Law & Criminology: Swansea University Research Excellence Scholarship: The Impact of Participative Rights in Schools

Closing date: 22 January 2018

Key Information

Start date: 1 October 2018

Swansea University is proud to offer 15 fully-funded PhD scholarships for students commencing study in October 2018 or January 2019.

The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of student excellence across a portfolio of 34 potential projects.

It is common place within the United Kingdom and Europe, and is a legal requirement in Wales, for schools to have structures and processes, such as a School Council, which facilitate ‘pupil voice’ or ‘pupil participation’ in aspects of school governance.  Beyond statutory requirements, some schools in England and Wales have adopted ‘rights respecting’ programmes including but not limited to the accreditation offered by UNICEF’s ‘Rights Respecting Schools’. Yet little is known about the impact of these activities in practice. The impacts on individual pupils who ‘participate’ and on those who do not, on the governance decisions that are made, on staff/pupil relations, on educational attainment and well-being, on parents and carers, the wider community and on policy and practice, have not been thoroughly investigated and remain little known or un-explored. The dissertation will provide the first comprehensive framework for analysis of the impact of participative initiatives in schools from individual to societal and governmental levels.

The Observatory on Children’s Human Rights at Swansea University is involved in local participatory action research with local schools aimed at increasing pupil participation in school governance. This is part of a wider, cross-disciplinary ‘Understanding Participation Initiative’ which is aimed at achieving better understandings of school-based participatory processes and at exploring the relationship between ‘everyday’ participation, structured participation in schools and participation in democratic civic structures at local and national levels. A core team of Swansea researchers is engaging across disciplines and with external impact partners including local government, national government and parliamentary bodies, generating pathways to impact which include the National Assembly for Wales’ implementation of its commitment to establish a youth parliament for Wales. This provides various opportunities for the candidate to undertake relevant placements and engage with key stakeholders as well as the academic research community.

The candidate will conduct comparative research on theories and practice of pupil participation and democratic engagement of school-aged children and young people, and will develop and pilot a human rights-framed methodology to evaluate the impact of different forms of pupil participation. In addition to the support of the first and second supervisors, the candidate will enjoy support from the mixed-disciplinary Understanding Participation Initiative team and a vibrant rights-focused research environment including the School’s Child Rights Research Group comprising PG researchers and academic staff who are actively engaged in children’s human rights-related research.

Supervisors/ Academic contacts: Dr Simon Hoffman and Dr Anthony Charles

The successful applicant will have access to our Postgraduate Research Student Training programmes.

Eligibility

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a first class honours degree (or equivalent) and/or a distinction at master's level in criminology, law or education.

Prior experience of research or engagement on participation in school is highly desirable.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is available to UK/EU students only.

Funding

The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual stipend of £14,553 (in line with the RCUK stipend amount) for 3 years. 

There will also be £1,000 per annum available for research expenses such as travel, accommodation, field trips and conference attendance.

How to Apply

To apply please complete and return the following documents to Dr Vivienne Jenkins (pgrsures@swansea.ac.uk) using the quoted reference LAWCRIM4:

Student applications will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Literary and Academic attainments (60%)
  • Demonstrable esteem indicators i.e. ambassadorial skills, instincts and opportunities to demonstrate leadership, experience and interest in extracurricular and community activities (40%)

The deadline for applications is Monday 22 January 2018.

Informal enquiries before the deadline are welcome and should be directed to Dr Anthony Charles by email (a.d.charles@swansea.ac.uk) or telephone: +44 (0)1792 606056.