David Phillips is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Education, and Emeritus Fellow of St Edmund Hall.

A linguist by origin, David Phillips now works exclusively on various aspects of comparative and international education, with a particular focus on policy issues in historical context. He is the author of many publications, especially on education in Germany (more particularly in the post-war and post-unification periods) and on policy ‘borrowing’ in education. He has edited  Comparative Education, Research in Comparative and International Education, and the Oxford Review of Education and  and serves on the editorial boards of various other journals; he also edits the book series Oxford Studies in Comparative Education. He is co-chair of the Anglo-German Educational Research Group (www.aerg.org)

He has been Chair of the British Association for Comparative and International Education (BAICE). In 1990-91 he served on a commission of the German Wissenschaftsrat which reported to the German government on the future of teacher education in the territory of the former German Democratic Republic, and he has (2003-4) been a member of a commission appointed by the Minister for Science, Culture and the Arts in Baden-Württemberg with the task of evaluating educational studies in higher education in that state of the Federal Republic of Germany. He has evaluated projects for the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and for other research bodies. He is a Fellow of the Social Sciences Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Professor Phillips’s main teaching involved theoretical and methodological issues in comparative education, educational policy in Western Europe (particularly EU countries) and in Eastern Europe, in Japan, and in the United States. Many of his doctoral students focused on education in Germany and Japan, and on a range of topics involving education and training policy in the European Union as well as on aspects of educational policy borrowing in a variety of contexts.

  • Zur Universitätsreform in der Britischen Besatzungszone 1945-1948, Böhlau 1983
  • (Editor): Hochschuloffiziere und Wiederaufbau des Hochschulwesens in Westdeutschland 1945-1952, Teil 1: Die Britische Zone, Lax, 1990
  • (Editor): Lessons of Cross-National Comparison in Education, Triangle Books, 1992
  • (Editor, with Michael Kaser): Education and Economic Change in Eastern Europe, Triangle Books, 1992
  • Pragmatismus und Idealismus: Das ‘Blaue Gutachten’ und die Britische Hochschulpolitik in Deutschland 1948, Böhlau, 1995
  • (Editor, with others): Education for Reconstruction, Symposium Books, 1998
  • (Editor): Education in Germany: Tradition and Reform in Historical Context, Routledge, 1995
  • (Editor, with Michael Kaser): Aspects of Education and the European Union, Triangle Books, 1995
  • (Editor, with others): Learning From Comparing: New Directions in Comparative Educational Research , Vol. 1, Contexts, Classrooms and Outcomes, Symposium Books, 1999 (with Robin Alexander and Patricia Broadfoot); Vol.2, Policy, Professionals and Development,: Symposium Books, 2000 (with Robin Alexander and Marilyn Osborn)
  • (Editor): Education in Eastern Germany Since Unification, Symposium Books, 2000
  • ‘Reconstructing Education in Germany: Some Similarities and Contrasts in the Post-War and Post-Unification Rethinking in Educational Provision’, in: Leslie J. Limage (ed): Democratizing Education and Educating Democratic Citizens: International and Historical Perspectives, New York (Routledge/Falmer), 2001
  • ‘Helena Deneke and the Women of Germany. A Note on Post-War Reconstruction’, German Life and Letters, Vol.53 No.1, 2000
  • Reflections on British Interest in Education in Germany in the Nineteenth Century. (A Progress Report), Educa, Lisbon, 2002
  • ‘Comparative Historical Studies in Education: Problems of Periodisation Reconsidered’, British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol.50, No.3, 2002
  • ‘Beyond Travellers’ Tales: Some Nineteenth-Century British Commentators on Education in Germany’, Oxford Review of Education, Vol.26 No.1, 2000
  • ‘Comparative Studies and “Cross-National Attraction” in Education: a typology for the analysis of English interest in educational policy and provision in Germany, Educational Studies, Vol.28, No.4, 2002 (with Kimberly Ochs)
  • ‘Processes of Policy Borrowing in Education: Some Explanatory and Analytical Devices, (with Kimberly Ochs), Comparative Education, Vol. 39, No.4, 2003
  • (Editor, with Roger Goodman): Can the Japanese Change Their Education System? Symposium Books, 2003
  • (Editor, with Hubert Ertl): Implementing European Union Education and Training Policy: A Comparative Study of Issues in Four Member States, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003
  • Articles on ‘Helena Deneke’, ‘Evelyn Spearing’, and ‘Edith Wardale’, New Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  • ‘Researching Policy Borrowing: Some Methodological Problems in Comparative Education’, British Educational Research Journal, Vol.30 No.6, 2004 (with Kimberly Ochs)
  • ‘A Typology of Cross-National Attraction in Education’, in: Gita Steiner-Khamsi (ed.): The Global Politics of Educational Borrowing and Lending, Teachers College Press, 2004
  • (Editor, with Kimberly Ochs): Educational Policy Borrowing: Historical Perspectives, Symposium Books, 2004
  • ‘Policy Borrowing in Education: Frameworks for Analysis’, in: Joseph Zajda (ed.): International Handbook on Globalisation, Education and Policy Research: Global Pedagogies and Policies, Springer, 2005
  • ‘Comparative Education: An Approach to Educational Inquiry’, in: Clifton Conrad and Ronald Serlin (eds.): The Sage Handbook on Research in Education: Engaging Ideas and Enriching Inquiry, Sage, 2005
  • ‘Michael Sadler and Comparative Education’, Oxford Review of Education, Vol. 32, No.1, 2006
  • Comparative and International Education: An Introduction to Theory, Method and Practice, Continuum, 2006 (with Michele Schweisfurth)
  • (Editor): Special issue of Comparative Education on ‘Mapping EU Education and Training Policy’, Vol.42, No.1, 2006
  • (Editor): Special issue of Oxford Review of Education on ‘Comparative Inquiry and Educational Policy Making’, Vol.42, No.3, 2006
  • The German Example: English Interest in Educational Provision in Germany Since 1800, Continuum 2011
  • ‘Aspects of Education for Democratic Citizenship in Post-War Germany, Oxford Review of Education, Vol.38, No.6, 2012
  • Investigating Education in Germany: Historical Studies from a British Perspective, Routledge 2015
  • Educating the Germans. People and Policy in the British Zone of Germany, 1945-1949, 2018

David Phillips’s main research interests are in education in Germany, transition in education in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, educational policy ‘borrowing’, theoretical perspectives in comparative education, and EU education and training policy.

Much of David Phillips’s recent research has been in the area of educational policy borrowing and in EU education and training policy. He recently (1998-2002 inclusive) directed a five-year EU-funded project (PRESTIGE – ‘Problems of Educational Standardisation and Transition in a Global environment’) in this latter area, and oversaw and contributed to the many publications which emerged from the project. Currently the focus of his work is on British interest in educational provision in Germany over the past 200 years. In 2005, together with Alis Oancea, he organised an international seminar funded by the European Science Foundation on the subject ‘15 Years On: Post-communist transitions and European integration of central and eastern European Countries’.

One of his recent books is The German Example: English Interest in Educational Provision in Germany Since 1800 (Continuum,2011), and he has most recently published Educating the Germans, a study of British educational policy in occupied Germany, 1945-1949.  The research for this book was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship awarded in 2012. In 2015 Routledge published Investigating Education in Germany: Historical Studies from a British Perspective.