David Geldart Retires from St. Mary's

A key member of staff at St. Mary’s will retire at the end of the summer term after 35 years of service.

Photo: At the London Olympics Athletics, 2012

David Geldart, Senior Assistant Headteacher and Director of Physical Education and Sport, has gained national and international acclaim for his strategic and practical work in education, physical education and sport. He has spoken at International Conferences throughout the world and has held a wide variety of key public appointments developing national policy and strategy with the Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, Sport England and the Big Lottery.

In 1995, following a highly successful four year period serving on the ‘Health of the Nation' Task Force, David was invited by the Secretary of State to become one of the founder members of Sport England's National Lottery Panel. Following a further term on the Lottery Panel, the Secretary of State appointed him to the Sport England Board where he served for six years. His time at Sport England saw dramatic improvements in national sport development and provision from grass roots through to elite level. 


“David’s contribution to the development of sport in this country cannot be overstated. He has given 12 years of excellent service to Sport England and to sport in England.”
— Former Chairman of Sport England, Lord Patrick Carter

On leaving Sport England David was keen to take on a new challenge. He was invited by the South African Department of Recreation and Sport to advise on the development of the School Sport Mass Participation Programme based in South Africa's 18 most deprived areas. David undertook this assignment on the basis of also being allowed to establish a school link with St. Mary's and one of the South African schools in the project. Over the past nine years he has established the Bambisanani Partnership between St. Mary's and Mnyakanya School in Kwa Zulu Natal, using sport as a catalyst to promote international understanding, education, health and leadership. The initiative has been described as inspirational and has gained international acclaim including praise from Prince William, President of South Africa, British Council, Youth Sport Trust, Diana Award Trust, Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation, UNICEF and the Vatican. 

At St. Mary’s, his specific responsibilities as a member of the Senior Leadership Team have included: Teaching and Learning, Performance Management and Appraisal, Staff Development and Coaching, Physical Education and Sport, Religious Education and Spiritual Life, Publicity and Promotion, Recognition and Rewards, Community Liaison, Partnerships and International Development.

Under David’s leadership, St. Mary’s has become one of the most successful Sports Colleges in the country gaining international recognition for it's work in physical education and sport. Rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and in the ‘Section 48’ Catholic Life of the School inspection, St. Mary’s is one of the highest performing state schools in the country. The school has been at the forefront of innovation and led the first School Sport Partnership in the country. The school's work has been praised by Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, Sir Trevor Brooking, Baroness Sue Campbell and a variety of Government Ministers. David has been responsible for bringing over £4 million of revenue funding to the Sports College and partner schools over the past fifteen years and over £1 million in capital funding for community sports facilities to the school; most recently a state of the art 3G floodlit football pitch.  As a founding member of the High Royds Sports Association he is currently working on a £1 million community sport facility and development programme.

Following his initial teacher training at De La Salle College, Manchester, he went on to gain a further degree at Leeds Beckett University (Carnegie) and later a Master’s degree with Distinction at the University of Leeds. He is a visiting lecturer to several universities and has provided professional development courses throughout the country. David is an experienced Leadership Coach and is a tutor/facilitator for the National College for Teaching and Leadership. He has been involved in a number of international comparative study visits in Canada, USA, Cuba, New Zealand, Germany, France, Sweden, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Gambia, Kenya and South Africa.  In 1995 David was elected as a Fellow of the Physical Education Association for his outstanding contribution to Physical Education and Sport. In 2009, he gained ‘Honoured Member’ status of the Association of Physical Education in recognition of his work. David received the prestigious Exceptional Achievement Award for his Outstanding Service to Sport in 2012 at the Leeds Sports Awards and in 2015 received special recognition from Leeds Schools FA for his Outstanding Contribution and Service to football in the City over a 35 year period.

In 2013, David was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of his work in education and sport. He was also appointed as a Trustee of the John Paul II Foundation for Sport in 2014 and most recently has been elected Vice Chairman.


“David Geldart has made an outstanding contribution to St Mary’s, Menston, as well as the local, national and international community over the past 35 years.  He has been a key member of the Senior Leadership team of the school, making a significant contribution to the Outstanding Ofsted and Section 48 judgements in 2014.  This, along with his work nationally for Sport England and internationally with the formation of the Bambisanani Partnership, demonstrate his commitment to the development of young people and the positive impact that he has had on the life chances of so many.  I am delighted that he will remain in contact with the school through his continued commitment to the Bambisanani Partnership and I wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.”
— Mr Darren Beardsley, Headteacher at St. Mary’s Menston