Sir Michael Barber
Sir Michael Barber is a British educationist and Chief Education Advisor to Pearson. In the past, Sir Michael served as a partner and head of the global education practice at McKinsey, advisor to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and a global expert on education reform and implementation of large-scale system change. He has worked for over 20 years in education and government reform and improvement.
- 1 Education and early career
- 2 Government
- 3 Global Head of Education, McKinsey and Company
- 4 Education Delivery Institute
- 5 Chief Education Advisor, Pearson
- 6 Honorary degrees
- 7 Works
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Education and early career
Barber read history at the University of Oxford before training as a teacher. He taught in schools in Britain and Zimbabwe.
Barber worked in the education department of the National Union of Teachers. As a member of the Labour Party, he was elected to the council of the London Borough of Hackney, becoming chair of the education committee. In 1987 he contested for Labour the seat of Henley-on-Thames, then held by Michael Heseltine.
Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards
Barber served as Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards during the first term of British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Chief Adviser on Delivery to Tony Blair
During Blair’s second term, from 2001 to 2005, Barber served as the Chief Adviser on Delivery, reporting directly to Prime Minister Tony Blair. As head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU), he was responsible for working with government agencies to ensure successful implementation of the Prime Minister’s priority programs, including those in health, education, transport, policing, the criminal justice system, and asylum/immigration. He wrote a book about his experience in the PMDU, titled Instruction to Deliver: Fighting to Reform Britain’s Public Services (Metheun 2008), which was described by the Financial Times as “one of the best books about British Government for many years,” and has been read by political leaders around the world.
Global Head of Education, McKinsey and Company
Following his time leading the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Sir Michael Barber served as partner and head of McKinsey’s Global Education Practice.
Deliverology and Education
Sir Michael has consulted to governments in over 40 countries on issues of public policy and delivery. Sir Michael Barber published Deliverology 101 in 2011 to serve as a comprehensive guide to Education system reform and delivery. Governments and large public organisations (from the Louisiana school system to the Malaysian government) have systematically adopted the 'deliverology' approach and realized quick impact and significantly improve outcomes to their reform programs. Additionally, major international organizations including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, DFID, and the IMF have sought the advice and guidance of Sir Michael.
Pakistan Education Taskforce
Sir Michael Barber served as co-chair of the Pakistan Education Taskforce and continues to work on education system reform in Pakistan as DFID’s Special Representative on Education for Pakistan. Through his work in Pakistan Sir Michael is serving as an Advisor to Honorable Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, on his ambitious public education reform program called Punjab Schools Reform Roadmap with the goal of enrolling ~7.5M of out school children and increasing the quality of education significantly.
While at McKinsey, Sir Michael Barber co-authored two major 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).
Education Delivery Institute
In the summer of 2010, Sir Michael Barber teamed with leaders from the Education Trust and Achieve to found the U.S. Education Delivery Institute. This Institute works with leaders of K-12 and higher education systems around the United States to adapt the delivery concept pioneered by Barber in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit to drive American education reform efforts.
Chief Education Advisor, Pearson
In September 2011, Sir Michael Barber became Chief Education Advisor at Pearson. In this role, he will lead the company’s worldwide research and partnership on education policy, and learning methods, advise on and support the innovation and development of new products and services, and lead Pearson’s strategy for education in the poorest sectors of the world, particularly in fast-growing developing economies.
Pearson Affordable Learning Fund
Sir Michael Barber chairs the Pearson Affordable Learning Fund. Announced in July 2012, the $15 million fund makes investments in low-cost, for-profit private schools that serve the world's poorest students. Michael explains, “Low-cost private education is an important, complementary element of education in developing countries and should be seen as an active partner with governments looking to ensure all children have access to a high quality education. We are convinced that affordable schools, operated on a for-profit basis, can make a big difference."
The fund's first investment is in an affordable Ghanaian school chain, Omega Schools, headed by Ken Donkoh and Professor James Tooley. In the first four months of the investment, Omega Schools expanded from 10 schools serving 6,000 students to 20 schools serving 11,000.
Oceans of Innovation
In August 2012, Michael published Oceans of Innovation with Katelyn Donnelly and Saad Rizvi about the rise of Pacific Asia and the implications for global leadership and education. They laid out the need for whole system revolutions in education, which combine whole system reform and systemic innovation.
The Learning Curve
In November 2012, Michael launched The Learning Curve. The Learning Curve was commissioned by Pearson from the Economist Intelligence Unit to work with some of the world’s leading education experts to review, research, and interview innovators from every continent about how best to achieve better learning outcomes.
It established the first ever open and searchable global education data bank at http://thelearningcurve.pearson.com - drawing on the world’s best existing data-sets including the PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS studies. It is one of the most comprehensive and accessible sets of data on learning that exists.
In 2008, Barber received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University from Nottingham Trent University.
- Instruction to Deliver 
- Deliverology 101: A Field Guide for Education Leaders 
- How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top 
- How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better 
- Oceans of Innovation 
- "Sir Michael Barber to join Pearson as Chief Education Advisor".
- Peter Wilby. "Mad professor goes global". The Guardian. 14 June 2011. Accessed 19 March 2013.
- "U.S. Education Delivery Institute - Board Members".
- "Instruction to Deliver: Fighting to Reform Britain’s Public Services".
- "Deliverology 101: A Field Guide for Education Leaders".
- "How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better".
- "How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top".
- "U.S. Education Delivery Institute - Delivery Approach".
- "New Pearson investment fund to enhance education opportunity among the world's poorest".
- "Oceans of Innovation".
- "World Innovation Summit for Education - Biography".