About us

The Department of Education and Social Justice (ESJ) is an interdisciplinary group focusing on social justice and critical enquiry in education and whose members share a common interest in researching the inequalities that persist in society. We are research-led, practice engaged academics and include amongst ourselves leading authorities in history, politics, sociology and education. 

All members of the Department are actively involved in research, and this informs teaching on all our courses, which include the BA (Hons) Education and our two new Joint Honours undergraduate courses BA (Hons) Education and History and the BA(Hons) Education and Sociology. We also have a number of Postgraduate taught courses including International Studies in Education, School Improvement and Educational Leadership, Management of Special Education in Developing Countries, as well as Professional Studies.

ESJ is home to three Research Centres. The Centre for Higher Education Equity and Access (CHEEA) is committed to policy and practice which promotes equity, opportunity and achievement in higher education; the Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) aims to pursue race equality and social justice by working to close gaps in educational achievement and improve the educational experiences and career outcomes of Black and minority ethnic people and the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism (MOSAIC) was created to provide a forum for the development of new, interdisciplinary lines of enquiry related to bilingualism/multilingualism, multilingual literacy, bilingual education, second language learning and contemporary discourses about linguistic and cultural diversity.

The Department also a dedicated research group. DOMUS, is a collaborative cluster of historians who concentrate on researching the social, political and cultural histories of schooling, education and childhood.

Our research has an international as well as national focus, and our interests extend from early childhood education through to adult learning, spanning from the historic to contemporary issues. Our research activity can be grouped into five broad sub areas:

  • Education Policy and Effectiveness,
  • Histories of Education and Childhood,
  • International Education and Global Justice,
  • Post-compulsory and Informal Education and Training,
  • Sociology of Educational Inequalities.

Our staff and research students are at the forefront of debates taking place within the university and policy sectors over key issues and fundamental questions that affect education and society. 

ESJ have an active research culture and promote regular engagement through seminars, conferences, research projects, and consultancy.

The Department of Education and Social Justice also hosts a Visiting Fellows and Scholars programme and participates in international links and research, expanding its reach beyond the scope of the University. We are currently undertaking research in the UK, USA, South Africa, New Zealand, South Korea, and Europe.

Our results and research have received international attention and resulted in submissions to the UK Houses of Parliament, the New Zealand Government’s Tertiary Education Commission, the UNESCO Global Monitoring Review as well as being featured in outlets such as the BBC, the Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement, China Daily, and the Korea Herald.


Joanne Thomas - Department Secretary
Telephone +44(0)121 415 8240
Email: j.thomas.1@bham.ac.uk


Department web pages www.birmingham.ac.uk/esj