Reader in Education

Psychology, Sociology and Education

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Alan Bainbridge is a Reader in Education in the Division of Psychology, Sociology and Education at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

I am currently Reader in Education at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Having previously taught in secondary schools in Kent for 18 years, I began working in Higher Education in 2001.

I am a Chartered Psychologist (Teaching and Learning), and Doctor of Clinical Science. I have been the co-coordinator of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults Life History and Biography Network since 2017.

I am committed to the role of a public intellectual promoting universities as sites of civic and social justice. As such, I actively campaign for a socially just education, particularly ending the 11-plus examination and have been invited onto the Comprehensive Future Steering Group and Fabian Society Education Policy Group. In these capacities I meet with education and shadow education ministers, contribute to publications for local and national politicians and elected members; I am regularly asked to comment on current education news stories (including: private education/tutoring, school selection, zero-tolerance policies) on radio and television.

When not working I can be found watching birds, swimming in the sea, bobbing about in a kayak, camping in a massive tent, attracting bees to my garden and generally avoiding DIY.


British Psychological Society – Chartered member – Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology

Section member – Psychology of Education; and Psychotherapy

European Society for Research on the Education of Adults – Life History and Biography Network Co-coordinator

Scottish Education Research Association – member

Senior Fellow – Higher Education Academy/AdvanceHE

Comprehensive Future Steering Group

Fabian Society Education Policy Group.

I have an expansive view of education that builds on practical school experience and academic interests that range across ecology, psychology, politics and sustainability.

I use psychoanalytic theory and processes to inform broadly narrative based research methods and as such tend to work qualitatively seeking to provide opportunities and spaces where participants can provide rich contextual insight into their life experiences. This has included research such as; exploring how life history influences the development of education professional practice, and the transformation nature of human/more-than-human relationships.

I am interested in the interconnection between human learning and the “natural world” and understanding attitudes towards native wildlife, biodiversity and pro-environmental behaviours.

I have explored the organisation of higher education – particularly the Teaching Excellence Framework – using ideas linked to the Marxian and Freudian fetish and has more recently applied this thinking to the impact of COVID-19 on education

Active research interests:

Use of research evidence by education policy makers.

Supervision as professional learning and well-being.

Education as an ecological response.

Education as a destructive enterprise.

Education and sustainability.

Adult education and learning.

The commodification of (Higher) Education.

Human/Wild animal interactions.

Research Methods:

Qualitative approaches including biographical, narrative and auto/biography.

Discourse analysis

In development: Lead consultant for Brandthinktank Group ‘Dirt is Good’ project, aimed at developing a further bid with Unilever Ltd on young people’s relationship with the natural world. (£9,400 to date)

2022: Attitudes towards the reintroduction of the chough to Kent. The Kent Wildlife Trust (£4,050)

December 2016 – May 2020: Erasmus+ 2 Year project ‘Curricular Reform For Democratic Principles and Civic Education in Teacher-Training Programs in Israel and in Georgia – Evaluation partner. (Total - €1.17 million; Evaluation budget £49,425).

September 2015 – 2018: Supervision: A business and community service for colleagues in schools project– Canterbury Diocese funded with approximately £10,000 per year for three years.

2017: Understanding attitudes towards native wildlife and biodiversity in the UK: the role of zoos. (Canterbury Christ Church University development fund)

2011: Academic supervisor. Evaluation of Kent Safe Schools Programme. Knowledge Transfer Partnership. (£120,000). Completed 2011 and graded ‘Outstanding’.

I am responsible for the Education Studies Year 4 Dissertation module and I supervise masters and doctoral research.

Visiting Reader in Education and Sustainability – Canterbury Christ Church University.