Visiting Professors

We host a number of international visiting professors at the Graduate School of Education, who are all renowned leaders in their fields.

Dr Lee Elliot Major (Sutton Trust) 

Dr Lee Elliot Major is Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, the UK's leading foundation improving social mobility. He is a founding trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation and co-authored the Sutton Trust-EEF toolkit summarising evidence on what works to improve school attainment. He is currently writing a book for Penguin on Britain’s social mobility problem. He has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Sheffield University and a Master’s degree from Imperial College. He was the first in his family to attend a university. As Honorary Professor he is helping to trial new approaches to improving social mobility in Exeter.


Professor Steve Higgins (Professor of Education, Durham University)


Steve Higgins is Professor of Education at Durham University. Before working in higher education he taught in primary schools in North-East England where his interest in children’s thinking and learning developed.

His research includes the effective use of digital technologies for learning in schools, understanding how children's thinking and reasoning develops, and how teachers can be supported in developing the quality of teaching and learning in their classrooms. Steve has a particular interest in the educational philosophy of Pragmatism with the implications for teaching and learning, particularly relating to the use of research evidence in schools. He is one of the authors of the Sutton Trust/EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit reflecting this interest in understanding the application of research evidence by policy-makers and practitioners.

Visit Steve’s homepage


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William Richardson (General Secretary of The HMC [The Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference])

Professor William Richardson’s research interests are in the areas of education policy and the evolution of educational research.   Recent work in educational policy has focussed on: post-compulsory education and work-based learning; education and the knowledge economy; policy capacity in government; assessment and examinations; and UK policy documents since 1945.  Within educational research his interests have included: the development of the field in the Anglophone world since 1945; the historiography of education and historical methods in research; and the politics of educational research.

William has held academic positions at the Universities of Warwick, Sheffield and lastly at Exeter where he was Co-Director for the Research Centre for the Learning Society (2000 - 2011) and Head of the Graduate School of Education (2002 – 2007).

Since September 2011, William has been General Secretary of The HMC (The Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference), the most prominent of the associations representing independent schools in the UK.


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Professor Rupert Wegerif (Professor of Education, University of Cambridge) 

Rupert Wegerif is Professor of Education (2000) at the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on education for dialogue in the context of the Internet Age. This interest can be seen in his work  developing theory in the field of the psychology of education, and his research on ways of teaching dialogue in classrooms and thinking and ‘learning to learn together’ with technology. He has gained over £2 million in research funding as principal investigator and published 9 books, as well as over fifty peer-reviewed papers. He is a member of the steering committee of the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research Network (CEDiR) and founding lead editor of the Elsevier SSCI journal Thinking Skills and Creativity as well as founder and co-convenor (with Gert Biesta) of the Educational Theory SIG of EARLI. 

Prior to his position at Cambridge, Rupert held the position of Professor of Education at the University of Exeter, where he was also Director of Research for the Graduate School of Education and Director of the Centre for Teaching Thinking and Dialogue (THINK).


Visit Rupert's website