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 authored the book with the best title of any recent political memoir One out of Ten. He forsook highly paid jobs on the gravy train to become a classroom assistant in a comprehensive school and then a deputy head. With Ed Fidoe and Oliver de Botton, he then established ‘School 21’ in 2012 in one of London’s most deprived areas near Olympic Park. Hyman believes that education has to balance academic teaching with the development of the human heart, character and well- being, as well as having creative thinking, problem solving and making by hand. Oracy, the power of speaking, is a school hallmark. He eschews the need for a “boot camp” approach of some schools and says that School 21 is developing “happy, curious, confident and powerful citizens.”

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.



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