Passion & Learning – Joy and Data Publication

Joy and Data Publication

Enabling radical change in education.

According to Sir Michael Barber, joy and data are two ideas that are not often expressed together. Yet they are related in important ways and central to learning. Michael takes us through historic breakthroughs and his own cycling to make us see joy and data anew.

In his Lecture and the subsequent Joy and Data publication of the lecture and stories about six inspiring schools, Sir Michael highlights how to use joy and data to ensure all students thrive.


In recent years there has been increasing pressure to excel academically if we are going to succeed in life. We now associate academic credentials with prestige and power.  Are we at risk of losing the joy of learning?

Today many students achieve academic success without any joy at all, while others underachieve and struggle, never having known the joy of discovery, contribution, or deep connection.  


A focus on the use of data carries many bad associations for educators. Data is used to compare schools, test scores to rank students. But data used in the classroom through diagnostic tools can be exciting. Most of all it can be enabling – helping to know exactly how a student is going, where are his or her strengths, where are the problems to be addressed.

In the school in which all children thrive, data is ubiquitous and measures progress not just on academic performance but also on the wider skills, passions and attributes, such as communication resilience and teamwork, which we know are becoming vital to future success and fulfilment.


Data creates shared spaces through which we can collaborate and connect with new people, people who may think differently from us and who can help us see the world in new perspectives.” 

– Andreas Schleiger, Director, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD


Read the Publication

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Of Sir Michael’s lecture and the six Joy and Data inspiring schools.

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