Personal profile


Qualifications: BA (Hons), MA, PhD, SFHEA, FRSA, FRHistS

I am a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Education and Professional Development, a post I have held since retiring full-time after working 17 years at the University.

I began my career after reading history and education at Bede College Durham University, and taught history in secondary schools. I also taught history and education up to and including degree level in further education colleges. In 2001, I took up an appointment at the University of Huddersfield and have had various posts, including head of post compulsory education and training and head of student liaison in the School of Education and Professional Development.

My doctorate is in the history of education, particularly further and higher education, believing passionately that without understanding the past we cannot understand the present or prepare for the future. My research interests include historical of education developments and the impact of past devlopments on present-day policy.

 I have widely published in scholarly journals and chapters in books. In 2016, I authored The Development of the Mechanics’ Institute Movement in Britain and Beyond: Supporting further education for the adult working classes (Routledge Research in Education, London, UK). The work is regularly cited and is recommended as further reading in several texts including Historic England Mechanics’ Institutes, Introduction to Heritage Assets (December 2017).

I have presented my research at international conferences, including as a key-note speaker in Melbourne and Sans Francisco. I am a reviewer for several journals and I am on the editorial board for the Journal of Educational Administration and History.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS). I am also a committee member of the History of Education Specialist Interest Group (SIG) of the British Education Research Association (BERA).

I supervise postgraduate researchers at both M and doctoral level and have externally examined MA by research, PhD and EdD candidates.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Historical educational developments with regard to curriculum offered in further adult and higher education 
  • The impact of government education policy in an historical context

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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mechanic Social Sciences
technical education Social Sciences
further education Social Sciences
Adult Education Social Sciences
working class Social Sciences
technical college Social Sciences
education Social Sciences
nineteenth century Social Sciences

Research Output 2008 2018

Working Class
State Intervention
technical college
Adult Education
further education

Career planning and continuing professional development

Simmons, R. & Walker, M. 2015 Teaching in Lifelong Learning: A Guide to Theory and Practice. Avis, J., Fisher, R. & Thompson, R. (eds.). 2nd ed. Open University Press, p. 259-69 11 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citations
technical education
nineteenth century
First International

Activities 2015 2017

  • 6 Oral presentation