Education Policy Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from CentreForum)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Education Policy Institute
Education Policy Institute Logo.png
Type Think tank
Registration no. Charity Commission in England and Wales: 1102186[1]
Legal status Private company limited by guarantee
Executive Chairman
David Laws
Chairman of Trustees
Sir Paul Marshall
Revenue (2016)
£1,157,014 [1]
Expenses (2016) £566,082 [1]
Staff (2016)
14 [1]
Formerly called

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) is an education policy research institute based in Westminster, London.

The Institute’s aim is to "promote high quality education outcomes for all children and young people, regardless of social backgrounds" by employing an "impartial and evidence-based approach." In addition to its focus on raising standards in education from early years through to higher education, EPI’s research also includes the area of young people’s mental health.[2]

EPI formerly existed as think tank CentreForum until June 2016.[3] The predecessor organisation researched a broader range of policy issues, beyond education; it was less quantitative in approach; and was perceived to have close links to liberal thinkers and the Liberal Democrat party. [2][3]

Research areas[edit]

The Institute regularly publishes policy reports on the following areas of research, covering issues affecting opportunity from birth to the labour market:[4]

EPI is not politically aligned; its Executive Chairman is a former Liberal Democrat Schools Minister, Trustee Baroness Sally Morgan was an adviser to the Labour party, and the current Conservative Schools Minister, Lord Agnew, was also a recent Trustee.[2]

  • Accountability and inspection
  • Benchmarking English education
  • Children and young people's mental health
  • Curriculum and qualifications
  • Disadvantaged, SEND and vulnerable children
  • Early years development
  • Education for offenders
  • HE/FE and skills
  • School funding
  • School performance and leadership
  • Teacher supply and quality


EPI's Trustees include:

The Institute's Advisory Board is composed of more than 15 individuals including academics, education professionals, business leaders and parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.[6]

The Institute is run by an executive management committee:[7]

  • Executive Chairman: Rt Hon. David Laws
  • Executive Director, Head of Research: Natalie Perera
  • Executive Director, Resources & Operations: Anthony Rowlands
  • Director, Education Data and Statistics: Jon Andrews
  • Director of Communications and External Engagement: John Cope
  • Director, Mental Health & Prisoner Education: Emily Frith
  • Chief Economist: Peter Sellen
  • Associate Director, Education Data & Statistics: Jo Hutchinson

Notable former members of the EPI include:

Critics have highlighted that a number of present and former trustees have close links to the academies movement.[8] EPI's research on academies has pointed to both positive and negative impacts of the programme.[9][10]


Previously a liberal think tank, the Institute was originally conceived as Centre for Reform in 1998. The organisation’s creation was spearheaded by Lord Newby and Lord Kirkhope, with Richard Grayson named as its first Director. Anthony Rowlands subsequently assumed the Director position in 2000, guiding the think tank as it published a wide range of papers. Centre for Reform was awarded charitable status in 2004.

After the death of its principal benefactor, Richard Wainwright, in 2003, the Centre's future appeared uncertain.[11] Paul Marshall agreed to fund the Centre's future for at least three years,[12] with a new business plan written and former Goldman Sachs banker Jennifer Moses brought in as Chief Executive.

The organisation moved to larger offices in Westminster and expanded its staff. For the first time it was able to produce in-house research. It was at this time in 2005 that the think tank was relaunched as CentreForum.

Two Directors were recruited: Alasdair Murray from the Centre for European Reform; and Julian Astle MBE who had been working for Paddy Ashdown in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Duncan Greenland CBE became Chair of CentreForum's Trustee Board, remaining in that capacity until 2015. In early 2008 Jennifer Moses left to become a Special Adviser to Gordon Brown in Downing Street.[13] Chris Nicholson took over as Director and Chief Executive in 2010 and in April 2011, Julian Astle left CentreForum to become Special Adviser to Nick Clegg. Chris Nicholson left in Spring 2012 to become Special Adviser to Edward Davey when he became Secretary of State in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Tim Leunig, London School of Economics economist was appointed as CentreForum's Chief Economist in January 2011 before leaving in October 2012 to work as a Policy Adviser in the Department for Education.

Former Schools Minister Rt Hon. David Laws joined the organisation as Executive Chairman in August 2015, with the think tank also holding two Executive Director positions: Natalie Perera, Head of Research; and Anthony Rowlands, Head of Resources and Operations.

In June 2016 CentreForum became the Education Policy Institute, focusing its research on education and young people’s mental health.[1][3]

In July 2016 the Education Policy Institute published a major study that found no significant differences in performance between Academy schools and local council run schools, and that multi-academy trusts running at least five schools performed worse than local council run schools.[14]


During the financial year ending 31 March 2016, the Education Policy Institute received a donation of £1,050,000 from The Sequoia Trust of which Sir Paul Marshall is also a trustee.[1] The Sequoia Trust is a charity registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Charity Commission. Education Policy Institute, registered charity no. 1102186. 
  2. ^ a b c "About us". Education Policy Institute. Retrieved 2016-09-05. 
  3. ^ a b c David Laws and Natalie Perera (15 June 2016). "Education Policy Institute - the new name for CentreForum". CentreForum. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Publications and Research". Education Policy Institute. 
  5. ^ "Sir Michael Wilshaw". Education Policy Institute. 
  6. ^ "Advisory Board". Education Policy Institute. 
  7. ^ "Meet the team". Education Policy Institute. 
  8. ^ Hitchens, Peter (12 December 2016). "How Many Journalists Realise what the Education Policy Institute Is?". Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 8 December 2017. 
  9. ^ "The impact of academies on educational outcomes". Education Policy Institute. 
  10. ^ "Academy trusts no better than councils". BBC News. 
  11. ^ Dictionary of Liberal thought, Brack & Randall, Politico's Publishing Ltd, 2007
  12. ^ "£1 million boost for Lib Dem think thank". The Times. 2005-06-28. Retrieved 2014-02-24. 
  13. ^ Lingerie boss to pep up No 10 briefs, The Times, March 2, 2008
  14. ^ Jon Stone (7 July 2016). "Academy trust schools among the worst at raising pupil performance, new research shows". The Independent. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  15. ^ Charity Commission. The Sequoia Trust, registered charity no. 1090926.