James Tooley is professor of education policy at Newcastle University. He is the author of The Beautiful Tree (Penguin), winner of the 2010 Sir Antony Fisher Memorial Prize, based on his ground-breaking research on low-cost private education. This research was awarded gold prize in the first International Finance Corporation/Financial Times Private Sector Development Competition, and was profiled in an American PBS documentary alongside the work of Nobel Laureate Mohammed Yunus. He is also a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, for which he is completing a new book on low-cost private schools.
Building on his research, Tooley has dedicated himself to creating models of innovative practice in low-cost private education, to showcase its potential to improve educational opportunities for lower income families. Three chains of low-cost private schools he has co-founded are Cadmus Academies, Honduras; Omega Schools, Ghana; and Cadmus Education, India. He is also patron of the Association of Formidable Educational Development, an association of 5,000 low-cost private schools in Nigeria with nearly 1 million children and chief mentor of the National Independent Schools Alliance (India). Previously he has taught and researched at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester; his first job was a mathematics teacher in Zimbabwe.