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Doctoral student writing

Dr Ros Hague PhD Studentship: Teaching Politics Through a Feminist Lens: A Case Study of the Reforms to A Level Politics in Schools

  • School: School of Social Sciences
  • Starting: 2019
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / Fully-funded


Research context

In November 2010, Michael Gove MP, as Secretary of State for Education, set out in his white paper entitled The Importance of Teaching, a new approach to the National Curriculum – marking the first major and extensive change to the National Curriculum in the England since its introduction in 1990. Gove set out a series of proposed reforms, including the desire for a new approach to the curriculum and assessment. Further evidence published by the House of Commons Education Committee in 2014 on examinations, along with research commissioned by Ofqual on the purpose of A levels (Higton et al 2012) aa well as an Ofqual-led consultation with the HE sector, employers, learned societies and schools led to the creation of a series of principles that all Advanced, AS and GCSE level subjects were required to meet. This was a significant development for secondary Education, requiring an initial assessment by Ofqual as to a subjects’ ability to meet these new principles followed by major reform of content and assessment for the subject to be approved for the newly revised National Curriculum. The focus of this research project is to explore the impact and implications of these changes for the A and AS level Politics curriculum.

Project aims

Proposed changes to the content of the A level in Politics arising from the 2010 curriculum reform triggered a significant public response - especially in relation to the revised section on political ideas. The discussions that developed around what ideas to include and what to make compulsory or optional point to a host of assumptions about what matters in politics and politics education. These assumptions remain partially encapsulated in the new syllabus today. The syllabus itself is fixed for a time, but it can be approached in different ways and through different lenses - while still equipping students to succeed in the final examinations. One such lens (there could be others, such as race or class) is feminism.

The aims of this project are to;

  • Review the debates and discussions surrounding the recent reform of the A level Politics.
  • Explore what it might mean to teach the reformed A level Politics in schools through a feminist lens.
  • Establish the implications of this novel approach for teaching politics in other contexts – including at HE level.

We are looking for someone who can conduct a qualitative study into the possibilities of teaching the whole of the politics curriculum through a feminist lens – looking at all the topics at least partly through a feminist perspective and using women as examples at every stage. This might be an action research study conducted either in the student’s own classroom or with one or two teachers in local sixth forms.

Research design

It is expected that the applicant will develop a detailed research design that is well-matched to the project aims.  The research design should carefully outline and justify:

  • choice of method/s and approach/es;
  • proposed data collection plans – including how the project will involve a variety of stakeholders – especially schools/sixth form colleges.
  • any access issues with respect to participants and data sources as well as how these will be addressed;
  • any ethical and/or health and safety issues that may emerge from the project (and how these will be addressed).

This project has an experienced supervisory team with academic backgrounds in Education and Politics.
More information on current research in these areas can be found at:


BBC (2016) “Should feminism be in the A-Level Politics syllabus?” BBC Two Daily Politics 12, January.

Department for Education, (2016) “GCE AS and A level politics subject content for politics teaching in schools from 2017.” March, London.

Gove, Michael (2010) “The importance of teaching: the schools white paper 2010”, Department for Education, 24 November 2010.

Higton, John et al (2012) “Fit for purpose? The view of the higher education sector, teachers and employers on the suitability of A levels” OfQual April 2012


Dr Rose Gann

Entry qualifications

Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in politics, history or related discipline. Entrants with a Lower Second Class grade at first degree must also have a postgraduate Masters Degree at Merit or Commendation. Experience of teaching politics or history at any level would be an advantage.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications close at 11:59 pm (UK time) on Friday 28 June 2019.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Interview details

Interviews will take place between 15-19 July 2019.

Fees and funding

This PhD will be funded from a stipend donated by the family of Dr Ros Hague, a Senior Lecturer in Politics at NTU who died suddenly in November 2017, age 42.

We regret that we are not able to fund international students. Only Home/EU are eligible to apply.

In addition to a fees scholarship, students may also be eligible for living costs at the standard UKRI rate. The final decision about stipend funding will be taken at the selection stage and cannot be guaranteed at this point.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Rose Gann