My first degree was in Sociology and Psychology and my PhD in the Sociology of Education.  I worked as a research fellow on the ESRC funded 'Changing Teaching and Managerial Cultures in Further Education' project before taking up a lectureship in education at Keele in 1999.  I was promoted to senior lecturer in 2004 and to professor in 2013.

My past work includes teaching sociology at A level – I taught for six years at Newcastle-under-Lyme college of FE.  I have also worked in the voluntary sector for Victim Support in London.


Research and scholarship

Research interests

  • Sociology of education
  • Educational inequalities and identities- race, gender, class
  • Education policy and politics
  • Leadership and management of education

Recent/Current projects:

  • Muslim girls’ narrative accounts of past, present and future lives.  Leverhulme Trust funded  
  • Strategies for Raising Attainment at KS1  – Stoke Primary Schools Project (PI) Stoke city council funded  (PI, with Prof Steve Cropper and Dr Ruth Dann) Project Website 
  • Children’s understanding of peak oil (PI) British Academy funded   (PI, with Prof Bulent Gokay)  - Project Website  

Professional activities:

I am an Executive Editor of British Journal of Sociology of Education and I am/have also been on the Editorial boards of the following journals:


Doctoral Supervision

I welcome applications for PGR study and/or collaborative work on any area connected to my research. 

Successful doctoral completions:

Lead supervised:

  • 2019       Tracey Wire 'Sex education in primary schools'

  • 2018       Maria Neary ‘Inhabiting a woman’s world: Male General Nurses in Ireland’
  • 2017       Nadena Doharty PhD Education  ‘Black History Month and Black History in the National Curriculum in the UK’  full time (Faculty Studentship)
  • 2017       Samira Nicholas 'The relationship between technology integration and the development of global citizenship skills and attitudes in a Lebanese context'
  • 2016       Jennifer Wells  ‘Boys literacy and learning in primary education’ 
  • 2016       Andrew Middleton  'An investigation into decision making within secondary schools on Information and Communications Technology inside the same Northern                County of England'
  • 2015       Sian Edwards (funded)  ‘Problematic Youth': An ethnographic study of working class culture at 'home' and within a Pupil Referral Unit'  
  • 2015       Emrah Celik    'Between Religion and secularization: an ethnographic study of Turkish University Students' 
  • 2014       Mary Furey  'Managing ‘at-risk’ students: investigating the role of personal tutors in the delivery of pastoral care in further education' 
  • 2012       Tom O’Connor   ‘Men in the  nursing profession: masculinities and gendered identities’
  • 2010       Mary Bradshaw  'Women managers' perspectives on the further education maelstrom '
  • 2010       Hazel Mackey   'The narrative construction of professional identities: the case of occupational therapy'
  • 2010       Virgina Fisher  'Double, double toil and (GENDER) trouble' a feminist ethnography of the performance of gender and sexuality within a business school'
  • 2006       Julie Harrower   'New managerialism, women managers in the academy, and the regulation of the gendered identities: a case study of a 'new' university' 

 Co/second supervised:

  • 2016       Hefin Gwylim ‘The declared political identity of social workers in a neoliberal era’  DSW, Keele University
  • 2013       Kay Norman ' Year 11 pupils’ perceptions of nursing: an exploratory study' 
  • 2012       Francis Farrell  ‘Encountering Difference’: a study of adolescent males’ masculine identity work and its relationship to secondary age phase religious education’
  • 2006       Ruby Green   ‘A feminist ethnographic study of the socio-cultural factors that influence sex education in Guyana’
  • 2003       Gillian Forrester  ‘Primary Teachers and Performance Related Pay’  


Current doctoral students (as lead supervisor):


  • Sadhia Shahab   'The Prevent duty in Education'.   
  • Tracey Wire  'Sex education in primary schools' – part time
  • Harjinder Kaur- Aujla 'Domestic Violence and Mental  Health'

  EdD   (all part time) 

  • Theo Tambi  ‘The educational experiences of   black West Africans   in UK   schools
  • Maria Neary ‘Inhabiting a woman’s world: Male General Nurses in Ireland’   
  • Joanne  Bates   'Personal  and professional identities of women on midwifery courses' 

 I am second supervisor to:

  • Keely Hughes PhD Sociology ''The meaning of British ‘universal state education’
  • Giulia Mininni PhD Enviromental Studies  'Can energy empower women? A Case Study from the Solar Mamas’ project in rural Rajasthan'
  • Niki Simbani PhD Social POlicy/Nursing Group Clinical Supervision in Mental Health Nursing'

Examination of doctoral degrees

I have externally examined doctoral degrees at the following Universities: 

Institute of Education; University College London; Kings College London, Manchester University; Southampton University; Aston University; Brunel University; Leicester University; University of Peshawar; London Metropolitan University; University of West of England.

School of Social Sciences
Chancellor's Building CBA1.039
Keele University
Staffordshire, ST5 5BG
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 734346

Undergraduate and postgraduate enquiries
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 734346