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Covid-19, Lockdown and the Impact on Pre-school Educators

School of Applied Sciences

About the Project

The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions on the economies of many countries resulted in the closure of many educational institutions and businesses. The resulting crisis in employment brought about by Covid-19 is acute in ‘feminised’ areas of employment. Various think tanks suggest that the Covid-19 crisis will affect women adversely with women more likely to have been furloughed during the crisis and 47% more likely to have lost their job (Fawcett Society, 2020; IFS, 2020). The aim of this PhD project is to assess the impact of the current crisis on working lives within the UK through the lens of a specific case study: the work of perinatal and pre-school teachers and educators. These classes are outside the established systems of nursery or state provided education systems but provide important support to new parents and their children based around certain activities, such as yoga, sign language, massage. The provision of these classes within the UK is generally through a variety of franchise systems, which hire potential teachers and educators to work within their brands often as self-employed franchisees. The current crisis has resulted in a variety of jobs previously performed in face to face settings transitioning rapidly to online provision. Like a variety of other industries, this has resulted in an increased blurring between work and the domestic sphere with increased tensions in childcare and education provision within the home. This PhD project will look to explore aspects of these changes, particularly the precariousness of this labour, the gendering of employment and the blurring of work/life. The project will draw on relevant theoretical frameworks to support an examination of a process very much still in progress.
Applications for part-time study would be welcome.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in sociology with a good fundamental knowledge of
work/employment studies, digital labour or feminist/gender studies.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
 Experience of fundamental social science research methods
 Competent in qualitative research
 Knowledge of at least one area of sociology of work, digital labour studies or feminist/gender studies
 Good written and oral communication skills
 Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
 Good time management

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded position

Please quote project code SAS0090 in your enquiry and application.

• Completed application form
• CV
• 2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)
• A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)
• Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)


Duffy, B. E. (2017). Not) getting paid to do what you love. Yale University Press.
Jarrett, K. (2015). Feminism, labour and digital media: The digital housewife. Routledge.
McRobbie, A. (2020). Feminism and the Politics of 'Resilience': Essays on Gender, Media and the End of Welfare. Polity Press.

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