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Dr Ros Hague PhD studentship: Teaching politics through a feminist lens: A case study of the recent reforms to the A and AS level Politics in Schools

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 02, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Background and national context

In November 2010, Michael Gove MP, the Education Secretary, published a white paper entitled The Importance of Teaching, a new approach to the National Curriculum, marking the first major change to the National Curriculum in England since its introduction in 1990. Gove’s reforms outlined a new approach to the curriculum and assessment. Further evidence published by the House of Commons Education Committee in 2014 on examinations, along with research commissioned by Ofqual on the purpose of A-Levels (Higton et al 2012) and an Ofqual led consultation with the HE sector, employers, learned societies, colleges and schools, led to a series of principles that all Advanced, AS and GCSE level subjects were required to meet. This was a significant development for secondary Education, requiring an initial assessment by Ofqual as to a subjects’ ability to meet these new principles followed by major reform of content and assessment. The focus of this research project is the impact and implications of these changes for the A and AS level Politics curriculum.

Research aims

Proposed changes to the A and AS level politics curriculum triggered a significant public response - especially in relation to the revised section on political ideas – and led to media coverage, petitions, as well as interventions from the Women’s Equality Party, other women’s groups and the Political Studies Association of the UK. The discussions that developed around what ideas to include and what to make compulsory or optional point to a host of assumptions about what matters in politics and politics education. These assumptions remain partially encapsulated in the new A level Politics syllabus today. The syllabus itself is now fixed for a time but it can be approached in different ways and through different lenses - while still equipping students to succeed in the final examinations. One such lens (there could be others, such as race or class) is feminism.

The aims of this project are to;

- review the debates and discussions surrounding the recent reform of the A level Politics.
- explore what it might mean to teach the reformed A level Politics through a feminist lens.

The successful candidate would conduct a qualitative study (which might be an action research study conducted either in the student’s own classroom or with one or two teachers in local sixth forms) into the possibilities of teaching the whole of the politics curriculum through a feminist lens – looking at all the topics at least partly through a feminist perspective and using women as examples at every stage.

Novelty and ambition

A secondary aim of this research project is to use the insights of the case study above – the teaching of A level politics through a feminist lens – to establish the implications for teaching politics in other contexts including what this novel approach might mean for the teaching of Politics at University.

Expertise and facilities provided by the project team

Dr Rose Gann has taught Politics in HEIs for over 20 years, has teaching and research expertise in feminist theory and feminist politics and has published on the pedagogy of teaching politics. Rose was an expert member of the Department for Education stakeholder group for the reform of the Politics A/AS level and was closely involved in reforming the subject criteria for this award. She was also a member of the External Subject Advisory Group (ESAG) for A/AS level Politics overseen by Edexcel Pearson UK. Professor Carrie Paechter (Director of NCCYPF, NTU) has written extensively on education changes and reforms and the gendered implications of these changes. See, for example, Paechter, C (1990) Changing School Subjects: Power, Gender and the Curriculum (Changing Education).

Attributes of the successful candidate

The successful candidate will be expected to work with variety of stakeholders including schools/sixth form colleges. They will be encouraged to present their research to academic and non-academic audiences in different forms. The successful candidate will be joining an exciting research culture and a community of over 130 doctoral students.

Entry qualifications

Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in Politics, Sociology or a related discipline. Entrants with a Lower Second Class grade at first degree must also have a postgraduate Masters Degree at Merit or Commendation.

Funding Notes

This PhD will be funded from a stipend donated by the family of Dr Ros Hague, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at NTU who died suddenly in November 2017, age 42.

International applicants are eligible, and encouraged, to apply as well as Home/EU students.

The Dr Ros Hague stipend will fund up to five fees-only studentships. In addition, two of these may also be eligible for living costs at the standard UKRI rate. The final decision about how many studentships there will be – and which ones have full living costs attached – will be taken at the selection stage.

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