Critical lessons for future practice and policy concerning exclusion from school

9th November 2020 : 17:00 - 18:00

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Prof Harry Daniels & Assoc Prof Ian Thompson, Department of Education

Location: Online - Microsoft Teams Live

Audience: Department Staff and Students



Recent months have seen growing concern about the rising numbers of students being excluded from secondary schools and the use of exclusion as a reaction to poor behaviour often guided by the assumption that punishment will change behaviour.

In this presentation Ian and Harry will discuss the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic may transform practices of exclusion from school. We already know that such practices are mediated by the values, assumptions and priorities that reside in local and national cultures. Ian and Harry’s work is examining the variation in exclusion that exists within and between the jurisdictions of the UK. The variation within jurisdictions reflects the ways in which policies are re-contextualised in different school and local authority settings. In this presentation they will draw on sociologies of policy and pedagogy to speculate on the ways in which inequalities may well become exacerbated in the current crisis – the ‘lesson’ being that we should not be thinking about how we return to normal but rather we should try and transform understandings of normal practice in order that the possibilities for social justice are enhanced.

About the speakers

Harry Daniels is Professor of Education within the Department. His current research interests are in school design and exclusion from school. He is interested in sociocultural and activity theory and Bernsteinian theory.  Learn more about Harry here

Ian Thompson is an Associate Professor of English Education in the Department and Director of the PGCE course. He is joint convenor of the Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (OSAT) and a Fellow of St. Hugh’s College. He is also a member of the university’s English Faculty.  Learn more about Ian here

Both Harry and Ian are currently working on the £2.55 million ESRC funded project Excluded Lives: the Political Economies of School Exclusion and their Consequences.


This seminar will be of interest to academics, policymakers, and practitioners.