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Dr Phil Kirkman

Associate Professor
Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
Areas of Expertise:
Education and teaching
Research Supervision:

Phil's research brings together work with teachers - engaging together in the professional practice of developing great teaching - and educational leaders - to foster organisational cultures that learn from and engage with research to produce organisations that continually learn and develop. He is committed to finding ways in which people can cultivate equity in societies both in and through education.

[email protected]

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Phil is currently the course leader for ARU’s MBA in Educational Leadership and Management and manages education partnership activities with schools and colleges for the School of Education.

Before moving into academia, Phil was a secondary school teacher, pastoral manager and department leader. Alongside his teaching and research, he is actively involved in his local community as a board member and trustee for several local organisations and charities. He consults regularly on educational matters in the UK and internationally.

Research interests
  • Professional Enquiry
  • Teacher Education and Development
  • Educational Leadership
  • Innovative Pedagogy and Educational Technologies
Areas of research supervision

Phil would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Professional enquiry
  • Professional knowledge and teacher development
  • Educational leadership and development
  • Technology-mediated development

Recent and current doctoral supervision:

  • Professional Enquiry, as a vehicle for Teacher Development and Retention. - Julian Dutnall
  • An investigation into the effects of teacher agency on teacher training practice in Somaliland. - Hibo Yusuf
  • Towards an understanding of the dynamic relationship between innovative Pedagogy and organisational development in the context of a BYOD sixth form college. - Tim Hallas
  • Navigating discourses within pre-service teacher preparation in England: trainee teachers’ development of professional knowledge during dual programmes of SCITT and PGCE. - Deb Caws
  • Post-school decision-making among Greek high school leavers. - Athanasios Katsoulis
  • Towards a pedagogy to support music therapy practice. - Jane Brackley
  • Developing social work placements in schools (SWIS) – from a pilot project to a practice framework? Jenny Rafter
  • The Social Worker's experience of an interProfessional community of practice within safeguarding adults – An exploratory case study. - Jacqui Creed. 
  • Understanding the implications of the human development approach for youth policy in Nigeria. - Bari-ika Vite
  • To what extent does experiential teaching support and impact on undergraduate degree level business management students? - Rod Brazier
  • Leadership for inclusive education: the case of Nepal. - Chandika Bhatta
  • The new further education teacher as an agent of change: a case study of initial teacher training in further education (Final part). Michael Hall
  • Supporting higher education music programmes in Kenya: towards a pedagogic framework to foster development through widening access to technology-mediated learning environments. Malachi Apudo.

Phil leads on our MBA Educational Leadership and Management, supervises doctoral and graduate students with their major projects and provides tutorial support to students throughout their studies.

  • PhD Education, University of Cambridge 
  • MPhil Educational Research, University of Cambridge 
  • PGCE, University of Durham 
  • BA (Hons) Music, University of Durham
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Fellow of Society for Education and Training.
  • Fellow of Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce
  • Professional Affiliate of the Chartered College of Teaching
  • Board Member for Cambridgeshire Hub
  • Board member for Cambridge Teaching Schools Network
  • Board member for Leadership East
  • Trustee for Cambridgeshire Culture Foundation
  • Journal Editorial Board Member: Dialogic Pedagogy
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Grants and Contracts: in progress

  • Academically asymmetrical paired mentoring: Raising attainment in GCSE science examinations amongst disadvantaged Year 11 school students, funded by Education Endowment Foundation (ASCENTS) (University of Roehampton (PI: Prof. Ian Abrahams) and ARU (Principal Investigator: Marie-Pierre Moreau; Co-Investigators: Phil Kirkman and Elsa Lee) (2023-2024: EEF)
  • An investigation of primary school teachers’ perceptions of social media networks in relation to their wellbeing in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. Principal Investigator (2021-23: ARU)
  • Norwich Opportunity Area School Transition Project Evaluation. Principal Investigator (2021-2023: Norfolk County Council)
  • Teach 2030 Ghana – a review of digitally mediated teacher development in Sub-Sahara Africa. Principal Investigator (2021-2023: Commonwealth Education Trust).
  • Understanding Professional Enquiry as an approach for Organisational Development. Principal Investigator (2021-2026: Regional Cooperative).
  • Teacher Development and Research-Based Practice: Towards a Pragmatic Model. Principal Investigator (2021-2023: LRSFC).

Recent grants and contracts: completed

  • Developing ICT capacity and infrastructure in 11-18 educational contexts (UK). Principal Investigator (2019-2021: DB schools).
  • Developing reflective practice at CoE (Kazakhstan). Co-Principle Investigator (2014 - 2019: CCE).
  • Interactive Digital Lesson Study System (iDiLSS): sustainable impact on teaching and learning in schools through effective professional development. Co- Principal Investigator (2014-2016. ESRC).
  • Teacher Professional development through Blended Learning with Georghe Dima Academy Cluj-Napoca Romania. Co- Principal Investigator (2013-2015: Erasmus).
  • Creators in the classroom with Composers in Action. Co-Investigator (2015-2016: Cambridgeshire Hub).
  • Digital Foundations: Building Capacity Through Lesson Study. Principle Investigator with (2015-2016: TCC).
  • National Standards Review: PONTIFICIA UNIVERSIDAD CATÓLICA DE CHILE Consultant for Review of Proposed Education National Standards (2013: CDfE).
  • CamBritt: Connected composing and education Principal Investigator (2012 – 2014: Britten-Pears Foundation).
  • Consultant on Digital technologies in education and teacher development project work (2012 – 2013: Cambridge International Examinations).
  • Consultant on Development and review of diploma syllabus and learning materials (2013: Cambridge International Examinations).
Selected recent publications

Kirkman, P., Caws, D., Childs, C., Colebrooke, S., Issott, M., Parkin, J. & Thorn, Z. (forthcoming) What does it mean to be research-informed? Impact: Autumn 2023.

Tsengay, S., Wheeler, L., Kirkman, P. & Pratt-Adams, S. (2023). Teacher perspectives on primary-secondary school transition projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. SAGE Open.

Kirkman, P., L. Hamilton, S Tsegay, E van Deventer. (2022). Norwich Opportunity Area Transitions Development Tools. Norwich: NOA

Kirkman, P., L. Hamilton, S Tsegay, E van Deventer. (2022). Norwich Opportunity Area Transitions Development Tools Audit Workbook 1: Current context and needs. Norwich: NOA

Kirkman, P., L. Hamilton, S Tsegay, E van Deventer. (2022). Norwich Opportunity Area Transitions Development Tools Audit Workbook 2: Current management structures, communication and relationships. Norwich: NOA

Kirkman, P., L. Hamilton, S Tsegay, E van Deventer. (2022). Norwich Opportunity Area Transitions Development Tools Evaluation Workbook 1: Current coverage. Norwich: NOA

Kirkman, P., L. Hamilton, S Tsegay, E van Deventer. (2022). Norwich Opportunity Area Transitions Development Tools Evaluation Workbook 2: Current projects and outcomes. Norwich: NOA

Kirkman, P., Long, M., Robbins, L., & Biddulph, J., (2020). Ain’t no mountain high enough: Using music to raise academic achievement. In Biddulph, J & Flutter, J., Unlocking Research: designing the primary curriculum. Routledge.

Kirkman, P. & Brownhill, S., (2020) Refining professional knowing as a creative practice: towards a framework for Self-Reflective Shapes and a novel approach to reflection. Reflective Practice, 21:1, 94-109.

Smith, G., Brennan, M., Kirkman, P., Moir, Z., & Rambarran, S. (Eds) (2017). Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Music Education. Farnham: Ashgate.

Kirkman, P. (2016) Music technology and the realm of the hyper-real: comprehending, constructing and connecting realities. In King, A & Himonides, E. (Eds) Music, Technology & Education: Critical Perspectives. Ashgate Surrey.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Technology mediated diagenesis: a pedagogic framework for managing the implementation of digital educational technologies. Pedagogical dialogue (3) Sept 2014.

Kirkman, P. & Wilson, E. (2014) Learning with digital technologies in Las Tecnologías Digitales en la Enseñanza Experimental de las Ciencias: Fundamentos Cognitivos y Procesos Didácticos. Mexico.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Technology mediated Diagenesis: beyond the formal-informal dichotomy in music education. TEHNOLOGIE Tehnologii Informatice şi de comunicaţie în domeniul muzical (ICT in Musical Field). 5:1 pp7-17.

Recent presentations and conferences

Kirkman, P. (2023) What does it mean to be research-informed? Teacher- and organisational-learning through Professional Enquiry. Paper presented to CENBASE conference 2023. University of Bedfordshire. 6th June 2023.

Kirkman, P. (2023) Connecting with Research. Paper presented to Cambridge and Peterborough ECT conference. 13th Jan 2023.

Kirkman, P. (2023) What does research-informed really mean? Some reflections on Dixons Primary. Paper presented to the Chartered College Unlocking Research symposium. 17th Jan 2023.

Kirkman, P. & Brownhill, S. (2020) Refining Professional Knowing as a Creative Practice: Towards a framework for ‘Self-Reflective Shapes’ and a novel approach to Reflection. Accepted for presentation to the European Educational Research Association Conference 2020. University of Glasgow, Scotland.

Kirkman, P. (2019) Transforming educational leadership through turbulence. Keynote Presentation to The International Schools of Sri-Lanka Conference 2019. 24th November 2019.

Kirkman, P. (2018-2019) Developing ICT Capacity and Infrastructure. Seminar Series, DoverBroecks International School, Oxford.

Kirkman, P. (2018) Developing Critical Pedagogy Across Educational Systems. Invited Keynote for the Education Summit at Maltepe University. Istanbul, Turkey 10th May 2018.

Kirkman, P. (2015) New Learning through Lesson Study. Keynote presentation to The Parkside Federation. Cambridge 3rd October 2015.

Kirkman, P. (2015) Frameworks and Potential for Digital Learning Development. Keynote presentation to the inaugural conference for Trumpington Community College. Cambridge 27th March 2015.

Kirkman, P. (2015) Researching Digital Technologies: New Methodologies. Paper presented to the Newton-Al-Farabi British Council Conference for international research. Astana 26th February 2015.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Active Learning: Lessons from the arts. Pedagogy for meaningful development. Paper presented to the Conference of The Cambridge International Schools. Cambridge. 5th September 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Being Critically Reflective. Presentation to Cambridge Regional Mentors Conference Cambridge, UK. June 19th 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2014) “Pedagogy for technology-mediated musical teaching and learning: a ‘Mobile Sound Playground”. Paper presented to the Conference of the European Association for Music in Schools ‘Democracy and inclusion in music education in the 21st century’. 23rd May 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Effective digital technology integration for learning within school classrooms: an empirical framework. Paper presented to The National Conference with International Participation: Art and Education. Gheorghe Dima, Cluj-Napoca Romania. 3rd April 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Diagenesis: teachers coaching learners. Paper presented to the Britten-Pears Foundation Symposium. The Red House, Aldeburgh 1st Feb 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Diagenesis and popular music pedagogy. Paper presented to the HEA Edinburgh College of Art. 24th Jan 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2014) Mentoring together: enhancing subject-based support networks. Presentation to Cambridge Regional Mentors Conference Cambridge, UK. Jan 15th 2014.

Kirkman, P. (2013) Using digital technologies to enhance teaching and learning. Keynote paper presented to the Conference of The Cambridge International Schools. Singapore. 17th October 2013.

Kirkman. P. (2013) Towards an empirical model of effective digital technology integration for learning within secondary school classrooms. Paper presented to the 2013 BERA annual conference. University of Sussex Wednesday 4th September 2013.

Kirkman, P. (2013) Thinking about teaching. Presentation to Cambridge Regional Mentors Conference Cambridge, UK. June 20th 2013

Kirkman, P. (2013) Inclusive or personalised education? - A socio-cultural historical approach. Paper presented to Centres of Excellence Conference 6th March 2013. Astana, Kazakhstan.

Kirkman, P. (2013) Personalisation and Diversity: Making Sense of 'Progress'. Presentation to Cambridge Regional Mentors Conference Cambridge, UK. Jan 16th 2013.

Media experience
  • 2020: BBC Interview – BBC Essex Preparing to teach at home during lockdown (Representing ARU on Education)
  • 2018: BBC Interview – Progress 8 and UK School Performance Measures (Representing ARU on Education)
  • 2016: Look East Interview (Representing ARU on Education)
  • 2015: Cambridge Assessment Schools Bulletin: Interview on Educational Environments
  • 2010: Rising Stars Public Engagement Fellowship, University of Cambridge
  • 2008: Representative for OCC, BBC Radio Suffolk (November)