Robin Alexander is Fellow of Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge, Honorary Professor of Education at the University of York, Professor of Education Emeritus at the University of Warwick and Chair of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust. He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) and past President of the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE).
Educated at the universities of Cambridge, Durham, London and Manchester, Robin Alexander has taught in schools, colleges and universities and has served on government advisory bodies (CATE 1989-94, QCA 1997-2002) and official enquiries (‘three wise men’ 1991-2). He has undertaken research in many countries, notably Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, India, Russia and the United States, and has worked in development education in Bangladesh and India on behalf of BRAC, DfiD and the EC. He has held two Leverhulme Research Fellowships and visiting academic positions in Australia, France, Hong Kong, India and Singapore, and has been awarded honorary doctorates by two universities.
Robin Alexander has written or edited over 270 publications. His early books included The Self-Evaluating Institution (1982), Primary Teaching (1984) and Change in Teacher Education (1984). From research projects based at Leeds University came Changing Primary Practice (1989), Versions of Primary Education (1995) and Policy and Practice in Primary Education: local initiative, national agenda (1997). This corpus includes work on policy, pedagogy, classroom studies, teacher education, curriculum and evaluation, usually in the primary phase of education. From the mid-1990s his research acquired international, comparative and cross-cultural dimensions which prompted – notably through the two volumes of Learning from Comparing: new directions in comparative education research (1999 and 2000) – a re-assessment of the field of comparative enquiry itself. The five-nation Culture and Pedagogy: international comparisons in primary education (Blackwell 2001) greatly extended Robin Alexander’s take on pedagogy and classroom discourse and won top education book prizes on both sides of the Atlantic. This study was built on in Essays on Pedagogy (2008) and Education for All, the Quality Imperative and the Problem of Pedagogy (2008. Local, national and international came together in his extensive and continuing work on classroom talk reform and the advancement of dialogic teaching (Education as Dialogue, 2006 and Towards Dialogic Teaching: rethinking classroom talk, 4th edition 2008).
Meanwhile, Alexander’s lifelong commitment to the cause of primary education led to the Cambridge Primary Review (CPR), which he initiated in 2004 and has led since 2006. This independent enquiry into the condition and future of primary education in England is the largest and most comprehensive such investigation since the 1960s. CPR published 31 interim reports between 2007 and 2009 before its 600-page final report Children, their World, their Education (2010) and the 850-page companion volume The Cambridge Primary Review Research Surveys (2010). With continuing support from its sponsor, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Review then entered a phase of dissemination, policy engagement and network-building. In 2012 CPR became the Cambridge Primary Review Trust, a not-for-profit company dedicated to building on the Review’s work and advancing the cause of high quality primary education for all children. In 2013 it began a partnership with Pearson, its new sponsor and the world’s biggest educational publisher, aimed at building professional capacity through jointly-produced activities and materials.
Current positions: Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge; Honorary Professor of Education, University of York; Professor of Education Emeritus, University of Warwick; Chair, Cambridge Primary Review Trust.
Qualifications: LittD (Cambridge), PhD (Cambridge), MA (Cambridge), MEd (Manchester), Ac. Dip. Ed (London), PGCE (Durham), ATCL (Trinity College of Music).
Previous positions: teaching in schools and colleges in various parts of England, 1964-77; Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Education, University of Leeds, 1977-90; Professor of Education, University of Leeds, 1990-95; Professor of Education, Director of Research and Director of the Centre for Research in Elementary and Primary Education (CREPE), University of Warwick, 1995-2001; Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 2001-6; Professorial Director of Research, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 2006-10. Director, Cambridge Primary Review, 2006-12.
Honours, awards, fellowships: Fellow of the British Academy (FBA); Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS); Winner, American Educational Research Association (AERA) Outstanding Book Award (2002); First Prize, Society for Educational Studies (SES) Book Awards (2002 and 2011); Cambridge Journal of Education Best Paper Prize (2012); BERA/Sage Public Impact Award (2015); President, British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE) (2008-9); honorary doctorates, Manchester Metropolitan University and Bishop Grosseteste University College; Leverhulme Research Fellow (1994-6), Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow (2002-4); Honorary Fellow, the College of Teachers (FCollT); National Union of Teachers (NUT) Anne and Fred Jarvis Award – Campaigning for Education (2011); Association of Managers in Education (AMiE) Award for Services to Education (2010); Sir Edward Youde Visiting Professor, Hong Kong Institute of Education (2005-6); Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Melbourne (2010); C.J.Koh Professor, National Institute of Education, Singapore (2010).
Current professional affiliations: American Educational Research Association (AERA), British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE), British Educational Research Association (BERA), New Visions for Education Group.
Past professional affiliations: All Souls Group, Study Group on Education in Russia, the Independent States and Eastern Europe, Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), Association for the Study of Primary Education (founding chair, 1988-90), Primary Education Study Group (PESG), Association for the Study of the Curriculum, Society for Research into Higher Education Teacher Education Study Group.
Grants received for research, evaluation and/or development projects: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (2); Social Science Research Council (SSRC) (1); Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (1); Department for International Development (DfID) (1); European Commission (EC) (1); School Examinations and Assessment Council (SEAC) (1); Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) (1), British Council (1), Leverhulme Trust (2); Nuffield Foundation (1); Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (4); Education Endowment Foundation (1); Heinemann Educational (1); Pearson Education (1); University of Leeds (1); University of Warwick (1); Local Education Authorities of Barking and Dagenham (1), Birmingham (1), Buckinghamshire (1), Calderdale (1), Leeds (1), Oxfordshire (1), North Yorkshire (1), and Warwickshire (1).
Publications: books and monographs (28); journal articles and book chapters (120); research reports (46); electronic media (2); newspaper articles (30); other (55+).