Professor Wendy Robinson
Academic Dean for Students/ Dean of the Faculty of Taught Programmes. Professor of Education, College of Social Sciences and International Studies


Research interests

The field in which my distinctive achievement has been framed is the history of education, and more specifically the history of the development of the teaching profession. My 2003 monograph was prefaced by Professor Brian Simon, widely regarded as the leading historian of education in the UK at that time. He wrote, ‘…It is not always that one can give a new book by a young author the whole-hearted and enthusiastic support that Wendy Robinson’s study certainly deserves. She has successfully excavated, and so brought into view, the whole ‘lost’ system of pupil-teacher centres. Educationists, and indeed all interested in the field, owe her a debt of gratitude for the meticulous study of a ‘lost’ movement, which has many lessons for us today.’ My 2004 monograph was reviewed in the national press by Professor Ted Wragg, who claimed that, ‘…Wendy Robinson‘s exploration of the notion of "power to teach" attempts to address this kind of question in historical and contemporary contexts. It is a challenging assignment and she makes an impressive attempt at illuminating and clarifying what has often been a diffuse concept. The book contains a substantial account of the history of teacher training, with particular reference to practice in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Anyone wanting a thorough and well researched account of the period would be hard-pressed to better this one.’ The 2010 research monograph was considered ground-breaking in its attempt to capture empirically through case studies the key professional values and practices of the eight schools in England judged by inspectors to be the most effective providers of education of the gifted. Its almost immediate translation into Arabic illustrates its perceived significance for Middle East states developing their own schooling systems. My forthcoming 2014 research monograph uncovers a hidden history of the professional development of serving teachers, drawing on hitherto unpublished archive material and oral history testimony. I have published papers in journals with some of the highest impact citations in education (The Oxford Review of Education, School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Paedagogica Historica and History of Education) and the 2004 paper in The Oxford Review of Education was the fourth most downloaded paper in that year’s issues.  I have attracted several competitive research grants for my research into the history of teacher professional development including the prestigious British Academy Research Development Award, 2010-2011 (with a 10% national success rate) and the Higher Education Academy Award (2012-15) (One of 15 successful awards out of 117 applications nationally).

Research grants

  • 2012 HEA
    'Educating Professionals and Professionalising Education in 21st Centry UK Research-Intensive Universities: Opportunities, Challenges, Rewards and Values
  • 2010 The British Academy
    'Revisiting Teacher Professional Development: Past and Present Models 1920-2000'

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