About Us

Rethinking Assessment is a broad coalition of school leaders from the state and independent sectors, researchers, policy-makers and employers working with a sense of urgency to find the best ways of evidencing the full range of young peoples’ strengths.

OUR ADVISORY GROUP

for Rethinking Assessment

Bill Lucas Professor of Learning and Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning, University of Winchester

Bill is a researcher, writer and educational thought-leader. His model of creativity is now in use in more than 20 countries across the world and Bill is co-chair of the new PISA 2022 Test of Creative Thinking and co-author of the recent Durham Commission Report on Creativity and Education.

Why rethink assessment?

As a young teacher I helped Sir Tim Brighouse develop the Oxford Certificate of Educational Achievement, ever since then have been trying to describe how students are developing rather than where they have apparently failed the tests the system sets them.

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Alistair McConville Deputy Head, King Alfred School

Alistair was previously Director of Learning and Innovation at Bedales School, where he has overseen the development of the ‘Bedales Assessed Courses’; he co-authored ‘Learning How to Learn’, is an inspector, and a TES features writer.

Why rethink assessment?

Too many exams based on too much material is a recipe for poor quality learning and works against the flourishing and dignity of young people. Kinder, broader, more relevant assessment is possible.

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Olly Newton Executive Director of the Edge Foundation

Olly spent 12 years in the Department for Education working on policies including 14-19 diplomas, raising the participation age and finally as Head of Apprenticeship Strategy. Olly is now Executive Director of the Edge Foundation, where he oversees a programme of primary research, is lead author on all of the charity’s policy reports and runs the Edge Future Learning delivery programme for schools and colleges.

Why rethink assessment?

In any system, you get what you measure – Edge is all about making education relevant to create the rounded adults of the future, so we want to help the assessment system to catch up with that aim.

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Rachel Macfarlane Director of Education Services, Herts for Learning

Rachel was Headteacher of three contrasting schools over a sixteen year period, mostly recently an all-through academy for 4-18 year olds in East London. From 2009-2018 Rachel was Project Director of The London Leadership Strategy’s Going For Great (G4G) programme.

Why rethink assessment?

As a school leader, I aimed to equip students with the learning power and character, as well as the testable knowledge, needed for successful and fulfilling lives: exams only assess one part of that.

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Dame Alison Peacock Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching

Dame Alison Peacock’s research and commitment to ‘Learning without Limits’ has taken place over many years. Working with colleagues from the University of Cambridge she has participated as an insider-researcher studying the impact of removing national curriculum levels within primary school settings.

Why rethink assessment?

Learning should be truly without limits; assessment should help us to gain feedback as we progress further over time, rather than being the means to draw a halt to future ambition.

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Peter Hyman Co-founder and first Headteacher of School 21, Co-founder of Voice 21, Co-Founder of Big Education

Peter was a co-founder of Big Education, a multi academy trust that runs schools and develops programmes and tools to support a more expansive education. For nine years to 2003, Peter worked as a strategist and speechwriter to the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He is author of 1 out of 10, from Downing Street Vision to Classroom Reality.

Why rethink assessment?

Our assessment and exams system stifles the creativity of young people rather than liberating it. It causes unnecessary pressure rather than supporting the transition to adulthood. When things are not fit for purpose, it is our duty to change them.

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Dr Meeta Vouk Director, IBM Singapore Research Centre

Meeta Vouk has built and led various businesses within established global organizations and is currently a Product Officer at IBM and an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University.

Why rethink assessment?

The workplace needs thinkers of tomorrow and for that, we need children to understand, engage, and shape the changing world. We need our children to be thinkers who will be change-makers of the future.

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Geoff Barton General Secretary, the Association of School and College Leaders

Geoff was headteacher of King Edward VI School, Bury St Edmunds, a comprehensive school of 1650 students. Geoff was a longstanding member of ASCL Council, former chair of its Pedagogy Committee, is Patron of the English and Media Centre, and a ‘Leading Thinker’ for the National Education Trust. He became General Secretary of ASCL in April 2017.

Why rethink assessment?

Let’s make the legacy of the COVID crisis an assessment system that more proportionately reflects the range of knowledge, skills and talents of all our young people.

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Dr Amelia Paterson Head of Learning and Teaching, The London Interdisciplinary School

Prior to her work with LIS, Amelia was an LSE Fellow in Social Policy. She has also taught at the University of Bristol and at Harvard, where she received her PhD. Her work has been published in both academic and practitioner books and journals and recognised by an award from the American Political Science Association. She is the co-author of Thrive: The Purpose of Schools in a Changing World.

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Frank Norris Education Advisor

Frank is Adviser to The Northern Powerhouse Partnership on education matters through a secondment from The Co-op. Frank is also Independent chair of the Blackpool Education Improvement Board. He is trustee and chair of finance at Great Academies Education Trust. Frank is also Vice Chair of Liverpool Education Board and is Advisory Board member of InnovateHer. Frank is a former senior HMI manager responsible for school, early years and initial teacher education including Framework Development.

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Kenneth Baker Baron Baker of Dorking, former Secretary of State for Education

Former MP and Cabinet Minister. First Information Technology Minister introducing computers into schools. As Education Secretary he introduced the National Curriculum, testing, City Technology Colleges, grant-maintained schools, devolved budgets, and polytechnics established as independent bodies. Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust which promotes University Technical Colleges which deliver an innovative curriculum that combines technical, practical and academic learning.

Why rethink assessment?

There is no need for two sets of high stakes exams. GCSEs were designed as a school leaving certificate, and that’s no longer required at 16, so it’s time for them to go.

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Tom Ravenscroft Founder & CEO, Skills Builder Partnership

Founded in 2009, the Skills Builder Partnership brings together a global group of more than 800 partners around a common approach to building essential skills like teamwork, communication, and self-management. It includes educators, employers and impact organisations, has delivered 1.46 million opportunities to build those skills in 2020-21, and is now international in its scope. The Partnership won the UK Social Enterprise Award for Impact in 2017 and is a WISE Award Finalist for 2022. Tom was the 2009 UK Entrepreneurship Teacher of the Year. His first book, The Missing Piece: the Essential Skills that Education Forgot was published by John Catt Publishing in October 2017. www.skillsbuilder.org

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Priya Lakhani CEO Century Tech

CENTURY is the global leader in AI-powered learning tools for schools and families, working in dozens of countries across the world. Priya Lakhani OBE was awarded Business Entrepreneur of the Year by the Chancellor in 2009 and was appointed to the UK government’s AI Council in 2019 and is a regular commentator on global news for the BBC. In 2018, Priya co-founded the Institute for Ethical AI in Education and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Coventry University’s engineering faculty in 2020 and was also appointed Honorary Vice President of the Council of British International Schools.

Why rethink assessment?

It’s clear that reform is needed. I believe the most fundamental improvement that we could make is to move to a “package” of summative and formative assessments, relying much more on formative assessment than we currently do. Assessment can really benefit children and help them understand that this is part of a continuous learning journey in which they can always improve – rather than being a permanent stamp on their forehead.

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Vijita Patel  Head Swiss Cottage Special School

Vijita is the Principal of Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre, a special school for 260 pupils in London. She works with school leaders, governors, and Local Authorities as a National Leader of Education. Swiss Cottage School, DRC was designated as an Apple Distinguished School in September 2021 and has six consecutive Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ Inspection outcomes. Vijita is also a Trustee for Special Olympics Great Britain, Challenge Partners, and the Artists in Residence Charity.

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Anne Bamford  Director of Education at the City of London

Professor Anne Bamford OBE is Strategic Director of the Education and Skills for the City of London. A world scholar for UNESCOs, Anne has conducted major national evaluation studies for the governments of Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Iceland, Hong Kong, Ireland and Norway. Amongst her numerous articles and book chapters, Anne is author of the “Wow Factor: Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education”.

Why rethink assessment?

Examinations cost in excess of £200 million per year in UK secondary schools, and this does not include the host of other costs that schools pay before and after examinations.  We need more proactive models of assessment for learning and growth, or even better, where assessment itself is the inventive, energising and curious form of learning.

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Kerry-Jane Packman Executive Director, Parentkind

Kerry-Jane is the Executive Director of Programmes, Membership and Charitable Services. She has 20 years’ experience of working within the charity section in roles at Maggie’s, Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation, driving successful funding operations, generating income from multiple sources, building and leading teams, business development and marketing.

Why rethink assessment?

Our research shows that most parents believe a good education goes beyond exam results, but they also want a curriculum that prepares pupils for the future; many express concern that education isn’t preparing children for the modern day job market. Parents have to be part of the national conversation about assessment reform and the future of education.

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Jonnie Noakes Director of Teaching and Learning, Eton College, and Director of the Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning

Tony is also Director of The Tony Little Centre for Innovation and Research in Learning, a centre for pedagogical excellence, evidence-informed practice and research into teaching, learning and leadership in education. An expert in character education, with two decades of experience in teaching emotional intelligence and a deep knowledge of boarding education.

Why rethink assessment?

The way we currently assess served an important purpose when it was implemented, but over time it has come to exert a stranglehold over schools – one that is unhelpful to our core holistic educational purposes.

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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is also leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her group’s research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the human adolescent brain, and adolescent mental health. You can read more about the group and their research here.

Why rethink assessment?

It has become increasingly clear that holding high stakes national exams (in the form of GCSEs) during a period of life characterised by increased vulnerability to mental health problems no longer makes sense, and that other forms of assessment might be better aligned with adolescent development.

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Professor Louise Hayward Chair, Independent Assessment Commission, University of Glasgow

Louise Hayward is Professor of Educational Assessment and Innovation at the University of Glasgow. Currently, Louise leads the major CAMAU project (funded by Welsh Government and the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David). Her recent projects include, Assessment at Transitions (Scottish Government), Numeracy in the Early Years (East Lothian Council), Evaluating Action Research in Primary Schools (Education Scotland/Robert Owen Centre), Building Sustainable Models of Engineering Education in primary and secondary schools (EPSRC and Education Scotland) and Assessment is for Learning. (Scottish Government.) Louise has written extensively on assessment and learning and on national change processes. Most recently she has edited an international two volume SAGE Handbook on Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy with Professor Dominic Wyse (UCL, UK) and Professor Jessica Pandya (CSU, USA).

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Gwyn ap Harri Co-founder - XP School, Doncaster

Gwyn ap Harri is the CEO and co-founder of XP School Trust in Doncaster, UK. XP delivers a three dimensional curriculum focused on academic performance, beautiful work and character growth.

Why rethink assessment?

Our assessment of our children must reflect that qualifications open doors, but it is who you are and the quality of your work that gets you the job, the place at university or that start up business loan. For the sake of our children, we must do better than the current one dimensional system.

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Sarah Fletcher High Mistress, St Paul’s Girls’ School, London

Sarah was previously Head at Kingston Grammar School and City of London School and was involved from the outset in the development of the Extended Project Qualification and the Cambridge Pre-U, sitting on the Pre-U Steering Committee from inception to launch. Sarah is also a school governor at West London Free School as well as a board member of The School and Family Works.

Why rethink assessment?

 Education should be about inspiring young people, giving them a deep, life-long curiosity that enables them to engage actively, responsibly, and critically in the world. I believe that we now need the courage to revaluate the way we assess achievement so that we can realise these aims and recognise the full potential of everyone.

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Leanne Forde-Nassey Headteacher, The Key Education Centres, Gosport and Havant

Following a career in Prison Education resulting in a Headship at a Young Offenders Institute in West London, Leanne has worked with children with complex needs for 17 years. An advocate for collaboration and equity in educational experiences for children, Leanne moved from prison Education to take a Headship at a Pupil Referral Unit to try and prevent children from being adversely affected by their exclusions from mainstream schools.

Why rethink assessment?

As Head teacher of two Pupil Referral Units I am passionate about ensuring our pupils have full access to a curriculum that fits their needs. Pupils at our school often fit into the ‘forgotten third’ when it comes to examinations and I am committed to being part of a solution to this to ensure every child can be successful.

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Tamsin Ford Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge

Tamsin’s academic work focuses on the effectiveness of interventions, with a particular focus on the interface between education and health systems. She set up the Child Mental Health Research Group at Exeter Medical School in 2007 and is also an honorary consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Cambridge and Peterborough Foundation Trust. She is part of the Research Advisory Group of Place2Be and a board member of the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

Why rethink assessment?

Surveys of school age children repeated stress exam stress and academic pressure as a major source of distress and if most young people are in education until the age of 18, GCSEs at 16 are unnecessary and take time from potentially more constructive and useful skill development.

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Sally Dicketts Chief Executive of Activate Learning

Sally Dicketts, CBE, has held senior posts in both secondary schools and further education. She is Chief Executive of Activate Learning, which brings together seven FE Colleges, 4 UTC’s, two 11-18 secondary schools, a studio school, a training provider delivering apprenticeships and an engineering training provider. Sally was appointed President of the Association of Colleges in August 2020.

Why rethink assessment?

If a plumber comes to your house you don’t want them to write you an effective essay. Let’s have an assessment system fit for today.

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Phil Avery Director of Education, Bohunt Education Trust

Phil is responsible for major learning & teaching projects, the BET curriculum, cross-Trust assessments and new-build school projects. He has led numerous student expeditions to Greenland researching the impact of the outdoors on young people in conjunction with the University of Lancaster. He is a Winston Churchill Fellow, a Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society, a previous STEM Leader of the Year, a Sinnott Fellow and involved with the largest UK study of the impact of lockdown on students’ wellbeing and learning (in conjunction with ImpactEd).

Why rethink assessment?

For students to thrive in the future they will need to master not only certain subjects, but also multidisciplinary thinking; they will need to be autonomous and carve their own path. I believe it is our job as educators to support students towards positive futures and so we need new ways of assessing that.

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Will Goldsmith Acting Head, Bedales School

Will Goldsmith was previously Director of Teaching & Learning at Latymer. With a background in teaching at both state and independent schools, Will is currently working on a proposal for an alternative model of curriculum and assessment for 11-16 year olds. He hopes that, together with colleagues from a range of schools and other organisations, real change can be achieved.

Why rethink assessment?

Making all our judgements about a young person based on the outcome of a few hours spent in an exam hall is not an accurate way of representing them. Our system is unjust, uninspiring and only exacerbates divisions in our society.

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Robert Lobatto Headmaster – King Alfred’s School, London

Robert Lobatto is Head of The King Alfred School in London. Previously, Robert was Head of a large award-winning Secondary school in West London, and Executive head of a large primary school. He helped to found one of the first parent-led schools in 2010, and sits on the board of a MAT in South-west London.

Why rethink assessment?

Disillusioned by the way assessment and accountability interacted to distort the purpose and practices of education, I left the State system in 2015. It has never been more urgent to reform that system for the benefit of all children and young people.

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Mike Nicholson Deputy Head of Education Services (Admissions and Participation), University of Cambridge

Mike is responsible for undergraduate admissions across the University.  He supports the delivery of the university’s “Access and Participation Plan” and has a particular focus on widening access. Mike previously serves as Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach at the University of Bath.

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Charlie Ben-Nathan Assistant Head - Director of Studies at Latymer Upper

Charlie has leadership and management experience in independent secondary education, with a close focus on operations management, curriculum reform and design. He is a co-founder of the West London Free School and also close involvement with the Rethinking Assessment movement.

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