News and opinion

Steve Munby

BLOG - Falsehoods and realities and why we have changed our name

11 January 2016

Our CEO Steve Munby discusses falsehoods and realities and why we have changed our name.

I think many things in our lives show up what is false and what is real. 

In the recent Star Wars film Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher look like they have aged nearly 40 years but Chewbacca looks exactly the same! And we are somehow supposed to believe that they have incredible spaceships and robots but they still haven't invented the internet.

On UK television, I noticed it kept snowing during an episode of the BBC's Call the Midwife but none of it settled and it wasn't cold enough to see their breath – so it was clearly not real snow.

The long running Jools Holland Hootenanny programme which counts many in the UK down to midnight on New Year's Eve is in fact recorded in November.

So there are a lot of things we see that are false and not real, that lack substance or authenticity and give the impression that they are something that they are not.

That brings me to why we have decided to change the name of the organisation I have the privilege to lead – from CfBT to Education Development Trust. CfBT used to stand for Centre for British Teachers but that is a totally misleading description of what we do. We work all over the world – from places as far apart as Somalia, Norway, South Africa, Brunei, India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Wales and United Arab Emirates – so we are certainly not just about British teachers. 

Our focus is on improving whole education systems – working with policymakers and system leaders across countries, states, cities and regions – as well as on improving the leadership and teaching in individual schools/groups of schools. 

Our current work involves a programme to get 81,000 primary-aged girls to go to school and to become powerful learners in Kenya, advising the government in Brunei on their literacy and numeracy strategy, working with 200 schools in India to improve outcomes for pupils, leading the inspection and evaluation of schools in Abu Dhabi and working with 500 schools in England across clusters to support peer review and school-led improvement.

Our recent research publications include: Interesting Cities: five approaches to urban reform – (based on data from Ho Chi Minh City, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York City and Dubai) and Successful Leadership – a review of the international literature. So we are not just about teachers and teaching!

Our mission is: transforming lives through improving education around the world. We have a passionate belief in the importance of education and we believe that every child has the right to be a powerful learner, wherever they are in the world and in whatever context they find themselves.

In short, our new name says, in transparent terms, who we are and what we do. We are about education. We are about development and improvement and we are a not-for-profit charity in which you can put your trust.  

We haven't changed our values, we are still the same people. We just want to be absolutely transparent and have a name that honestly and authentically describes what we do.