Jim began his teaching career in two special schools before opening a large integrated resource for children with SEN. He was closely involved in major SEN research projects with NFER and OECD. He became a school adviser and inspector, initially for SEN and then in more general and senior roles with responsibility for curriculum development, school evaluation and school development planning.
In 1992 Jim was appointed Headteacher of Notre Dame High School, Sheffield, which became outstanding in all areas before having responsibilities as a Beacon School, Leading Edge School and Teaching School. In 2006 the governors allowed him to take the part time post of Director of Schools for the Diocese of Hallam. In 2008 he was appointed as a National Leader of Education and became Executive Head of two schools.
He retired from executive headship in 2014 and from the post of Director of Schools in 2016.