The Independent Schools Show presents

The Seldon List 2017

The 20 most influential figures in British Education

 

The father of academies. Former education advisor to Tony Blair when prime minister, he devised and drove the academies, they are publicly funded state schools…
The maestro conductor. Few figures have had Barber’s influence on schools or universities; he has recently been appointed chair of the Office for Students (OfS),…
The supreme ideas-driven head teacher. New Zealand born teacher Birbalsingh burst onto the national stage when in 2010 at the Conservative Party conference she said,…
Daisy Christodoulou is one of the most influential and innovative exponents of a traditional academic education. She rose to prominence while at Warwick University where…
Coates is the doyenne of head teachers on the list. She made her name turning around the troubled Burlington Danes Academy in West London. For…
Kevan Collins makes the list as a champion of evidence in education policy, something that politicians have often spurned. As chief executive of the Education…
Duckworth is the world authority on teaching character, virtues and resilience, the very skills the young will need when algorithms at work outperform the processing…
Every reader of this list will have been influenced by Dweck’s thinking, even if you have never heard of her. Professor of Psychology at Stanford…
Greening replaced Nicky Morgan as education secretary last July, who herself replaced Michael Gove, one of the most influential education secretaries since the war, insisting…
Heller is the best of the super-smart outsiders who have entered the school world in recent years. She had a career in fund management before…
Hyman is one of the most innovative heads in Britain today. Head of the communications unit at Number 10 under Blair, when he left he…
Jo Johnson is the Universities Minister who is changing the higher education sector significantly, more than almost any other incumbent of his post. The brother…
No single figure has done more to highlight public and political awareness of the continuing inequalities in our school system than Peter Lampl, philanthropist and…
Lenon is the most influential figure in the independent sector. After twelve years as headmaster of Harrow, he became chair of the Independent Schools Council…
Luckin is the Dr Who of AI in education. Schools and universities will be transformed over the next 10 to 15 years by the introduction…
Mroz is the one educational journalist on our list, though Laura McInerney, the influential editor of Schools Week is close. Mroz came to prominence as…
No figure has made greater impact on schools across the world than German born statistician, Andreas Schleicher, Director of the Programme for International Schools Assessment…
Seligman has touched almost every individual and company, but almost no one knows his name. His early work was on depression, mental illness and ‘learnt…
Formidably bright, Spielman was in banking and management consultancy before, in 2005 becoming one of the founders of Ark (see Heller). In 2011 Spielman was…
No list of the top 20 can ignore our Royals. Prince Charles set up the Prince’s Trust in 1976 to help young people aged 11…

The Seldon List 2017

Introduction

These 20 figures, ten women, ten men, encompass those who I believe are having or will have the most powerful effect on our schools and universities. Some are household names, many are not. They all should be. Education at every level is riven by major disputes, and now more so than ever. The list of 20 contains those with pungent views on these debates, which include: whether we should be educating young people to lead a good life or merely for jobs; whether a traditional academic curriculum is suitable for all and whether it is right that it fails a third or more; and whether the state or the market should be dominant in deciding the content and delivery of education.

Reducing the figures to just 20 was agonizing: a further ten at least were very close to inclusion. Next year’s table will drop 10 from here. The key factor in the selection is who is setting the agenda for education, whether leaders of individual institutions, politicians and administrators, or academics and writers.

As education affects all of us, far more than we may think, these 20 contain some of the most influential figures in the country today.

Sir Anthony Seldon


Sir Anthony is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalist, commentator and political author. Anthony Seldon is currently the Vice Chancellor of Buckingham University. He was head of Brighton College and of Wellington College, two of Britain’s leading independent schools. He is author of over 40 books on contemporary history, including the inside books on the last four Prime Ministers, politics and education, is co-founder of Action for Happiness, honorary historian to Downing Street and a Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company.

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