Dr David Allan

Name: Dr David Allan
Department: Secondary and Further Education
Current position: Reader in Further Education and Training
Email: david.allan@edgehill.ac.uk
Location: Ormskirk Main Campus, Faculty of Education


David’s PhD, completed at Lancaster University, explored the learning journeys of a group of disaffected girls undertaking vocational learning. Since then, his research interests have focused on disaffection, student voice, and vocational learning in schools. Recently, however, he has been exploring the use of Lesson Study for student re-engagement and teacher development. He is the principal investigator for a research project that is currently investigating teachers’ perspectives of using Lesson Study to generate new communities of knowledge, and thus enhance pedagogical knowledge exchange. David is also currently working with institutions in Vietnam and Laos to investigate learning experiences and student marginalisation in Asian contexts.


Prior to joining Edge Hill University, Dr David Allan was registered as an associate tutor for two universities in the north-west. He began his teaching career in secondary schools before moving on to lecture part time in various sixth form and further education colleges. He then taught English and maths to key stage four students undertaking a work-based learning programme and subsequently took up a managerial post before eventually taking over the full running of the programme. This programme met the needs of over 400 disaffected 14-16-year-olds and was recognised as an invaluable strategy for re-engagement.


  • BA, MA, PGCE, PhD

Research Interests:

Disaffection with learning and student marginalisation, inclusion, student voice, vocational learning, lesson study

Published work:

Peer-reviewed papers:

Allan, D., O’Doherty, E, Boorman, D. and Smalley, P. (2020) Lesson Study and the construction of capital: empowering children through dialogic engagement. Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education. doi:10.1080/03004279.2020.1781224

Allan, D., Hallett, F. Hallett, G. (2019) Armenian teachers’ dichotomous perspectives on children with high-functioning autism Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. doi:10.1111/1471-3802.12469

Thomas, L., Duckworth, V., Lander, V., Allan, D., Rodriguez-Cuadrado, S., Heaslip, V. and Board, M. (2019) Uncovering students’ powerful persistent passion: Implications for policy and practice in widening access and success in healthcare education. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. ISSN 1466-6529 (In Press).

Hallett, F. and Allan, D. (2019) Reconsidering inclusion: Western theory and post-Soviet reality. Disability Studies Quarterly (In Press).

Allan, D. (2018) Devaluing the individual. Prism: Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice. 1 (2), 1–7 (Guest editorial).

Allan D. and Duckworth, V. (2018) Voices of disaffection: Disengaged and disruptive youths or agents of change and self-empowerment? British Journal of Special Education. 45 (1), 43–65. doi.org/10.1111/1467-8578.12201

Allan, D (2018) Class, Education, and Mindset. Prism: Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice. 2 (1), 138–143.

Allan, D. (2017) Setting them up to fail? Post-16 progression barriers of previously disengaged students. Prism Casting New Light on Learning, Theory and Practice. 1 (1), 21-32.

Cain, T. and Allan, D. (2017) The invisible impact of educational research. Oxford Review of Education. 43 (6),718-732. doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2017.1316252

Hallett, F. and Allan, D. (2016) Architectures of oppression: Perceptions of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome in the Republic of Armenia. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. doi:10.1111/1471-3802.12367

Allan, D. (2015) Conceptualising work learning: Exploring the educational discourse on work-based, work-related, and workplace learning. Work Based Learning e-Journal International 5 (1), 1–20.

Allan, D. (2015) Mediated disaffection and reconfigured subjectivities: The impact of a vocational learning environment on the re-engagement of 14–16-year-olds. International Journal on School Disaffection 11 (2), 45–65.

Allan, D. (2015) I think, therefore I share: Incorporating Lesson Study to enhance pedagogical knowledge exchange. Educate~ 15 (1), pp. 2-5.

Allan, D. (2014) Dealing with disaffection: The influence of work-based learning on 14–16-year-old students’ attitudes to school. Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training 6 (10), pp. 1–18.

Allan, D. (2014) Quantity for quality: A case study on the impact of an English work-based learning programme on disaffected pupils’ qualification achievements. Educate~ 14 (1), pp. 10–16.

Allan, D. (2010) Every paper matters: A comparative analysis of two policies surrounding the development of children and young people. Education, Knowledge and Economy 4 (1), pp. 57–71.


Allan, D., Pham Hoai A. and Le Nu Cam, Le (2020) East meets West: Exploring the challenges of cross-cultural collaboration in pedagogical development. In C. Woolhouse and L. Nicholson (Eds.), Mentoring in Higher Education: Case Studies of Peer Learning and Pedagogical Development. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Allan, D. (2017) Teaching English and Maths in FE: What works for vocational learners? Exeter: Learning Matters.

Allan, D. (2016) Casualties of Education: Pressures, privileges and performativity in compulsory schooling in England. Saarbrücken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing.

Book chapters:

Allan, D., Boorman, D., O’Doherty, E. and Smalley, P. (2018) Lesson Study. In Cain, T. (2018) Becoming a Research-Informed School: Why? What? How? London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138308640


Hallett, F., Thomas, L., Woolhouse, C. and Allan, D. (2018) “I would have dropped out.” An evaluation of Student Central, a psychology-led academic support programme for students with disabilities at Maynooth University.

Thomas, L., Lander, V., Duckworth, V., Allan, D., Kaehne, A., Birken, G., Moreton, R., Rodríguez-Cuadrado, S. (2016) NHS funded healthcare education programmes: Building the evidence for supporting widening participation. Health Education England.


Allan, D. and Hallett, F. (2018) Armenian teachers’ views on students with Asperger’s syndrome. Paper presented at Social Justice in Troubling Times: What does it mean and what’s to be done? 10th Annual Conference for Research in Education, 27th–28th September, 2018. Edge Hill University.

Allan, D. (2018) Over the Hill and of Little Economic Prospect: The fall of lifelong learning and its impact on social mobility. Paper presented at Ageing, Generational Change and Social Solidarity. Cultural Difference and Social Solidarity Network, 9th–10th July, 2018.SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw, Poland.

Allan (2017) Capital Gains? Empowerment and social mobility through maths achievement. Paper presented at Educating for Change. Sixth European Conference on Education, Jurys Inn, Brighton.

Allan, D. (2016) Lesson Study and pupil voice: Creating the space for empowerment. World Association of Lesson Studies 2016, 3rd-6th September 2016, University of Exeter.

Allan, D. and Duckworth, V. (2016) Parallel worlds in a performative universe: Bridging the gap between hegemonic capital and social experience in the lives of marginalised young women. BERA Annual Conference 2016, 13-15 September, 2016, University of Leeds.

Allan, D. (2016) Devaluing the critical space: How the adherence to policy can steer perceptions of impact in educational research. Paper presented as part of a symposium on research impact with Tim Cain and Catherine O’Connell at the 8th annual conference for research in education (ACRE), Values in Education, 12th–13th July 2016, Edge Hill University.

Allan, D. (2016) Don’t take the goat track up the mountain: Developing undergraduates’ historical thinking. Paper presented at the SOLSTICE and CLT Conference: A celebration of Learning and Teaching, 9th–10th June 2016, Edge Hill University.

Hallett, F. and Allan, D. (2015). Uncomfortable spaces: Perceptions of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome in the Republic of Armenia. Paper presented at the 7th annual education conference, Controversies in Education: Problems, Debates, Solutions, Edge Hill University.

Allan, D. (2015) Setting them up to fail? Disempowerment and barriers to progression for disaffected 14-16-year-olds. Paper presented at Education, Power and Empowerment: Changing and Challenging Communities. Third European Conference on Education, Brighton.

Allan, D. (2014) Casualties of education: Disaffected 14–16-year-old girls’ perspectives on school versus an alternative learning environment. Paper presented at BERA, 40th Annual Education Conference, Institute of Education

Allan, D. (2014) ‘I like it here because they listen to us.’ The effect of vocal empowerment on disaffected 14–16-year-old girls. Paper presented at the 6th annual education conference, Researching Education: Theory, Method and Practice, Edge Hill University.

Allan, D. (2013) Mediated disaffection and reconfigured subjectivities: An investigation into the use of an alternative learning environment designed to promote re-engagement for 14–16-year-olds. Paper presented at the 5th annual education conference, Subjects and Subjectivities, Edge Hill University.

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