Meet the expert > Meet the expert: Louis Coiffait

Meet the expert: Louis Coiffait

Louis Coiffait, Head of Research for Pearson Think Tank and in the Office of Chief Education Advisor Sir Michael Barber, tells us about his passion for Education.

Louis CoiffaitWhere/what did you study and what are your qualifications?

I went to a large state comprehensive in East Yorkshire, then studied Politics with Education at the University of York, with the middle year on exchange at UCLA. A few years later I went back as a mature student to do an MPhil in International Relations at Magdalene, Cambridge.  

Professional experience?

I've spent the last ten years or so in a variety of roles, with a golden thread of education policy and research running through them all.  

What are your current projects?

I currently manage and edit a couple of websites, Open Ideas and Blue Skies. I help to create and share new evidence and ideas about learning, through projects such as The Learning Curve, Careers 2020 and A Rich Seam. We explore all kinds of issues in education, from open data and careers guidance, to digital pedagogy and professional development. As this suggests, my role is very varied, incorporating research, programme management, digital, comms, policy and stakeholder engagement. 

Who have you worked with?

We often commission others to do projects, such as Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy on A Rich Seam, or launch projects with others, such as Graham Stuart on Careers 2020. Our 'thought leadership' function is very externally focused, looking at the trends and issues shaping the wider education sector around the world. We're always trying to spot good practices to share, and 'problems' to explore. 

What inspired you to get into this field?

Both my parents were teachers but I kind of fell into my degree subject and then initial work experience. Over time I've come to realise that education is my main passion, it's so important to everything else! 

If you weren't doing what you do, what would you be?

I do often think about a career in teaching, but I always gravitate to the big picture. Maybe a doctor, it's hands on, practical and involves other people. 

What do you do away from work?

I'm an 'enthusiastic' sportsman; cycling, badminton, football, hill walking, fell running and snowboarding. In the last couple of years I've also been learning how to use a camera properly - it's still a bit of a numbers game if I'm honest.


Quick questions: 

What’s your favourite book, and why?

Lord of the Rings, read it at seven years old and three times since - just love it. Full of depth and nostalgia for me. 

What’s your favourite album, and why?

That's a toughie, the first one I bought was Nevermind by Nirvana (on cassette), and I remember liking the Beatles a lot from a young age. Since then I've grown a pretty eclectic collection - I couldn't pick just one, different albums are for different chapters of my life.

Who’s your favourite musician/composer/singer, and why?

As above, sorry! Currently enjoying Moderat and James Blake from modern artists, maybe Joni Mitchell and Roy Harper from older stuff. 

Whom do you most admire, and why?

I'm not big into role-models, I guess my parents and Thomas Cromwell from the Hilary Mantel novels.


Louis Coiffait is Head of Research in the Pearson Think Tank and works with Sir Michael Barber. He also edits Blue Skies and Open Ideas. You can often find him Tweeting.  


Date Added: March 14, 2014

What do you think?