Policy Exchange announces new Education and Skills team

Tom Richmond

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Joanna Williams

Head of Education and Culture

Policy Exchange is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Education and Skills team, which will continue our agenda-setting work in this key area of domestic policy.

Both new members of the team are former teachers, who will bring a wealth of frontline experience and expertise to their policy research. Dr Joanna Williams, the new Head of Education and Culture, joins us from the University of Kent where she had been Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice since 2007 and Director of Kent’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education until 2016. A widely published writer, Joanna is the author of Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can’t Be Bought (Bloomsbury, 2012) among other books.

Tom Richmond, a former teacher and government adviser, re-joins Policy Exchange as a Senior Research Fellow on Education and Skills. Tom was an adviser to Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan at the Department for Education and has also worked in policy roles in the private sector and at other Westminster-based think tanks. In addition, he has spent six years in the classroom, most recently at a Sixth Form College in London.

Early priorities for the new team will include examining how poor behaviour in schools is affecting children’s learning and whether it is having an impact on the recruitment and retention of teachers. They will also be building on Policy Exchange’s work in the important area of Further Education, skills and apprenticeships. Their research will continue to shape the government’s policy as it launches its biggest ever overhaul of technical education, with the introduction of the T-level, designed to provide the skills needed for post-Brexit Britain.

Biographies of the new team

Dr Joanna Williams

Dr Joanna Williams is an academic, author and commentator. She began her career teaching English in secondary schools and Further Education. She started working as a lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice at the University of Kent in 2007. She was Director of Kent’s Centre for the Study of Higher Education until 2016.

Joanna is the author of Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can’t Be Bought (Bloomsbury, 2012) and Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Her most recent book is Women vs Feminism (Emerald, 2017).

Joanna has written numerous academic journal articles and book chapters as well as being a frequent contributor to national and international debates on education, feminism and gender politics. She has given many guest lectures, most recently speaking at the Universities of Cologne, Bonn, Gottingen and Leiden. In America she has lectured at St Olaf College, North Dakota State University, the University of San Diego and California State University, Fullerton. She has addressed the Institute for Humane Studies and the National Association of Scholars.

Joanna’s writing has been published widely in the UK and the US including in The Spectator, The Sun, The Daily Mail, Spiked, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Post and American Conservative.

Joanna writes and speaks about a range of issues including schools, gender, feminism, children and families. Her media appearances include BBC 1’s Sunday Morning Live, Daily Politics, Sky News and Radio 4’s Moral Maze.

Tom Richmond

Tom Richmond has spent 15 years in the world of education in a variety of different roles. He began his career teaching A-level Psychology at one of the country’s leading state schools, having gained a BSc in Psychology from the University of Birmingham and an MSc in Child Development from the Institute of Education in London.

After three years in teaching, he moved into politics to work on policy development and research across the education, skills and welfare sector. This included roles at think tanks such as Policy Exchange and the Social Market Foundation, Pearson, G4S, a leading professional body and also spending a short time working for an MP.

He subsequently spent two years as an adviser to ministers at the Department for Education, first under Michael Gove and then Nicky Morgan, where he helped them to design and deliver new policies as well as improve existing ones. After leaving the Department for Education, he spent two years back in teaching at a Sixth Form College in London.

At the beginning of 2018, he returned to Westminster as a policy consultant at the Reform think tank and has now joined Policy Exchange to continue his work on Education and Skills projects. In 2016 he co-authored The Skills We Need, and Why We Don’t Have Them, which proposed reforms to the UK’s apprenticeship schemes.

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