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Dr Dave Cudworth

Job: Associate Professor, Head of Education Division

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice

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

T: +44 (0)116 207 8434




Personal profile

Dr Dave Cudworth is Associate Professor and the Head of the Education Division.  He joined DMU in September 2009.

Prior to this, Dave was a Senior Lecturer on the PGCE Primary Programme at the University of East London. Before this he was a primary school teacher where he worked in three different primary schools in London.  He has also been an external examiner for the BA (Hons) with QTS at Edge Hill University and the BA (Hons) Education Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

Dave has always had a long-term interest in social justice matters and primary schooling/education.  In particular, he spent many years looking at the challenges faced by children from Gypsy/Traveller communities which became the focus of his PhD.  After publishing a book based on his research entitled: Schooling and Travelling Communities - Exploring the Spaces of Educational Exclusion, he has continued to develop his interest in the relationship between inclusive schooling and spatiality.  Whilst focused on his research with Gypsy/Traveller communities he was struct how such children often found negotiating indoor space challenging.  This has led him to an interest in outdoor education as a means of inclusive practice.  Since which he has trained as a Forest School leader where he has become keen to explore the learning spaces of Forest School and how this 'alternative' space leads to different kinds of learning and engagement as well as to the promotion of both enhanced wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours.

Dave's other published work includes papers in journals such as Power and Education, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy and Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education. His most recent papers are on Forest School and Environmental Education. 

Research group affiliations

  • Centre for Critical Education Policy Studies (CeCeps) - Institute of Education, London
  • Centre for Narrative Research (CNR) - University of East London
  • Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development
  • Institute of Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice  

Key research outputs


Books in Print:
  • (2018), Schooling and Travelling Communities:  Exploring the Spaces of Educational Exclusion, Hants: Palgrave Macmillan

Book Chapters in Print: 
  • 2010, Educating the Outcast: policy and practice in the education of Gypsy Traveller children, in Ang, L., Trushell, J., Walker, P., (eds.) Learning, Teaching and Diversity: Interdisciplinary Tales from an Olympic City, Interdisciplinary Press (co-authored with Cudworth, E).

    Referred Journal Articles in Print:

  • (2021), The importance of Forest School and the Pathways to Nature Connection, Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, Vol.24, pp. 71-85 (Co-authored with Lumber, R) 
  • (2020), Promoting an emotional connection to nature via Forest School: Disrupting the spaces of neo-liberal performativity, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (Special Edition) Towards a Critically Posthumanist Sociology,  Vol. 41 (3), pp. 506-521
  • (2019), '"It's a bit of freedom from home and clearning all the time": Gender Relations and Gpsy Communities in England', International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 (5/6), pp. 464-477  DOI:10.1108/IJSSP-01-2019-0020 
  • (2015), Schooling, Space and Social Justice, Power and Education Journal, Vol. 7 (1), pp. 73-89, SAGE 
  • (2008), "There is a little bit more than delivering the stuff" - policy, pedagogy and the education of Gypsy/Traveller children, Critical Social Policy, Vol. 12 (3), pp. 361-377, SAGE

Other Publications

(2021) Moving through the woods: Developing children's connectiona and appreciation of nature, ICA Institute of Cultural Anthropology, Leiden University, Netherlands.  [Online]



Research interests/expertise

  • Spatial Theory and Schooling
  • Education inequalities
  • Educational Social justice
  • Gypsy/Traveller education
  • Policy and Politics of education
  • Alternative educational spaces
  • Home Schooling
  • Education for Sustainability
  • Forest School and Outdoor Learning

Areas of teaching

  • Sociology of Education 
  • Child Development
  • Educational Social Justice
  • Educational Policy and Politics
  • Educational Theory
  • Outdoor Learning and Forest School


  • BA (Hons) History and Sociology - University of East London
  • PGCE (Primary)
  • Level 3 Forest School Leader
  • MA Education and Social Justice - University College London
  • PhD Education Studies - DeMontfort University

Courses taught

  • Teaching, Learning and the Politics of Primary Education (EDUC 1111)
  • Development of the Individual Child (EDUC 2227)
  • Forest School and Outdoor Learning (EDUC2330)
  • Dissertations (EDUC 3346)
  • Reflections on Practice: Teaching and Learning (EDUC 3318)
  • MA Dissertations (EDUC 5022)

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • British Education Research Association
  • British Sociological Association
  • Forest School Association

Professional licences and certificates

Post Graduate Certificate of Education, University of Greenwich, July 1997.

Forest School Leader Level 3 Practioner

Conference attendance

(2021) Let's go outside: Disrupting the spaces of neo-liberal schooling, British Education Studies Association (BESA)  Annual Conference, 24-25th June, 2021

(2021) Wellbeing in the Woods: Forest School and the Pathways to Nature Connection, with Dr Ryan Lumber, Biophillic Design in Primary Schools: Impact on Children's Wellbeing Symposium (2), DMU, Leciester, Jan 27th 2021

(2020) Promoting a connection to nature and sense of place through Forest School, Biophilic Design in Primary Schools: Impacts on Children's Wellbeing Symposium, DMU, Leicester, September 25th 2020

(2019) Freedom in the Woods: Forest School and Critical Pedagogy at the IX International Conference on Critical Education (ICCE) in Naples, Italy, July 3rd-6th 2019 

(2018) Frightened of Freedom: Reinventing Radical Education in the UK through Forest School Education, at the Anarchist Studies Network (ASN) conference, Loughborough University, September 2018

(2018), Forest Schools and Pathways to Nature Connection, at the 4th Nature Connections 2018 Conference, 20th June, University of Derby, UK (with Lumber, R)

(2016) Spaces of Exclusion: The schooling experiences of Gypsy/Traveller children in England at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Conference in San Francisco, March 29th-April 2nd 2016. 

(2015) Education and the Challenge to Gender Norms in Gypsy/Traveler Culture in the United Kingdom, at the 10th Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Conference, 10-14th Junel, Split, Croatia

(2014) Schooling, Space and Social Justice, at the Discourse, Power, Resistance (DPR14),  15-17th April 2014, Greenwich, London

(2012) Snarled up in School - Reconfiguring the Spatial Construction of Schooling for Gypsy/Traveller Children, at the International Journal of Arts and Sciences (IJAS) Conference , 19-21 June 2012, Florence, Italy

(2010) Strangers in Strange Places - The Othering of Gypsy and Traveller Children in Educational Spaces, at BERA 2010 Annual Conference, 1-4 September 2010, Warwick University, UK (with Bhopal, K)

(2010) Policy, Space and the Education of Gypsy/Traveller and Roma children in Europe, at the Fifth Pan-European Conference on EU Politics, 23-26 June 2010, Porto, Portugal

(2009) The radical difference of nomadism - Inclusive education and the exclusions of Gypsy/Traveller children in England, at the Fourth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, July 2009 Athens, Greece

(2008) Reflections on teacher's stories of teaching Gypsy/Traveller children in mainstream classrooms, at the British Educational Research Association annual conference,September 2008, Edinburgh, UK

(2008) Does 'Every Child Matter'? Social (in)justice and the education of Gypsy/Traveller children, at the International Institute for Sociology 38th World Congress, June 2008, Budapest

(2007) Reflections on teacher's tales of teaching Gypsy and Traveller children, BSA Annual Conference, April 2007, University of East London, UK

Current research students

Talitha Bird, Ph.D on Critical exploration into how children negotiate the architectures of gender and sexuality in primary school (2nd supervisor)

 Angela Sibley-White, Ph.D. on the lived experience of primary school communities under neoliberal governance and policy (2nd supervisor).

Internally funded research project information

Exclusive Education – Marginalisation and Gypsy/Travellers - RIF - 21st July 2010 (Project Manager).