Skip to content

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: http://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 

  • Geospatial analysis techniques and digital mapping for music research
    Geospatial analysis techniques and digital mapping for music research Purves, Ross Maps help us make sense of people and landscapes around us. Music can do the same. Recent developments in digital mapping, geographical information systems and geospatial analysis, together with increased access to large, fine-resolution ‘geocoded’ datasets, are transforming environmental, social and economic research. Over the past decade, there has been a small, but growing application of these techniques within the fields of music making, music education and music research. This presentation will offer an overview of some of these developments as a whole. It will go on to offer specific examples of geospatial analysis techniques which, it is hoped, may be applicable to a wide range of music-related research fields. These will include location quotients, tests for spatial autocorrelation and distinct distributions, and geographically weighted regression. I will discuss how these techniques can be applied using open-source software and freely-available census, government and cartographic data. Case study examples will be drawn from ongoing research exploring geographical, socio-economic and familial influences on young people’s ability to access instrumental music tuition. I will argue that geospatial techniques such as these can help us understand aspects of musical behaviour and highlight inequities in musical participation. This presentation can be viewed on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/xUUZKsc2rUI?list=PLWeWxth3ChujkiGr3YM-kPhhwU5Mymhl3&t=1 This presentation can be viewed on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/xUUZKsc2rUI?list=PLWeWxth3ChujkiGr3YM-kPhhwU5Mymhl3&t=1
  • Assessing the impact of neo-liberal educational policy on local authority music services 1988-2011
    Assessing the impact of neo-liberal educational policy on local authority music services 1988-2011 Purves, Ross Local authority music services have held a central place in our music education landscape for many decades. Nonetheless, this provision has always been a non-statutory responsibility and local levels of opportunity have varied in response to prevailing economic and political climates, along with broader developments in educational policy. Throughout music services’ existence, concerns have been raised that some groups of pupils have been less able to access and sustain engagement with the instrumental tuition on offer. Historically, for instance, primary learners were less able to participate due to a focus on older pupils. This paper will explore the impact of two key policies enacted during the 1990s. Both were part of broader educational agendas regarded as strongly ‘neo-liberal’. The ramifications of both are still highly pertinent today. Firstly, the 1988 Education Reform Act led to extensive rationalisation and reorganisation: 'Local Management for Schools' and the granting of permission to charge for non-statutory activities meant that music services had to adapt to a newly-marketised operating context. Whilst evidence suggests that some services were able to extend their reach to greater numbers of schools and more diverse groups (particularly primary pupils), others were deemed ‘economically unviable’ and closed. Further services reduced provision or introduced higher charges to parents. Subsequently, as part of its wider educational and cultural policy agenda the New Labour Government introduced the ‘Music Standards Fund’ from January 1999. The intention was to ‘protect and expand’ remaining music service provision. My research suggests that in some ways, and in some places, music services were successful in applying the fund to address some long-standing hidden barriers to participation. Yet whilst the numbers of pupils participating increased overall, largely due to a mass-engagement scheme for Key Stage 2 pupils (‘Wider Opportunities’), other persistent inequities in young people’s opportunities to access and sustain engagement with this provision remained. This paper will consider what lessons might be learned from the implementation of both policies in the contemporary era of ‘Music Education Hubs’ – the successor organisations to local authority music services.
  • Investigating the experiences of initial teacher education applicants and course providers during the 2015-16 recruitment cycle: a policy in to practice case study.
    Investigating the experiences of initial teacher education applicants and course providers during the 2015-16 recruitment cycle: a policy in to practice case study. Purves, Ross; Pulsford, Mark
  • Music technology, education and maps: The use of geospatial technology and data to inform music education research
    Music technology, education and maps: The use of geospatial technology and data to inform music education research Purves, Ross Recent developments in geographical information systems and geospatial statistics, together with greater access to large, fine-resolution ‘geocoded’ datasets, are transforming environmental, social and economic research. Over the past decade, there has been a small, but growing application of these techniques within the fields of music making, music education and music research. This article begins by offering a brief overview of some of the developments as a whole. It goes on to offer a detailed treatment of a series of geospatial statistical techniques which, it is hoped, may be applicable within a wide range of music and music education research fields. These techniques are illustrated through references to a deviant idiographic case study dealing with instrumental tuition provided by one English local government area (local authority) between 2003 and 2010. The case study draws on analyses of detailed anonymised participant records (n = 6,063) using, amongst other techniques: location quotients, tests for spatial autocorrelation and distinct distributions, and ‘global’ and ‘local’ regression models. The paper will demonstrate how these techniques can be applied using open-source software and freely-available census, government and cartographic data.
  • Music and Maps
    Music and Maps Purves, Ross Maps help us make sense of people and landscapes around us. Music can do the same. Here Ross Purves (DMU) explores fascinating links between cartography and music. He will consider the map as a creative stimulus for music-making, as a tool for understanding musical behaviour and—drawing upon ongoing research—a means of highlighting inequities in musical participation. Introduced by Dr Barry Dufour, visiting Professor of Education Studies (DMU).
  • ‘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
    ‘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 Purves, Ross; Pulsford, Mark This paper reports on one phase of a research project examining the National College of Teaching and Leadership’s (NCTL) revised methodology for the allocation of postgraduate ITE places for the 2016-17 academic year. The paper’s focus is the often neglected voices of applicants as they negotiated this process, for whom this revised methodology ‘pilot’ year was their first and potentially only engagement with the ITE recruitment system, and doing so often represented a significant personal milestone on a life-long journey towards a career in the classroom. In all, 21 participants from a large Undergraduate Education Studies degree took part in focus groups or interviews during May and June 2016 about their experiences of applying and interviewing for a range of ITE routes and providers. The findings indicate the significance of (assumed) differences between University-based and School-based routes in shaping applicants’ perceptions of their experiences; the impact of the frenetic atmosphere generated by the ‘race’ to secure a place during this recruitment cycle; and applicants’ varied responses to providers’ tactics and reported ‘gaming’ of the system. Implications and recommendations for ITE providers are made, set briefly in the context of the ‘teacher recruitment crisis’ and the direction of travel for ITE provision. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the URI link
  • Mapping Musical Inclusion
    Mapping Musical Inclusion Purves, Ross
  • ‘The Ten Percent’: young people’s access to local authority music service tuition in England - findings from a historical documentary analysis
    ‘The Ten Percent’: young people’s access to local authority music service tuition in England - findings from a historical documentary analysis Purves, Ross Local authority music services have held a central place in the UK’s music education landscape ever since the Second World War. Many internationally-renowned British musicians have cited their local service for inspiration and support. Yet whilst there have undoubtedly been opportunities and resulting personal and professional successes for some, it is also acknowledged that these might have come at the expense of opportunities for the many. A commonly-repeated estimate over the years is that only around ten percent of the school population has been in receipt of local authority instrumental tuition at any one time. These services’ non-statutory status has meant that opportunities have varied in response to prevailing economic and political climates, broader developments in educational policy and changing conceptualisations of what we mean by music ‘making’ and ‘learning’. This paper will trace young people’s ability to access local authority music services over the past seventy years. It will describe some of the social, economic, political and geographical factors that have impacted—and may continue to impact—on the provision, take-up and perceived value of the available opportunities. ‘Hidden barriers’ to these opportunities will be also explored, e.g. family socio-economic status, parental vehicle ownership, geographical distance from teaching/rehearsing sites, instrument size and weight, professionals' perceptions regarding pupils’ home life and environment, school culture, and the ethnic/cultural background of pupils. The paper will offer conclusions on how this history might inform contemporary practice, now that music services have been reorganised into ‘music education hubs’ with a remit to maximise access, diversity and participation.
  • ‘The Ten Percent’: Young people’s access to publicly-funded instrumental music tuition in England: findings from an idiographic geographical case study
    ‘The Ten Percent’: Young people’s access to publicly-funded instrumental music tuition in England: findings from an idiographic geographical case study Purves, Ross This paper reports on research into the provision and take-up of publicly-funded musical instrument tuition by young people living in one English local government area (‘local authority’). A range of possible ‘hidden’ barriers to accessing this tuition have been explored, embracing geodemographic status, geographical distance between home and teaching sites, instrument size and weight, parental vehicle ownership, professionals' perceptions regarding pupils’ home location and environment, school culture, and ethnic/cultural background of participants. The case study local authority’s particular cultural and economic circumstances led to its instrumental music service receiving unparalleled levels of national government funding between 1998 and 2011. The then government’s intention for this funding was to address a perceived decline in schools’ instrumental tuition and to widen access. This came at a time of unprecedented political interest in all aspects of music making and learning. The provision of instrumental tuition within this particular district thus offers a valuable deviant, idiographic study of the impacts of this investment. Geocoded participant records and local-level data have been explored through the lens of spatial statistical analysis (e.g. location quotients, tests for spatial autocorrelation and distinct distributions, and local regression models). This paper offers a brief summary of some of the underlying geographical and socio-economic trends in patterns of access and participation that emerged over the period of time covered by the data.
  • What can we learn from the experiences of Education Studies students who applied for postgraduate initial teacher education programmes in 2015-16?
    What can we learn from the experiences of Education Studies students who applied for postgraduate initial teacher education programmes in 2015-16? Purves, Ross; Pulsford, Mark This presentation reports on research into the experiences of undergraduate Education Studies students who have applied for initial teacher education courses starting September 2016. In particular, we hope to offer indications of how various types of teacher training provision are viewed by prospective applicants and how those perceptions interact with the on-the-ground experiences of the selection and interview processes. We will offer generalised reflections on participants’ experiences that will be of benefit to colleagues working in other areas of DMU. Findings may also be used to encourage future candidates to reflect on their own position in relation to our findings.

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

Qualifications

  • 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

Ross-Purves-5295

Search Who's Who