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Jodie Pennacchia

Jodie Pennacchia (Dr)


Lecturer in Youth Studies

Career overview

Dr Jodie Pennacchia is a researcher in the policy-sociology of education and youth. She began her career working in learning support roles in mainstream and alternative schools, and has undertaken research across a range of educational contexts. Uniting Jodie’s research is a concern for the social justice issues that stem from policy and its enactments, and the educational experiences of disadvantaged groups. Her recent research has explored how social justice concerns are managed in the context of college governing; the implications of education policies such as ‘academisation’ for disadvantaged learners; and the effects of policy and institutional arrangements for young people on the edge of/outside of mainstream school. Jodie has undertaken applied research projects across the Further Education sector, including research to inform the development of the National Retraining Scheme in England, and the evaluation of Department for Education’s Career Learning Pilots.

Research areas

Research Projects

2018 - Present. The Processes and Practices and Practices of Governing in Further Education College in the UK.
Role: Research Fellow (PI: Professor Cate Watson, The University of Stirling).
This is a 3-year project being carried out by the Universities of Stirling, Birmingham and Cardiff which aims to investigate ‘Boards in action’. We observed governing boards in eight colleges from across the UK throughout 2019 looking closely at how they ‘do governing’. The research aims to reveal new insights about how governing boards contribute to the realisation of the strategic aims and outcomes of the organisation.
For more information see the project website:

2018. Barriers to Learning for Disadvantaged Groups.
A mixed-methods study exploring adult participation in learning and the barriers and challenges disadvantaged adults face to participating in learning. 
Role: Project Manager (Research undertaken by Learning and Work Institute, funded by The Department for Education.

2014. What's the Alternative? A study exploring quality in Alternative Provision, funded by The Prince's Trust.
Role: Research Fellow (PI: Professor Pat Thomson, The University of Nottingham).
For more information see the project website: