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Portrait of Dr Ron Thompson Dr Ron Thompson

r.thompson@hud.ac.uk | 01484 478294



Biography

Qualifications:  BSc(Hons), CertEd, PhD

My current post is Head of Division (Lifelong Learning) in the School of Education and Professional Development. I have worked at Huddersfield since 1987, joining the Faculty of Education (as it then was) from Oldham College of Technology, where I had taught mathematics for nine years. I was educated at Bede School, Sunderland and Queen Mary College, University of London, graduating with a first class honours degree in mathematics and physics. Whilst teaching at Oldham, I attended Manchester Polytechnic and Bolton College of Education to obtain an in-service Certificate in Education. My doctorate is in the sociology of education, the outcome of a long-standing interest in educational inequalities, particularly those relating to social class. I became a Reader in July 2014.

My current research interests lie in two main areas: Social class and educational inequality, and teacher education for the lifelong learning sector. These two interests are united by the persistent undervaluing of vocational education in the UK and associated perceptions of the further education sector in England as largely for 'other people's children'. I have been particularly influenced by three great figures in the sociology of education: Pierre Bourdieu, Basil Bernstein and Raymond Boudon, and also by challenging empirical studies such as Jackson and Marsden's 'Education and the Working Class' (conducted in Huddersfield) and Paul Willis's classic 'Learning to Labour'. I have published a number of articles in academic journals such as British Journal of Sociology of Education, Journal of Education and Work and the Oxford Review of Education. I retain an interest in mathematics and physics, which teach us not only the explanatory power of scientific thinking, but also the socially constructed nature of scientific explanations and, in the two great intellectual achievements of twentieth-century physics - quantum mechanics and relativity - the relationship between ontological and epistemological questions: that is, the relationship between the objects of our theories and how we know them.

For the last five years, I have been working with my colleagues Robin Simmons and Lisa Russell on two ethnographic studies of marginalised young people, the first on Entry to Employment programmes and the second a three-year longitudinal study of young people not in education, employment or training (funded by The Leverhulme Trust). With Robin, I have co-authored 'NEET Young People and Training for Work: learning on the margins', published by Trentham Books in September 2011. I am currently working with Robin and Lisa on another book, 'Social Change, Work and Education: young people and marginalisation in post-industrial Britain', to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in Spring 2014. I have also co-authored the Open University Press textbook 'Teaching in Lifelong Learning: a guide to theory and practice', with James Avis and Roy Fisher. A second edition of this book is currently in preparation.

Research & Scholarship

I am currently working on two externally-funded research projects: a three-year ethnography of young people not in education, employment and training funded by The Leverhulme Trust, and a five-month case study-based project investigating the experiences of young people entering employment after periods of exclusion, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. In both of these projects, I work with my colleagues Dr Lisa Russell and Dr Robin Simmons. Building on earlier research investigating Entry to Employment programmes, the projects challenge existing stereotypes of socially-excluded young people as suffering from low aspirations and making benefit-dependency a 'lifestyle choice'. Much of this research relates to important questions which have long been central to the sociology of education, particularly about the relationship between individual agency, identity and social structure. We therefore draw on a range of theoretical perspectives which have developed in response to these problems, including Bourdieu's habitus and field, Bernstein's theory of pedagogic discourse, and the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens. Underpinning our use of these perspectives is a critical materialist analysis of society, which acknowledges the basis of social phenomena in the relations of production but recognises that culture, identity and agency can influence these relations as well as being shaped by them. 

Publications and Other Research Outputs

2015

Fisher, R., Fulford, A., McNicholas, B. and Thompson, R. (2015) ‘The curriculum in the lifelong learning sector’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice. : Open University Press. . ISBN 9780335263325

McLay, M., Mycroft, L., Noel, P., Orr, K., Thompson, R., Tummons, J. and Weatherby, J. (2015) ‘Learning and learners’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice. : Open University Press. . ISBN 9780335263325

Dixon, L., Harvey, J., Powell, D., Thompson, R. and Williamson, S. (2015) ‘Practical teaching’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice. : Open University Press. . ISBN 9780335263325

Fulford, A., Robinson, D. and Thompson, R. (2015) ‘Teacher education for lifelong learning’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice. : Open University Press. . ISBN 9780335263325

Avis, J., Fisher, R. and Thompson, R. (2015) Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice . : Open University Press. ISBN 9780335263325

Ollin, R., Thompson, R. and Tummons, J. (2015) ‘Assessment’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice. : Open University Press. . ISBN 9780335263325

Fisher, R., Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2015) ‘Introduction to the lifelong learning sector’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning : a guide to theory and practice. : Open University Press. . ISBN 9780335263325

2014

Simmons, R., Thompson, R. and Russell, L. (2014) Education, Work and Social Change: Young People and Marginalisation in Post-Industrial Britain . : Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137335920

Russell, L., Thompson, R. and Simmons, R. (2014) Helping unemployed young people to find private sector work York, UK: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Thompson, R., Russell, L. and Simmons, R. (2014) ‘Space, place and social exclusion: an ethnographic study of young people outside education and employmentJournal of Youth Studies , 17 (1), pp. 63-78. ISSN 13676261

Simmons, R., Thompson, R., Tabrizi, G. and Nartey, A. (2014) Engaging Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training: The Case for a Youth Resolution London, UK: UCU

2013

Thompson, R. and Simmons, R. (2013) ‘Social mobility and post-compulsory education: revisiting Boudon’s model of social opportunity. British Journal of Sociology of Education , 34 (5-6), pp. 744-765. ISSN 0142-5692

Simmons, R., Russell, L. and Thompson, R. (2013) ‘Young people and labour market marginality: findings from a longitudinal ethnographic studyJournal of Youth Studies , pp. 1-15. ISSN 1367-6261

Thompson, R (2013) ‘Social class and participation in further education: evidence from the Youth Cohort Study of England and Wales’. In: Theorizing Social Class and Education. : Routledge. . ISBN 9780415842297

Simmons, R., Thompson, R. and Russell, L. (2013) ‘Self-Esteem and Social Justice? Engaging Young People on the Margins of Education and Employment’. In: Journal of Vocational Education and Training 10th International Conference, 5th-7th July 2013, Worcester College, Oxford

Simmons, R., Russell, L. and Thompson, R. (2013) ‘NEET young people and the Labour Market: voices from the margins’. In: Discourse Power and Resistance Conference 2013 - Discourses of Inclusion and Exclusion, 9th - 11th April 2013, London, UK

Simmons, R., Russell, L. and Thompson, R. (2013) ‘NEET young people and the labour market: working on the margins’. In: Youth Studies Conference, 8-12th April 2013, Glasgow, UK

Russell, L., Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2013) ‘Young people’s experiences of working in the private sector: a case study approach’. In: Discourse Power and Resistance Conference 2013 - Discourses of Inclusion and Exclusion, 9th - 11th April 2013, London, UK

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2013) ‘Reclaiming the Disengaged: Critical Perspectives on Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training Research in Post-Compulsory Education , 18 (1-2), pp. 1-11. ISSN 1359-6748

2012

Thompson, R., Russell, L. and Simmons, R. (2012) ‘Spatial dialectics and social exclusion: young people not in education, employment or training’. In: European conference on educational research, 18 - 21 September 2012, University of Cadiz, Spain

Simmons, R., Russell, L. and Thompson, R. (2012) ‘Social exclusion, space and place: young people not in education, employment or training’. In: British Educational Research Association Conference, 4-6 September 2012, University of Manchester

Thompson, R., Russell, L. and Simmons, R. (2012) ‘Space, place and exclusion: young people outside education and employment’. In: Space Place and Social Justice in Education, 13 July 2012, Manchester Metropolitan University

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2012) ‘Well-being and Social Justice? Engaging Young Adults on the Margins of Education and Employment’. In: 42nd Annual SCUTREA Conference 2012, 3rd - 5th July 2012, Leicester, UK

Thompson, R., Russell, L. and Simmons, R. (2012) ‘Exploring the lives of NEET young people: using structuration theory to conceptualise the experience of ‘disengagement’ ’. In: Youth in Crisis and Community Interventions: Past, Present and Future Priorities, 21-22 February 2012, University of the West of Scotland

Thompson, R., Russell, L. and Simmons, R. (2012) ‘Exploring the lives of NEET young people – using structuration theory to conceptualise the experience of ‘disengagement'’. In: Youth in Crisis and Community Interventions: Past, Present and Future Interventions, 21-22 February 2012, Ayr, Scotland

2011

Thompson, R (2011) ‘Individualisation and social exclusion: the case of young people not in education, employment or training.Oxford Review of Education , 37 (6), pp. 785-802. ISSN 0305-4985

Russell, L., Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2011) ‘Conceptualising the lives of NEET young people: structuration theory and ‘disengagement’Education, Knowledge and Economy , 5 (3), pp. 89-106. ISSN 1749-6896

Russell, L., Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2011) ‘Ordinary lives: an ethnographic study of young people attending Entry to Employment programmesJournal of Education and Work , 24 (5), pp. 477-499. ISSN 1363-9080

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2011) ‘Education and training for young people at risk of becoming NEET: findings from an ethnographic study of work-based learning programmesEducational Studies , 37 (4), pp. 447-450. ISSN 0305-5698

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2011) NEET Young People and Training for Work: learning on the margins . Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books. ISBN 9781858564838

Thompson, R (2011) Further Education and Social Inclusion under New Labour Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Thompson, R (2011) ‘Reclaiming the disengaged? A Bourdieuian analysis of work-based learning for young people in EnglandCritical Studies in Education , 52 (1), pp. 15-28. ISSN 1750-8487

2010

Thompson, R (2010) ‘Teaching on the margins: tutors, discourse and pedagogy in work-based learning for young peopleJournal of vocational education and training , 62 (2), pp. 123-137. ISSN 1363-6820

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2010) ‘A longitudinal study of NEET young peopleThe leverhulme trust newsletter , p. 5.

Thompson, R (2010) ‘Learning on the margins: the ‘real lives’ of NEET young people. Discourse, Power and Resistance 9, University of Greenwich.’. In: Discourse, Power and Resistance 9, 30 March - 1 April 2010, University of Greenwich

Russell, L., Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2010) ‘Playing the numbers game: Connexions Personal Advisers working with young people on Entry to Employment programmesJournal of vocational education and training , 62 (1), pp. 1-12. ISSN 1363-6820

Fisher, R. and Thompson, R. (2010) ‘Introduction to the lifelong learning sector’. In: Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. pp. 1-6. ISBN 9780335234684

McLay, M., Mycroft, L., Noel, P., Orr, K., Thompson, R., Tummons, J. and Weatherby, J. (2010) ‘Teaching in the lifelong learning sector’. In: Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. pp. 77-102. ISBN 9780335234684

Fulford, A., Robinson, D. and Thompson, R. (2010) ‘Teacher education for lifelong learning’. In: Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. pp. 18-27. ISBN 9780335234684

Dixon, L., Harvey, J., Thompson, R. and Williamson, S. (2010) ‘Practical teaching’. In: Teaching in lifelong learning. : McGraw Hill. pp. 119-141. ISBN 9780335234684

Ollin, R., Thompson, R. and Tummons, J. (2010) ‘Assessment’. In: Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. pp. 163-180. ISBN 9780335234684

Fisher, R., Fulford, A., McNicholas, B. and Thompson, R. (2010) ‘The curriculum in the lifelong learning sector’. In: Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. pp. 103-118. ISBN 9780335234684

2009

Thompson, R., Hallwood, L., Clements, C. and Rivron, H. (2009) ‘Personal development planning in initial teacher training: a case study from post-compulsory educationResearch in Post-Compulsory Education , 14 (3), pp. 269-285. ISSN 1359-6748

Thompson, R (2009) ‘Creativity, Knowledge and Curriculum in Further Education: A Bernsteinian PerspectiveBritish Journal of Educational Studies , 57 (1), pp. 37-54. ISSN 0007-1005

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2009) ‘Teacher Educators in Post-Compulsory Education: gender, discourse and power ’. In: Issues in post-compulsory education and training: critical perspectives. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 333-352. ISBN 9781862180680

Thompson, R (2009) ‘Modernism and reality in educationPost 16 Educator , 49, pp. 16-17. ISSN 0459-2026

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2009) ‘Aiming Higher: how will universities respond to changes in initial teacher training for post-compulsory sector in England? ’. In: Issues in post-compulsory education and training: critical perspectives. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 239-307. ISBN 9781862180680

Thompson, R (2009) ‘Social class and participation in further education: evidence from the Youth Cohort Study of England and WalesBritish Journal of Sociology of Education , 30 (1), pp. 29-42. ISSN 0142-5692

Thompson, R. and Robinson, D. (2009) ‘Changing Step or Marking Time? Teacher education reforms for the learning and skills sector in England ’. In: Issues in post-compulsory education and training: critical perspectives. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 353-368. ISBN 9781862180680

2008

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2008) ‘Creativity and performativity: the case of further educationBritish Educational Research Journal , 34 (5), pp. 601-618. ISSN 0141-1926

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2008) ‘Re-conceptualizing creativity for further education’. In: British Educational Research Association 2008, 3 - 6 September 2008, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh

Thompson, R. and Robinson, D. (2008) ‘Changing step or marking time? Teacher education reforms for the learning and skills sector in EnglandJournal of Further and Higher Education , 32 (2), p. 161. ISSN 0309-877X

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2008) ‘Creativity in further education: resistance or compliance? ’. In: 7th Conference of the Discourse, Power, Resistance Series, 18– 20 March 2008, Manchester Metropolitan University

2007

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2007) ‘Teacher educators in post-compulsory education: gender, discourse and powerJournal of vocational education and training , 59 (4), pp. 517-533. ISSN 1363-6820

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2007) ‘Still paying for it: FHE teacher training updatePost 16 Educator (41), pp. 11-12. ISSN 0459-2026

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2007) ‘Aiming higher: how will universities respond to changes in initial teacher training for the post-compulsory sector in England?Journal of further and higher education , 31 (2), pp. 171-182. ISSN 1469-9486

Thompson, R (2007) ‘Adapting ITT to the Diploma Units’. In: The 2007 DFES Reform Agenda, 26th February 2007, University of Leicester

Simmons, R., Orr, K. and Thompson, R. (2007) ‘Gender, Discourse and Power: Reflections on the post-compulsory Teacher Educator Workforce in England. ’. In: 9th International Conference on Education, 28 - 31 May 2007, Athens, Greece

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2007) ‘Cinderella's shoes: gender, autonomy and control in post-compulsory teacher education ’. In: 6th Conference of the Discourse, Power, Resistance Series, 25– 27 March 2007, Manchester Metropolitan University

2006

Simmons, R. and Thompson, R. (2006) ‘Paying for it: initial teacher training in the post-compulsory sectorPost 16 Educator (35), pp. 11-13. ISSN 0459-2026

1995

Thompson, R (1995) ‘A problem on the turning points of polynomialsInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology , 26 (5), pp. 675-684. ISSN 0020-739X

Esteem

I recently co-edited a Special Issue of the journal Research in Post-Compulsory Education. The issue, 'Reclaiming the disengaged: critical perspectives on young people not in education, employment or training', brings together a range of international contributors and will appear in the Spring of 2013.

Co-applicant in successful funding application to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation for research into young people's experiences in employment (£10,000)
 
In July 2012 I was awarded the Ian Martin Prize for Social Justice in Education, a joint award with my colleague Robin Simmons for a paper on employability programmes presented at the SCUTREA Conference.

In June 2012 I received £1,500 from The Higher Education Academy to support a contribution to the HEA Seminar Series in education.

Co-applicant in successful funding application to The Leverhulme Trust for research into the experiences of NEET young people (£125,000)

In September 2008, I contributed to a Keynote Symposium on creativity and performativity in education, at the British Educational Research Association Conference in Edinburgh.

I regularly referee for academic journals, including Journal of Vocational Education and Training, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Asia-Pacific Journal of Education, and Globalisation, Societies and Education.

In July 2014, Dr. Ron Thompson is promoted to Reader.

Research Degree Supervision

  • Educational inequality and social exclusion/marginality
  • Education and the labour market
  • Teacher education, particularly for lifelong learning
  • Critical perspectives on disengagement and disaffection
  • Knowledge and the curriculum

Completed Research Supervisions

Barham, Areej (2002) An assessment of the effectiveness of co-operative learning strategies in promoting problem-solving skills and achievement in mathematics, PhD.

Folley, Sue (2012) Exploring tutors' early experiences of teaching in an online teaching environment, EdD.

Current Research Supervisions

'An investigation of Apprenticeship programmes in a Further Education College' (EdD)

'An exploration of the perceptions of FE teachers on the impact of an in-service PGCE/Cert Ed course on their professional development and practice' (EdD)

'An examination of the concept of emotional competence in relation to blended tutoring with adult learners in higher education' (EdD)

'Intervention strategies to address under-attainment in primary mathematics' (EdD)

Further information is available about Research Topics and Supervision within the School of Education and Professional Development.

Teaching and Professional Activities

Course leader and tutor for in-service Certificate in Education and PGCE (Lifelong Learning)
Course leader for Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Advanced PGCE in Lifelong Learning)
Course leader for MA Teaching in Lifelong Learning
Mathematics subject tutor for PGCE (Secondary Schools)
MA Education and Professional Development teaching and supervision
EdD teaching and supervision
PhD supervision

Last updated Thursday 6 March 2014
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