NZI 2019 Staff BRIAR LIPSON 03

Briar Lipson

Research Fellow

Briar is a Research Fellow specialising in education. Before joining the Initiative she was a Maths teacher and Assistant Principal in London, where she also co-founded the Floreat family of primary schools. Briar has worked for International Education consultancy CfBT, and the Westminster think tank Policy Exchange. She holds a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Edinburgh. 

Latest reports:
New Zealand’s Education Delusion: How bad ideas ruined a once world-leading school system (2020)
Research Note: Ignorance is not bliss: Why knowledge matters (and why we may not have enough of it) (2019)
Spoiled by Choice: How NCEA hampers education, and what it needs to succeed (2018)

Phone: +64 4 494 9101


Recent Work

School performance2

Lessons from the All Blacks

It took eighteen years for New Zealand’s school system to plunge from world-leading to decidedly average. Despite a concurrent 32% real rise in per-pupil spending, in maths, Kiwi 15-year-olds now perform the way 13 and a half year-olds did just 20 years ago. Read more

Briar Lipson
Insights Newsletter
9 October, 2020
mq1 1

What's going wrong in our schools?

Research Fellow Briar Lipson explains in a new book why New Zealand’s education system is a mess, riddled with unscientific ideas and seduced by child-centred orthodoxy. She talks to John Campbell on TVNZ Breakfast about how to create the corrective shift that will reverse the decline and narrow New Zealand's educational inequities. Read more

Briar Lipson
TVNZ Breakfast
7 October, 2020
Classroom student2

Are we making NCEA credits too easy for kids to get?

Following the release of her new book New Zealand's Education Delusion: How bad ideas ruined a once world-leading school system, author Briar Lipson discusses her research and findings with Sean Plunket on MagicTalk. The New Zealand Initiative · Are we making NCEA credits too easy for kids to get? Read more

Briar Lipson
Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket - MagicTalk
7 October, 2020
Podcast image28

Podcast #27: Briar Lipson on what’s going wrong in our schools

In this week’s New Zealand Initiative podcast, the country’s education system keeps slipping in standards and producing students who can barely solve the simplest sums or read basic instructions. But without solid and reliable data on how New Zealand schools are actually faring, it’s hard to make pinpoint effective changes. Read more

Briar Lipson
Nathan Smith
25 September, 2020
university student2

Schooling’s unspoken trade-off

The Ministry of Education has “heard concerns” that some schools are “too focused on academic achievement.” To fix this shocking scandal, the new Education and Training Bill will ensure boards of trustees “re-orient their focus.” Now they must focus more on students’ wellbeing and the Treaty. While learning new things can be fun, most learning of any value takes perseverance and self-discipline. Read more

Briar Lipson
Insights Newsletter
31 July, 2020
Podcast image2

Podcast #2: Briar Lipson makes the case against ‘romantic’ education models

In this week’s long-form podcast interview, our chief editor Nathan Smith sat down with research fellow Briar Lipson to discuss why New Zealand’s education standards are slipping and how the progressive or “romantic” notions of schooling gained such tight traction in this country.

  Read more

Briar Lipson
Nathan Smith
14 February, 2020

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates