I’m Max Hope.

I’m passionate about bringing together alternative education, freedom, social justice and the wild world.

I am a facilitator, educator, researcher, activist, and writer. I want to revolutionise our education system. I am working to build a stronger and fairer system that works for all children, young people and adults. I believe that the best way to do that is to offer greater freedom within education, to advance social justice and to deepen our connections with the wild world.

Nine reasons to revolutionise the education system:



It is based on a factory model which assumes that all children and young people are the same and therefore promotes uniformity. It forces the child to fit the school rather than enabling the school to fit the child.

Rigid Curriculum

It uses a curriculum model which is built on what children and young people should know rather than what they are interested in, curious about, or desperate to learn.


Testing Focused

It is obsessed with comparing students and over-emphasises formal testing and assessment.

Unequal By Design

It creates inequality by placing greater value of some types of learning (academic, traditional subjects), and giving less worth to children and young people with other skills, interests and abilities.


It promotes a culture of fear in which adults have absolute authority


Directive Teaching Style

It believes that in order to learn, children and young people need to be told what to do and made to learn.

All Work and No Play

It totally undervalues the importance of play in learning.



It prioritises academic attainment over ensuring that students feel seen, heard, cared about, and respected as individuals.

Nature Disconnection

It disconnects young people from the wild world and fails to help us understand our place in the wider ecosystem.

click here to read my five core values about how education should be run


What people say about me…

“Behind Max's quiet demeanour is an activist, an innovative and reliable person. I recommend Max to support your visions and keep you in line!”

Dr Alys Mendus (PhD), former student

“For over 30 years I have had the privilege of working with a number of dynamic and forward thinking pioneers in the field of education. Max is most definitely one of these leading figures with a clear vision and practical activism that cannot help to inspire people to compassionately rethink how education can better serve the common good.”

Dr Paul Warwick, Centre for Sustainable Futures Lead, Plymouth University

“I have co-facilitated with Max, been taught by her and observed her teaching on many occasions. She is totally reliable, empathic and congruent to her audience. Max is very focused and extremely dedicated to the values of inclusive education for all.”

Janet Leonard, Deputy Manager, The Warren of Hull Ltd

“I had the pleasure of working with Dr Max Hope for three years when she was at the University of Hull ... she is passionate about social justice issues and is a strong advocate for those who are deemed to be vulnerable.”

Prof Kiki Messiou, University of Southampton

“Max has the enviable ability to be leading groups of 20-30 people, yet still noticing the quietest and most vulnerable person in the room, drawing out their voice and teaching them how to sing.”

Dr Charlotte Dean, University of Hull

“Very occasionally in our lives we have the privilege of working with and learning from someone whose vision of a more just, more joyful world informs and energises both their way of working and the significance and influence of its outcomes. Max Hope is just such a person.”

Michael Fielding, Emeritus Professor of Education, UCL

“Max believes in the importance of nurturing the whole child and in the potential for education to radically transform so that it begins to foster wellbeing for people and planet from the very beginning. Max offers real commitment to this vital work in progressive education and brings with her an extraordinary balance of high-level academic rigour and expertise with humility and deep respect for all life.”

Rachel Musson, Director of Education, ThoughtBox Education

“One of the standout features of her work in Freedom to Learn was the passion and commitment for social justice, particularly for those young people marginalised by current educational provision. This was evident in her ability to draw people into the project and create a sense of purpose. She was outstanding at organising, fronting events, listening, facilitating and networking. She has a finely tuned talent for relational work giving people confidence to contribute to a common purpose.”

Prof David Leat, Newcastle University

“I enrolled at University of Hull to complete a Masters in Inclusive Education led by Max … Max continued to be a huge support and provided genuine empathy when I faced personal and academic challenges. I achieved a Distinction in the end which would not have been achieved without her guidance.”

Laura MacArthur (MEd), former student

“Having worked with Max both in an academic context and for a community project I can say she is one of the most passionate and effective practitioners I know. Max has an unwavering commitment to a more equitable world … she really is one of a kind bringing together depth of theoretical knowledge, practical skills, evaluative expertise, leadership and strategic support.”

Dr Sinéad Gormally, University of Glasgow

“There is a powerful synergy in her thoughts and planning and what she does and achieves. Max is brilliant at building consensus, is solution orientated and always with an infectious enthusiasm. Beyond these however, the most significant of Max’ strengths are her total dedication to social justice, voice, the building of community and the deepening of the common good. Max is good person to be around, she brings people together and galvanises them, things happen…”

Mike Davies, Ex secondary headteacher

“Whether as a frontline youth-worker embedded in one of the UK's most deprived communities; as a Doctor of Education at the University of Hull and co-founder of the Freedom to Learn movement; or as Chair of the Board of Trustees of one of Britain's leading independent youth-led charities, Dr Hope has applied the same compassionate commitment and unconditional understanding that has reignited a love of learning in so many young people whose potential would most likely have otherwise been lost.”

JJ Tatten, CEO, The Warren

Creating radical change needs visionaries, activists, scholars, teachers, parents, researchers and educators to learn together and build a new future.

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