The Team Durell Barnes

Head of Governance and Compliance

Durell Barnes joined RSAcademics in September 2016 to head up the team working on supporting governors with regard to their responsibilities in terms of compliance.

Formerly Deputy Director and Head of Communications at the Independent Schools Inspectorate, Durell was also ISI’s lead on quality assurance and safeguarding. He was closely involved in the development and implementation of the revised frameworks for inspection introduced successively in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2015-6. He therefore brings an unparalleled knowledge of the sector, experience of inspection and insight into safeguarding as well as close connections with the Department for Education, Ofsted and the ISC Associations.  In September 2018, Durell was appointed Chairman of the Independent Schools Examinations Board (ISEB), alongside his role at RSAcademics

An Oxford graduate, also with an Oxford PGCE, Durell went on to spend twenty-one years teaching in ISC schools. During his time as a deputy head he had particular responsibility for curriculum management and development, assessment, teaching and learning, staff CPD and appraisal. Strategic planning and change management have been key elements of his work, including refocussing school aims, ethos and culture, planning for extension of a school’s age range, moving to co-education and merging with another school.

Durell was a founder member of a SCITT (school centred initial teacher training) initiative in the 1990s which was an early example of an ambitious Independent School State School Partnership and one from which he learnt much about governance. A governor of both maintained and independent schools, Durell has hands-on experience of the challenges faced by governors endeavouring to exercise their responsibilities within the time constraints of busy and highly committed individuals who can yet forge together as a powerful team.


“RSAcademics took enormous trouble to understand the complex nature of our college business streams and our international ethos, and were always a pleasure to deal with. I have no hesitation in recommending them.”

Andrew RattuePrincipal, St Clare's, Oxford