Theme 4 – Transforming our education for the 21st century

For the last 100 years, politicians have played with education, making it a political football. Using political ideologies, they have shaped, re-shaped and changed back their ideas of what education should be, yet none have been transformational to fit this century. Today, our world is changing so fast within science and technology; in having to deal with huge amounts of information and a globalised world; the education of young people has to transform to equip young people to deal with this new era. In addition, our present system is failing too many young people who go on to have limiting lives. What is education for in the 21st Century?

Speakers include:  Chair Steve Besley, Charles Fadel of Curriculum Redesign, Dr Phillippa Ward

Steve Besley has spent a lifetime in education, initially in schools and FE and latterly as Head of Policy at Pearson where he ran a national education policy briefing service for many years. He is a Fellow of the Leaders’ Institute and a Reader for the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for FE and HE.

Charles Fadel is a global education thought leader and author, futurist and inventor; founder and chairman of Center for Curriculum Redesign; visiting scholar Harvard GSE; member President’s Council at Olin College of Engineering; chair education committee at BIAC/OECD; co-author of “Artificial Intelligence in Education” (2019); “Four-Dimensional Education” (framework in 21 languages) and best-selling  “21st Century Skills”; founder and president Fondation Helvetica Educatio (Geneva, Switzerland). Has worked with education systems and institutions in more than 30 countries. Spent 25 years in technology management (M/A-COM; Analog Devices); founder of Neurodyne AI; formerly Global Education Lead at Cisco Systems, visiting scholar at MIT ESG and Wharton/Penn CLO, angel investor with Beacon Angels.  BSEE, MBA, seven patents. 

Full Bio:

Dr Phillippa Ward:  With over 25 years of retail and academic experience, Philippa Ward has a range of journal and book publications, over 30 doctoral completions and a similar number of examinations. Her research centres on the effects of the in-store environment on customers, de-shopping, and retail theatre. These areas are also the focus of her doctoral supervisions. This interest in retailing was generated through her management roles within Debenhams and Asda. She also continues to work with several retailers, manufacturers and marketing agencies as a consultant. Philippa is also a Head of the Marketing and Retail Analysis Research Centre – where research on issues including consumer behaviour and services marketing is located. She has seen numerous changes in the education landscape, and through her work developing one of the largest doctoral programmes in Europe has long embraced the benefits of digitally enabled learning.

Malcolm Groves has worked at the forefront of educational innovation for over 40 years, embracing primary and secondary education, youth work and adult education. He has been a registered OFSTED inspector, local authority inspector, school improvement partner, NPQH assessor, and national adviser for specialist schools. He has led a wide range of school and community education initiatives as well as programmes of international professional development for school leaders. Malcolm is founder and national director of the ground-breaking research and development network, Schools of Tomorrow ( He holds a doctorate in school leadership at the University of Warwick, is the author of ‘Regenerating Schools’ and co-author of ‘Leadership for Tomorrow’ and ‘Flipping Schools!’.

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