David Puttnam

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

David Puttnam (Lord Puttnam) is a life peer in the House of Lords. He became a Labour Party member of the Lords in November 1997. [1] Puttnam was a British film-maker, but left the entertainment world behind to take on the challenge of reforming education.

Lobbying for education reform

David Puttnam is a strong advocate of market-driven education reform and describes technology and innovation as the only way to achieve a bright future for education.[2]

We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting for

The 2009 documentary We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting for is based on an idea by David Puttnam and education reformer Michael Barber. It was given away free in the Guardian and was accompanied by a promotional campaign that targeted, among other education bloggers. One blog described it as the 'British Waiting for Superman. But worse somehow'.

According to the film's blurb: 'It follows the lives of five Swindon-based teenagers and the challenges they face during their education. It reveals the dislocation between our education system and the rapidly changing, globalised world which is increasingly dominated by digital technology, and focuses on the need for fundamental change in teaching and learning.' It includes comments from leading personalities and key education experts on what is wrong with current education systems and what needs to be done to fix them. The film highlights some innovative approaches to education around the world.

Puttnam said of the film:

'I’ve no doubt that ‘We Are the People We’ve Been Waiting For’ has the potential to be a powerful catalyst for overdue educational reform...[it] is intended to act as nothing less than a wake-up call.'[3]

Financial Interests

In corporate education businesses

  • Senior non-executive director and shareholder in Promethean, an edtech company providing interactive whiteboards, 'student response systems for personalized learning', and digital teaching resources (interest ceased November 2015)
  • Consultant of TES Global advisory board
  • Member of advisory board of Accenture in Ireland
  • Chair of the academic board at Pearson College
  • Chairman of Atticus Education, a venture in online education which involves Puttnam delivering modules to university students across the world using technology from BT Ireland and Cisco.

Other interests

Other roles

  • Patron of Education Fast Forward, an education reform lobby group and forum initiated by Promethean and Cisco
  • Patron of the Transformation Trust
  • Puttnam was made the' Digital Champion of Ireland'. His priorities have been 'to put digital first in all aspects of policy, business and education.'[5]
  • Former Chancellor of The Open University, succeeded by Martha Lane Fox
  • Puttnam served as first Chair of the General Teaching Council 2000–2002.
  • He founded the National Teaching Awards in 1998.


  1. Lord Puttnam www.parliament.uk, accessed 24 April 2015
  2. Lord Puttnam: The Future of Education Part 1: Education & Technology, Promethean website, 2 Aug 2012
  4. Lord Puttnam, Parliament website, accessed August 2015
  5. The Digital Champion of Ireland, European Commission website, accessed August 2015