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Sir Michael Barber

Sir Michael Barber delivered the inaugural ALL lecture in May 2015. Sir Michael is a leading authority on education systems and education reform. For over two decades his research and advisory work has focused on school improvement, standards and performance; system-wide reform; effective implementation; access, success and funding in higher education; and access and quality in schools in developing countries.

Barber joined Pearson in September 2011 as Chief Education Advisor, leading Pearson’s worldwide programme of efficacy and research ensuring the impact of the programme on the learner outcomes of Pearson and its customers. He plays a particular role in Pearson’s strategy for education in the developing world, and is Chairman of the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund.

Since 2014 he has been Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Education. He is also Co-Chair of the Centre for Public Impact. In addition, he is the UK Department of International Development’s Special Representative on Education in Pakistan which he has visited more than 40 times.

Prior to Pearson, he was a Partner at McKinsey & Company and Head of McKinsey’s global education practice. He co-authored two major McKinsey education reports: How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top (2007) and How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better (2010). He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter and the University of Wales.

He previously served the UK government as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (from 2001-2005) and as Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards (from 1997-2001). Before joining government he was a professor at the Institute of Education at the University of London.

In 2013 Sir Michael published The Good News from Pakistan, with Reform, about the major school reform in Punjab, Pakistan. He is also the author, with Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rizvi of Oceans of Innovation (2012) and An Avalanche is coming (2013), which explore the future of education in schools and universities respectively.

Barber’s latest book, How to Run a Government, was published by Penguin Books in March 2015.

His previous books include Instruction to Deliver; Deliverology 101; The Learning Game: Arguments for an Education Revolution and The Making of the 1944 Education Act.