International Educators, Education Leaders to Meet in London for Annual Symposium

NEW YORK, October 26, 2016 – Educators and education leaders from around the world will convene in London next week for the annual three-day symposium of the Global Cities Education Network (GCEN), an initiative of the Center for Global Education at Asia Society.

GCEN is an international learning community of city school systems in Asia and North America. Participating cities include Denver, Hangzhou, Hiroshima, Houston, Lexington, Melbourne, Seattle, Shanghai, Singapore, and Toronto. 

GCEN works to build strong school systems by supporting education leaders in understanding effective policy and practice and considering practical applications. The network recently published the results of an external evaluation of its work and impact in a report titled, “Innovation and Change: Lessons from the Global Cities Education Network.”

This year's symposium is the first to be held outside one of the participating GCEN cities, and will be conducted in partnership with UCL Institute of Education (IOE). “Working with colleagues globally allows for an open dialogue, and London is a leader in supporting peer-to-peer learning with dramatic improvement in the academic performance of their students over time," said Asia Society’s Vice President of Education and Center for Global Education Director Tony Jackson. "We are eager to both share as well as learn from their successes and challenges.”

The focus of the London symposium is to:

  1. Understand the policy and practice interventions and implementation in London that have driven effective changes over time.
  2. Understand improvement taking root in London and across GCEN including school-led and self-improving systems.
  3. Consider practical applications to the GCEN cities.

“I’m delighted that the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is partnering the Global Cities Education Network to hold their London symposium, which will bring together educators from around the world," said Professor Becky Francis, Director of the IOE. "As a world leading institution for teacher education and research, the issues promoted by the GCEN on building school systems and supporting education leaders are central to much of the work carried out at the IOE. The symposium has a focus on policy and interventions that have been effective in London – we are particularly well-placed to lead the discussion on this.”

A number of significant speakers and advisors have joined the GCEN cities on their exploration in London, including headteachers Vanessa Ogden, Rachel Macfarlane, and Peter Hyman; Steve Munby, CEO of Education Development Trust; Sir Kevan Collins of Education Endowment Foundation; and Jon Coles, Chief Executive of United Learning.

In concert with the symposium, GCEN is also offering a public forum on November 1, hosted by the UCL Institute of Education. The forum will focus on 21st century skills in a global context and feature education experts from around the world who will explore two big questions:

  • How do education systems, teachers, and parents prepare youth to understand and make critical choices in this fluid and complex world?
  • What is the responsibility of cities, leaders, and partners in this endeavor?

Speakers at the forum will include: Tony Jackson, Center for Global Education at Asia Society; Toby Greany, UCL Institute of Education; Tony Mackay, Center for Strategic Education, Australia (panel moderator); Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, UK (invited); Valerie Hannon, Innovation Unit, United Kingdom; Cindy Khoo, Singapore Ministry of Education; Amy McIntosh, U.S. Department of Education; Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD; and Minxuan Zhang, Center of International Education Study, Shanghai.

“We are excited to be welcoming leaders from around the world to UCL IOE and to London," said Toby Greany, Professor of Leadership and Innovation at the IOE’s London Centre for Leadership and Learning (LCLL). "Schools in the capital have been transformed over the past 15 years, arguably becoming England’s highest performing region, partly thanks to the pioneering new models of school to school support and challenge that have been developed here. UCL IOE has played a significant role in London’s journey, working collaboratively with schools to develop teachers, leaders and wider approaches to reform, and we are proud to be working with the Asia Society and with London schools to host this important international learning event.”

For more information about the symposium or the forum, please contact Anne Hilton: ahilton@asiasociety.org. You may also register for the free public forum online.