Personal profile

Research interests

Equity, inclusion, school improvement and system change.  


Mel Ainscow, Emeritus Professor of Education, is internationally recognized as an authority on the promotion of inclusion and equity in education. Previously a head teacher, local education authority adviser and lecturer at the University of Cambridge, his work focuses on ways of making schools effective for all children and young people. A distinctive feature of his approach is the emphasis he places on carrying out research with schools and education systems to promote improvements.   

A long-term consultant to UNESCO, Mel is currently working to promote equity and inclusion globally. He is also a consultant to an initiative organised by the Organization of American States, which is supporting national developments in nine Latin American countries. He has recently completed collaborative research projects with networks of schools in five European countries.  

Mel led the Greater Manchester Challenge a three-year project that involved a partnership between national government, ten local authorities, 1,150 schools and many other stakeholders, and had a government investment of around £50 million. He went on to lead Schools Challenge Cymru, the Welsh Government’s multi-million pound flagship programme to accelerate the rate of improvement across the country’s schools, focusing in particular on the progress of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

In addition to his post at Manchester, Mel isProfessor of Education at the University of Glasgow, Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology and Honorary Professor of Practice at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He has published extensively in practitioner and international research journals.  His recent books include: ‘Struggles for equity in education: The selected works of Mel Ainscow’(Routledge World Library of Educationalists series). In the Queen’s 2012 New Year Honours list he was made a CBE for services to education. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

External positions

October 2019, University of Glasgow

1 Oct 2019 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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