Dr Ross Purves

Job: Senior Lecturer in Education

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Research group(s): Institute for Education Futures; Music Education Research Group

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

T: +44 (0)116 207 8260

E: ross.purves@dmu.ac.uk

W: rosspurves.wordpress.com


Personal profile

Ross Purves is Deputy Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Education Studies. He is also Employability Champion for the Education Division.

Ross studied music at City University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before completing an MA in music education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and a PGCE in post-compulsory education at the University of Greenwich. After graduating, Ross worked as a computer development officer in the Department of Computer Science, University of Exeter and subsequently, as an education research officer at the University of Roehampton and the Institute of Education. Whilst at Roehampton and at the Institute, Ross worked on a series of nine music and arts outreach research projects funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the Department for Education and Skills and the charity Youth Music. Between 2009 and 2011 he was a research officer on the European Commission’s Seventh Framework-funded ‘Usability of Music for Social Inclusion of Children Project’.

Ross has also pursued a parallel teaching career and was Joint Course Manager for Music at Luton Sixth Form College for six years. Here he taught A Level and BTEC music and performing arts courses and co-managed large programmes of instrumental teaching and extra-curricular music ensembles.

Ross was also Subject Coordinator for the Music PGCE course offered by the Chiltern Training Group, a large school-centred initial teacher education consortium in Bedfordshire.

Ross’s doctorate focused on geographical and social impacts on instrumental music learning and involved the application of novel geospatial statistical techniques. Publications embracing musicians’ and teachers’ professional development, music technology education and aspects of human-computer interaction have appeared in journals including the British Journal of Educational Research, the British Journal of Educational Psychology, Issues in Technology and Teacher Education and the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education. A chapter 'music technology and the educator' featured in the 2012 OUP International Handbook of Music Education. Ross has presented research at various European education conferences and is an experienced performing musician and arranger.

Between 2016 and 2018 Ross is serving on the Musicians' Union National Teachers Section Committee. Ross is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research group affiliations

  • Institute for Education Futures  
  • Music Education Research Group

Publications and outputs 

Click here to view a full listing of Ross Purves' publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Purves, R. & Pulsford, M. (2018). ''I came out feeling scared and pressured, and just like a number': undergraduate Education Studies students' perceptions of post-graduate Initial Teacher Education (ITE) routes and selection processes for 2016-17', Teacher Education Advancement Network Journal 10(1), pp TBC.

Purves, R. (2017). 'Music technology, education and maps: The use of geospatial technology and data to inform music education research'. Journal of Music Technology and Education, 10 (1), pp. 117-138

Heikkinen, T, Kallonen, P, Paananen, J, Porras, R, Purves, R, Read, JC, Rinta, T, Welch, G. (2015) Designing Mobile Applications for Children. In: L Sørensen and KE Skouby (Eds.) User Requirements for Wireless. Aalborg, Denmark: River Publishers, pp. 7-26.

Purves, R. (2012). 'Chapter 5.3: Technology and the educator', in G. McPherson & G. Welch (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Vol. 2. New York: Oxford University Press, 457-475.

Welch, G., Purves, R., Hargreaves, N. & Marshall, N. (2011). ‘Early career challenges in secondary school music teaching’, British Educational Research Journal, 37(2), 285–315.(2), 285–315.

Rinta, T., Purves, R.,Welch, G., Stadler Elmer, S., & Bissig, R. (2011). ‘Connections between children‘s feelings of social inclusion and their musical backgrounds -
Evidence from Finland and the UK’. Journal of Social Inclusion, 2(2), 34-57.

Shaughnessy, J., Purves, R., & Jackson, A. (2008). ‘Computer-mediated collaborative projects as professional development opportunities for teachers’, Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 8(4), 367-393.

Hargreaves, D., Purves, R., Welch, G. & Marshall, N. (2007). ‘Developing identities and attitudes in musicians and classroom music teachers’, British Journal of Educational Psychology 77, 665–682.

Purves, R., Jackson, A. & Shaughnessy, J. (2005). 'A longitudinal study of teachers’ professional development through an international exchange', Journal of In-Service Education, 31(3), 545-567.

Research interests/expertise

Various aspects of music education; open source software in education; the application of GIS and geospatial statistics techniques to education research; the development of children’s computer programming skills; the history of education and of music education; teachers’ professional development, particularly early career transition.

Areas of teaching

  • Music education
  • Arts education
  • Educational technology and computer programming


  • BSc (Hons) Music, City University
  • MA Music Education, Institute of Education, University of London
  • PGCE (Post-Compulsory Education and Training), University of Greenwich.
  • PhD Music Education, University of London
  • Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

Courses taught

  • Module leader for EDUC2322 Music in the Life of the Primary School
  • Module leader for EDUC2323 Computer Programming as a Tool for Learning
  • Module leader for EDUC2325 Technological Transformations in Learning
  • Module leader for EDUC3320 Education and the Arts
  • Supervisor for EDUC3304 Dissertation
  • Module tutor for PERF3027 Education and Performing Arts
  • Module tutor for PERF5005 Education and the Arts

Honours and awards

  • June 1998 The Worshipful Company of Musicians prize for the outstanding undergraduate dissertation in music technology.
  • June 1998 The Worshipful Company of Mercers prize for outstanding performance in the undergraduate final year.
  • September 2000 ESRC advanced course competition studentship and bursary for MA study.
  • July 2006 Shortlisted for the Microsoft Outstanding E-Learning Practitioner, Department for Education and Skills STAR Award.
  • July 2012 Schoolteacher Fellow Commoner, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge.
  • May 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Membership of external committees

  • Elected member of the Musicians' Union Teachers’ Section Committee 2016-18

Conference attendance

Recent conference presentations include:

Purves, R. (2017). Geospatial analysis techniques and digital mapping for music research. Paper presented at the Symposium for Digital Musicology, 1 September 2017, Senate House, University College London [Available at: https://youtu.be/xUUZKsc2rUI?list=PLWeWxth3ChujkiGr3YM-kPhhwU5Mymhl3&t=1].

Purves, R. and Pulsford, M. (2017). Investigating the experiences of initial teacher education applicants and course providers during the 2015-16 recruitment cycle: a policy in to practice case study. Institute for Education Futures Seminar, De Montfort University, 3rd May 2017.

Purves, R. (2017). Music and Maps. Invited lecture given at the DMU Cultural Exchanges Festival, De Montfort University, Leicester, 1st March 2017.

Purves, R.(2016). Mapping Musical Inclusion. Paper presented at the Access, Inclusion and Community. In: Music Education Symposium, De Montfort University, December 8th 2016.

Purves, R. (2016) ‘The Ten Percent’: young people’s access to local authority music service tuition in England - findings from a historical documentary analysis. Paper presented at the History of Education Annual Conference (Sight, Sound and Text in the History of Education), 18-20 November 2016, Abbey Hotel, Worcestershire.

Purves, R. and Pulsford, M. (2016) What can we learn from the experiences of Education Studies students who applied for postgraduate initial teacher education programmes in 2015-16? Paper presented to the Great Ideas for Student Employability 2: DMU Mini-conference, 8th June 2016, De Montfort University Leicester.

Purves, R. and Pulsford, M. (2016). Undergraduate Education Studies students’ experiences of applying for postgraduate Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes in 2015/16. Paper presented at the 7th Teacher Education Advancement Network Annual Conference, 5th-6th May 2016, Aston University, Birmingham.

Purves, R. (2016). ‘‘The Ten Percent’: Young people’s access to publicly-funded instrumental music tuition in England: findings from an idiographic geographical case study’, in G.B. Palheiros & B.W. Leung (Eds.), International Society for Music Education Research Commission Seminar Proceedings, 18 – 22 July 2016, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, London, UK


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