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Durham University

Durham University Evidence Centre for Education (DECE)

User group and Advisors


Sir Iain Chalmers

Iain Chalmers practised medicine in the UK and Palestine before becoming a health services researcher and directing of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit. In 1992, he became founding director of the UK Cochrane Centre, which convened the meeting at which the international Cochrane Collaboration was inaugurated. Since 2003, he has coordinated the James Lind Initiative, promoting better research to inform better health care, particularly through greater public involvement in research. He coordinates the development of Testing Treatments interactive and edits The James Lind Library.

follow him @iainchalmersTTi

Professor Rob Coe

Robert Coe is Professor in the School of Education and Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM), Durham University. CEM is the largest educational research centre in a UK university and has provided assessment and monitoring systems to many thousands of schools since 1983. Well over a million children take our assessments every year in more than 40 countries; we are the largest provider of computer adaptive assessments outside the US. Rob is in the process of beginning work wirh the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Evidence Based Education (EBE).

Professor Eckhard Klieme

Professor Eckhard Klieme is Director of the Center for Research on Educational Quality and Evaluation at the German Institute for International Education Research (DIPF), and has held the Chair of Educational Sciences at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main since 2001. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, as well as a member of the Advisory Boards of several national and international journals. Eckhard Klieme served as the president of the German Association for Empirical Educational Research (AEPF) (2003-2007) and as coordinator of the EARLI Special Interest Group on Educational Effectiveness (2007-2011).

Fiona Millar

Fiona Millar is a British journalist and campaigner on education and parenting issues. She contributes to Education Guardian and the Local Schools Network website.

Follow her @schooltruth

Dr Rebecca Morris

Rebecca joined Durham as a Research Associate at Durham in April 2016 until January 2019 when she began working at Warwick University. She worked on a team with Professor Stephen Gorard, Dr Beng Huat See and Dr Nadia Siddiqui, and remains involved in a number of projects including an evaluation of the National Literacy Trust’s Literacy for Life scheme and EEF evaluations of Maths Counts and Writing about Values.

Rebecca gained her PhD this year from the University of Birmingham. Her thesis focused on the introduction of Free Schools in England, exploring the intakes of the schools, their admissions practices and parents’ motivations for choosing one of the new schools. In addition to her work at Durham, Rebecca also teaches part-time on the ITE (Secondary English) courses at Birmingham and the MA School Improvement and Educational Leadership course.

Baela Raza

Baela Raza Jamil is a public policy specialist and currently the Director of Programmes at Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), the Director of the Institute for Professional Learning, a coordinator at the South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) and a Managing Trustee at the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust. She is also affiliated with the Technical Advisory Group of the UN Secretary General’s Global Initiative on Education, the Advisory Board of the Global Monitoring Report, the Advisory Board Assessment at the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE), BAICE, CIES, SAFED, ARNEC and ASBAE. In the past, she has served as Technical Adviser to the Ministry for Education. Her areas of expertise include education quality, community-based initiatives for education access, early childhood education, district education planning, local governance and public-private partnerships. Her academic experience includes degrees from the University of London, Rosemont College, Harvard University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Follow her @itacec1

Dr Sinclair Sutherland

Dr Sutherland is a Project Manager at Nomis in the Department of Geography at Durham University. NOMIS is a service which allows you to access and download a wide range of official UK statistics. The service is provided by Durham University under contract to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). The service is widely used by central and local government, the private sector, training organisations, and academia.

Professor Dylan Wiliam

Professor Dylan William is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London (Institue of Education). He has extensive experience as a mathematics teacher and in mathematics teacher education. Dylan Wiliam has been involved in the development of assessments and tests in a variety of countries.

User Group

Tom Bennet

Tom Bennet is the Independent behaviour advisor to the UK Department for Education and the founder of researchED, a grass-roots organisation that raises research literacy in education. Since 2013 researchED has visited three continents and six countries, attracting thousands of followers. In 2015 he became the UK government’s school ‘Behaviour Czar’, advising on behaviour policy. See for more on Tom's role.

See Tom's blog at

Andrew Berwick

Andrew Berwick is the Director of The Access Project (see Andrew joined The Access Project as Director of Tutoring in 2012 and became TAP's Director in September 2013. The charity offers tutoring and University support and currently works with hundreds of talented young people from less affluent backgrounds across schools in London and the Midlands with the hopes for further expansion.

Follow @andrew_TAP

Raj Chande

Raj is a Principal Advisor on the Education and Skills team at Behavioural Insights and leads work on early years and schools. Raj has also worked on projects targeting higher education participation and attainment in further education colleges. Prior to his role at Behavioural Insights, Raj worked in finance as an equities trader for nine years, resigning in 2010 to take an MSc in Economics and Public Policy at University of Bristol. Raj went on to complete his PhD at Bristol on the Economics of Education, where his thesis comprised a series of RCTs testing parent engagement interventions designed in collaboration with Harvard Kennedy School. See for more information on the work of Behavioural Insights.

Pippa Coutts

Pippa Coutts is the Alliance for Useful Evidence Research and Policy Manager at Nesta. Pippa leads the Evidence Exchange programme, which seeks to increase the demand for the sharing of social policy evidence across the four UK jurisdictions. Pippa is the Lead for Evidence Exchange in Scotland, advocating the use of evidence in policy and practice. The Evidence Exchange programme is part of The Alliance for Useful Evidence. See for more information and Pippa.

Ed Cox

Ed has led IPPR (Institute for Public Policy Research) North, IPPR's dedicated thinktank for the north of England, since 2009.He was Deputy Chair of the Northern Economic Futures Commission, which set out the first comprehensive industrial strategy for the Northern economy in 2012. He has written over 20 reports on topics covering Northern schools, skills, banking, Brexit, devolution and health innovation. visit for more information about what IPPR do.

Dr Feyisa Demie

Dr Feyisa Demie has worked extensively with Local Authorities, government departments, schools and school governors for over 25 years in the use of data and research to raise achievement. As an education adviser he works with schools covering all phases of assessment, from foundation stage to GCSE.Feyisa developed a comprehensive data service for schools, comprising individual school profiles, contextual and value added reports as a means of providing detailed, confidential data to help schools to monitor performance and improve their processes and outcomes. He also runs school focussed training programmes to support school self-evaluation for headteachers, teachers, governors and policy makers, as well as an annual national school improvement conference at UCL Institute of Education to share good practice in schools.A selected list of publications is given below. For further details of other publications and research reports see

Megan Dixon

Megan is the Director of Research & Development and English Lead at The Aspirer Teaching Alliance. Megan has extensive experience in working with children, both as a teacher, consultant and a teacher trainer in a wide variety of schools in the UK and abroad. Within ATSA, Megan works to ensure research evidence informs every strand of teaching, learning and leadership. In the past two years, ATSA has established a strong research and development department, with close links to many UK Universities. ATSA is regularly involved in national research projects, including Education Endowment Fund trials, the DFE/NCTL Closing the Gap projects and the DFE/Manchester Metropolitan University Evidence Based Teaching Access study. Through the DFE/NCTL Closing the Gap Early Adopter programme, ATSA completed and reported on several micro-studies leading to the development of a rigorous research framework for schools.

Sam Freedman

Sam Freedman is the new Chief Executive of Ark’s Education Partnerships Group. EPG works in developing countries to help improve the quality of education, including through well designed public-private partnerships and effective systems of school accountability. Sam joined EPG from Teach First, where he was Executive Director. He has extensive experience in education, including a period as Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education.

Sean Hayes

Sean is Head of the Performance and Data Team at Hounslow Council's Children's and Adults' Services. Sean is a longstanding senior local government manager and team leader as well as being an educational researcher, data analyst and statistician. Sean has experience in doing research and writing research papers, over 30 years experience in the public sector, 25 of which have been at managerial level, he has worked in five local authorities, the GLA, Cabinet Office and one charity. Sean is a member of the Executive Council of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) from 2008 to 2019 and has been Treasurer of BERA since September 2015.

Russell Hobby

Russel is the Chief Executive Teach First and previously the General Secretary for the NAHT (National Association of Head Teachers). Russell joined Teach First, charity working for equality of education in England and Wales, as CEO in September 2017 building on more than 15 years developing and promoting leadership in schools. Prior to joining Teach First Russell was General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which represents over 29,000 school leaders in the UK and before that worked as a management consultant, founding Hay Group’s education practice.

Phil Hodgson

Phil Hodgson leads Children and Young People's Services in Durham Local Authority. He has wide experience of teaching English and Drama from ages 11 to 18, and has worked at both mid leader and senior leader positions in several schools. Phil is a senior lead at Durham’s Education Development Service, which is made up of a team of full-time school improvement professionals working across the north east region of the UK. See for more about Phil's role.

Gary Jones

Dr Gary Jones worked in post-compulsory education for over 25 years. Gary has a doctorate in educational management from the University of Bristol and is interested in evidence-based practice and the implications for school leadership and management. Gary is a Fellow of the Center for Evidence-Based Management and associate of the Expansive Education Network based at the University of Winchester, where he supports teachers engage in evidence-based practice. See for Gary's blog.

Follow Gary Jones @DrGaryJones

Omar Khan

Omar is the Director of Runnymede Trust . Prior to this he was Runnymede's Head of Policy and led the financial inclusion programme. Omar is a Governor at the University of East London and a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow. Runnymede is the UK's leading independent race equality think tank; generating intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain through research, network building, leading debate, and policy engagement. See for more information about the Runnymede Trust.

Nicholas Miller

Nik is Chief Executive of the Bridge Group. Alongside his directorship, he is also frequently employed across sectors as an independent consultant, specialising in external affairs (e.g. fundraising, corporate and government relations, alumni engagement), social mobility, education policy and strategy. Nik is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Research Committee, a trustee of the Unite Foundation and a governor at York High School. See for more information about the work of The Bridge Group.

Dame Alison Peacock

Dame Alison Peacock is the CEO for the Chartered College of Teaching. The Chartered College opened in January 2017 as the new professional body for the teaching profession. The Chartered College of Teaching succeeds the College of Teachers, which was previously the body that held the Royal Charter for the teaching profession. A supplemental Charter to create the Chartered College of Teaching was approved by the Privy Council in June 2016 and sealed in July 2017.

Follow Alison Peacock @AlisonMPeacock

Anand Shukla

Anand Shukla is the Chief of the Brightside Trust, the UK’s leading social enterprise for online mentoring to help organisations identify, reach and inspire young people. Anand is a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Strategic Advisory Committee on Teaching Excellence and Student Opportunity and also sits on the Universities UK practitioner advisory group on social mobility. He has written for the Guardian and WonkHE on issues relating to social mobility and widening participation, and speaks regularly at national conferences on access and outreach.See for more information about what the Brightside Trust do.

Professor James Thomas

Professor James Thomas a professor of Social Research and Policy at the University College London, Institute of Education. He is director of the EPPI-Centre's Reviews Facility for the Department of Health, England, which undertakes systematic reviews across a range of policy areas to support the department. He specialises in developing methods for research synthesis, in particular for qualitative and mixed methods reviews and in using emerging information technologies such as text mining in research. Thomas leads a module on synthesis and critical appraisal on the EPPI-Centre's MSc in Research for Public Policy and Practice and development on the Centre's in-house reviewing software, EPPI-Reviewer.

Rachael Tooth

Rachael Tooth is Policy and Good practice Manager at OFFA (Office for Fair Access)The Office For Fair Access is the independent regulator of fair access to higher education in England. The organisation promotes and safeguards fair access to higher education for people from lower income backgrounds and other under-represented groups. OFFA topic briefings provide data, resources and ideas on effective practice in fair access. See for more informnation about OFFA.

Kirsty Walker / James Murphy-Corkhill

Kirsty Walker and James Murphy-Corkhill work for the Social Mobility Commission (SMC) which monitors progress towards improving social mobility in the UK, and promotes social mobility in England. The Social Mobility Commission is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Cabinet Office and the Department for Education.See for more information.