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 Endowment Fund (EEF), one of Michael Gove’s biggest successes, which dispensed £75 million in 2015/16, he has the muscle to make a huge impact. The EEF has expanded its influence by identifying interventions in the classroom that are most likely to be successful, based on the latest research. It offers easy to use ‘Teacher Tool Kits’ to assist the drive to improving teacher quality. EEF now works in one in three schools in England, focusing on improving the lives and education of children. Collins rejects utterly the old lie, that the job of a school is merely academic teaching. He is a champion of pupil well-being and the development of character, recognising these as essential to a rounded education of young people, and to improving their exam results. As a former teacher and administrator in disadvantaged communities, Collins speaks with a rare authority, insight and compassion for children and teachers.

The Seldon List 2017


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.



In partnership with

Dukes, Battersea Sunday Times