The last decade has seen a growing recognition amongst international donors, development agencies, non-government organisations and academics of the vital role education can play in bringing about recovery following violent conflict, natural disaster and other crises. This has led to the development of increasingly targeted and sophisticated programme planning and management tools, for use by government ministries, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations in fragile contexts. Drawing on the 2010 independent study of UNICEF’s Education in Emergencies and Post-Conflict Transition Programme, this paper explores the transformative role education can play in post-conflict recovery. It argues that while basic education assistance can have a catalytic role in helping states during the early stages of a transition out of violent conflict, there is the need for a better understanding of its role in building peace at the national, sub-national and community levels. The paper also argues for the development of a solid evidence base to inform policy and practice at all national, regional and community levels so as to demonstrate conclusively the important role played by education during and in the aftermath of conflict.