Chris Barnham

Category: 1990s /  All Harkness Stories /  Humanities /  Politics & Public Services / 

Chris Barnham (1992-93) applied for the Harkness fellowship at Northwestern University, Illinois, to further his understanding of effective schooling in inner cities.  A lifelong advocate of education, based on experiences with great teachers in his own life, he became a teacher after his degree at St John’s, Cambridge and PGCE at Goldsmiths.  He subsequently joined the Department of Education in 1987, and in his 25-year career there he covered a wide range of policy areas from Early Years, higher education strategy, offender learning and skills and welfare to work, the relationship between education and employment. He spent two years seconded to Southwark Council (2000 - 02), where he devised a new multi-disciplinary approach to youth crime to meet the challenge presented by the November 2000 killing of Damilola Taylor. Having left the civil service in 2013, he was elected in 2014 to Lewisham Council in south London and is now Cabinet member for Children's Services. In his spare time, Chris is a writer; he has published a variety of fiction short stories, and in 2018 published a well-received science fiction novel, Fifty-One. He also runs a policy and strategy consultancy, specialising in creative development and delivery in education, employment and skills.