Freedom to Learn: alternative systems
of education and social inequality
To celebrate the University's research
successes, the University of Hull is offering one full-time UK/EU
PhD Scholarship or International Fees Bursary for candidates
applying for this project in the Faculty of Education.
Closing date: - 3rd
Studentships will start on 29th
Dr Max Hope email firstname.lastname@example.org
tel. 01482 466878
Dr Catherine Montgomery email
tel. 01482 466187
Centre for Educational
The Centre for Educational Studies invites
applications for a PhD studentship that will explore alternative
educational institutions which strive to develop autonomy and
‘freedom to learn’ considering whether these institutions have a
positive impact on students (including the potential development of
social, cultural and emotional capital) and as a consequence, on
reducing inequalities in education and society.
Formal education is widely acknowledged as a
crucial means of enabling socio-economic mobility, not simply as
the route to better employment but for its role in broadening
opportunities for individuals in society and thus enabling social
change (Rao, 2010). Nonetheless, educational theorists and
government appear to concur that schools and universities are
failing to have an impact on the gap in educational and social
‘achievement’ between low and high income families. Reay (2011)
notes that current systems of schools and universities simply
exacerbate social inequality, and Michael Gove, the Secretary for
Education bluntly pointed out in 2010 that ‘rich, thick kids do
better educationally than poor clever children... despite the best
efforts of our society, the situation is getting worse’
(Shepherd, 2010, no page). Further to this, the current government
education secretary Michael Gove noted that ‘other countries
are moving faster ahead’ (ibid) in this respect.
This is apparent through the most recent PISA
statistics (2009) in which Finland, Canada and South Korea were top
of the tables for equity.
The studentship will be open to developing an
individual focus in this area but the overall study will
concentrate broadly on educational systems which address social
inequalities by valuing collaboration and autonomy, emphasising
democratic values and offering an alternative to the dominant model
(Fielding and Moss, 2011). Elements that may surface include the
role of assessment systems which can provide a context for
inequality in both education and society; the importance of
interpersonal relationships in the learning environment; or the
conflict between neo-liberal agendas in society at large and the
development of open student-led learning in autonomous learning
These suggested areas are intended as examples
rather than an exhaustive list as the student appointed will be
free to explore in areas of his or her interest within the
parameters outlined above. Candidates interested in exploring the
international dimensions relevant to this area will be particularly
Fielding, M. & Moss, P. (2011).
Radical Education and the Common School: A Democratic
Alternative. Oxon: Routledge.
Rao, N. (2010) Migration, education and
socio-economic mobility. Compare: a journal of comparative
education. 40: 2, 137-145.
Reay, D. (2011) Schooling for democracy: a
common school and a common university? Democracy and
Education. 19: 1, 1-4.
Shepherd, J (2010) Rich, thick kids achieve
much more than poor clever ones, Gove says. Guardian Newspaper,
Education Section. 28 July.
Last accessed 21 May 2013.
Please see departmental website for further
To apply for this post please click on
the Apply button below to download application form:
Applicants will be expected to hold
a minimum of a UK upper second class Honours degree, or equivalent,
in an appropriate discipline.
Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship will
include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£13,726
in 2014/15) for three years, depending on satisfactory
Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full
fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent
on satisfactory progress.
PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for
research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters
level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to
their research degree.