Sir Michael Barber

First Chair, Office for Students

United Kingdom

Sir Michael Barber is a world-leading authority on education systems and education reform. Over the past two decades his research and advisory work has focused on school improvement, standards and performance; system-wide reform; effective implementation; access, success and funding in higher education; and access and quality in schools in developing countries.

As Chief Education Advisor at Pearson from 2011 to 2017, he drove a focus on efficacy and learning outcomes. From 2014 to 2016 he was Chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Education. He became the first Chair of the new Office for Students in April 2017, which will regulate the higher education sector in England.

He previously served the UK government as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (from 2001-2005). In this role he was responsible for ensuring delivery of the government's domestic policy priorities. Before joining government he was a Professor at the Institute of Education at the University of London. He is the author of several renowned books including Instruction to Deliver; The Learning Game: Arguments for an Education Revolution and How to do the Impossible: a Guide for Politicians with a Passion for Education.

He is also a distinguished visiting scholar at Harvard School of Public Health and holds honorary doctorates from The University of Exeter, The University of Wales and The University of Warwick. In 2005, he was knighted for his services to improving government.