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Dr David Thompson

Dr David Thompson

Senior Lecturer in Education Studies

  • Email address
  • Phone number 01902 322078
  • Location University of Wolverhampton Samuel Johnson Building (WP303a) Building Walsall Campus Gorway Road Walsall WS1 3BD
  • Faculty Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing
  • Institute Institute of Education
  • Areas of expertise

    Higher Education policy and practice; Higher Education and Lifelong Learning; Education and Social Jusitice; History of Education

David's research interests centre on access and inclusion, widening participation, lifelong learning and adult education, the history of education and higher education research more generally.

David has undertaken research on widening participation for his PhD, as well as other projects such as designing and piloting Personal Development Plans, researching retention and progression of students from low participation neighbourhoods and research into students placement experiences and wor-based learning and researching the taxonomy of cooperation in lifelong learning. He has also successfully applied for funding and managed research projects; including  investigating barriers to leisure facilities for children with ASD/ADHD and their parents and carers, enabling employability for disabled students and barriers to participation for non-traditional students..

David has worked within the UK higher education sector since 1998 in a variety of roles. This has included: managing lifelong learning and widening participation projects; promoting flexible study opportunities for part-time students; developing work-based learning programmes; researching the needs of students from low participation neighbourhoods; designing and piloting institutional personal development plans (PDPs); and developing international strategy and relations.

His primary fields of research are in widening participation, adult learning, social inclusion, the history of education, education studies and lifelong learning. In all of these themes, the articulation between higher education practice, policy and theory is of particular interest. His experiences as a mature student through Access, a first degree in history and PhD in Education inform his practice and research areas


Appointed Senior Lecturer. University of Wolverhampton, Institute of Education (2007).

Including teaching to Foundation degree students, full time undergraduates, Master students and PhD Supervision, as well as teaching on the Institute’s EdD programmes. David supervises dissertation projects students at all levels of study. David supports colleagues in their professional development, manages curriculum design and development, including leading on the placement module for Level 5 undergraduates. Employability Champion for the Institute of Education. Part of the Education Studies research cluster, David was entered the last REF and is research active

  • Reviewer of books and academic papers for Educational Review, Journal of Further and Higher Education, and Studies in Higher Education.
  • Senior Fellow of the HEA
  • PG Certificate of Teaching and Learning in HE. (2008) - 'University of Wolverhampton'
  • PhD (2007) - 'University of Birmingham, School of Education'
  • BA (Hons) (1997) - History - 'Worcester College of Higher Education'



Book/Book Chapters

  • Thompson, D.W. (2012). Chapter Two: Widening Participation from a Historical Perspective: increasing our understanding of higher education and social justice. Pp41-64. In Basit, T and Tomlinson, S (2012). Social Inclusion and Higher Education. Policy Press.
  • Thompson, DW (2012) Chapter Four: Whole School Development, Inclusion and Special Educational Needs: acknowledging wider debates, pp45-57, in Cornwall J and Graham-Matheson L (Eds). Leading on Inclusion. Dilemmas, debates and new perspectives. Routledge.
  • Thompson DW (2009) Articulating widening participation practice, policy and theory. Realities of the micro project accounts, rhetoric of the macro policy and theory. VDM Verlag.


International Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Sutherland, M., Thompson, D.W. and Erdisingha, P. (2019). Try Before You Buy; A small business employer perspective (SME)of international student mobility in England. Studies in Higher Education.

  • Williams-Brown, Z., Rhoads, G., Smith, M., and Thompson, D. (2019). Aspiring to Higher Education? Choice, complexity and confidence in secondary students' decision-making.Educational futures, [online] Vol. 10(1). Available at:

  • Thompson, D.W. (2019) Aspirations and Amiguities - the need for focussed IAG for school pupils considering progression to higher education (HE). Journal of Further and Higher Education. First 50 on-line copies free here

  • Thompson, D.W. (2017). “Widening participation research and practice in the United Kingdom on the twentieth anniversary of the Dearing report, reflections on a changing landscape” Educational Review.

  • Thompson, D.W. (2017). “I know what to expect next time…”: How Valuable is “short project” Placement Experience to Higher Education Students? Journal of Further & Higher Education. Vol.41, No3, 413-424

  • Thompson, D.W. (2016). “I know what to expect next time…”: How Valuable is “short project” Placement Experience to Higher Education Students? Journal of Further & Higher Education. (Available on-line)   

  • Thompson DW and Tomlin C . (2013). "Not just an Advert on a Page": Recruiting Minority Ethnic Students on to Initial Teacher Training Courses. Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, Vol 15 (3).

  •  Thompson DW & Emira M (2011). “They say every child matters, but they don’t”: An investigation into parental and carer perceptions of access to leisure facilities and respite care for children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Disability and Society. 26:1, pp65-78.

  • Emira M & Thompson DW (2011). In the Quest for their trust: the perceptions of families on accessing leisure services for disabled Children. Leisure Studies, 30: 1, pp33-48.

  • Thompson DW (2008). Widening Participation and higher education. Students, systems and other paradoxes. London Review of Education. Vol. 6, 137-147.

  • Thompson D (2006). Paradoxes in New Labour widening participation policy post 1997. Journal of Access Policy and Practice pp. 3-19(17)



Thompson, D. (2019). How to De-programme a Student. Available at WONKHE.

Conference Presentations

  • European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Hamburg, Germany, (2019). Enabling Employability for Students with Disabilities.
  • British Education Studies Association (BESA 2016). How to De-programme a University Student. Telford.
  • Society for Research into Higher Education. Access and Widening Participation Network. London (2016).“Still Searching for Rita? Reflections on Widening Participation Research and Practice Post Dearing.”
  • Society for Research into Higher Education. Supporting University-Work Transitions. Edinburgh (2014). “I know what to expect next time…”: How valuable is “short project” placement experience to Higher Education Students? The Pedagogy of Placement”.
  • European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Istanbul, Turkey (2013). The Experiences of Education Studies Students on Work Placement.
  • European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Cadiz, Spain (2012). The recruitment of Minority Ethnic students into teacher training.
  •  European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Helsinki, Finland (2010). Barriers to Leisure. The Experiences of parents and carers of children with ASD and ADHD.
  • European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Gothenburg, Sweden, (2008). Widening Participation. Students, systems and other paradoxes.
  • History of Education Society Annual Conference, University of Birmingham (2005). Students or Systems? Widening Participation Policy and Practice post 1997.
  • University of Southampton School of Management. Personal Development Planning Workshop. (Supported by LTSN/BEST) (2004). The Aston Perspective, Southampton.
  •  Developing Personal Development Plans (PDP’s). La Rochelle, France (2004).
  • Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR), 10th International Conference. Warwick University. (2004) “Widening Participation: Research Policy and Practice”. Presentation on Retention and Progression of Students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods.
  •  History of Education Society, University of Cambridge (2003). Widening participation from a historical perspective.

Previous Employment in Higher Education.

•         2005-2007. University of Birmingham. “Universitas 21” and International Officer. International Office.

•         2004-2005. University of Aston. PDP Development Manager (Personal and Professional Development Plans).

•         2003-2004. University of Aston. Widening Participation Researcher (2003)

•         1998-2002. University of Birmingham/Westhill College. Centre for Lifelong Learning. Examination Officer. Widening Participation Officer.

External Examiner for PhD Students at the School of Education, University of Birmingham

Reviewer for a number of education journals

Current PhD / EdD supervision:

Supervisor for one PhD student and one EdD student

Supervisor for two EdD Students, two EdD Completions, Lecturer on the EdD taught programme

External consultant for Birmingham City University's new Education Studies programme

External consultant for Swansea Met Univeristy validation of Education Studies programme.