Dr Terry Wrigley is a Senior Lecturer in Education in the Psychology, Sociology and Education division.
  • Overview
  • Research Interests
  • Research Publications
  • Teaching and Learning

I took up the post of Senior Lecturer in Education at Queen Margaret University in September 2019, following an extensive educational career as a schoolteacher, local authority officer, school inspector and lecturer in teacher education. I have substantial experience in Initial Teacher Education and CPD, including ten years at Moray House (University Edinburgh) teaching on B.Ed, PGDE and Masters degrees. I am a qualified teacher, registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland.

In recent years I have worked as an independent researcher on a variety of projects, including a study of primary school achievement in a Northern English city and coordinating a researcher network linked to the educational concerns of England’s largest teacher union the National Education Union (NEU).

I have held Visiting Professorships at two English universities, and have recently become Visiting Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am well connected internationally, sharing interests with many academic colleagues in Australia and across Europe. Much of my research has engaged with community groups and teachers, including mediating reliable research findings for those involved in education campaigns. I have worked closely with teachers and parents to organise conferences and seminars.

My research interests range across pedagogical, sociological and psychological aspects of education as well as school development, philosophy and policy. I am very enthusiastic about working collaboratively with my new colleagues at Queen Margaret University, and supporting students to develop their knowledge and take up new challenges.

I have been motivated by concerns for social justice since my early days as a teacher. In recent years I designed and taught a Masters degree at Leeds Beckett University focused on the challenges of schools serving disadvantaged neighbourhoods, as well as international research collaborations.I also have a longstanding interest in curriculum innovation which engages and empowers young people.

My doctorate is in school development, with an earlier research degree in curriculum studies. I publish frequently in book chapters, academic journals and more popular formats including blogs and journals for teachers. My books include The Power to Learn (2000), Schools of Hope (2003) and Another School is Possible (2006), as well as Living on the Edge: Rethinking Poverty, Class and Schooling (2013, co-author John Smyth).

I have co-edited an international study of curriculum innovation Changing Schools: Alternative Ways to Make a World of Difference (2012, with Pat Thomson and Bob Lingard), with chapters featuring schools in England, Norway, Germany, Australia and Brasil. A revised edition of Social Justice Re-Examined: Dilemmas and Solutions for the Classroom Teacher (co-editors Rowena Arshad and Lynne Pratt) will appear in January 2020.

 Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

  • Associate member of Centre of Applied Social Sciences

My research covers various aspects of education in primary and secondary schools, including curriculum and pedagogy, school development, education policy and social justice. I am particularly interested in the impact of family poverty on school achievement, and on strategies to combat disadvantage. Another major interest is the influence of neoliberalism on school policy. My work on curriculum development has particularly focused on critical and creative pedagogies.

My PhD was a study of School Effectiveness and School Improvement as paradigms within the wider field of approaches to evaluation and development. An earlier research degree (MPhil) studied the transformation of English teaching from the 1960s to1980s.

I am a regular reviewer for British Education Research Journal and Journal of Education Policy, as well as book proposals and manuscripts for Routledge, Peter Lang, and Policy Press.

I have recently organised and led symposia at BERA and ECER conferences on ‘evidence-based teaching’ and accountability data. 

Active research interests:

  • Class, poverty and schooling
  • ‘Evidence-based teaching’ - a critique
  • Critical and creative pedagogies
  • Early literacy teaching
  • Current philosophical debates – reductionism, emergence, materialism, ‘powerful knowledge’.
  • Mediation in Vygotsky and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory
  • Alternatives to high-stakes assessment
  • School self-evaluation and inspection: international comparisons

Research Methods:

  • Critical policy studies
  • Case studies of schools
  • International comparisons
  • Scrutiny of accountability data
  • Theoretical critique (paradigms, ontologies, ideologies etc.)
Please see my research publications in eResearch – Queen Margaret University’s repository

I am currently teaching on Year 1 of the new BA Hons Education Studies and BA Hons Education Studies (Primary) degrees. I will be involved in development work of various courses in these new degrees.