My academic publications are concerned with issues of policy, identity and inequalities in further and higher education. In my book Women and Success: Professors in the UK academy (Trentham Books, 2012) I used life history interviews with 20 female professors to reveal the persisting inequality facing senior women working in higher education. In my co-authored book Education and Social Mobility: Dreams of Success (IOE, Trentham Books, 2014) Professor Barker and we draw on data collected through paired interviews with 88 15-18 year olds in two secondary schools to explore their aspirations for the future. I have have published a book entitled Youth Identities, Education and Employment: Exploring Post-16 and Post-18 Opportunities, Access and Policy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), which is based on in-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups with teachers and students in a case study school and investigates how policy, family background, social class, gender and ethnicity influence young people’s post-16 and post-18 education access. My most recent co-authored book with Professor Barker (STEM, Social Mobility and Equality: Avenues for Widening Access, Palgrave MacMillan, 2020), draws on interviews with undergraduates and their lecturers to take a genealogical approach to researching social mobility. We used a university chemistry department as a case study to explore participants’ motives for pursuing a STEM undergraduate degree and the influences that have shaped them.
Education policy, early years, social mobility, identities, inequalities and social justice.
Research grants and projects
October 2020 – April 2022: Precarious transitions? Doctoral students negotiating the shift to academic positions (funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme). I am CoI on this project and Professor Marie-Pierre Moreau is PI.
January 2019 - June 2020: What are we losing? The role of nursery schools in reducing the impact of socio-economic disadvantage in the early years sector (funded by Brunel University London). The study aims to understand how state-maintained Nursery Schools contribute to improving educational social justice for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr Kate Hoskins (PI) and Dr Alice Bradbury (CI).
January – September 2019: Critical policy analysis of the 1988 Education Reform Act: the implications for higher education in England (funded by the Global Lives Research Centre, Brunel University London). The study aims to provide critical policy analysis of the 1988 Education Reform Act (ERA) to show how the act opened up higher education to neoliberal market influences through changes to the structure, delivery, accountability and regulation of the sector and any tensions these changes created for the social justice, widening participation policy agenda. Dr Kate Hoskins (PI) and Dr Ourania Filipakou (CI).
July 2015- December 2018:Enacting Froebelian principles in practice (funded by The Froebel Trust).The key aim of this project is to explore the possibilities to protect and extend Froebelian principles in practice. The principal research question is: What are the opportunities for protecting and extending Froebelian principles in practice through policy interventions?
September 2013 -August 2017: Universities in the global knowledge economy (UNIKE) project (funded by the European Union, FP7 and Marie Curie). The key aim of this project is to consider the changing roles and scope of universities in emerging global knowledge economies and regions.
November 2013- June 2015: The experiences and pedagogical beliefs, perspectives and practices of students at Froebel College (funded by The Froebel Trust). This pilot study investigated the educational experience of a small cohort of students who attended Froebel College in the 1950s and 1960 and the impact of this training on their pedagogical beliefs, perspectives and practices.
September 2012 - August 2014: Youth Education and Employment: opportunities and access in one case study school (funded by CEREPP, University of Roehampton). This project examined the decisions taken by young people negotiating FE/HE or employment (that is, their access to), focusing on their educational/ early employment opportunities and outcomes and how their experiences are shaped by aspects of their identity including social class, gender and ethnicity.
2008-2011: Policy Enactments in Secondary Schools (funded by the ESRC RES062-23-1484). I was a co-opted member to this Economic Social Research Council (ESRC) project was based on case studies of four 'ordinary' schools. The project had two main objectives: one theoretical, that is to develop a theory of policy enactment; and one empirical, that is a critical exploration of the differences in the enactment of policy in 'similar' contexts.
September 2007 - August 2010: MPHIL/PhD Senior female academics in the English Academy: a classed and gendered exploration of success (ESRC full scholarship at King's College London, University of London).