Following a degree in English Language and Literature at Oxford, I trained as an English and Drama teacher and worked in the UK and Hong Kong. I moved into higher education in 1987 and since then have held professorships in English and Education at Middlesex, Hull, York, Anglia Ruskin, UCL Institute of Education and the University of East Anglia. I have also held the positions of Head of Department (York, UEA), Dean (IOE) and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation (Anglia Ruskin).


On 1 October 2019 I joined the University of Edinburgh as Professor in  Education and Head of the Moray House School of Education and Sport. 


My teaching and research interests are in writing development, argumentation, poetics and research methodologies for the digital age. Find out more about my research here.


I am a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an elected fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. In January 2016 I became a member of the All Souls Group, Oxford, on education policy. I am a network member of the Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge; and a member of the Global Education Deans' Forum and the Scottish Council of Deans of Education. In 2021, I joined the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Edinburgh.


My family home is in East Yorkshire with my wife, Dodi Beardshaw. We rent a flat in Edinburgh.

Recently published: 

‘Crisis and opportunity in teacher preparation in England’ in Teaching the World’s Teachers, eds Lauren Lefty and James W. Fraser. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2020, 132-52

Polyrhythmicity in Language, Music and Society: complex time relations in the arts, humanities and social sciences, New York/Singapore: Springer, 2021, 160pp

Falling Uphill: forty-six Adirondack poems York: Terpsichore Press, 2021