Professor Chris Chapman, BSc (Hons), MA, PhD, FRSA, is Director of Policy Scotland


Head and shoulders photograph of Chris Chapman

Professor Chapman is Chair of Educational Policy and Practice at the University of Glasgow and Director of Policy Scotland.

He is the key architect and Principal Investigator of Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland and the Network for Social and Educational Equity based at the University of Glasgow.

Chris is seconded part-time to Scottish Government as Senior Academic Adviser in the Learning Directorate where most of his work focuses on supporting the Scottish Attainment Challenge. He is is also a member of the First Minister’s International Council of Education Advisers and President-elect of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement.


Research interests

Chris’s research focuses on the interaction between educational and public policy and practice, specifically in relation to the improvement of outcomes in disadvantaged settings. The recurring themes are leadership, improvement and effectiveness, collaboration, equity and organisational/system reform.



Before moving into academia Chris taught in challenging secondary schools in Birmingham where he undertook a part-time MA.  He then completed his PhD thesis on intervention and improvement in schools in challenging circumstances.

He held academic and research posts at the universities of Nottingham and Warwick , before being appointed Professor of Education at the University of Manchester.

He was the Founding Director of the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change and he also served as Co-Director of the ESRC/Scottish Government funded What Works Scotland centre.




Blogs and publications

Reopening of schools in Norway – Briefing paper

A distillation of the current available school guidance from Norwegian authorities regarding the reopening of kindergartens and schools and a concentration on operational examples, which might inform decision-making within the Scottish education system.

CNS: Early insights into the COVID-19 response – 24 April 2020

Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, Policy Scotland and the Network for Social and Educational Equity, are undertaking research to understand local responses to COVID-19 in contexts of high poverty across Scotland.

Reopening of schools in Denmark – Briefing paper

Briefing that summarises some of the key practices in Denmark used to reopen some educational establishments in April 2020.

Coping with COVID-19

Policy Scotland’s role in shaping the debate about how our future is reframed and redesigned as a result of COVID-19.

COVID-19: Urgently needed insights for public policy challenges

Policy Scotland will mobilise urgently needed insights in response to the social and economic policy challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Empowerment, equity and excellence: Where next for Scottish education?

This conference and workshop aims to stimulate participants to reflect on the emerging empowerment agenda within Scottish education. It is the inaugural International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement Professional Learning Conference, and co-hosted by University of Glasgow’s School of Education and Policy Scotland.

School Improvement Networks and Collaborative Inquiry: now published

Policy Scotland Director, Chris Chapman, is the co-author of a new book about school improvement networks and how they can support the professional capital of school principals and curriculum coordinators.

Changing Education Systems: out now

The book Changing Education Systems: A Research-based Approach was published in November 2019

Education systems: research and change

Two new publications from Policy Scotland’s Director Chris Chapman focus on the role of research and researchers in changing education systems to improve equity and opportunity for learners.

Creating an effective learning system – East Renfrewshire headteacher conference

Policy Scotland Director Professor Chris Chapman gave a presentation at the East Renfrewshire Council headteacher conference in March 2019 on creating an effective learning system.

Making sense of education reform: Where next for Scottish education?

Making sense of education reform: Where next for Scottish education?, a thinkpiece by Policy Scotland Director Chris Chapman has been published by the Association of Directors of Education Scotland.

Key education policy announcements made during lecture at Glasgow University

Professor Chris Chapman asks whether school partnerships are promising for equitable change and improvement in education.