Transformative teaching & learning scholar: Phil Lawrence


This is the first post in a series in which we introduce researching practitioners from further education colleges across the country. We are going to support these scholars to carry out research into transformative teaching and learning in their practice over the coming year. We are aiming to share their progress as their ideas take shape and the projects are undertaken.


Phil is an English teacher at City & Islington College.

Phil’s biography

I left school without any qualifications but I did love reading. I spent my adult life trying to achieve fame and fortune as a musician and songwriter. I got to 40 and decided that I was too old to be a ‘rock star’. So, I went for a second dream of studying at university.

In 2003 I enrolled with the Open University. Then, in 2006, following a period of ennui and personal and professional stagnation I enrolled at Goldsmiths to study for an English BA degree. I had continued with the OU as rather fortunately I got a last bit of funding for it. So in 2009/2010 I graduated with two degrees.

I more-or-less fell into teaching. But it was the most glorious fall I’ve ever had. I found to my surprise that I have a natural ability to bond with and relate to young people. My passion for teacher energises me and I never come home at the end of the day feeling tired. However, there is much to be done and social injustice and the inequalities are always on my mind.

Phil’s research focus

I would like to research issues around reading for pleasure and the forgotten third. I know that the majority of my students are very reluctant readers. There is ample evidence that developing a love of reading is connected to later academic success. So I would like to explore these links. I would also look more closely at different issues around race and gender to see if this also has an impact.

Useful sites