Education for the 21st century

What’s the challenge?

Living in an increasingly globalised society offers both opportunities and challenges. How can education best prepare young people to fulfil their potential in a rapidly changing world?


  • Over 33,000: The number of schools and colleges in Britain
  • 4,137,755: Number of pupils in State funded primary schools
  • 3,262,635: Number of pupils in State funded secondary schools
  • 576,230: Number of pupils in Independent schools
  • £6,200: Average spending per pupil in England (2009-10)
  • 629: The number of academy schools in England in 2011

Source: Office of National Statistics – Education and training (2011)


Salman Khan is the founder and faculty of the Khan Academy a not-for-profit organisation with the mission of providing a free world-class education to anyone, anywhere. . It now consists of self-paced software and, with over 1 million unique students per month, the most-used educational video repository on the Internet (over 30 million lessons delivered to-date). All 2000+ video tutorials, covering everything from basic addition to advanced calculus, physics, chemistry and biology, have been made by Salman. Prior to the Khan Academy, Salman was a senior analyst at a hedge fund and had also worked in technology and venture capital. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.Eng and B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a B.S. in mathematics from MIT.

Facts about the Khan Academy

  • 2004: The year Salman Khan, a former hedge fund analyst, began posting maths tutorials on YouTube from his home in Boston, USA. Salman was creating these videos to remotely tutor his cousins who lived in New Orleans, USA.
  • +70 million: The number of lessons delivered online since 2004
  • 10-20 minutes: the chunks of information given
  • 2,400: The number of videos uploaded into the Khan Academy video library.

‘Let’s use video to reinvent education’ Salman Khan

“Literally anyone with access to a computer and the internet will be able to go to the Khan Academy and get a world class education. It will be the world’s free virtual school… to learn in your own time, at your own pace” Salman Khan



Professor Robert Winston is well known today to audiences throughout the world for his several BBC television series,which include The Human Body, Secret Life of Twins and Superhuman, and through which he has shown a great capacity for communicating often complex science to a wide public audience. He is Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College School of Medicine, London University, and is world-renowned as a fertility expert. He also heads the Department of Reproductive Medicine at the Hammersmith Hospital in London.


Evan Davis joined the presenting team of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today Programme in 2008, following a six-and-a-half year stint as the BBC’s economics editor.

Evan also presents The Bottom Line, Radio 4’s business discussion programme, the popular Dragons’ Den series, and wrote and presented the Made in Britain series. Before his promotion to editor, Evan worked for BBC Two’s Newsnight from 1997 to 2001 and as a general economics correspondent from 1993. He previously worked as an economist at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the London Business School. Evan has won several awards, including the Work Foundation’s Broadcast Journalist of the Year award in 1998, 2001 and 2003, and the Harold Wincott Business Broadcaster of the Year award in 2001 and 2005.
He has written and co-written several books, most notably Public Spending, and the Penguin dictionaries of economics and of business. He studied philosophy, politics and economics at St John’s College, Oxford from 1981 to 1984 and obtained a Masters of Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.



Richard Gerver
Richard Gerver, has been described as one of the most inspirational leaders of his generation. He argues however, that great leadership is about serving the needs of the people that work for you and rely upon you. The three core principles that underpin Gerver’s philosophy are communication, empowerment and impact.

Richard was awarded the School Head Teacher of the Year Award for his work at Grange School in Derby.
Richard began his working life as an actor who worked as an advertising copywriter to make ends meet. He began a teaching career in 1992 and rose through the ranks fast being identified by the school’s inspectorate in 1997 as one of the most outstanding teachers in the country.

By 2003 Richard was working with Tony Blair’s Government as an advisor on education policy. In 2006 his work was celebrated at The UNESCO World Arts Education Conference in Lisbon, Portugal and in the same year he was invited to Shanghai to speak about education transformation to members of the Chinese Government.

By 2005 he had won the prestigious “School Head Teacher of the Year Award” at the British National Teaching Awards for his work in leading a school on the brink of closure to becoming one of the most innovative in the world. Richard developed his organisational philosophy of living, learning and laughing which reached his full development during his time as Head Teacher.

Richard’s global best-selling book Creating Tomorrow’s Schools Today (2009) deals with education transformation, his second book, due by the end of 2012, and deals with human capacity and leading change.


Dave Hessell, BECTA

Dave Hessell is Director of Content & Learning, Teaching and Inclusion at BECTA (formerly known as the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency). Becta’s objectives are to influence strategic direction and development of national education policy to best take advantage of technology and to develop a national digital infrastructure and resources strategy leading to greater national coherence.

“There are so many things you can bring to the education world that you previously couldn’t do without technology.”” Dave Hassell, BECTA

“We must instill in every child that questioning, discerning perspective which means when they are out in their environment around them, they are considering why things happen the way they do, whether they should happen as they do, and think about what they might do to change what is going on around them.”

“Education is the biggest challenge of the 21st Century because if we are to overcome any of the sorts of issues we face, what we need to make certain is that people are educated and have a rounded perspective on life”. Dave Hassell, BECTA