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School of Education
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 488909
I am a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies in the School of Education. I joined the School as Research Fellow, in 2007, before becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2009. I teach on the BA Education Studies, on the MA Education, and also supervise doctoral students. My key research and teaching interests relate to the history of education and childhood, with a focus on themes of secularism, and war and peace. I am one of three editors of a peer-reviewed journal, History of Education. I currently serve on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grants Committee, and am research group lead of the School of Education's 'Humanistic Perspectives' research group.
I teach mainly on the BA Education Studies and MA Education programmes, teaching historically and sociologically informed content within a number of modules, and research methods. I also supervise dissertations at MA level.
My academic background is as a historian, and much of my research falls within the history of education and childhood. I have focused predominantly on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, examining moral education and citizenship, and local studies of education and welfare. My publications cover both my funded research and historical projects, and a monograph - Morality and Citizenship in English Schools. Secular Approaches, 1897-1944 was published by Palgrave Macmillan earlier in 2017. Current research projects focus on young people, war and peace, both historically through research into organisations that promoted peace among young people from the 1920s to the 1960s, and in the present day through research into remembrance in schools.
Funded research and consultancy projects
Current research projects:
Each November, commemoration of the First World War armistice (and subsequent military events and conflicts) is almost ubiquitous in UK schools and has been given increased importance during the centenary years of the First World War. Yet as seemingly isolated occasions outside the regular curriculum, school practices of remembrance, and the understandings and perceptions surrounding them, have been subject to surprisingly little scrutiny. The Remembrance in Schools project (2013–19) investigates armistice commemoration in primary and secondary schools in three counties in southern England. This paper considers the theorisation of public commemorative rituals and relates this to teachers’ reports of school-based events. It analyses teachers’ accounts and perceptions, from survey and interview data, of the ways in which the First World War and subsequent conflicts are remembered, presented and discussed through school commemoration events. We conclude that such events mirror the ‘social technologies’ of public remembrance rituals. However, behind almost ubiquitous practices (the two-minute silence) and symbols (the poppy), these accounts reveal nuanced variations in teachers’ views of the knowledge and values children gain from armistice commemoration in schools. These variations are inflected by individual schools’ histories, community contexts, and pupil demographics, as well as teachers’ own histories, values and ideals.
The League of Nations Union (LNU) was one among the many organisations, in different countries, that promoted internationalist education among the young in the interwar years. But it was a particularly large and prominent one and appealed to a wide cross-section of teachers and pupils in English schools. LNU junior branches were established in many English secondary schools. Occupying a space at the intersection of youth organisations, a larger political movement, and the school itself, these junior branches were part of a wider agenda of active citizenship through extra-curricular means. Their focus was a liberal-internationalist version of “world citizenship” which accommodated existing loyalties to nation and empire as well as loyalty to the wider international sphere, and which sought peace but would countenance the controlled use of armed force against breaches of international agreements. Case studies of junior branches in two girls’ schools and two boys’ schools draw on school magazines and other relevant sources to shed light on what world citizenship could look like in different school contexts. The traditions and cultures of these different schools, the LNU’s ideals and resources, and changing international events, all emerge as important shapers of junior branch activities, and the response to what junior branches offered. Examining the micro-contexts of junior branches in schools contributes new, grounded, insights to a historiography of internationalist education, indicating ways in which ideals of liberal-internationalist world citizenship were negotiated, promoted, taken up, passed on, altered, and, sometimes, challenged or ignored.
‘"Our Future [British] Citizens"? Secular Approaches to Teaching Values in the Early Twentieth Century’, BERA History SIG Annual Colloquium (Teaching British Values), 7 July 2017 (invited keynote speaker).
‘Secularism and Character Formation in English Schools 1897-c.1923’, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues seminar series, University of Birmingham, 8 March 2017 (invited speaker).
'"A world where their descendents enjoy all that they set out to secure". The League of Nations Union and Armistice Commemoration, 1919-1939'. History of Education Society/ANZHES Annual Conference, Great Malvern, November 2016.