Department of Education

Nigel Fancourt

Associate Professor of Learning, Teaching and Values

College Affiliation: St Stephen's House

Nigel is Associate Professor of Learning, Teaching and Values, and is Director of the Masters in Learning and Teaching.

His research broadly encompasses the pedagogical implications of collaborative working, inter-disciplinarity, and intersecting knowledge-practices, and particularly:

  • Conflicting epistemological and ethical demands across professional and educational practices, such as building research capacity in teacher education
  • Research and schools, i.e. how and why teachers engage in and with research, such as the use of attachment theory in schools
  • Religions and schools, notably around curriculum, schooling, ethics and freedom of belief, such as argumentation in religious education and science

Besides teaching on the MLT, he also teaches on the PGCE (in religious education) and on various research degrees, notably for a module on the Philosophy of Educational Research.

Current professional associations: Association of University Lecturers in Religion and Education; British Education Research Association; European Network for Religious Education through Contextual Approaches; International Seminar for Religious Education and Values; Philosophy of Education (Great Britain) Society.

He is on the editorial board of Journal of Beliefs and Values, and also reviews for British Journal of Religious Education, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Oxford Review of Education, and Teachers and Teacher Education.

CONSULTANCY: Nigel welcomes consultancy work with schools, educational organisations and governments, and has carried out projects around the world, notably in Bhutan, India and Lebanon.

Funded Research Projects:

  • Oxford Argumentation in Science and Religious Education: an interdisciplinary study in British schools. (CI)

  • 2018-2021

    Funded by Templeton Foundation

  • Refining the Ethical Eye and Ethical Voice – The Possibilities and Challenges of a Fiction-based Approach to Ethics Education (Advisor to University of Gothenburg)

  • 2018-2020

    Funded by Swedish Institute for Educational Research

  • Evaluation of Attachment-Aware CPD Birmingham (Co-PI)

  • 2017-2019

    Funded by Birmingham City Council

  • Knowledge Exchange: evaluation of attachment-aware CPD (PI)

  • 2017-2018

    University of Oxford

  • Evaluation of WISERDEducation (CI)

  • 2017

    Funded by Higher Education Funding Council for Wales

  • Research Use in Schools: teachers' views of methodology, status and implementation (Co-PI).

  • 2016-2017

    Funded by John Fell Fund, University of Oxford

  • Evaluation of Attachment-Aware CPD – Leicestershire (Co-PI)

  • 2016-2017

    Funded by Leicestershire County Council

  • Test and Learn: Closing the Gap (CI)

  • 2013-2015

    Funded by Department for Education

  • Raising and Sustaining Aspiration in City Schools (CI)

  • 2012-2014

    Funded by CitiFoundation

  • Leadership for Learning (CI)

  • 2012-2014

    Funded by Oxford City Council

Doctoral Applications

Nigel welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas

  • Religions, beliefs and secularities in education
  • Developing professional practices in education
  • Ethics and values in education and educational research
  • Qualitative and mixed-methods approaches, including practitioner research studies

Publications:

  • Featured Publications

    • ERDURAN, S, GUILFOYLE, L, PARK, W, CHAN, W-S, FANCOURT, N (2019) “Argumentation and interdisciplinarity: Reflections from the Oxford Argumentation in Religion and Science Project”, Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1186/s43031-019-0006-9

    • Fancourt, NPM (2018) “Research ethics in 'Closing the Gap': equipoise in randomised controlled trials in education”, In: A Childs, I Menter (eds.) Mobilising teacher researchers: tackling educational inequality. Abingdon: Routledge.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315160320

    • Fancourt, NPM (2017) “Assessment in ethics education: neoliberalism, values and alignment”, In: O Franck (ed.) Assessment in Ethics Education: A Case of National Tests in Religious Education. Evaluating Education: Normative Systems and Institutional Practices. Springer.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50770-5_8

    • Fancourt, NPM (2017) “Crucifixes in classrooms: The pedagogical assumptions of the European Courts”, In: M Rothgangel, K von Bromssen, H-G Heimbrock (eds.) Location, space and place in religious education. Religious diversity and education in Europe. Munster: Waxmann.

    • Fancourt, N (2016) “The classification and framing of religious dialogues in two English schools”, British Journal of Religious Education. Taylor and Francis.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2015.1113932

    • Fancourt, N (2016) “Creating a system of distributed expertise: The oxford education deanery narrative”, In: A Edwards (ed.) Working Relationally in and across Practices A Cultural-Historical Approach to Collaboration. Cambridge University Press.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/9781316275184.010

    • Fancourt, NPM (2015) “Re-defining learning about religion and learning from religion: A study of policy change”, British Journal of Religious Education.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2014.923377

    • Fancourt, N, Edwards, A, Menter, I (2015) “Reimagining a school – university partnership: the development of the Oxford Education Deanery narrative”, Education Inquiry.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/edui.v6.27724

    • Fancourt, N (2005) “Challenges for self-assessment in religious education”, British Journal of Religious Education.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0141620042000336611

    • Fancourt, NPM “Teaching about Christianity: a configurative review of research in English schools”, Journal of Beliefs and Values: studies in religion and education. Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2016.1229469

    • FANCOURT, N, Ipgrave, J “Schools and their local religious contexts: building a framework of negotiations through qualitative meta-synthesis”, Research Papers in Education. Taylor & Francis (Routledge).
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2019.1568530

  • Book chapters

    • Fancourt, NPM (2018) “Research ethics in 'Closing the Gap': equipoise in randomised controlled trials in education”, In: A Childs, I Menter (eds.) Mobilising teacher researchers: tackling educational inequality. Abingdon: Routledge.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315160320

    • FANCOURT, N, CHILDS, A (2018) “Building research capacity and relationships in schools: the consequences of involvement in 'Closing the Gap'”, In: A Childs, I Menter (eds.) Mobilising Teacher Researchers: Challenging Educational Inequality. Abingdon: Routledge.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315160320

    • Fancourt, NPM (2017) “Spatial and temporal explanations in researching religious education”, In: M Rothgangel, K von Bromssen, H-G Heimbrock, G Skeie (eds.) Location, space and place in religious education. Religious diversity and education in Europe. Munster: Waxmann. 39-45

    • Fancourt, NPM (2017) “Assessment in ethics education: neoliberalism, values and alignment”, In: O Franck (ed.) Assessment in Ethics Education: A Case of National Tests in Religious Education. Evaluating Education: Normative Systems and Institutional Practices. Springer. 163-176
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50770-5_8

    • Fancourt, NPM (2017) “Crucifixes in classrooms: The pedagogical assumptions of the European Courts”, In: M Rothgangel, K von Bromssen, H-G Heimbrock (eds.) Location, space and place in religious education. Religious diversity and education in Europe. Munster: Waxmann. 87-100

    • Fancourt, N (2016) “Creating a system of distributed expertise: The oxford education deanery narrative”, In: A Edwards (ed.) Working Relationally in and across Practices A Cultural-Historical Approach to Collaboration. Cambridge University Press.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1017/9781316275184.010

    • FANCOURT, N (2016) “"I'm less intolerant" reflexive self-assessment in religious education”, In: M Robbins, L Francis (eds.) The Empirical Science of Religious Education. Abingdon: Routledge.

    • Fancourt, NPM (2014) “Insiders and Outsiders: Task design in learning about religions”, In: I Thompson (ed.) Designing Tasks in Secondary Education Enhancing Subject Understanding and Student Engagement. London: Routledge.

    • Fancourt, N (2013) “Very sad, but it Works’: One pupil’s assessment career in religious education”, In: Religion in Education: Innovation in International Research. 105-118
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780203067246

    • Fancourt, NPM (2013) “Religious education across Europe: contexts in policy scholarship”, In: G Skeie, J Everington, I Avest, S Miedema (eds.) Exploring Context in Religious Education Research Empirical, Methodological and Theoretical Perspectives. Münster: Waxmann Verlag.

    • Fancourt, NPM (2011) “Differentiation”, In: P Barnes (ed.) Debates in Religious Education. London: Routledge.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.4324/9780203813805-28

    • Fancourt, NPM (2009) “The “safe forum”: difference, dialogue and conflict”, In: J Ipgrave, R Jackson, K O'Grady (eds.) Religious Education Research Through a Community of Practice Action Research and the Interpretive Approach. Münster: Waxmann.

    • Fancourt, N (2009) “Reflexive Assessment: The Interpretive Approach and Classroom Assessment”, In: J Ipgrave, R Jackson, K O’Grady (eds.) Religious Education Research Through a Community of Practice Action Research and the Interpretive Approach. Munster: Waxmann.

    • Fancourt, NPM (2007) “The dialogical teacher: pupils’ perceptions of good teaching in religious education”, In: C Bakker, G Heimbrock (eds.) Researching RE Teachers. RE Teachers as Researchers. Münster: Waxmann Verlag.

  • Journal articles

    • Chan, J, Fancourt, N, Guilfoyle, L (2020) “Argumentation in religious education in England: an analysis of locally agreed syllabuses”, British Journal of Religious Education. 1-14.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2020.1734916

    • Fancourt, N (2019) “Religious education as a dialogue with difference: fostering democratic citizenship through the study of religions in schools”, Journal of Beliefs & Values. 1-2.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2019.1646607

    • ERDURAN, S, GUILFOYLE, L, PARK, W, CHAN, W-S, FANCOURT, N (2019) “Argumentation and interdisciplinarity: Reflections from the Oxford Argumentation in Religion and Science Project”, Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1186/s43031-019-0006-9

    • Fancourt, NPM (2016) “Assessment and examinations in religious education: sixty years of research and analysis”, British Journal of Religious Education.

    • Fancourt, N (2016) “The classification and framing of religious dialogues in two English schools”, British Journal of Religious Education. 38(3) 325-340.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2015.1113932

    • Fancourt, NPM (2015) “Re-defining learning about religion and learning from religion: A study of policy change”, British Journal of Religious Education. 37(2) 122-137.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2014.923377

    • Fancourt, N, Edwards, A, Menter, I (2015) “Reimagining a school – university partnership: the development of the Oxford Education Deanery narrative”, Education Inquiry. 6(3) 353-373.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/edui.v6.27724

    • Fancourt, N (2013) “"Very sad, but it works": One pupil's assessment career in religious education”, Religion and Education. 40(1) 78-89.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/15507394.2013.745360

    • Fancourt, N (2013) “Law, religious freedoms and education in Europe”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. 35(2) 218-220.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2012.760912

    • Brooks, V, Fancourt, N (2011) “Is self-assessment in religious education unique?”, British Journal of Religious Education. 34(2) 123-137.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2011.614747

    • Fancourt, N (2010) “'I'm less intolerant': reflexive self-assessment in religious education”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. 32(3) 291-305.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2010.498616

    • Fancourt, N (2008) “Teaching religious education”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. 30(1) 83-85.

    • Copley, T (2008) “The effective teaching of religious education, 2nd edition”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION. 30(1) 79-81.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200701711741

    • Fancourt, N (2007) “Quelle formation pour l'éducation à la religion? (British Journal of Religious Education (2005) 29, 2 (197-99))”, British Journal of Religious Education. 29(3) 303+.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/01416200701479927

    • Fancourt, N (2005) “Challenges for self-assessment in religious education”, British Journal of Religious Education. 27(2) 115-125.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/0141620042000336611

    • Fancourt, NPM (2003) “Whole-class strategies in Religious Education”, Support for Learning. 18(3) 112-116.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9604.00292

    • Fancourt, NPM “Assessment, failure and motivation in religious education”, Religious Education Journal of Australia. 28(2) 29-35.

    • Fancourt, NPM “Teaching about Christianity: a configurative review of research in English schools”, Journal of Beliefs and Values: studies in religion and education.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/13617672.2016.1229469

    • FANCOURT, N, Ipgrave, J “Schools and their local religious contexts: building a framework of negotiations through qualitative meta-synthesis”, Research Papers in Education.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2019.1568530

    • FANCOURT, N “Looked after children: embedding attachment awareness in schools”, Education and Self-Development.
      DOI: http://doi.org/10.26907/esd14.1.03

    • Fancourt, N, Ipgrave, J “Schools and their local religious contexts: building a framework of negotiations through qualitative meta-synthesis”, Research Papers in Education.

  • Internet publication

    • Fancourt, NPM (2012) It’s time to rethink the way Christianity is taught in schools. Guardian Online.

  • Reports

    • FANCOURT, N, OANCEA, A, THOMPSON, I, ROBSON, J, CHILDS, A (2017) Evaluation of wiserdeducation: a report to HEFCW. Caerphilly: HEFCW.

    • Alexander, P, Edwards, A, Fancourt, NPM, Menter, I (2014) Raising and sustaining aspiration in City Schools. University of Oxford: Department of Education.

    • Fancourt, NPM (2012) Teaching Christianity in religious education: a review of research. University of Oxford: Nigel Fancourt.

    • Jackson, R, Ipgrave, J, Hayward, M, Hopkins, P, Fancourt, NPM, Robbins, M, Francis, LJ, McKenna, U (2010) Materials used to Teach about World Religions in Schools in England. London: DCSF.

  • Other

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