Sir David holds honorary degrees from the University of Strathclyde in 2004 and De Montfort University in 2008, as well as being made an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Administration in 2008.

Sir David began his career as a primary school teacher and later became a head teacher. He then moved to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, ending up as Director of Education and Libraries between 1995 and 2000. Sir David’s last post in local government was as Chief Executive of Bedfordshire County Council between 2000 and 2002.


  • –present
    Vice-Chancellor , University of Reading


Sir David was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in the 2011 Birthday Honours.