Miss Jennifer Wilkinson

Job: PhD student

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A

E: p2511935@my365.dmu.ac.uk


Personal profile

A professional background leading reengagement and employability schemes in Leicester through government-funded initiatives in conjunction with Leicester city council. Later achieving a PGCE and became a lecturer of English at an inner-city vocational Further Education college; working with learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, English as a second language and those who battle mental, emotional and learning difficulties.  

Winner of the Teaching Staff Excellence Award in 2021. Recent projects include: leading the restructuring, rewriting and modernisation of the Functional Skills English qualification curriculum for a leading Leicestershire Further Education institution, creating a remote learning platform for guided learning and driving inclusive innovation project to ensure student engagement during the pandemic. 

Returning to university under a joint venture with the education and English language department. Recently wining the annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for the Humanities department round 2021. The research currently underway focuses specifically on Leicester due to its diverse ethnic, racial and socio-economic demographic. This work seeks to evaluate the changing definition of ‘functional literacy’; the Governments role in education policy and the effect of human capital agendas on alternative qualifications such as functional skills English. An ambitious goal it maybe, yet there is both a social and moral imperative to ensure equal opportunities for all students to progress into employment and/or Higher Education.

Research group affiliations

Research interests/expertise

  • Alternative qualifications 
  • The changing definition of literacy 
  • The concept of 'functional skills' as it proteins to literacy 
  • Transnational organisations and their role in shaping Education Policy and Human Capital agendas both in the UK and globally
  • Equality agendas in Education Policy 
  • Pedagogy and critical social theory

Areas of teaching

A lecture of English at an inner city vocation Further Education intuition in Leicester, specialising in the alternative literacy qualification functional skills English.


  • PGCE in Further Education 
  • MA in History 
  • BA (Hons) History

PhD project


Defining Functional Literacy: An examination of human capital agendas and their impact on equal opportunities for alternative qualification student in Leicester


This research will address 2010 - 2019 literacy skills initiatives that created the functional skills English qualification as an alternative pathway to success. As such, this work will endeavour to analyse the historical and current link between human capital agendas, transnational organisations, government policy, curriculum and pedagogy in an effort to demonstrate the effects that these schemes have had on learner progress potential and equality agendas in Leicester.