Dr Neil Hopkins

Senior Lecturer and Advanced Researcher in Teacher Education

Neil Hopkins

I taught in further and adult education for 12 years, primarily in adult literacy (workplace and community contexts) and teacher training. I was programme leader for PGCE (post compulsory education) at North Hertfordshire College.

I teach on the BA Applied Education Studies, BA Education Studies and MA Education and am an Advanced Researcher in the School of Teacher Education. Alongside that, I am founder and co-secretary of the Bedford Philosophy of Education Society which runs regulars seminars from academics at the University of Bedfordshire and other universities.

My main research interests are vocational education, adult education, comparative/international education, philosophy of education, educational leadership and governance, and the study of English within the various phases of British education.


  • PhD Philosophy of Education, Institute of Education, London (2009-2013)
  • MA Philosophy, Open University (2005-2007)
  • Adult Literacy Teacher Trainer, London South Bank University (2004-2005)
  • Adult Literacy Subject Specialist, City & Guilds (2003-2004)
  • PGCE (post compulsory Education) English, Institute of Education, London (2001-2002)
  • BA (Hons) English Literature, University of Bedfordshire (1998-2001)

Teaching Expertise

  • English/Literacy
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Curriculum Studies
  • Educational Policy

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of education
  • Vocational education
  • Democracy and education
  • The teaching of English in all phases of education
  • Comparative education

Research Projects

  • British Council/ERASMUS+ (2016-2019), 'Time, Technology and Talent'. A project involving schools in Bedford, Copenhagen and Helsinki on developments in pedagogy and teacher professionalism
  • Chartered College of Teaching (2018-2020). A research project investigating the development of Chartered College of Teaching status (CTeach)

Conference Presentations

  • Citizenship Education in Further Education’ at ‘Citizenship Education in a Globalising World’, Institute of Education, London (November 2010)
  • ‘The Apprenticeship Tradition in Further Education’ and ‘The Self-Help Tradition in Adult Education’ (seminars), IoE/KU Leuven colloquiums (June 2010 and December 2010)
  • ‘The Self-Help Tradition in Adult Education, IoE/Philosophy of Education Society Great Britain (October 2011)
  • ‘Citizenship in Adult Education: The Self-Help Tradition’, BERA Annual Conference (September 2013)
  • ‘The Democratic Curriculum: Concept and Practice’, BERA Annual Conference (September 2014)
  • ‘Freedom as Non-Domination, Standards and the Negotiated Curriculum, PESGB Annual Conference (March 2015) and PESGB Oxford (January 2016)
  • ‘Dewey and the Democratic Curriculum’, PESGB and University of Cambridge (Democracy and Education Centenary) (September 2016)
  • ‘Educating for Democracy in England and Finland’, Finnish Embassy, London (October 2016)
  • ‘Philosophical Investigation of Pedagogic Partnership in Higher Education’, University of Hertfordshire (November 2016)
  • “Citizenship, Democracy and Radicalisation’, Masterclass at University of Windesheim, Zwolle (March 2017)
  • ‘Cinderella and other stories: An exploration of practitioners' views on bringing Further Education out of the shadows’, ESREA, University of Verona (June 2017)
  • ‘Dewey, Democracy and Education and the Curriculum’, PESGB West Yorkshire (September 2017) and PESGB Bedford (December 2017)
  • ‘The Research-Informed Teacher’ (keynote), Bedford Borough Learning Exchange Conference (November 2017)
  • British Council/ERASMUS ‘3T’ presentations (Helsinki (April 2018); Copenhagen (September 2018))
  • ‘English Literature as Citizenship Education’, BERA SIG English in Education conference, University of Bedfordshire (June 2018)
  • ‘Chartered College of Teaching in England’, AERA Annual Conference, Toronto (April 2019)
  • ‘Creating sites of community education and democracy: Henry Morris and the Cambridgeshire village colleges’, PESGB Bedford (February 2020) and University of Cambridge, PESGB Cambridge (May 2020)

Professional Associations

  • Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain
  • British Educational Research Association

External Roles

  • Branch Co-Secretary, Bedford Philosophy of Education Society (PESGB Bedford)
  • Committee Member, Bedford Associate Fellowship Group (Bedford Borough teachers)
  • External Examiner, University of Suffolk, PGCE/Cert Ed in post-compulsory education
  • External Examiner, University of Chester, Doctorate in Education (EdD)
  • Peer Reviewer: Journal of Philosophy of EducationPolicy Futures in Education, Oxford Review of EducationJournal of Further and Higher EducationBritish Educational Research Journal


  • Hopkins, N. (2013), Citizenship and Education in Further and Adult Education, Dordrecht: Springer
  • Hopkins, N. (2014) ‘The Democratic Curriculum: Concept and Practice’, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 48 (3): 416-427.
  • Hopkins, N. (2015), ‘Freedom as Non-Domination, Standards and the Negotiated Curriculum’, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 49 (9): 607-618.
  • Hopkins, N. and Tarnanen, M. (2016) ‘Democracy and the Curriculum: English and Finnish Perspectives’, in Raiker and Rautiainen (eds.) Education for Democracy in England and Finland: Culture and Principles, London: Routledge.
  • Hopkins, N. (2017) Written Evidence to House of Lords Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee [online] (CCE0016). Available at: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/citizenship-and-civic-engagement-committee/citizenship-and-civic-engagement/written/69337.pdf
  • Hopkins, N. (2018), ‘Dewey and the Curriculum’, in Heilbronn et al (eds.), Dewey and Education in the 21st Century: Fighting Back, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Hopkins, N. (2018), ‘Dewey, Democracy and Education and the Curriculum’, Education 3-13 (Special Edition), 46 (4): 433-440.
  • Hopkins, N. (2018), ‘Youth in England: Government, Policy and the State’, Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies [online]
  • Thompson, C. and Hopkins, N. (2018), ‘Cinderella and other stories: An exploration of practitioners’ view on brining Further Education out of the shadows’, Encyclopaideia: Journal of phenomenology and education, 23 (53): 5-14.
  • Hopkins, N. and Coster, W. (2019), ‘The Levellers, political literacy and the contemporary Citizenship curriculum in England’, Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 14 (1): 68-81.
  • Belas, O. and Hopkins, N. (2019), ‘Subject English and citizenship education, British Educational Research Journal, 45 (2): 320-339. Winner of BERJ's 'Editors' Choice Award' (2020)
  • Hopkins, N. (2019), Democratic Socialism and Education: New Perspectives on Policy and Practice, Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Hopkins, N. (2019), ‘Rethinking citizenship is vital in the age of Brexit’, Times Educational Supplement (May 2019).
  • Hopkins, N. (2019), ‘Teacher education and the development of democratic education in England’, in Raiker, Rautiainen and Saqipi (eds.), Teacher education and the development of democratic citizenship in Europe: policy and practice, London: Routledge.
  • Hopkins, N. (2020), ‘Creating sites of community education and democracy: Henry Morris and the Cambridgeshire village colleges, British Educational Research Journal.
  • Hopkins, N. (2021), ‘The Challenges of Teaching for Democracy in the 21st Century: Dewey, Dialogic Pedagogy and Teacher Education in England’, in Waks, L., Ring, E., Rud, A.G. and Avila, J. (eds.), The Contemporary Relevance of John Dewey’s Theories on Teaching and Learning: Deweyan Perspectives on Standardization, Accountability and Assessment in Education, New York: Routledge.
  • Berrill, M. and Hopkins, N. (2021), ‘Oracy, Dialogic Learning and Education for Democracy. Developing an authentic ‘student voice’ in an Eastern Region secondary school’, in Wearmouth, J. and Lindley, K. (eds.), Bringing the Curriculum to Life, Milton Keynes: Open University/McGraw Hill.

Contact Details

E: neil.hopkins@beds.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)1234 793406 (ext. 4406)

Our Tweets: @UoB_TE