Amanda French

Head of Department: Professional Development, Research and Enterprise

School of Education and Social Work
0121 331 7387

Amanda has worked in higher, further, adult education and the voluntary sector for 30 years as a lecturer, writing developer and researcher and is currently employed as Head of Department: Professional Development, Research and Enterprise in the School of Education.

Her PhD in Education: ‘Through a glass darkly”: Lecturers perceptions of Academic Writing’:  was about lecturers’ perceptions of academic writing and writing development practices in higher education. 

Her other research interests include academic writing, learner development in higher education , participatory research with children, transition experiences in education, employment literacies, widening participation and social justice, radical methodologies, critical pedagogies, postgraduate teaching and learning. I have presented on published on these areas nationally and internationally.


Current Activity
  •          BERA, Leeds University, Sept 2016, Supporting Students with Diverse Educational Experiences in their transition to HE:  Joint symposia with Suffolk University and MMU  .
  •          HEA Symposia The Body in Learning and Teaching, July 2016 Nottingham Trent University, Enfleshed writing practices – Are you feeling it yet?
  •          Keynote:  Solihull College Higher Education Conference, June 2016, What works and Why.  How research informs practice. 
  •          Open University Widening Participation Conference 2016 :  HE: Transforming Lives Through Life-wide Learning?  Milton Keynes, April 2016. Good Transitions: a case study of local FE/HE transition.
  •          European Association of International Research (EAIR) Krems University, August 2015, A new academic writing imaginary for academic writing for higher education.
  •          European Academic Teaching and Writing (EATAW) conference, Tallinn University of Technology, 15-17 June, 2015 , ‘Conditions and processes’: understanding professional academic writing as a social practice in higher education.
  •          Teacher Education Advanced Network Conference (TEAN), Aston University, May 2015, “Just go for it and do your best.  Don’t be shy, it’s easier than you think”:  The experiences of primary school children as externally-funded project evaluators. (Co-presented with Dinah Hobbs)
  •          International Conference on Doctoral Development and Training (ICDDET) Conference Oxford University, April 2015, Getting lost in supervision:  Re-imagining post-graduate teaching and learning as lessons in performativity and performance. (co-presented with Professor Alex Kendall)
  •          International Personal Development Association Conference, Aston University, November 2014, Literacies for employability (L4E):  professional learning through e-ethnography.
  •          European Association of International Research (EAIR) Essen University, August 2015, Literacies for Employment (L4E) A framework for developing workplace literacies. (Co-presented with Prof Alex Kendall)
  •          European First Year Conference, June 2014, Nottingham Trent University, Supporting diverse first year undergraduates to develop academic writing practices: starting at the end with critical thinking. (Co-presented with Dr Mark O’Hara)
  •          HEA Heroes and monsters: extra-ordinary tales of learning and teaching in the arts and humanities conference, June 2014, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Manchester, Getting Lost in supervision:  Re-imagining post-graduate teaching and learning as lessons in shape-shifting: an ethno-drama in 3 Acts. (co–presented with Professor Alex Kendall)
  •          HEA Social Sciences Conference, April 2014, Birmingham, Literacies for employability (L4E): A framework for developing workplace literacy through the disciplines.
  •          Association of Learning Development in HE Conference, May 2014, Huddersfield University, Developing effective feedback literacies for students’ learning development: ‘Let’s talk about text’.
Areas of Expertise

Amanda is an established teacher, learning developer and supervisor.  She has consultancy experience and has delivered workshops, keynotes and seminars for staff and students in higher education organisations in the UK and abroad. 

She is a very experienced external examiner and has sat on several revalidation panels as an external expert in addition to undertaking substantial curriculum revalidation at BCU.. 


2014 – PhD in Education (Birmingham City University)

2002 – 2005 MA Lifelong Learning (Open University)

1989-1990 Cert Ed F.E. (University of Wolverhampton)

1980-1983 BA Hons English Literature 2:1 (University of Birmingham)


Higher Education Academy Senior Fellow

British Education Research Association   (co-convener for HE Pedagogies SIG)

European Association for Academic Writing (Secretary


Amanda has worked in higher, further, adult education and the voluntary sector in the West Midlands for 30 years in partnerships across a wide range of settings and agencies including schools, community centres voluntary and community groups, as well as colleges and universities  teaching students and trained teachers, tutors and support workers from a variety of organisations, including probation, employment services and the voluntary/community sector and taught English, Basic Literacy, Education Studies and Early Years at undergraduate level.  


2015 QAA Project strand 2 bid - ‘Following the FE diaspora: a case study of FE/HE transition within the West Midlands region.’  How does the transition to higher education support the increasing diversity of prior educational experiences of entrants? An exploration of the issues and identification of good practice. (Co-researcher) 

2010-12, Birmingham City University, HEA Collaborative Project, Literacies for employability (L4E): A framework for developing workplace literacy through the disciplines. (Co-researcher).

2005-2010, University of Wolverhampton, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) project, Critical Interventions for Enhanced Learning (CIEL). Co-researcher.

Internally funded research projects

2014-15, Faculty of Health, Educational and Life Sciences, Faculty Research Project Fund, A CPD Pilot for putting children and young adults at the centre of bid writing and the management and evaluation of externally funded projects in health and education community organisations.  (Principal researcher).

2013-14, Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences Learning and Teaching Research Bid, Embedding academic writing development into subject specialist teaching.( Principal researcher).

Postgraduate Supervision

Amanda teaches on the Masters in Education and Masters in Teaching and Learning /Leadership and Management programmes and has a number of dissertation students.  She also teaches on the Professional Doctorate and PG Cert and supervise both PhD and Prof Doc candidates. 


‘Fail better’: Reconsidering the role of struggle and failure in academic writing development in higher education. (2017)  Journal of Innovations in Education and Teaching International (pending publication)

Getting lost in supervision:  Re-imagining post-graduate teaching and learning as lessons in performativity and performance.  (2017) (Co-Authored Prof Alex Kendall) , vol 8, (1)

French, A., Hobbs, D. (2017) ‘”So how well did it really go”? Working with primary school pupils as project evaluators: a case study’, TEAN Journal, 9, (1)

Chapter: ‘Exploring Post/graduate Academic Writing Practices, Research Literacies and Writing Identities’ in  ‘Post/graduate research literacies and writing pedagogies, Badenhorst, C.M. & Geurin, C. (2015) (eds.) Studies in Writing Series Amsterdam: Brill Publishing.

Power and Education Journal. ‘Let the right ones in!’* Widening participation, academic writing and the standards debate in higher education. Power and Education. Volume 5 Number 2 2013.   ISSN 1757-7438.

British Educational Studies Association Journal. There are more questions than answers: Dilemmas in Educational Research’. Publication Vol.4(3) June 2012.

European Association for Teaching Academic Writing (EATAW) Online Journal vol. No. 1 (2011) What am I Expecting and Why?’ How can Lecturers in Higher Education Begin to Address Writing Development for their Students?

Research Intelligence. 2010 If good writing is the answer. What’s the question? Winter Issue 113.

Research Intelligence. 2010. Through a glass darkly: Do lecturers really know what they want from students' writing? Autumn Issue 112.

Enhancing learning in the Social Sciences (ELiSS) 2009. Double Entry Journals: Developing an embedded programme of writing development for first year Early Childhood Studies Degree Students.  (Co-authored with Jenny Worsley).

Kendall, Alex and French, Amanda and Kempson, M Good Transitions Lessons from the Transitions West Midlands Project. Project Report. QAA

Work With Industry

Amanda has taught language and literacy development in industry.