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Dr Philip Howlett

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

Philip is an experienced educator at both secondary and higher education levels, with interests in a variety of aspects of education, and science education in particular.

[email protected]


Philip started work as a research scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, and gained his PhD in Palaeontology from University College, London. He then was a post-doctoral researcher at the Université Claude Bernard, Lyon (France). Philip then taught science at comprehensive schools in Cambridgeshire and Essex. Prior to moving to ARU in 2009, he was the Head of Science at a large comprehensive school in Essex.

While at ARU, Philip has taught on Teacher Training courses, and was Course Leader for the MA Education. Up until recently, Philip was the Programme Director of the Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD).

Research interests
  • The potential of mobile technologies in education.
  • Assessment for Learning (Formative Assessment) to enhance teaching and student engagement.
  • The impact of literacy and language in science education (in particular how this has changed over time).
Areas of research supervision

Philip has supervision experience in the following topics:

  • Student engagement
  • Course leadership
  • Teaching computing in schools
  • Vocational education in schools
  • TSE (transformative sustainability education)
Recent completions:
  • How and why do medical students engage with or disengage from undergraduate psychiatry education in India - a study using constructivist grounded theory (EdD 2023)
  • A Collaborative Action Research Study of the Use of a Modified Solution Focused Approach to Foster Academic Buoyancy within a Key Stage Two Setting (EdD 2023)
  • Finding balance through compromising”. A grounded theory explaining evidence-based practice by course leaders in a small-specialist land-based higher education institution (EdD 2023)
  • A study of the interrelationships between implicit theories of intelligence and computational thinking in secondary school pupils (EdD 2023)
  • Teachers' perceptions of the importance of play in indoor and outdoor play environments for the socially adaptive behaviour of children in Jordanian Kindergartens (PhD 2023)
Current supervisions:
  • Using Feedback Dialogue in Personal Tutorials to Support International Student Attainment (EdD)
  • What are the challenges faced by primary school teachers to teach the new computing curriculum in a multi academy trust? (EdD)
  • How can a Gameful Formative Assessment (GFA) based model and be incorporated into a UAE secondary school's assessment protocol to make practices more student-led? (EdD)
  • What is is like to be a vocational student today? A Phenomenological study of the vocational student experience in sixth form education. (EdD)
  • An investigation of business students’ experiences of a sustainable practice module that seeks to achieve transformative learning, to assess if there is evidence that this occurs. (EdD)
  • BSc (Hons) Geology, St Andrew's University
  • PhD Palaeontology – University College, London
  • PGCE Secondary Science – University of Cambridge
  • PGCert Learning and Teaching (HE) – Anglia Ruskin University
  • Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission – St Mellitus College
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Member of the Association for Science Education
  • Member of the Geologists' Association
Selected recent publications

van Veggel, N., Engward, H. and Howlett, P., 2023. Investigating higher education course leadership practice – an argument for using Grounded Theory. Advanced Education, 23, 104-117. (doi: 10.20535/2410-8286.288558)

Rumary, K., Goldspink, S. and Howlett, P., 2022. Exiting the elephant: hearing the participant voice in qualitative data collection. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 46(8), 1-12. (doi: 10.1080/1743727X.2022.2128742)

van Veggel, N. and Howlett, P., 2018. Course leadership in small specialist UK higher education. International Journal of Educational Management, 32(7), 1174-1183. (doi: 10.1108/IJEM-09-2017-0250)

Holley, D. and Howlett, P., 2016. Engaging our school teachers: an augmented reality (AR) approach to continuous professional development. EAI Endorsed Transactions on e-Learning, 3(10), e3. (doi: 10.4108/eai.11-4-2016.151150)

Recent presentations and conferences

Van Veggel, N., Howlett, P. and Engward, H. ‘“Finding balance through compromising”. A grounded theory explaining evidence-based practice by course leaders in a small-specialist land-based higher education institution.’ Paper presented at: BELMAS Conference, 8-12 July 2022, Liverpool.

Howlett, P. “End of Life? Some Faith Perspectives.” Keynote Speaker at: End of Life Inter-professional Virtual Conference, Anglia Ruskin University, 16 March 2022.