Professor Mel Ainscow, CBE, was a professor within Policy Scotland. He is based at the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change at the University of Glasgow.

Head and shoulders photo of Mel Ainscow

Professor Mel Ainscow is internationally recognised as an authority on the promotion of inclusion and equity in education.

In addition to his post at Glasgow, Professor Ainscow holds the positions of:

  • Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Manchester
  • Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology
  • Honorary Professor of Practice at University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Research interests

His work focuses on ways of making schools effective for all children and young people. A distinctive feature of his approach is the emphasis he places on carrying out research with schools and education systems to promote improvements.   

A long-term consultant to UNESCO, he works on promoting equity and inclusion globally. He is also a consultant to an initiative organised by the Organization of American States, which is supporting national developments in nine Latin American countries. He has recently completed collaborative research projects with networks of schools in Australia, England, Portugal and Spain. 


Mel was previously a headteacher, a local education authority adviser and a lecturer at the University of Cambridge,

Mel led the Greater Manchester Challenge a three-year project that involved a partnership between national government, ten local authorities, 1,150 schools and many other stakeholders, and had a government investment of around £50 million. He went on to lead Schools Challenge Cymru, the Welsh Government’s multi-million pound flagship programme to accelerate the rate of improvement across the country’s schools, focusing in particular on the progress of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

He has published extensively in practitioner and international research journals. His recent books include: ‘Struggles for equity in education: The selected works of Mel Ainscow’ (Routledge World Library of Educationalists series).

Policy Scotland projects

  • Network for Social and Educational Equity
  • support for local authority reform with the Regional Improvement Collaboratives, inclusive growth and Children’s Neighbourhoods.

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