John Gray was a Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge and served as the first Dean of Research in its newly-converged Faculty of Education. Prior to joining the Faculty he was Director of Research at Homerton College, Cambridge (1994-2001) and Professor of Education at Sheffield University (1987-1993). He has been a Visiting Professor at the London Institute of Education and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2000. During the early 1990s he also chaired the first ever enquiry into educational research on behalf of the ESRC.
His research interests lay in the areas of school improvement, school effectiveness, the dynamics of change, the nature of educational reform and educational evaluation. He pursued particular interests in the challenges facing disadvantaged schools and their communities. During the course of his career he directed well over 60 externally-funded research projects for a wide range of sponsors including the ESRC, the DfES, LEAs and their schools, research organisations and bodies beyond the UK. He also led several major school improvement initiatives and contributed to their evaluation.