John Blake

John Blake
John Blake joined Policy Exchange as Head of Education and Social Reform in April 2017, after a decade working as a teacher, senior school leader and leading practitioner in English state schools. He previously worked for the Harris Federation, one of England’s most successful multi-academy trusts, as a History Consultant; as an assistant headteacher at the first selective sixth-form free school; and as head of house, department and faculty in comprehensive and selective schools in London and Essex. John founded and co-edited Labour Teachers from 2011 to 2014 and is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the Parents and Teachers for Excellence campaign, and was formerly on the Advisory Council of NAHT Edge. He read Modern History at the University of Oxford, and also holds a PGCE from the UCL Institute of Education, and an MSt in education from the University of Cambridge.

Related News

Schools Minster endorses Policy Exchange plan to raise standards while reducing teacher workload

Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP has publically backed the latest education report by Policy Exchange, setting out how standards can continue to be raised in state schools. Completing the Revolution set out how using textbooks produced by respected third-parties like the British Museum can improve the quality of teaching while reducing the time teachers have to spend preparing for lessons. The idea builds upon other school reforms pioneered by Policy Exchange, including free schools and the pupil premium.

John Blake speaks on schools funding on Today

Following the Budget, Policy Exchange Head of Education and Social Reform John Blake made an appearance on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme to discuss school funding.

John Blake speaks on academies on Radio Humberside

John Blake, Policy Exchange's Head of Education and Social Reform, joined BBC Humberside for a breakfast time discussion about academies, in which he argues that giving control of schools to the people best placed to improve them is helping thousands of children.

Policy Exchange's John Blake speaks to the BBC's Daily Politics about education reform

John Blake - Policy Exchange's Head of Education and Social Reform - speaks to the BBC's Daily Politics program about education reform.

Policy Exchange's John Blake responds to GCSE reforms

John Blake - Policy Exchange Head of Education and Social Reform – responds to the recent GCSE reforms, which have been introduced this year for English and Maths exams. He spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live (listen below) about the new 1-9 grading system, as well as writing pieces for the Spectator, Telegraph, Times Education Supplement (TES), the I, Reaction and the Sunday Times.

Welcome commitment to academic core from Justine Greening

John Blake, Policy Exchange’s new Head of Education and Social Reform and a former teacher, responds to today’s speech by the Education Secretary, in which she outlined the Government’s approach to school reform

Related Publications

Completing the Revolution: Delivering on the promise of the 2014 National Curriculum

High-quality textbooks and teaching methods are needed to ensure children from all backgrounds receive the rigorous education they deserve. According this new Policy Exchange report, inadequate materials for teaching the National Curriculum are holding back pupils in England and increasing teacher workload. Working in collaboration with respected institutions like the British Museum, the Government should support the creation and take-up of world-leading curriculum materials.

Related Blogs

Skills will be the focus for education reformers in the coming years

Policy Exchange’s John Blake – himself a former teacher – says that while school reform will continue, recent announcements suggest that skills policy will be the focus of the Department for Education under its new leadership.

Why new tests will help teachers give extra support to those pupils that need it

Policy Exchange's John Blake – himself a former teacher – appeared on the Today programme to argue that new tests for young children will help teachers identify which children need extra support. In this blog, he says that, done properly, children will not know they are being tested and so union-led scaremongering should be ignored.

Welcome shift of emphasis to vocational training but big questions for PM’s review of University funding

Policy Exchange’s Head of Education John Blake – himself a former teacher – examines the Prime Minister’s speech on tertiary education.

Hinds needs to finish the revolution Blair started

The new education secretary should ignore the sudden deluge of tweets and remain focused on his department’s urgent issues, writes John Blake in the TES.

Dear Education Secretary – The Blob is out to get you. Don't let it

Policy Exchange Head of Education John Blake writes an open letter to the new Secretary of State for Education.

The challenges behind the figures on teacher recruitment

We're not recruiting enough teachers – but are we asking the right questions as to why? Policy Exchange's John Blake – himself a former teacher – explores the challenges behind the latest figures.

The Chancellor should refuse new funding for schools

The Chancellor should not give in to the temptation to “give what amounts to protection money to the union lobby” and increase school funding in next week’s Budget, argues Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform John Blake in the Times. “We can have world-leading schools without breaking the bank, but not if our school system believes there will always be more money whatever happens.”

Spielman is right to move Ofsted's focus onto curriculum – but can the school system step up?

Policy Exchange’s Head of Education welcomes Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman’s powerful statement about the quality and content of the school curriculum in England. Ofsted says there is too little discussion of curriculum planning and too few teachers and school leaders understand what this means. With a decade’s teaching experience, including as a curriculum creator for one of England’s most successful school trusts, John Blake argues in the TES that schools need to look to Britain’s cultural institutions to find the support they need.

Nicky Morgan on character education

Policy Exchange hosted the launch of “Taught Not Caught”, Nicky Morgan’s new book on the necessity of character education in our schools. John Blake - Policy Exchange Head of Education and Social Reform - explains how Morgan makes a powerful case for ensuring that our children are raised at school with the values we want and know that they will need.

School superunion offers even more power to the far left

The merger of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has created the largest education union in Europe. The National Education Union (NEU) clearly believes it is a force for good but experience suggests the far-left elements of the NUT will soon try and call the shots with potentially disastrous consequences for parents and pupils around the country. Thanks to its left-wing infiltration, the NUT […]

Beware the aftershocks of the youthquake - it's a bit more complicated than that

John Blake — Policy Exchange's Head of Education and Social Reform — enters the ongoing discussion about the 'ever-vexed’ topic of university access. He argues that, regardless of the rising number of young people going on to higher education, 'an 18-year-old from a disadvantaged background, indeed from any background, should face a choice beyond either a university place they may not really want (even on the generous loan terms we have) and nothing'.

Thing to cut before the school curriculum: Call for Evidence

School budgets are now a matter of urgent concern — but in seeking savings, are schools making the best choices? Are school and system leaders thinking radically enough about how their organisations can change to meet the core needs of children in education? John Blake and Mark Lehain of Policy Exchange’s Education Unit — former teachers with two decades of front-line experience between them — offer suggestions, and seek the views of parents, teachers, governors, and other interested parties.

‘Free schools should be valued – they are changing education for the better’

Responding to comments by former Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, John Blake — Policy Exchange's Head of Education and Social Reform — discusses the intention and impact of the free school programme. In an article published by the TES, he argues that 'seeking innovative practice was not an afterthought, but a core aspect of the programme, and one that has yielded enormous dividends for not just those children attending the new free schools, but the whole system'.

Trojan Horse: ‘If anyone is still in any doubt that the practices uncovered were inappropriate, just listen to the pupils’

Hannah Stuart (Co-Head of Policy Exchange's Security and Extremism Unit) and John Blake (Head of Education and Social Reform) look at the latest developments on the Trojan Horse affair.

"Jeremy's Marvellous Medicine" - the accidental Third Way in Labour's manifesto

John Blake — Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform, a self-proclaimed Corbynsceptic - considers the remarkable success of Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 general election, exploring the ingredients which made up Jeremy’s "marvellous medicine".

Policy Exchange's John Blake comments on Labour's education proposals, in the TES

In a new piece for TES, John Blake — Policy Exchange’s Head of Education and Social Reform — says Labour's roadmap towards a National Education Service needs more landmarks than its slightly ambiguous manifesto provides

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