International Education: Curriculum, Assessments, and Leadership Research Group members
Find out more about members of the International Education: Curriculum, Assessments, and Leadership Research Group and its doctoral students.
Members of the International Education: Curriculum, Assessments, and Leadership Research Group research international and comparative education, focusing on international systems of schooling, curricula, assessment, and leadership.
Dr Tristan Bunnell (Group Convenor)
Tristan Bunnell’s research focuses on international education, particularly trends and developments in international schooling and international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate.
Rita Chawla-Duggan’s research interests are in qualitative research methodology especially the use of visual methods, educational quality, the study of pedagogic relations and child socialisation, early childhood learning and development and the social influences on young children’s learning, especially fathering.
Sian Ephgrave’s research examines educator wellbeing in the context of global education trends particularly in curriculum design and the benefits of relational and experiential learning in local contexts internationally.
Michael Fertig’s research focuses on school leadership and management particularly in international schools and developing nation contexts.
Mary Hayden’s research focuses particularly on international schools and international education.
Brendan Higgins’ research interests centre on leadership and management in education, social justice, international contexts in education and developing staff for institutional effectiveness.
Jim Hordern’s research interests are in educational knowledge and practice, primarily in professional and vocational education.
Shona McIntosh’s research in Global Citizenship Education takes a decolonial theoretical approach to understanding enduring tensions in the field of international education.
Denise Mifsud’s research explores critical leadership theories, with a particular interest in educational leadership, especially distributed forms; school networks and educational reform; as well as initial teacher education.
Pedro Pineda Rodriguez’s research focuses on the influence of the global culture on policies, organizational structures, and practices in secondary schools and universities.
Andrés Sandoval-Hernández’s research interests include comparative analyses of educational systems using international large-scale assessment (ILSA) data with a focus on educational inequalities and civic education.
Nicola Savvides’ research lies within the fields of Comparative and International Education and Intercultural Education and has included analysing how national, European and internationalised education policies, curricula and pedagogical practices shape students’ experiences, identities, interculturality, and sense of citizenship.
Jeff Thompson’s research focuses particularly on international schools and international education.
Doctoral research students
Gideon Animah’s doctoral research is primarily focused on educational leadership and management. Gideon's study aims to better ensure quality basic education in rural Ghana in linkage with the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 4.0.
Reywathi Arumal’s doctoral research focuses on public education expenditures, aiming to provide a comprehensive insight into how this funding impacts public school education in Malaysia. The study assesses the financial burdens faced by parents in covering educational costs and the extent to which these expenses affect lower socioeconomic students.
Na Bao’s doctoral research interest lies in unravelling the intricacies of distributed leadership, using both public and private schools in Shanghai. This study investigates the various initiatives implemented in these schools in relation to distributed leadership.
Michael Bindon’s qualitative study focuses on the barriers that prevent student uptake of Diploma Programme arts subjects in IB World Schools and the strategies that some schools undertake to bypass the identified barriers to encourage greater student participation.
Dean Cairns’ doctoral research is centred on investigating the effectiveness of inquiry-learning as an approach to science education and the importance of epistemic cognition using correlational analyses of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data from the 2015 cycle. The analytical methods used include hierarchical linear modelling (two- and three-level), path analysis and mediation analysis.
Zhijun Chen’s doctoral research examines how differential effectiveness contributes to education equality across different countries. This study uses international large-scale assessments for international comparative analysis and conduct qualitative research through classroom observation and teacher interviews, focusing on secondary schools.
Paul Churchill’s doctoral research is interested in how international schools, as complex and hybrid organisations, use multiple ‘projected images’ or ‘faces’ on their websites to address and legitimise themselves according to different stakeholder groups. This includes considering how international schools manage the potential ambiguity of messages, and what these ‘images’ tell us about both the context that schools are operating in, and the normative expectations of those stakeholder groups that confer legitimacy.
Adam Coates’ doctoral research has a focus on using cognitive diagnostic modelling with national and international assessments to identify strengths and weaknesses of mathematics learning in England.
Daniel Cowan’s research instigates the shifting landscape of international schooling and education, especially the emerging trends which are placing the Elite Traditional International Schools (ETIS) into a position of institutional privileged precarity. Daniel's study looks at how the conditions that these ETIS were created for are arguably no longer the primary drivers of international schooling, so this calls into question the integrity of these schools and those that model themselves in their image.
Yanyan Dong’s doctoral research explores the intricate aspects of identity construction and lived reality of precarity and privilege among Chinese teachers within the context of teaching International Baccalaureate Chinese in international schools in China.
Nicholas Forde’s research is on the growth of international schools in Hong Kong, where it considers the process of ‘becoming international’ and analyses the motivations, aspirations, and perceptions of local Hong Kong Chinese parents who have moved their children from local/national schools.
Leila Holmyard’s doctoral research involves a comparative case study of three international schools, using student focus groups and interviews with practitioners, to understand how they are perceived to being safeguarding children. The study explores adult and student perceptions of the forms of harm occurring and the promising practices that safeguard students, whilst also identifying safeguarding challenges within the post-pandemic landscape.
Dandan Li’s doctoral research investigates and compares how policy reform enactment varies within England and Chinese higher education institutions. Through two case studies (one in China, one in England) it conducts a content analysis and interviews policy actors to investigate how leadership styles adjust to policy reform.
Natalia’s doctoral research analyses attitudes toward gender equality among Latin American adolescents, considering political socialisation factors at the family, school, and system levels. It identifies adhesion profiles to these attitudes and compares them in different cultural contexts using ICCS data from 2009, 2016 and 2022.
Morag Mccrorie’s research focuses on exploring the experience of women in senior leadership in international schools. The study explores the career trajectories of these women as well as what has supported or hindered their journey to senior leadership.
Afzal Munna’s qualitative study is into providing a comprehensive understanding of how various intersecting factors, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and socio-economic background, influence the educational experiences and opportunities of migrant students in higher education in the UK. It aims to shed light on both the challenges they face and the strategies that can enhance their inclusion and success.
Sarah Pearce's research focuses on international schools and their leadership. Her doctoral thesis is a study of the perceptions of school leaders of the factors that influence the way that both national and international identities are legitimised within a school.
Eleanor Prescott’s research investigates ow senior leaders in non-traditional international schools cope and survive. Using evidence from British Satellite Colleges in Asia this study aims to give voice to lived experiences of senior leaders currently missing in research, to better understand how despite their ‘precarious privilege’ they survive or even thrive in these leadership contexts.
Mary Beth Romo
Mary Beth’s doctoral study considers two ways of viewing an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) education: one in terms of its contribution of global citizens who work to address social injustice and environmental crises and the other in terms of its reproduction of a privileged class of a global elite. This qualitative research methodology involves interviewing alumni about their life trajectories and perceived links to IB educational goals.
Simon Probert's doctoral research is around curriculum design in the Chinese international school sector, with an emphasis on student understandings and perceptions of internationalism, and the relevance of post-colonialism to this field. The study examines the growth of British-branded overseas Satellite Colleges within the sector, and ways they represent the continuing evolution of international education.
Katherine Roundy’s research is using the Intercultural Development Inventory to complete pre- and post-course assessments of a gap semester travel programme for pre-university students. This data is being contextualised through the use of surveys about the curriculum included in each course and post-course interviews with both students and instructors.
David Suits’ qualitative study explores the development of creative thinking in 16-year-old International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) Design students from diverse nationalities at an international school in Northern Europe. This will provide insights that influence and enhance the programme’s approach to fostering creative thinking.
Damion Walker’s doctoral study focuses on understanding the organisational needs of an Elite Traditional International School (ETIS) in Canada. Using a mixed-method approach, it explores what faculty and students perceive to be the most important elements of their institution’s expressive culture.
Ziang Wang’s doctoral study explores the lived reality of Chinese students attending an International Branch Campus in mainland China affiliated with a university in England. The study looks at the students’ experiences and reasons for choosing to attend an IBC.
Daniel Grant Williams’ research interests include adapting and applying a critical realist perspective to comparative analyses of educational systems using international large-scale assessment (ILSA) data with a focus on knowledge capital theory and political economy.
Jiaqi Wu's doctoral research investigates gender performance gaps in education across multiple countries and identifies their root causes, mechanisms, and consequences. The study uses international large-scale assessments for cross-national comparative analyses to identify the root causes and mechanisms of gender performance, while qualitative research through student interviews and classroom observations investigates potential consequences.