Welcome to my website. I have worked extensively on the issues of education, Europe and the environment, including as the Member of Parliament for Stroud between 2010 and 2017. Between 2015 and 2017 I was chair of the Education Select Committee. I am the founder of Dunshiel Education, which brings together senior education policy experts to provide bespoke services to those working in the education community and related sectors.

I am Honorary Professor of Politics and Education at Nottingham University and Chair of the Commission on Sustainable Learning for Life, Work & a Changing Economy, as well as senior adviser at PLMR public relations, Chair of Modern Europe, a member of the National Governance Association’s Board of Trustees, a non executive adviser at Wild Search, Chair of the Association of Dental Groups and on the advisory board of Finito. I am also working towards the forthcoming publication of my book Progressive, Productive, Proper: A New Reform Agenda for Education which will be published in spring 2018.

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Neil Signature


Neil Carmichael served as the Member of Parliament for Stroud Valleys and Vale from 2010 to 2017, and as Chair of the Education Select Committee from 2015 to 2017. He had previously been a member of the Environment Audit Committee and also established two All Parliamentary Party Groups: Governance and Leadership in Education, and Vascular Diseases. Neil took the Antarctic Act through Parliament, safeguarding both the Antarctic environment and British interests in the area for future generations.

Neil was born in 1961 in Northumberland. His family background was associated with hill farming. After university, where he studied politics, and until 2001, he was actively involved in agriculture, focusing on breeding cattle and sheep farming. Neil was also Chief Executive and then Chairman of Northumbria Daybreak, a charity providing day care for adults with learning disabilities.

Prior to his incumbency as MP, Neil spent several years as a visiting lecturer in British political history, European Union policies and institutions, and rural economic development. He also worked in business from 2001 until 2010, working in business development projects, developing project finance capabilities and liaising with firms and corporations, including Bevan Brittan, Hutchinson and Sainsbury’s.

Neil established Stroud’s Festival of Manufacturing and Engineering (FESTOMANE) in 2011. His vision was to create a long-standing event which would contribute to the manufacturing and engineering industry, through encouraging young people to consider entering careers in this sector. FESTOMANE works to encourage and promote the importance of STEM subjects to children and young people, celebrate Stroud Valleys and Vale’s strong manufacturing and engineering heritage, and support local businesses.

Neil’s interests include Europe, education, history, economics, energy and foreign affairs. As well as refurbishing his Massey-Ferguson 135 tractor, Neil continues to garden and enjoy woodland, follows Formula 1 racing, and enjoys visiting a good pub and watching films.


Founder, Dunshiel Education

Dunshiel Education, brings together education policy experts to provide bespoke services to those working in the education community and related sectors. Our independent network draws on expertise from across the political parties to deliver detailed policy advice to organisations and their leaders on education and other policy developments affecting their work, enabling you to anticipate and contribute to …

Chair, Pearson’s Commission on Sustainable Learning for Life, Work & a Changing Economy

Neil is Chair of Pearson’s Commission on Sustainable Learning for Life, Work & a Changing Economy. Pearson, the digital education company, has announced a new, independent group to examine the UK’s future skills needs and landscape. The Commission on Sustainable Learning for Life, Work & a Changing Economy will be chaired by former head of the Education …

Honorary Professor of Politics and Education, University of Nottingham

Neil has been appointed Honorary Professor of Politics and Education at the University of Nottingham. More information is available here.

Education Committee

Neil was elected as a member of the Education Select Committee in 2010 and was appointed Chair of the Education Select Committee in 2015. In that role he challenged a number of assumptions (and his own Party’s policies) and oversaw a range of inquiries into Multi Academy Trusts, special educational needs and the productivity gap; …


Neil visited Myanmar in February 2018 to begin his work with Myanmar’s Education Committees. Neil will be helping politicians and officials to develop the role and purpose of their education committees, helping to strengthen and develop the parliamentary committee system for education.

School Governance

Neil served as Governor of Stroud College 2001-2011 (Chair of Finance and General Purposes), Local Authority Interim Governor of Marling School (Chair, 2008-2009), and Governor of two primary schools and two further colleges. After the publication of his report on school governance with Edward Wild entitled “Who Governs the Governors” Neil established and chaired the All …

Visiting University Lecturer

Neil taught Modern British Political History, Rural Economic Development, and EU Policies and Instructions at Sunderland and De Montford universities. During this time,  Neil presented academic papers at various universities including Budapest Central University, Plymouth University and Warsaw University.


Neil is the founder of Festomane, the Stroud Festival of Manufacturing and Engineering. Festomane, now in its sixth year, is an annual week-long festival which provides a host of opportunities for schools, colleges and the public to meet local businesses, discover some of the latest innovations and gather information about the training and career opportunities …


Neil taught Modern British Political History during his time as a visiting university lecturer, since then Neil has closely followed his interest in history. In October 2015 Neil joined pupils from Archway and Thomas Keble Schools on a battlefield tour of the Somme. This was part of the First World War Centenary Battlefields Tour Programme, which Neil …

Chief Education Consultant, Christine Lee & Co

Christine Lee & Co is a firm of solicitors with strong experience in education, Neil is Chief Education Consultant.


Neil is the founder of Modern Europe, a UK-based think tank and policy network which in the wake of the EU referendum decision recognises that “we cannot turn our backs on Europe – we are part of Europe.” It seeks to identify the issues facing Britain as it ends its membership of the EU and debates its future relationship with the wider world. Modern Europe believes that the country’s immediate and long-term national interest requires Britain to forge a positive relationship with our European partners and to play an active leadership role in shaping the development of Europe. In years to come another generation may well want to forge a new relationship from the pieces left behind from the 45 years of British membership (1973- 2018) with the EU and so no bridges should be burnt.

There will be six initial strands to Modern Europe’s research and events:

  1. Analysing the benefits to Britain and Europe of the UK’s relationship with our European partners.
  2. Identifying the best strategy to maximise British influence within the wider world.
  3. Developing detailed proposals for the continued reform of the European Union as an outward-looking, modernising force in global politics and economics.
  4. Charting power shifts in the international economic and political systems, and exploring the challenges and choices they pose for the UK and our partners in the European Union.
  5. Researching the potential economic and political costs to the UK of our future departure from the European Union and scrutinising in detail the possible alternatives for the UK to membership of the EU.
  6. Providing a programme of seminars for university students with an interest in participating in building our future relationships with our European partners.

Modern Europe operates through a combination of research, published initially in electronic form, and seminars and speaker meetings, devoted to the above six themes.


Skylark Species Champion

Neil joined forces with a group of seven wildlife organisations to stand up for the skylark as part of the MP Species Champion Project, and is working to bring political support to the protection and promotion of this threatened species. Admired through the ages for their ethereal song, the skylark (Alauda arvensis) appears in the both music and literature. …

Antarctic Act

British presence in the Antarctic matters and has helped protect the region for two centuries. As a continent without an indigenous population (the first human birth took place in 1978) but, with competing claims of interest from other nations, retaining an unambiguous and significant role is necessary to secure our long-term position. The Antarctic is …

Woodland Conservation

Neil manages the extensive woodland on his family farm. The Woodland Elsdon, Northumberland National Park

Livestock Farming

Neil managed and expanded his family farming business, ultimately comprising of almost 2,500 acres holding, 3000 ewes and 400 suckler cows. Neil now lets the farm as Farm Business Tenancies but still directly manage the extensive woodland. Neil helping with the lambing on his farm in Northumberland in the early 1970s. Neil shearing a sheep more recently.

Environmental Audit Committee

Neil served as a member of the Environmental Audit Committee between 2010 and 2015. The remit of the Environmental Audit Committee is to consider the extent to which the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and to audit their performance against sustainable development and …