• About


    After starting out as a teacher in a London comprehensive, Alex did his MA at the IOE before joining Teach For All, a growing network of independent organizations working in sixty countries worldwide to ensure that all children fulfil their potential, where he now heads the Global Learning Lab. He is fortunate to spend much of his time travelling the world in search of the practices that will shape the future of learning and has written about his experiences for the Guardian, Financial Times and Wired. He wrote and presented The Learning Revolution, a three part series on the future of education for BBC Radio 4 (2020), and is the author of Natural Born Learners (2018), a user's guide to transforming learning in the twenty-first century.


  • Book

    Praise for Natural Born Learners


    'A manual on how to successfully grow a kid’s brain' (Ruby Wax, Author of FRAZZLED)


    'A dazzlingly fast-paced journey through the classrooms and laboratories of the globe in an attempt to tackle the Big Questions of our age' (Melissa Benn, NEW STATESMAN)


    'Readers should accompany Beard on his travels, because after myriad engaging anecdotes and encounters, he arrives at conclusions with universal relevance' (Miranda Green FINANCIAL TIMES)

    'One of the most optimistic, thought-provoking, and ambitious educational books of recent years' (Geoff Barton, TES)

    'A timely and passionate book on the need for a global educational renaissance' (Jane Shilling MAIL ON SUNDAY)


    'Lively and provocative ... Beard is inspirational on the capabilities of the brain' (Helen Brown, DAILY TELEGRAPH)


    'A grand tour, looking for what works in an era in which traditional educational models bump up against acute societal change' (Rebecca Asher, TLS)

    'Wide-ranging, often humorous, and consistently fascinating' (Stephanie Cross THE LADY)


    'Vital and vitalising, this is an incredibly important book' (Owen Sheers, METRO)

    'Fascinating' (Fiona Millar, GUARDIAN)

    'Really excellent' (Philip Pullman, Author, on an extract in the GUARDIAN)


  • Writing

    Selected articles

    Guardian Long Read, April 2020

    With 1 billion children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it.

    Financial Times, June 2020

    For the first time in a generation, it is possible to imagine a different kind of school system

    Evening Standard, September 2019

    This week children nationwide are travelling back in time. After a long summer of sharing on Snapchat and surfing YouTube, they’re skipping through the school gates for the first day of a new school year

    Guardian Long Read, April 2018

    If we could understand how the infant mind develops, it might help every child reach their full potential. But seeing them as learning machines is not the answer

    Wired, April 2018

    China wants to be the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. To get there, it's reinventing the way children are taught

    Daily Telegraph, April 2019

    A review of Jordan Shapiro's fascinating and provocative new book, The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World, which argues that we should stop worrying and learn to love tech

    Financial Times, November 2017

    “Schooling is not the same as learning,” wrote the authors of the World Bank’s World Development Report for 2018, the first of its kind to be devoted entirely to education

    Open Education Europa, 2012

    Along with Jacob Kestner, I wrote an essay for the European Commission about how in the year 2030 students will continue to go to the school down the road; they’ll begin to go to the school in the cloud.

  • Radio

    I wrote and presented a three part documentary series for BBC Radio 4, The Learning Revolution

    The series examined the future of knowing, teaching and learning through visits to some of the world's most cutting edge institutions and interviews with leading thinkers including Alison Gopnik, Wade Davis, Andy Clark, Rosi Braidotti, Mitch Resnick, Daisy Christodoulou and David Wallace-Wells


  • Speaking

    I speak on education, technology, creativity and human development for audiences all over the world. I've given talks for the BBC, World Bank, UN, Hay Festival, British Council, 5x15 stories, How to Academy, TEDx, BETT and CanvasCon, as well as at numerous other literary festivals, schools and universities and business events - and the Cheerful Bookclub podcast.

  • Projects

    I run a lab for the future of learning

    I'm a Senior Director of the Global Learning Lab at Teach For All, a global network of independent organizations working on six continents to develop the teachers, school leaders and policymakers who'll transform learning.


    The Global Learning Lab launched in 2018, with the aim of facilitating, capturing and spreading learning and innovations and best practices in system-level and classroom-level reforms, within and beyond our global network.

    I'm on the board of the One Day Trust, home of the London Screen Academy. It's a brand new sixth form academy opening September 2019, LSA will enable 16-19 year olds to access the screen industries or progress to higher education through high quality learning within a diverse, accepting and supportive community.

    I'm an advisor to Black Mountains College, a new university in rural Wales. Dedicated to creativity, experimental learning and adaptive thinking, BMC will offer undergraduate and further education courses and professional development for teachers. It will produce undergraduates, skilled craftspeople and teachers schooled in creative methods and the latest technologies ready to confront the huge challenges facing our future generations.