Special feature: Developing an Empowering School Curriculum: A renewed focus on action research

A London Review of Education special feature.

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Developing an Empowering School Curriculum: A renewed focus on action research

A London Review of Education special feature.


For those concerned with issues of equity and social justice in schools, differences in achievement and participation rates amongst students from different socio-economic groups pose a significant challenge. These differences persist despite having been a major focus for educational researchers over several decades. Conventional approaches to research appear to have had little impact. This feature aims to explore the potential of action research to challenge the exploitative nature of education and address the perceived de-professionalization of teachers (Ball, 2013) through involving them as collaborative partners rather than as the objects of research.

Action research involves practitioners carrying out a systematic and rigorous investigation of their own practice. It aims to develop a deeper understanding of theory-in-practice and to bring about positive social change for those involved in the research process. Action research methodologies have been under-utilized in formal school educational settings and have tended to be carried out in informal settings or in under-developed countries where the exploitative nature of practice is more overt. A 2018 BERA report highlighted the renewed interest in ‘close to practice’ research, including action research, for bringing about changes in classroom practice, while at the same time highlighting concerns over its quality. Practitioner research often lacks robustness in research design and transferability to contexts beyond those in which the practitioners are working.


Publication date: 13 November 2020. Volume 18, Issue 3.


Special Issue Editor

Dr Pete Wright, UCL Institute of Education, UK


Article list

Developing an empowering school curriculum: A renewed focus on action research

Author: Pete Wright
Published: 13 November 2020


Is there hope for action research in a ‘directed profession’? 

Authors: Caroline Daly, Linda Davidge-Smith, Chris Williams and Catherine Jones
Published: 13 November 2020


Maintaining an empowered school community: Introducing digital technologies by building digital literacies at Beehive Montessori School

Authors: Samantha Owen and Sharon Davies
Published: 13 November 2020


From peer review to collaborative peer enquiry: Action research for school improvement and leadership development

Author: David Godfrey
Published: 13 November 2020


Cross-school ‘close-to-practice’ action research, system leadership and local civic partnership re-engineering an inner-city learning community

Authors: Peter Dudley, Martin Pratt, Christine Gilbert, Jon Abbey, Jean Lang and Helen Bruckdorfer
Published: 13 November 2020


Exploring teachers’ experiences of action research

Author: Sinéad Vaughan
Published: 13 November 2020


Teachers as researchers: Reflecting on the challenges of research–practice partnerships between school and university in Chile

Authors: Gonzalo R. Guerrero-Hernández and Rocío A. Fernández-Ugalde
Published: 13 November 2020


Certainty abandoned and some implications for curriculum research

Author: Jean McNiff
Published: 13 November 2020


Dialoguing with teacher-educators, valorizing teacher innovations

Authors: Vijaya Sherry Chand, Samvet Kuril and Anurag Shukla
Published: 13 November 2020


Close-to-practice research: The need for student voice and the strange case of Academy x

Authors: Simon Edwards and Chris Brown
Published: 13 November 2020


Curriculum design through lesson study

Authors: Geoff Wake and Sarah Seleznyov
Published: 13 November 2020


Developing motivated adolescent readers and enhancing student voice, using action research in disadvantaged contexts

Authors: Tara McMullan and Julia Sutherland
Published: 13 November 2020


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