Education System Re-design in England for Transforming Futures: A Focus on a Crisis in Education and The National Education Service


An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the Department of Education and Childhood Studies at UWE Bristol.

The expected start date of this studentship is 1 January 2023.

The closing date for applications is 19 August 2022.

Ref: 2223-JAN-HAS10

Please note: out of the eight projects being advertised for the Dean’s Studentship, the faculty will fund four. The projects for funding will be selected based on the merit of applicants following the process outlined below.

There will be a two stage interview process. Supervisory teams of each project will shortlist the best candidates for an initial interview with the supervisory team. Following this first interview, two candidates will be selected; a first-choice candidate and a reserve candidate. The first-choice candidate (or the reserve, if the first-choice candidate is unavailable) will then be interviewed by a Faculty Panel (the second interview). The Faculty Panel will be chaired by Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean and will consist of senior Faculty staff. The Faculty level interview will take place on the 31 October 2022.

Unsuccessful candidates will have the opportunity for self-funded places.

Studentship details

Education is now commonly described as being in crisis. Confronting and tackling its complex deep and far-reaching problems requires empirically informed change-making boldness – this is the principle for creating this PhD studentship for re-designing education to transform futures.

This and future generations face three primary crises: the climate catastrophe, the mental health epidemic, and social inequality. This situation has partly been created by the political-economic ideology of neoliberalism, and the way that the education system in England has been unable to facilitate critically conscious social actors to provide change-making solutions to these crises.

This doctoral project will investigate re-designing the education system, within a specificity of the candidate’s choice, to address at least one of the primary crises. This work will elaborate on and further develop the proposal of a National Education Service (NES). The research will coincide the forthcoming general election, so it may have potential real-world impacts on policy developments. The NES is also a part of the “social justice” priority for UWE Bristol’s Inter-disciplinary Group for Education Research (BRIDGE), for which there is on-going work with a wider national network connected to education policy-policy makers and trade unions.

The studentship will consist of a supervisory team lead by Dr Alpesh Maisuria (Director of Studies). The wider team will include Dr Miles Thompson (Supervisor), and also a three-member External Board of Advisors from the UK and Australia with specialist expertise in education system re-design and also critical realist methodology. While the originality of thesis will be the new knowledge in relation to system re-design through the NES, the critical realist approach will constitute a unique element of rigour. The External Board of Advisors will provide valuable intellectual resource, and also a gateway to wider networks for future (inter)national collaboration.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Alpesh Maisuria (Director of Studies for this Studentship), Associate Professor of Education Policy in Critical Education, at or Dr Miles Thompson (Second Supervisor for this Studentship), Associate Professor in Psychology, at


This is a Dean’s PhD studentship and is funded for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax-exempt stipend, which is currently £16,602 per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years. The studentship will also fully cover the research costs (consumables budget).


Applicants should hold a First-Class UK Honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject. Those with a 2:1 UK Honours degree (or international equivalent) may be considered, provided they have (or are expected to achieve) a distinction or commendation at master’s level.

A recognised English language qualification is required if the applicant’s highest qualification is not conferred by a British university.


How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-JAN-HAS10.

Supporting documentation: you will need to upload a statement that clearly outlines your interest and capacity to research in the area of this studentship, an up-to-date copy of your academic CV, all your degree certificates and transcripts, and your proof of English language proficiency (if required).

Please note: you DO NOT need to provide a research proposal with your application, though you should include anything about methods/methodology in your statement that will aid the assessment of your application.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Quality and content of the Statement in reference to the description of the studentship
  • Educational and professional achievements, interests, and capacity

References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Your referee may be asked for a reference from the time you submit your application, so please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted.

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 19 August 2022.

Further information

Please note that the following selection process applies.

Interviews by the prospective supervisory team will take place in the week commencing 27 September 2022. If you have not heard from us by that date, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

Following the initial interview, two candidates will be selected; a first-choice candidate and a reserve candidate. The first-choice candidate (or the reserve, if the first-choice candidate is unavailable) will then undertake a second interview by a senior faculty panel on the 31 October 2022. The PhD will be awarded following a successful second interview.

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