Professor Kalwant Bhopal

Professor Kalwant Bhopal

School of Education
Professor of Education and Social Justice
Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education (CRRE) and BAME Academic Lead

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Kalwant Bhopal is Professor of Education and Social Justice. She was appointed Professorial Research Fellow from 2017-2020. In January 2020 she became Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) in the School of Education.

Kalwant’s research focuses on the achievements and experiences of minority ethnic groups in education. She has conducted research on exploring discourses of identity and intersectionality examining the lives of Black minority ethnic groups as well as examining the marginal position of Gypsies and Travellers. Her research specifically explores how processes of racism, exclusion and marginalisation operate in predominantly White spaces with a focus on social justice and inclusion. More recently she has conducted research focussing on the position of minority ethnic academics in higher education. Her research on this area has been used to inform policy making in higher education, particularly the development of the Race Equality Charter mark. She has published 9 books, 10 edited collections and various journal articles.

Kalwant was recently conferred a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. She is Visiting Professor at Kings College London (Department of Education and Professional Studies) and was Visiting Professor at Harvard University in the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 2017-2019 . She has been Visiting Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Queens University, Belfast and Visiting Scholar at the UCL Institute of Education. 


  • PhD (University of Bristol)
  • MSC Sociology (Econ)
  • PGCE (FE)
  • BA (Hons) Sociology


Kalwant joined the University of Birmingham in January 2017. Prior to that she was Professor of Education and Social Justice at the University of Southampton. She was Director of Post Graduate Research Degrees and chaired the faculty Equality and Diversity Committee. Previously, she worked at the Institute of Education.

Postgraduate supervision

Kalwant has the following research interests:

  • race, racism, gender, class, intersectionality
  • educational inequalities
  • schools, higher education
  • qualitative research, case study research
  • ethnography
  • Gypsy and Traveller groups
  • social justice, equity 


The impact of COVID-19 on predicted grades for ‘A’ Level students

The global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has created new and challenging circumstances for schools, colleges and universities. The recent announcement by the Department For Education to close all schools and colleges from 20 March resulted in a cancellation of all public exams. OFQUAL decided that students who were due to sit their GCSE and ‘A’ level exams would be awarded their predicted grades. 

This project will explore the impact of such measure on ‘A’ level students. The main aims of the study are:

  1. To examine the impact (mental and academic) of predicted grades on ‘A’ level students.
  2. To explore support systems in place for such students and
  3. To analyse differences by race, class, gender and school type. 

The project will focus on different types of schools and students will be recruited from a range of ethnic backgrounds and geographical locations. We will conduct a series surveys and interviews with students.   

For further details or if you are interested in participating in the study please contact: 

Find out more about  The impact of COVID-19 on predicted grades for ‘A’ Level students report

Advancing Equality in Higher Education: an exploratory study of the Athena SWAN and Race Equality Charters

Case study analysis of higher education institutions and their views on the Race Equality Charter (REC)

This project which has been funded by the University and College Union (UCU) will explore the impact of the Race Equality Charter mark. It aims to:

  • To examine aspects of good practice in awarded REC higher education institutions.
  • To use case study data as examples of what can be learnt in relation to policy making around race in higher education institutions.
  • To examine areas of improvement for those institutions not awarded the REC.
  • To contribute to UCU policy making and future strategy on equity and inclusion. 

Transitions from Higher Education

The Transitions from Higher Education project explored young people’s transitions from higher education. It used surveys and questionnaires with students who are in their final year of undergraduate study on education/ social sciences degrees. 

Home schooling and Home education: race, class and inequality.

Kalwant is currently conducting research, with Dr Martin Myers (University of Portsmouth) exploring how and why home education is accessed by different social groups; and secondly, how these different groups are perceived as home educators. The research explores how marginal groups in society are often portrayed, both by educational authorities and in the media, as putting their children at risk by home educating. The research consists of in-depth interviews with families from different social and ethnic backgrounds.

BME Leaders: support networks and strategies for success in higher education

This project was funded by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and explores the sources of support and success strategies BME leaders use to achieve their academic success; it examines participants leadership roles and achievements in the White space of the academy and explores how higher education institutions can provide better support for the career progression of BME academics to senior leadership roles.

Understanding academic flight from UK higher education

This project was funded by the Equality Challenge Unit. The aims of the research were to:

  • Understand to what extent UK academics consider moving to work in higher education overseas and to determine if there is a difference by ethnicity
  • Understand the reasons (both push and pull factors) which contribute to potential migration to overseas higher education institutions (HEIs) and whether these factors vary by ethnicity
  • Establish what UK HEIs can do to retain minority ethnic academics, and attract back those who have left.
  • The findings suggest that BME academics are more likely to consider a move overseas compared to their white colleagues. The report suggests various recommendations for the retention of BME academics, particularly in relation to providing support for promotion and career progression.

Download the 'Understanding academic flight from UK higher education' report 

Race, diversity and Inclusion in Initial Teacher Education

Funded by Multiverse, this study examined student and tutor understandings of the teaching of ‘race’, diversity and inclusion on ITE courses (PGCE primary/secondary and BA QTS) at one case study university. The project explored the views of students and tutors on ITE courses, regarding the teaching of ‘race’, diversity and inclusion? 

The research was based on questionnaire surveys with students on PGCE primary/secondary and BA QTS and all tutors who taught on these courses. The study was presented as a case study analysis of the teaching of ‘race’, diversity and inclusion, which included developing workshops for staff and students. The workshops addressed ways of challenging stereotypes and confronting ‘difference’.

Other activities

Editor-in chief, Women’s Studies International Forum, 

Executive Editor, British Journal Of Sociology of Education, 

Editorial Board member,  Race, Ethnicity and Education, 

Editorial Board member, International Journal of Inclusive Education; 

Editorial Board Member, International Journal on School Disaffection: 

Editorial Board member, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture. 

Vice-Chair, Higher Education Race Action Group (HERAG), Equality Challenge Unit.



Bhopal, K (2024) Race and Education: Reproducing White Supremacy in Britain. London: Pelican/Penguin Books.

Bhopal, K and Myers, M (2023) Elite Universities and the Making of Privilege: Exploring Race and Class in Global Educational Economies. London and New York: Routledge.  

Bhopal, K. (2018) White Privilege: the myth of a post-racial society. Bristol: Policy Press. 

Bhopal, K. and Myers, M. (2018) Home schooling and Home education: race, class and inequality. London and New York: Routledge. 

Deuchar, R. and Bhopal, K. (2017) Young people, social control and inequality: problems and prospects from the margins. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Bhopal, K. (2016) The experiences of Black and minority ethnic academics: a comparative study of the unequal academy. London and New York: Routledge. 

Bhopal, K. and Danaher, PA. (2013) Identity and Pedagogy in Higher Education: International Comparisons. London: Continuum. 

Bhopal, K. (2010) Asian Women in Higher Education: Shared Communities. Stoke on Trent: Trentham. 

Bhopal, K. and Myers, M. (2008) Insiders, Outsiders and Others: Gypsies and Identity. Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press.  

Brannen, J., Heptinstall E., Bhopal, K. (2000) Connecting Children: Care and Family Life in Later Childhood London: RoutledgeFalmer. 

Bhopal, K. (1997) Gender, ‘Race’ and Patriarchy: A Study of South Asian Women. Aldershot: Ashgate. 

Edited collections

Section Editor Bhopal, K. UK Urban Education (2017) International Handbook of Urban Education, Pink, W. and Noblit, G (Eds). London and New York: Routledge. 

Bhopal, K. and Shain, F (Eds) (2016) Neoliberalism and Education: Rearticulating Social Justice and Inclusion. London and New York: Routledge. 

Bhopal, K. and Deuchar, R. (Eds) (2016) Researching Marginalized Groups. London and New York: Routledge. 

Bhopal, K. and Maylor, U. (Eds) (2014) Educational Inequalities: Difference and Diversity in Schools and Higher Education. London and New York: Routledge.  

Brooks, R., McCormack, M. and Bhopal, K. (Eds) (2013) Contemporary Debates in the Sociology of Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Bhopal, K. and Preston, J. (Eds) (2012) Intersectionality and ‘Race’ in Education. London and New York: Routledge. 

Articles in refereed journals 

Bhopal, K (2024) ‘The (un)equal university: training programmes and the commodification of race’, Higher Education Quarterly, Special Issue Higher Education and Crisis Management.

Bhopal, K (2023) ‘Critical Race Theory: Confronting, Challenging and Rethinking White privilege’, Annual Review of Sociology.

Bhopal, K and Myers, M (2022) ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on A Level Students in England: Students as Consumers’. British Educational Research Journal DOI: 10.1002/berj.3834 (Open Access).

Bhopal, K. (2022) ‘We can talk the talk, but we’re not allowed to walk the walk’: the role of equality and diversity staff in higher education institutions in England, Higher Education DOI: 10.1007/s10734-022-00835-7 (Open Access).

Bhopal, K. (2022) Academics of colour in elite universities in the UK and USA: The ‘unspoken system of exclusion’. Studies in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2021.2020746 (Open Access).

Myers, M and Bhopal, K (2021) 'Cosmopolitan Brands: graduate students navigating the social space of elite global universities', British Journal of Sociology of Education. DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2021.1941763.

Henderson, H and Bhopal, K (2021) 'Narratives of academic staff involvement in Athena SWAN and race equality charter marks in UK higher education institutions', Journal of Education Policy DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2021.1891576.

Bhopal, K (2020) Confronting White privilege: the importance of intersectionality in the sociology of education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 41:6, 807-816, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2020.1755224.

Bhopal, K., Myers, M. and Pitkin, C (2020) 'Routes through higher education: BME students and the development of a 'specialisation of consciousness'. British Educational Research Journal, 46, 6, 1321-1337. DOI:

Bhopal, K and Pitkin, C (2020) ‘Same old story, just a different policy’: Race and policy making in higher education in the UK. Race, Ethnicity and Education

Bhopal, K (2019) 'For whose benefit? Black and Minority Ethnic training programmes in higher education institutions in England, UK'. British Educational Research Journal.

Bhopal, K and Henderson, H (2019) 'Competing inequalities: Gender versus race in higher education institutions in the UK'. Educational Review

Bhopal, K (2019) ‘Gender, ethnicity and career progression in UK higher education: a case study analysis’. Research Papers in Education

Bhopal, K (2019) 'Success against the odds: the effect of mentoring on the careers of senior Black and Minority Ethnic academics in the UK'. British Journal of Educational Studies 68, 1. pp.79-95. DOI:10.1080/00071005.2019.1581127.

Bhopal, K and Chapman, T. K (2019) 'International Minority Ethnic Academics at Predominantly White Institutions'. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 40, 1. pp. 98-113DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2018.1486698.

Chapman, T.K and Bhopal, K (2018) 'The Perils of Integration: Exploring the Experiences of African American and Black Caribbean Students in Predominately White Secondary Schools'. Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Myers, M. and Bhopal, K. (2018) ‘Muslims, home education and risk in British Society’, in Special Issue Educating British Muslims: identity, religion and politics in a neo-liberal era. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 39, 2. pp. 212-216. .

Bhopal, K (2017) 'Addressing racial inequalities in higher education: equity, inclusion and social justice'. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40, 13. pp. 2293-2299, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1344267 .

Bhopal, K. and Myers, M. (2016) ‘Marginal groups in marginal times: Gypsy and Traveller parents and home education in England, UK’. British Educational Research Journal. 42, 1. pp. 5-20. DOI:10.1002/berj.3198

Bhopal, K., Brown, H. and Jackson, J. (2016) ‘BME academic flight from UK to overseas higher education: aspects of marginalisation and exclusion.’ British Educational Research Journal. 42, 2. pp. 240-257. DOI: 10.1002/berj.3204 

Bhopal, K. (2016) ‘British Asian women and the costs of higher education in England’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37, 4. pp. 501-519. 

Myers, M. and Bhopal, K. (2015) ‘Racism and Bullying in Rural Primary schools in England: protecting White identities post-Macpherson’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38, 2. pp. 124-143. DOI:10.1080/01425692.2015.1073099

Bhopal, K. (2015) ‘Race, identity and support in initial teacher training’. British Journal of Educational Studies. 63, 2. pp. 197-211.   

Bhopal, K. (2014) ‘Race, rurality and representation: Black and minority ethnic mothers’ experiences of their children’s education in rural primary schools in England, UK’. Gender and Education, in Special Issue ‘Gender and Rurality in Education’ 26, 5. pp. 490-504. 

Harricharan, M. and Bhopal, K. (2014) Using blogs in qualitative educational research: an exploration of method.International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 37, 3. pp. 324-343.

Bhopal, K. and Rhamie, J. (2014) Initial teacher training: understanding ‘race’, diversity and inclusion. in special issue: Race, ethnicity and initial teacher education: the missing link? Race Ethnicity and Education. 17, 3. pp. 304-325. 

Chapman, T. and Bhopal, K. (2013) Countering common sense understandings of 'good parenting:' women of color advocating policy change for their children. in special issue: 'Honoring Derrick Bell's Contributions to Teacher Education, Race, Poverty and Leadership', Race Ethnicity and Education 16, 4. pp. 562-586.

Khambhaita, P and Bhopal, K (2013) ‘Home or away? The significance of ethnicity, class and attainment in the housing choices of female university students’. Race, Ethnicity and Education. 18, 4. pp. 535-566. 

Bhopal, K (2012) Gypsies and Travellers in secondary schools: working towards social justice. Race Equality Teaching 30, 3. pp. 19-23.                                                          

Deuchar, R and Bhopal, K (2012) ‘We’re still human beings, we’re not aliens’: promoting the citizenship rights and cultural diversity of traveller children in schools: Scottish and English perspectives. British Educational Research Journal. 39, 4. pp. 733-750. 

Rhamie, J, Bhopal, K and Bhatti, G (2012) ‘Stick to your own kind: Pupil experiences of identity and diversity in secondary schools’. British Journal of Educational Studies. 60, 2. pp. 171-191. 

Bhopal, K (2011) ‘What about us’? Gypsies, Travellers and White Racism in Secondary Schools in England. International Studies in the Sociology of Education 21, 4. pp. 315-329. 

Bhopal, K (2011) ‘We tend to stick together and mostly we stick to our own kind’: British Indian women and Support Networks at University. Gender and Education. 23, 5. pp. 519-534. 

Bhopal, K (2011) ‘Education makes you have more say in the way your life goes’: Indian women and arranged marriages in the United Kingdom. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 32, 3. pp. 431-447. 

Bhopal, K (2011) ‘This is a school it’s not a site’: Teacher’s attitudes towards Gypsy and Traveller pupils in schools in the UK’ in British Educational Research Journal. 33, 3. pp. 465-483.    

Myers, M, McGhee, D and Bhopal, K (2010) ‘At the crossroads – Gypsy, Roma and Traveller parents perceptions of education, protection and social change – observations from a pilot study’ ’in Race, Ethnicity and Education 13, 4. pp. 533-548. 

Bhopal, K (2010) ‘Gender, Identity and Experience: researching marginalised groups’ in Women’s Studies International Forum. 33, 3. pp. 188-195.   

Myers, M and Bhopal, K (2009) ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in schools; understandings of community and safety’ in British Journal of Educational Studies. 57, 4. pp. 417-434. 

Bhopal, K (2009) ‘Identity, empathy and ‘otherness’: Asian women, education and dowries in the UK’ in Race, Ethnicity and Education, Special Issue Black Feminisms and Postcolonial Paradigms: Researching Educational Inequalities. 12, 1. pp. 27-40. 

Bhopal, K and Myers, M (2009) ‘Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Pupils in Schools in the UK: inclusion and good practice’, International Journal of Inclusive Education. 13, 3. pp. 219-231. 

Bhopal, K (2008) ‘Shared communities and shared understandings: the experiences of Asian women in a British university’. International Studies in Sociology of Education, Special Issue The Struggle for Equality: the intersection of class, race, gender and disability. 18, (3 & 4), pp. 185-197.

Chapters in books

Bhopal, K (2023) ‘Postscript: The time for change is now! Why a social justice agenda is important’ in Chapleau, S (Ed) Hungry for Change. Citizens UK.

Research Reports 

Bhopal, K and Myers, M (2020) The Impact of COVID-19 on A level Students in England. University of Birmingham and Nottingham Research Report.

Bhopal, K and Henderson, H (2019) Advancing Equality in Higher Education: an exploratory study of the Athena Swan and Race Equality Charters. British Academy/Leverhulme Research Report. 

Bhopal, K and Pitkin, C (2018) Investigating Higher Education Institutions and their views on the Race Equality Charter. London: UCU 

Bhopal, K and Pitkin, C (2017) Transitions from higher education: race, class and gender. University of Birmingham Research Report. 

Bhopal, K and Brown, H (2016) Impact evaluation: Diversifying Academic Leadership programme London: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. 

Bhopal, K and Brown, H (2016) Black and minority ethnic leaders: support networks and strategies for success. London: Small Development Project Report, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. 

Bhopal, K, Brown, H and Jackson, J (2015) Academic flight: how to encourage Black and minority ethnic academics to stay in UK higher education. London: Equality Challenge Unit. 

Bhopal, K (2014) The experiences of BME academics in higher education: aspirations in the face of inequality. Stimulus Paper: Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. 

View all publications in research portal



Professor Kalwant Bhopal is an expert on educational inequalities, educational policy making, race, class and gender inequalities. Her research focuses on the experiences of black and minority ethnic groups, as well as Gypsies and Travellers. 

  • Educational Inequalities 
  • Race, class and gender inequalities in education 
  • Policy making in education 

Policy experience

Professor Bhopal regularly writes for blogs and media outlets, she is a member of the Higher Education Race Action Group and is considered one of the leading academics in the field of educational inequalities. 

Bhopal, K (17 June 2018) ‘Time to disrupt, challenge and dismantle white privilege’. Research Fortnight

Bhopal, K (6 June 2018) ‘Education, policy making and white privilege.’ Discover Society

Bhopal, K (24 May 2018) ‘The persistence of white privilege in higher education: isn’t it time for radical change?’ University of Birmingham Social Sciences Blog.

Bhopal, K (16 May 2018) Interviewed on the Victoria Derbyshire Live programme BBC News Channel and BBC2 to discuss institutional racism and white privilege in higher education.

Bhopal, K (2018) ‘Systemic racism in employment must be tackled’. Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS)

Bhopal, K (2018) ‘Key perspectives from academics: race, equity and social justice’ in Clarke, P and Beech, D (eds) Reaching the parts of society universities have missed: a manifesto for the new director of fair access and participation. London: Higher Education Policy Institute (HEFI).