Visit by Sir Michael Barber
School Visit by Sir Michael Barber,
Chief Education Advisor & Author of Oceans of Innovation
On 17 November October 2012, Sir Michael Barber, chief author of publication “Oceans of Innovation: The Atlantic, the Pacific, Global Leadership and the Future of Education” paid Gan Eng Seng Primary School a special visit.
Sir Michael Barber is a leading authority on education systems and education reform. Over the past two decades his research and advisory work has focused on school improvement, standards and performance; system-wide reform; effective implementation; access, success and funding in higher education; and access and quality in schools in developing countries. Sir Barber recently joined Pearson as Chief Education Advisor, leading Pearson’s worldwide programme of research into education policy and efficacy, advising on and supporting the development of products and services that build on the research findings, and playing a particular role in Pearson’s strategy for education in the poorest sectors of the world, particularly in fast-growing developing economies.
Prior to Pearson, Sir Barber was a Partner at McKinsey & Company and Head of McKinsey’s global education practice. He co-authored two major McKinsey education reports: How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better (2010) and How the world’s best-performing schools come out on top (2007). He is also Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter. He previously served the UK government as Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (from 2001-2005) and as Chief Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education on School Standards (from 1997-2001). Before joining government he was a professor at the Institute of Education at the University of London.
During the visit, our Principal, Mrs Aw shared with Sir Barber and his team the school’s philosophy and key programmes conceptualised and implemented to support our little folks in Gan Eng Seng Primary School. Sir Barber had the opportunity to interact with a group of Primary 2 GESPians who performed two items for him. He was generously writing notes for the little Primary 2 GESPians as they requested for his autograph. Sir Barber also visited the school’s facilities and interacted with both staff members and other pupils. At our i-Studio, our pupil, Lucas Foo, had the privilege of interviewing Sir Barber one-on-one! In his interview, Sir Barber opined that there would not be a set of evergreen leadership skills that one can learn, but rather, more importantly, for us to remain open to learning, and be ready to un-learn and re-learn as the world around us is constantly changing.
Sir Barber also affirmed the good work of our school and applauded its teachers and leadership. In his email to Mrs Aw, Sir Barber wrote “Thank you so much for your time and attention this morning. I learnt a lot from my visit to your school and found the staff, children and environment very impressive. I wish you and everyone there all the best for the future.”