Sir Michael Barber to join Pearson as Chief Education Advisor

Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is today announcing the appointment of Sir Michael Barber as Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor.

Michael Barber is a leading authority on education systems and education reform. Over the past two decades his research and advisory work has focused on school improvement, standards and performance; systemwide reform; effective implementation; access, success and funding in higher education; and access and quality in schools in developing countries.

In the newly-created role of Chief Education Advisor he will lead Pearson’s worldwide programme of research into education policy and efficacy, advise on and support the development of products and services that build on the research findings, and play a particular role in Pearson’s strategy for education in the poorest sectors of the world, particularly in fast-growing developing economies. In this work, he will report to Pearson’s chief executive Marjorie Scardino and work as advisor and collaborator with Pearson worldwide.

He is currently 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 most improved school systems keep getting better (2010) and How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top (2007). He is also Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter.

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. He is the author of several books including Instruction to Deliver; The Learning Game: Arguments for an Education Revolution and How to do the Impossible: a Guide for Politicians with a Passion for Education.

Marjorie Scardino said:

Michael Barber has deep experience in and an irrepressible passion for education. So does Pearson - now actively engaged in advancing learning in more than 70 countries. And both of us want to make education more effective for more people because we believe that makes societies more effective for more people. 

Together, we will participate in the global dialogue about what works to help students learn better and the research that backs that up. We'll also be trying to share ideas with others and applying what we learn to the tremendous educational needs and opportunities we see.

Michael Barber said:

“The opportunity for governments and businesses to transform learning outcomes for people of all ages has never been greater – and the need to do so never more urgent.

“The combination of public with private; technology with teaching; and evidence of what works with innovation are the keys to unlocking human potential around the world in the next decade. Pearson can be at the heart of enabling that to happen and I am looking forward to being part of that.”


For more information

Luke Swanson / Simon Mays-Smith / Charles Goldsmith: +44 (0)20 7010 2310