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Dr Kate Hoskins
Reader - Education

Gaskell Building 024

Research area(s)

My expertise lies in three areas of research: a) comparative social and education policy, b) equalities and c) social justice. I am particularly interested in the intersection of these areas in early years settings, further and higher education. 

In a number of projects with Early Years practitioners I have explored their constructions and perceptions of their professional identities with a focus on their education pathways and training experiences. Projects funded by the Froebel Trust have involved life history interviews with Early Years Teachers. This work has provided policy recommendations for the early years sector with a focus on improving social justice and addressing equality issues for women working with young children who are a marginalized group. 

I have a long-standing interest (theoretically and empirically) with critical, comparative social and education policy analysis that started when I was a member of the ‘Policy enactments in the secondary school’ (RES-062-23-1484) ESRC project (Ball and Maguire) for four years. This policy study compared the teaching and enactment of mathematics, science and English as well as behaviour and personalisation in four secondary schools, analysing the difference in enactments in each school. We spent a great deal of time working from the data to construct a theoretically robust account of policy enactment, which I have subsequently exported to my own projects on social mobility and early years.

My scholarship on social mobility policy has culminated in analysis of school-based policies in England aimed at improving intragenerational progression. My work has provided methodological innovation through advancing a genealogical, qualitative approach to examine individual, group and family employment trajectories, and making sense of these in terms of stratified occupations over time and across generations. My publications in this area combine and connect arguments for social mobility within a critical comparative policy analysis frame that recognises the differences between local, regional and national labour markets.

Research Interests

Education policy, early years, social mobility, identities, inequalities and social justice.

Research grants and projects

Research Projects

Project details

November 2022 - May 2024: The potential of Froebelian philosophy to support and engage low-income families in the early years (funded by the Froebel Trust, £43,243). The project aims to work with low-income families (with annual income of less than £10,000) from diverse ethnic backgrounds in early years settings to explore the potential of Froebelian philosophy to support and engage such families in ways that matter to them. Dr Kate Hoskins (PI), Dr Emma Wainwright (CoI), Dr Utsa Mukherjee (CoI and Dr Yuwei Xu (CoI, University of Nottingham). 

December 2022-June 2023: Checkpoint classroom evaluation (funded by Brunel University London, £5,000). The project will consider how to increase children’s engagement with education using a game-based pedagogy as exemplified by Checkpoint Learning Materials (CLM). Dr Kate Hoskins (PI), Professor Mike Watts (CoI), Dr Asma Lebbakhar, research assistant).

February 2022 - August 2022: Engaging low-income families in education research: an interdisciplinary exploratory study (funded by the Institute for Communities and Society, Brunel University London, £5,000). The research focuses on how to engage and work with socio-economically disadvantaged parents/caregivers of young children (0-11, UK, 0-12/13 China) in education research, through an interdisciplinary lens. Dr Kate Hoskins (PI), Dr Emma Wainwright (CoI), Dr Yuwei Xu (CoI, University of Nottingham), Dr Junqing Zhao (CoI, Zhejiang University) and Dr Jie Gao (CoI, UCL).

May- September 2021, Household enactments of education during the Covid-19 pandemic among low-income families of primary-aged children (with Emma Wainwright).

October 2020 – April 2022: Precarious transitions? Doctoral students negotiating the shift to academic positions (funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme, £10,000). The research will examine how doctoral researchers experience the transition to their first academic post and identify the social justice challenges encountered. Dr Kate Hoskins (CoI) and Professor Marie-Pierre Moreau (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, £5,000). 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 (CoI).

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, £7,000). 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 (CoI).

July 2015- December 2018:Enacting Froebelian principles in practice (funded by The Froebel Trust, £12,500).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? Dr Kate Hoskins (PI).

September 2013 -August 2017: Universities in the global knowledge economy (UNIKE) project (funded by the European Union, FP7 and Marie Curie, Total value €4.3m, value to Roehampton £480,000). The key aim of this project is to consider the changing roles and scope of universities in emerging global knowledge economies and regions. Dr Kate Hoskins (CoI).

November 2013- June 2015: The experiences and pedagogical beliefs, perspectives and practices of students at Froebel College (funded by The Froebel Trust, £5,000). 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. Dr Kate Hoskins (PI).

September 2012 - August 2014: Youth Education and Employment: opportunities and access in one case study school (funded by CEREPP, University of Roehampton, £2,000). 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. Dr Kate Hoskins (PI).

2008-2011: Policy Enactments in Secondary Schools (funded by the Economic Social Research Council (ESRC RES062-23-1484, £243,000). Project 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. Dr Kate Hoskins (Co-opted).

September 2007 - August 2010: MPHIL/PhD Senior female academics in the English Academy: a classed and gendered exploration of success (funded by the ESRC - full scholarship at King's College London, University of London, £65,000).