A graduate of Durham University, Mike spent 13 years in teaching before joining HM Inspectorate in 1978. He was promoted to Staff Inspector in 1984 and then to Chief Inspector (secondary) in 1989.
On the creation of OFSTED in 1992, Mike became Deputy Director of Inspection and in 1995 he became Director of Inspection. On the 1 December 2000 Mike was appointed HM Chief Inspector and Head of OFSTED and he retired from this post on 30 April 2002.
From 1 June 2002 to September 2007, Mike was Chair of the Learning Trust, a body set up to manage the education service in Hackney. Mike led the inquiry into the A-level grading issue in 2002 and in January 2003 became the Chair of the Working Group set up by the Government to propose reform of the curriculum and qualifications for 14-19 year olds. The final set of proposals were published in October 2004.
He is a former governor of the University of Hertfordshire, President of the Association for Science Education and was Chief Adviser for London Challenge from 2008 – 10. He chaired the Basildon Excellence Panel responsible for improving primary schools in the Town. In 2014 he was appointed Education Commissioner for Birmingham, stepping down from this post in 2017.
He is currently a school governor, a member of the Livery of the Merchant Taylors` Company and a Trustee of the Baker-Dearing Trust, responsible for the establishment of University Technical Colleges.
Mike was honoured with a CBE in June 1997 and in January 2005 was awarded a Knighthood