Robert Hill has wide experience of public services and education policy and practice. His cv includes periods as a policy adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other Cabinet ministers, senior research manager for the Audit Commission, management consultant, social policy researcher and, more latterly, as an independent education consultant.
Between 1997-2001 Robert worked in the No 10 Policy Unit as the Prime Minister’s adviser on health issues and was a key architect of health reforms such as NHS Direct, walk-in centres, Primary Care Groups and Trusts, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the first NHS Plan. For the first two years of this period he also advised on local government.
In 2001 he was appointed as the Prime Minister’s political secretary. When Charles Clarke became Education Secretary in October 2002 Robert joined him as his special adviser, advising him on school improvement, skills and childcare policy. He moved with Charles to the Home Office and advised on police reform, immigration and criminal justice issues until May 2005.
Robert now works as an independent education consultant supporting schools, government agencies and other educational organisations, helping them to think about, implement and assess school improvement and education policy. In 2008 the Association of School and College Leaders published his extensive and influential study on effective collaborative working between schools: Achieving more together: adding value through partnerships. Robert has co-authored two reviews for the National College of National Leaders of Education and National Support Schools.
In 2011 Robert worked on two further projects for the National College: reviewing the nature of academy leadership; and narrowing gaps in attainment. He assisted in the start-up phase of Teaching Schools and in March 2012 the College published an authoritative study on the impact and leadership of academy chains prepared by a team led by Robert. He acts as an adviser and critical friend to a number of multi-academy trusts (MATs).
In July 2012 the Royal Society of Arts published his thinkpiece on the role of the middle tier in education. That month also coincided with the publication of his history of the development of Teach First over its first decade.
In 2013 Robert undertook a comprehensive review for the Welsh Government of the delivery of education services throughout Wales and made over 80 recommendations – all but four of which were accepted. He continued to advise the Welsh Government on the implementation of the report and in May 2015 chaired the Education Development Board for the City of Cardiff Council which co-ordinated their work on school improvement.
In 2014 CfBT published the outcome of research Robert had undertaken in association with NfER on ‘Partnership working in small rural primary schools: the best of both worlds’. In October 2014 the National College for Teaching and Learning produced a report that Robert had helped to research ‘Freedom to lead: a study of outstanding primary school leadership in England’. And in February 2015 the final report of an action research project on the Leadership of great pedagogy in teaching school alliances, in which Robert had played a key role, was published.
Robert now spends the majority of his time supporting the development of MATs and is recognised as a leading commentator on the development of the MAT sector. He is part of the Trust-Ed: MAT Leadership Programme run by the UCL Institute of Education and Deloitte Consulting.
Robert speaks frequently at school governor seminars, headteacher and local authority conferences and leadership development workshops. Robert is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Education and Professional Studies at Kings College London and a Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute of Education.