A day in the life: Jack Deverson

Next up, EBE Director and recently prolific bloggist, Jack Deverson…

What’s your name?

Jack Deverson

Where are you from?

Generically, the north-east of England. I’ve moved between Sunderland, Newcastle, (China) and the education powerhouse that is Durham…

What do you do?

I’m Managing Director here at evidencebased.education. I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades (no pun intended), but here, I manage all of the daily running of the business, conduct some training, as well as still doing some bits and bobs of proofreading and translation work – a legacy of my company I set up to fund me through university.

How did you get into this job?

I fell into it by accident! See this post for more detail; but basically, I came to a crossroads at the same time as Stuart did, and we thought that it might be a good idea to set up a business!

What motivates you when things get tough?

There are good days and bad days… Basically, when I’m on a good day, I’m unstoppable; and when it’s a bit of a bad day, I generally keep myself in solitary confinement and work until I feel better about stuff. I love distance running, so that’s a big one when I’m struggling, and I tend to think of the approach to life adopted by my late friend Brent, whom I met in China and who sadly passed away last December. Having him as a neighbour for a year changed me massively, and I still regret not making it out to San Diego to visit him.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Probably as a massive pain in the backside, when I’m nagging them about deadlines!! No, I’d like to think they see me as a bit of an inspiration – someone who gets up every morning and has a serious work ethic and some degree of creativity and inspiration.

When you’re not working, how do you switch off?

As mentioned before, I love distance running, and I’m currently in the process of building my distance up again after a few quiet months. Otherwise, I play the guitar and sing, and enjoy a bit of slacklining from time to time. Basically, sport – either playing or watching – or music.

What’s been the highlight of your education career so far?

Probably would have to be winning a province-wide Chinese speaking and talent competition – against some native speakers… – while I was away in Hainan. That was also the first time I’d ever stood up on a stage and performed. I got the bug.

If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be?

Hmmm. This is a tricky one, as it’s not been a long career so far. Everything I’ve done has been the right decision at the time, and I’ve learned a huge amount on each step of the way.

What do you see as the role of evidence in education now, and in ten years’ time?

I feel more and more passionately about this, the more we work on our projects here. I feel that, if, say, in medicine, we made a decision that went totally against what the evidence suggested, it would put people’s lives at risk and there’d be uproar. I see a growing trend of evidence in education, and I hope we’re at the forefront of it. We’re doing a lot of US-based work where the concept seems to be taking hold, and with the rise of Research Schools here in the UK, it can only grow and grow. Now, there are a few isolated teachers and school leaders who look at the best available evidence when making a decision; in ten years, I think this will be standard best practice. It has to trickle down from the relatively closed world of university academia; it’s got to start there and spread organically – with a bit of help from us!!


Quick-fire round:

Up with the larks, or burning the midnight oil?


Relaxing beach break or activity holiday?

Activity, any day of the week. Give me climbing over a sun lounger!

Tea or coffee?


City or country?

City – I thought I was more of a country lad, but I’m not. I need to be within reach of countryside though!

Board game or movie?

Board game. I can’t sit still for long enough. There’s a time and place for a good movie though.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?

Arctic Monkeys’ Mardy Bum


And finally, tell us one interesting fact about yourself.

I’ve got a few things up my sleeve. I’ve kind of said yes to everything and ended up doing all sorts of bizarre stuff as a result. Probably that I’ve presented the English-language news on Chinese provincial TV!!

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