Paul Thomas


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PhD projects

The Implementation of the Prevent duty within Education

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16 Last updated 30 September 2020.


I am Professor of Youth and Policy and Associate Dean - Research for the School of Education and Professional Development at the University of Huddersfield, where I have worked since 1999.

I am a professionally qualified youth and community worker. Prior to joining the University, I worked as a regional manager for a national voluntary youth work organisation and as a regional youth policy and campaigns officer for the government’s Commission for Racial Equality. Since joining the School of Education and Professional Development, I have contributed to sociology and social policy teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to the professional development of our Youth and Community Work students, to PGR supervision and have been actively involved in research. My research focuses mainly on state policies around young people and multiculturalism, racism, community cohesion, and the prevention of extremism, and particularly on how ground-level policy-makers and practitioners mediate and enact such state policy agendas.

I have developed my research through a number of past and present funded projects created in collaboration with local government bodies in the north of England, with the research findings creating impact by influencing national and regional policy and practice. Recently, I have been Joint Principal Investigator (PI) (with Prof. Michele Grossman of Deakin University, Australia) of the CREST-funded ‘Community Reporting Thresholds’ project which investigated the barriers young adults face in sharing concerns about someone close to them becoming involved in extremism.We are now exploring replication of this work in North America. I was also recentlu a Co-Investigator (with Dr. Joel Busher, Coventry and Tufyal Choudhury, Durham) on a project investigating the implementation of the Prevent legal duty in English schools and colleges.The 2017 reports from both of these projects received significant media coverage and policy-making interest.

Previously, I was PI on an action research project around implementation of community cohesion policies in Kirklees, West Yorkshire and co-PI on a mixed methods investigation of attitudes and dispositions within mainly white, marginalised communities in both Kirklees and Calderdale. I have previously been PI on a Prevent-funded action research project into young people’s feelings about ‘identity’, cohesion and segregation in Rochdale, Greater Manchester and on an evaluation of the first year of Prevent activity in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Multiculturalism and state policy approaches
  • Ethnic segregation, Integration and Community Cohesion
  • Terrorism, political extremism and approaches to prevention, including the Prevent strategy
  • Ethnicity, Identity, marginalisation and young people
  • Youth Work policy and practice
  • Marginalised young people

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Preventing Extremism
  • Ethnic Integration
  • Community Cohesion


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