• 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 publications

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    Big Change, 2021

    Working in partnership with a group of global education leaders, I co-produced a report on the drivers of education system transformation to put all students on a path to success in the C21

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    Apolitical, July 2020

    In order to keep 1.5 billion children learning, governments are trying new and unconventional methods

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    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.

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    Financial Times, June 2020

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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    The series examined the future of knowing, teaching and learning with the world's leading institutions and 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 globally. I've given talks for the BBC, World Bank, UN, GSMA, BBVA, Hay Festival, British Council, 5x15, How to Academy, TEDx, BETT and CanvasCon, as well as at festivals, schools, universities, businesses - and on the Cheerful Bookclub podcast.

  • Projects

    I run a lab for the future of learning

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    I'm 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 will transform education today.

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    I'm part of the team that developed the World Economic Forum's 'Generation AI Establishing Global Standards for Children and AI' report, working with global experts in technology, education, child psychology, financing and manufacturing.

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    I'm on the board of the One Day Trust, home of the London Screen Academy and East London Arts and Music, which are transforming vocational education for 16-19 year olds to access the creative industries.

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    I'm an advisor to Black Mountains College, a new university in rural Wales teaching undergraduates, craftspeople and teachers to use creative methods and new technologies to tackle the challenges facing future generations.



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