Gemma Gronland


About me: I was a teacher – firstly as a secondary English teacher and then as a Literacy specialist in Primary schools – before returning to academia. I hold a 1st class honours BA from Cambridge University and moved across the pond to America to complete my masters at Harvard University. It was in America that the seeds of my research started to grow. Whilst oversees, I worked with academics who have shaped my thinking greatly – political philosophers and social scientists who examined issues of equality in educational settings. It was here that I decided to take the methods and theory I had learned in an American context, back to my home in London.

My Research:My research is concerned with how neoliberal state priorities in education are perceived and enacted by teachers. This includes the recent curriculum reform but also the introduction of Prevent (counterterrorism policy) in schools. Policy discourse (how we might analyse a policy on paper) is oftentimes different to how teachers enact the policy on the ground. With greater pressures on teachers through the introduction of curriculum reform and Prevent, complexity in how teachers respond to said policies is vital. Moreover, capturing teacher voice on new policy incentives can help us to see whether there are issues within schools which teachers feel go largely unnoticed by government.

The difference my research makes: Given that Prevent is a newly introduced policy, much of the current research focuses on its potential to discriminate against Muslim pupils, it’s morally objectionable justification and whether we can ask teachers to be agents of the state. Yet, there is a burgeoning field of research which suggests that the picture on the ground is far more complex and teachers aren’t enacting the policy in the ways which critics suggest. Therefore, I intend to contribute to such knowledge by striving to understand how teachers navigate recent policy priorities. Moreover, in assessing what teachers feel is missed by government policy – one being misogyny in schools – my research could speak to future policy makers.

Supervisors: Farid Panjwani and Hugh Starkey

Pathway: Education

Location: IOE University College London

Tel: +447519631850



Twitter: @GemmaGronland