Dr Deborah Ralls

Honorary Research Fellow

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I joined The University of Manchester in a research position in 2013, when I was awarded a PhD studentship. In 2018 I was awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust, and am  Principal Investigator on a 3-year international comparative research project - Redefining Education for an Urban Social Solidarity Economy: Becoming Relational.

I am particularly interested in the complex interrelationship between socio-economic policies and education theory, policy and practice in urban contexts and the ways in which education can help build stronger relationships with urban communities and lay the foundations for more inclusive urban economies.

I'm a member of the OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Thematic Working Group on aligning pedagogies and assessment with future-oriented curriculum changes related to the implementation of the OECD's Learning Compass. 

I'm a member of the newly established (2020) Eurocities Working Group dedicated to policies for Children and Young People and the Participatory Research with Children and Youth sub group of the Converge COVID-19 and Children, Youth, and Schools working group. 

My Doctorate investigated forms and understandings of engagement between a school and its stakeholders: the students, parents and community members.

I have a Masters in Urban Education from Manchester Metropolitan University that explores identity and professionalism in the Teach First initiative.

Before beginning my research career, I gained a PGCE and a Diploma in Teaching English as Foreign Language. I worked as a teacher and teacher educator in both Further and Higher Education for twenty years, managing, developing and teaching on Literacy, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programmes and as the centre coordinator for an inner-city alternative education provision for 13-19-year-olds.


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