Knowing Me, Knowing Ed-U: Professor Rob Coe (Part 3)

Many people who are well known for their work in education have such interesting backgrounds and stories to tell, although many of us don’t get to hear them. The aim of this podcast series is to learn a bit more about these people.

We sit down for a chat to find out a bit more about them – what was their experience of school? How did they come to work in education? What they’re currently working on etc. And in every episode we ask for three favourite pieces of music.

Whatever we discuss, every podcast episode ends with the same question: If you were in charge of the education system for a day, what one policy or structural change would you make?


Professor Rob Coe is a former Teacher, and is now Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring and Professor of Education at Durham University.

We work very closely with Rob and his team at Durham University, and while he is fairly well-known in education circles, it’s fair to say that he’s not someone people know much about. In this interview, we chat about his time at school, rowing at Oxford, having Dylan Wiliam and Guy Claxton as PGCE tutors, free schools (but not as we know them now), the birth of the EEF toolkit and more!

As it’s a long old episode, we’ve divided it into three parts for you, to be released on 16th, 17th and 18th March.

In Friday’s first part, we covered school, sport and wanting to be Bertrand Russell.

In yesterday’s section, you can learn more about Rob’s university and rowing career, as well as his PGCE and step into teaching.

And today, in the final part, we discuss how far we’ve come since his Manifesto for Evidence-Based Education (the philosophy rather than us!), establishment of the EEF, the birth of ‘the toolkit’, current research and his answer to the big question…
If you haven’t already, do check out the previous episodes of Knowing Me Knowing Ed-U with Daisy Christodoulou, Alison Peacock, Geoff Barton and Sugata Mitra.

Do you have suggestions for future guests of Knowing Me Knowing Ed-U? Who would you like to hear from? Let us know at

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