Alumni share their career insights within Education

Blog from Bristol Alumni Digital Events Bristol Connects

On Tues 26 Jan 2021, our alumni volunteers shared their career stories with students and recent graduates. The event was part of our Bristol Connects Live series- our online series of career and professional development events. The session focused on careers within Education and our alumni experts shared their career stories and experiences to inspire students and recent graduates to help them understand more about the sector.

The event was hosted by Shanice Swales (BA 2014) who works as a Senior Policy Advisor in Higher Education Access and Admissions at The Department for Education. Shanice was joined on the panel by Abbigael Bainton (PGCE 2014/MSc 2018), Assistant Principal at the the Cabot Learning Federation. Mark Barrow (BSc 1995), Chief Executive Officer at the Seckford Education Trust and Dr Nigel Newton (PhD 2016), Lecturer, Education Consultant and Writer. (more…)

A working-class academic (and proud)!

By Sarah McLaughlin, BA(Hons), MSC. PGCE, School of Education, University of Bristol  (Doctorate in Education student)

I have found the School of Education very welcoming and my supervisors extremely encouraging and supportive…my experience during EdD taught modules is that students and staff have made me feel valued, included and accepted.

I have many roles – I am a mum of two boys, a sociology lecturer for an Access to Higher Education course and an A-level class. I am also a Doctorate in Education academic. I use the term academic because that is what I am and I am really proud of this, however I have never felt that I am a ‘real’ academic because I definitely suffer from imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern whereby individuals feel they aren’t as intelligent or competent as others might think. For me, I think this impression comes from the fact that, due to my social class background, I have never felt that I have been a ‘real’ student. (more…)

Reflections on Blended Learning

Mark Neild  blog by Mark Neild, EdD student, SOE, University of Bristol

This article is a personal reflection on the best and worst of blended learning from the perspective of a senior lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship teaching a unit with 35 and another with 160 students, who is also a student at the School of Education.

The positives of online learning

In some ways the forced move to “blended learning” has enabled us to accelerate a move towards the “flipped classroom” in which students consume prepared material individually and come together for “meaning making” through shared dialogue. One advantage of individual consumption is that students can learn at their own pace, stop and rewind in a way impossible with a real time “lecture”. This has benefits for interactivity, particularly for students whose first language is not English.  Such “asynchronous” interaction allows those who (for whatever reason) process new information more slowly to still engage in online discussions rather than missing out because by the time they are ready to contribute, the discussion has moved on. We have also been able to invite visiting experts for 20-minute guest Q&A sessions without the need for hours of travelling and recorded some great guest interviews.  The weekly outline for our unit of 160 students looked like this. (more…)

Painful Endings, New Beginnings

Dr Zibah Nwako

Blog post by Dr Zibah Nwako School of Education, University of Bristol

Having recently completed my studies during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot about managing life within these confines and how it affects my career aspirations. It’s one thing to shut one door and try to open another one in normal circumstances, but given the pressures of today’s uncertain world, these endings and beginnings are an entirely different challenge.

Whether it’s to do with our work, relationships, health, finances – some of us may have been standing at a crossroads for a while, seeking answers, wondering which direction to turn or even grasping at what we believe to be opportunities but are not quite in tune with what we desired or envisaged. This can be quite an uncomfortable, even painful, in-between place to be. If you are in this space, please know that you are not alone. (more…)

Fintech + Inequality, and the need for education

Innovation or Inequality? Blog by Laura Gemmell, FARSCOPE PhD Student, University of Bristol

I love giving talks on payments technology (it was part of my job for over four years after all). I take one of my cards out (usually a Monzo or Starling due to the jazzy colours):
“Do you know how many generations of payments innovation are on these cards?”

It’s five:

  • Embossed card number (this is how the numbers are usually raised, in case civilisations collapse and shops need to return to tracing these with emboss machines. I’ve always thought this seemed silly, but 2020 has taught me anything could happen…)
  • Magstripe (these are still used in other countries, including the USA)
  • CHIP (for your CHIP and PIN transactions)
  • CVC (the card verification number, sometimes called CVV or CV2 – this is the 3 or 4 digit number usually on the back of your card which you type in when online shopping. It’s purpose is to make online shopping more secure)
  • Contactless (we can now pay using our phones using this technology).

(more…)

Concerning Chilean and Latin American neoliberal processes; An Interview with Dr Carlos Ruiz Encina.

Interview by Hugo Parra Munoz, Doctoral Student, School of Education University of Bristol (Long read)

Dr Carlos Ruiz Encina

Picture 1. Dr Carlos Ruiz Encina during the interview. After a week from the interview, Professor Ruiz Encina has been nominated by prominent politicians and social activists to be a candidate for elaborating the new Chilean constitution.

Exciting changes are coming from the South of Latin America. We have a conversation with Dr Carlos Ruiz Encina. His book The politics in neoliberalism, experiences from Latin America (2019, LOM) remarks his in-depth revision of the current social context in that part of the globe. While, his last book, Chilean October: the emergence of a new people (2020, Taurus), addresses the crisis of neoliberal subjects depicted by the Chilean current social uprising. Dr Ruiz-Encina’s works in the Latin American Studies Programme and the Social Sciences Doctoral Programme at the Universidad de Chile, along with his participation in Fundacion Nodo XXI, transform him in one of the most interesting critic scholars of the region. The conversation is realised in the eve of the Chilean referendum for changing the constitution. The referendum has brought together international interest, since it could represent the end of the neoliberal experimentation in Chile. Neoliberalism was born in Chile, could it die there; and what this entails for the educative system? (more…)

Initial Teacher Education during a pandemic

The School of Education catches up with Beth McEwan, PGCE student, and trainee History teacher to ask her why she chose to undertake her PGCE (Initial Teacher Education) at the School of Education, University of Bristol, and the challenges of studying during a pandemic.

 Tell us about yourself and why you chose to become a history teacher.

I’m Beth and I recently graduated from Cardiff University, where I did my History degree. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was about 15 or 16, but I originally wanted to be a primary school teacher. After doing work experience in a primary school, and as I gradually fell more and more in love with History, I realised I would prefer to be a History teacher.

I also feel that the transferable skills gained through studying History are vital. Having the ability to look critically at the evidence and arguments surrounding you, and to frame your own interpretations based on evidence, is becoming increasingly important. If I can contribute to providing these skills to future students, and to help them achieve their ambitions, I’ll find my career deeply rewarding. (more…)

My Experience doing a Research Internship in the SoE

Ahanah Bhatnagar

Blog post by School of Education international student, Ahanah Bhatnagar.

Over this summer, Bristol University ran its first Widening Participation Research Summer Internship. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the internship transitioned to run virtually, which suited me perfectly well as I was based at my residence in Hong Kong. My research project was a qualitative pilot study, where I was assigned as a research associate to Dr Lucy Wenham as she is the School of Education Widening Participation Officer and this was the first WP intern in the School of Education. (more…)

Black Histories: Looking Forward  

A collaborative blog post by the School of Education.


The final week of Black History month offers an opportunity to reflect on how ongoing work in the School of Education strives to promote racial justiceThe School recognizes the importance of a sustained commitment to racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement beyond the month of October. This post reflects upon important work that contributes to racial justice and the ways in which we can continue to support this commitment.  (more…)