Nicky Morgan, Natasha Devon, Ken Robinson: Who made Debrett’s Top 500 as an education influencer?

Seven new education faces have been added to a list of the 500 most influential people in the country – but not a single current teacher is included.

Included for the first time this year in the education section of the Debrett’s 500 list, published by the Times, is the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, the Department for Education’s mental health champion, Natasha Devon, Professor Louise Stoll from the Institute of Education and the education expert Sir Ken Robinson.

In addition, former “superhead” Sir George Berwick and former Ofsted chair Baroness Sally Morgan of Huyton, now chair of the Future Leaders Trust, also made the list.

The new Oxford University vice chancellor Professor Louise Richardson represents the world of higher education.

The annual list recognises people of influence and achievement in British society, and includes people from various different sectors such as fashion, journalism, politics and art. Twenty people from the education sector are featured each year.

Ms Devon told Schools Week that she felt incredibly honoured to be included on the list.

She added that she was pleased to find herself in distinguished company, saying that Sir Ken Robinson was a “personal hero”.

“It also made me feel grateful for all the people who have influenced me, in particularly my favourite teachers Victoria Sheppard, Liam Biggins and Sandra Buchanan, who made me believe I could achieve anything I set my mind to.”

Union leaders Christine Blower and Russell Hobby make the list again, as does Kevan Collins, chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation and Lucy Heller, the CEO of academy chain Ark.

Last year, the teacher and blogger Ross McGill was included in the list, but did not make it to a second year.

Mr McGill, who blogs as Te@cher Toolkit, said: “I have no idea how the process works or how any criteria selects and recognises individuals, however, it is fantastic to see people working in the education sector identified for their hard work and influence on the sector.

“With teachers much more active online in blogs and on social media, challenging myths and fads, shaping national dialogue and policy, it’s a real shame not to see any teachers cited for their work with colleagues.”

Other people bumped from the list include Sir Anthony Seldon, the former master at Wellington College, who is now vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham, and the national
schools commissioner Frank Green, who will leave his role at the end of the month.

The most influential educationalists

Professor Sonia Blandford, founder and CEO, Achievement for All 3As

Christine Blower, general secretary, NUT

Dame Sally Coates, DBE, director, United Learning’s southern academies

Dr Kevan Collins, chief executive, Education Endowment Foundation

Dr Mary Curnock Cook, OBE, chief executive, UCAS

Professor Les Ebdon, CBE, director, Office for Fair Access

Lord Harris of Peckham, sponsor and chair, Harris Federation

Lucy Heller, CEO, Ark Schools

Russell Hobby, general secretary, NAHT

Sir Peter Lampl, OBE, chair, Sutton Trust

Lord Nash, junior minister for schools, and director, Future Academies

Brett Wigdortz, OBE, founder and CEO, Teach First

Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief inspector, Ofsted

Sir George Berwick, CBE, CEO, Challenge Partners

Natasha Devon, MBE, mental health champion and founder, Self Esteem Team

Nicky Morgan, MP, education secretary

Baroness Morgan of Huyton, chair, Future Leaders Trust

Professor Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor, University of Oxford

Sir Ken Robinson, education expert and professor emeritus of education, University of Warwick

Professor Louise Stoll, education consultant and professor of professional learning, Institute of Education

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  1. I think if you asked the students about this,they would say the biggest influence would be their class teacher.It does not surprise me this is happening in the UK and the government wonders why teachers are leaving in droves.Perhaps it is time to say to these influential people that the real action in education is and always will be in the classroom.