John Furlong, OBE is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Oxford and an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College. From 2003 – 2009 he was head of the Department of Education at Oxford having previously held posts at Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea and Cambridge Universities. A former President of the British Educational Research Association, he was elected as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004.
His current research interests centre on both teacher education and educational research policy and the links between them. He has been author of a number of government reports on teacher education over recent years – Wales (2007), Brunei (2008), the Republic of Ireland (2013), Northern Ireland (2014) and Wales (2015). He is currently an adviser to the Welsh Government on Initial Teacher Education and Chair of the Teacher Education Accreditation Board for Wales. In 2013-14 he was Chair of the BERA-RSA Inquiry into Research and Teacher Education. He was a member of the 2008 and 2014 RAE/REF sub-panels in Education in the UK, and Convenor of the Education Panel for the Hong Kong RAE 2014. In 2015, his book, Education – an anatomy of the discipline, was awarded first prize by the British Society for Educational Studies, for the best educational research of the year; his most recent book (edited with Geoff Whitty), Knowledge and the Study of Education – an international exploration, was published by Symposium Books in June 2017. John was awarded the OBE for services to research in education and advice to government in 2017.
John Furlong undertook his PhD while a teacher in a London comprehensive school. On completion of his thesis he began a full time career for six years as a research fellow, working first at Manchester University and then at Brunel University.
In 1981 he moved to Cambridge University where he was a lecturer in the sociology of education for 11 years; he was also director of studies in Social and Political Sciences at Corpus Christi College.
In 1992 John moved to Swansea University to take up his first Chair; he became Head of Department in 1993. In 1995 he moved to Bristol University, again serving as Head of Department, and then joined the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University in January 2000. He became Director of the Oxford University Department of Education in 2003, a post he held until December 2009.
From 1994 to 1997 he was a member of the national executive of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers. In 1998, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2003. John is an active member of the British Educational Research Association and served as President during the academic years 2003-5. His recent work for BERA includes being Chair of the Steering Committee for the BERA/RSA Inquiry into Research and Teacher Education.
In 2008 John was member of the 2008 RAE Education Sub-Panel; he was also a member of the 2014 REF Education Sub-Panel. In addition, he was Convenor of the Hong Kong 2014 RAE Panel for Education and a member of the 2013 RAE Social Sciences Panel for Latvia.
John has led and contributed to a number of policy reviews of initial teacher education for various governments: Wales (2007), Brunei (2008), the Republic of Ireland (2013) and Northern Ireland (2014). His most recent national review was in Wales (2015); since completing that review he has continued as an adviser to the Welsh Government on the reform of initial teacher education; he is also currently the Chair of the Teacher Education Accreditation Board for Wales.
Publications since 2008
- Furlong, J., Cochran Smith, M. and Brennan, M. (eds), Politics and Policy in Teacher Education: international perspectives. London: Taylor and Francis.
- Furlong, J. and Lawn, M. (eds), Disciplines of education: their role in the future of education research. London: Routledge.
- Furlong, J. (ed), The TLRP in Wales. Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government.
- Furlong, J., Education: an anatomy of the discipline. Rescuing the university project. London: Routledge.
- Whitty, G. and Furlong, J. (eds), Knowledge and the Study of Education. Wallingford: Symposium Books.
- Furlong, J. and Lunt, I. (eds), Education in a Federal UK. London: Routledge.
Articles in refereed journals
- Furlong, J., McNamara, O., Campbell, A., Howson, J. and Lewis, S., ‘Partnership, Policy and Politics: initial teacher education in England under new Labour’ in Furlong, J., Cochran Smith, M. and Brennan, M. (eds) special edition of Teachers and Teaching: Politics and Policy, in Teacher Education: international perspectives. 14 (4) 307-318
- Furlong, J. Cochran Smith M. and Brennan, M., ‘Politics, Policy and Teacher Education; Introduction’ in Furlong, J., Cochran Smith, M. and Brennan, M. (eds), special edition of Teachers and Teaching: Politics and Policy in Teacher Education: international perspectives. 14 (4) 265 – 269
- Furlong, J., Making Teaching a 21st Century Profession: Tony Blair’s Big Prize,’ Oxford Review of Education special edition: Education Under Tony Blair. 34 (6) 727 – 739
- Lawn, M. and Furlong, J., ‘The Disciplines of Education in the UK: between the ghost and the shadow,’ Oxford Review of Education special edition. The Disciplines of Education: confronting the crisis. Furlong, J. and Lawn, M. (eds). 35 (5) 541-552
- Furlong, J., ‘Whose Big Prize? A response to Hall and Gunter,’ Oxford Review of Education. 35 (6 ) 771 – 774
- Furlong, J., ‘Universities and the Discipline of Education: understanding the impact of the RAE,’ Power and Education. 3 (1) 18–30
- Furlong, J. and Davies, C., ‘Young People, New Technologies and Learning at Home: Taking context seriously,’ Oxford Review of Education. 38 (1) 45-62
- Furlong, J., ‘Globalisation, neo-liberalism and the reform of teacher education’, The Educational Forum. 77 (1) 28-50
Chapters in edited collections
- Furlong, J., ‘Do Teachers Still Need Universities?’ in McLean, R. and Johnson, D. (eds), Festschrift for Eric Hoyle. London: Sage.
- Lawn, M. and Furlong, J., ‘The Disciplines of Education in the UK: between the ghost and the shadow’ in Disciplines of education: their role in the future of education research. London: Routledge.
- Furlong, J. and Lawn, M., ‘Disciplines of Education and their Role in the Future of Educational Research: concluding reflections’ in Disciplines of education: their role in the future of education research. London: Routledge.
- Furlong, J., ‘The English Masters in Teaching and Learning: a new arena for practitioner inquiry?’ in Mockler, N. and Sachs, J. (eds), Completing the Circle: Practitioner Inquiry for and with Teachers and Students. A Festschrift in Honour of Susan Groundwater-Smith. New York: Springer.
- Furlong, J. and Whitty, G., ‘Knowledge Traditions in the Study of Education’ in Whitty, G. and Furlong, J. (eds), Knowledge and the Study of Education: an international exploration. Wallingford: Symposium.
- Furlong, J., Burn, K., Hagger, H., Howson, J. and McNamara, O., ‘Review of Teacher Education in Brunei Darussalam.’ Oxford: Oxford University Department of Education.
- Furlong, J., ‘Teacher Education and Pedagogical Change: What does the Research Tell Us?’ in Tereffa, T., Dalelo, A. and Kassaye, M. (eds), Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Educational Research for Development. Addis Ababa: College of Education, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Volume 1, pp 97 – 109
- Furlong, J. (ed), ‘The TLRP in Wales: Research evidence and educational policy and practice in Wales.’ Cardiff: Welsh Assembly Government.
- Furlong, J., Pendry, A. and Medrtova, P., ‘The Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (Ireland) (SCoTENS) An evaluation of its first 8 years’. Oxford: University of Oxford Department of Education.
- Furlong, J., ‘The Impact of the RAE; a broader view’. Research Intelligence Macclesfield: British Educational Research Association.
- Sahlberg, P., Furlong, J. and Munn, P., (2005-7) Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education Provision in Ireland. Dublin: Department of Education and Skills, Republic of Ireland.
- Furlong, J., ‘The Discipline of Education – rescuing the “university project.”‘ Times Higher Education Supplement.
- Sahlberg, P., Broadfoot, P., Coolahan, J., Furlong, J. and Kirk, G., ‘Aspiring to Excellence: Final Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education in Northern Ireland’ http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/20454/1/aspiring-to-excellence-review-panel-final-report.pdf
- Furlong, J., ‘Teaching Tomorrow’s Teachers; options for the future of initial teacher education in Wales.’ Welsh Government. https://beta.gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2018-03/teaching-tomorrow%E2%80%99s-teachers.pdf
John has had an active research career, having directed a large number of externally funded projects. He has a long standing reputation for research and teaching in three fields:
The professional education of teachers
Over the last 20 years, John has directed many externally funded research projects exploring different aspects of teacher education policy and practice. His research, much of which has been widely influential, has addressed: the nature of teachers’ professional knowledge; the nature of professional learning for student teachers; changing patterns of teacher education provision and practice in the UK and internationally. His recent work in this area has included a research project examining the role of universities in the professional education of teachers.
Learners’ perspectives on their own learning
In this aspect of his work, John Furlong has worked with a number of different groups of learners. Much of his early work focused on disaffected pupils and their perceptions of schooling. More recently he has directed a number of projects exploring different groups of learners’ perceptions of using ICTs at home. ‘ScreenPlay’, funded by the ESRC, examined young people’s perceptions of learning at home; ‘Adults Learning @ Home’, also funded by the ESRC, examined the perceptions and practices of adult learners using ICT at home.
Educational research policy
As a highly experienced researcher, and previous President of BERA, John Furlong has researched and published on educational research policy. In 2001 he completed a major review of educational research capacity in Wales, including its role in CPD. More recently he has led an ESRC funded project examining the nature of ‘quality’ in applied and practice based research; he also chaired the BERA-RSA inquiry into the role of research in teacher education.