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Personal profile


Dr Agnieszka Bates is Associate Professor of Education at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning. Prior to joining the University of East Anglia, she worked in a variety of teaching, research and academic leadership roles at Froebel College, University of Roehampton and London Metropolitan University. Agnieszka is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (HEA) and in 2012 she was awarded a University of Roehampton Teaching Fellowship for 'excellence in teaching'. Her teaching experience also includes twelve years as a primary practitioner in London schools, performing the roles of class teacher, senior leader and teacher governor. Agnieszka holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Warsaw and an MA in English Literature and Language from King’s College London. Her doctoral research focused on the enactment of the National Strategies for primary education from the complex responsive processes perspective. Agnieszka's publications address issues relating to: education policy, educational leadership and management and complexity theory.

Agnieszka teaches and supervises across several programmes: MSc, MA, PhD and EdD. Between 2015 and 2018, she was a member of EDU Research Ethics Committee. Her responsibilities also include working in the role of EDU PGR Director and MSc Education Leadership and Management Course Director. 

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Dr Agnieszka Bates's research focuses on the dynamics of knowledge production, mediation and application from a critical perspective informed by complexity theory. The changing conceptions of professionalism in education and their philosophical underpinnings currently represent her other major area of enquiry.

Agnieszka is a member of the editorial board of the International Studies in Sociology of Education. Her contribution to the research community has also included acting as a Co-Convener of the Emerging Researchers' Conference (2014-2017) under the auspices of the European Educational Research Association (EERA).


Bates, A. 2020. ‘Swimming against the tide’: character education and the importance of recognitionResearching Education, 1(2).

Bates, A., Choi, T.-H. and Kim, Y. (2019) Outsourcing education services in South Korea, England and Hong Kong: a discursive institutionalist analysis, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03057925.2019.1614431.

Bates, A. (2019) Character education and the 'priority of recognition', Cambridge Journal of Education


Bates, A. (2018) Readiness for School, Time and Ethics in Educational Practice, Studies in Philosophy and Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-018-9643-2 (open access)

Bates, A. (2018) In Search of Bold Beginnings: ‘good early education’, ethics and moral responsibility, FORUM for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education, 60(3): 279-288.  http://www.wwwords.co.uk/forum/content/pdfs/60/issue60_3.asp

Bates, A. (2017) The management of 'emotional labour' in the corporate re-imagining of primary education in England, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 26(1): 66-81.

Bates, A. and Godoń, R. (2017) Tackling knowledge 'like a business'? Rethinking the modernisation of higher education in Poland. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 47(4): 454-467.

Bates, A. (2016) Transforming Education: Meanings, myths and complexity. London and New York: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138920132. 

Brady, N. and A. Bates (2015) The Standards Paradox: How quality assurance regimes can subvert teaching and learning in higher education, European Educational Research Journal, 15(2):155-174. doi:10.1177/0123456789123456.

Bates, A. (2015) Reculturing schools in England: how ‘cult’ values in education policy discourse influence the construction of practitioner identities and work orientations, Critical Studies in Education, 57(2): 191-208doi:10.1080/17508487.2015.1018289.

Bates, A. (2015) The curious case of 'trendy theory', training and targets in the reform of university-based teacher education in England, Kwartalnik Pedagogiczny (The Pedagogical Quarterly), 235(1): 113-126.

Bates, A. (2015) 'The Great Refusal'? A Marcusian response to the Bright Blue vision of education in the 'Big Society', Journal of Educational Administration and History, 47(4): 350-366. doi:10.1080/00220620.2015.996859.

Brady, N. and A. Bates (2014) The impact of marketisation on undergraduate curriculum in an English university: a Bernsteinian analysis, Pedagogická orientace, 24(6): 903–918.

Bates, A. (2014) Reflections from a tarnished mirror: an application of Alvesson and Sköldberg's 'reflexive interpretation' to a study of curriculum design in higher education, International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 37(3): 227-241.

Bates, A. (2013) (Mis)Understanding Strategy as a 'Spectacular Intervention': A Phenomenological Reflection on the Strategy Orientations Underpinning Education Reform in England, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 33(4): 353-367.

Bates, A. (2013) Transcending systems thinking in education reform: implications for policy makers and school leaders, Journal of Education Policy, 28(1): 38-54.

Bates, A. (2012) Transformation, trust and the 'importance of teaching': continuities and discontinuities in the Coalition government's discourse of education reform, London Review of Education, 10(1): 89-100.

Seminars, workshops and keynote lectures

Asssessment policy, 'readiness for school' and a complexity view of time, a paper presented at the 'Complexity and Education' symposium (Institute of Physics, Philosophy of Education SiG, BERA and Institute of Education, University College London), July 2017.

A complexity perspective on 'evidence-based' approaches to school improvement in England, a keynote presented at the Inaugural Meeting of the British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society (BELMAS) Research Student Community, University of Leicester, December 2015

When improvement becomes a 'cult value': the emergence of manipulative relations in the primary classroom and staffroom, Centre for Educational Research in Equalities, Policy and Pedagogy, University of Roehampton, London, January 2014 

On reflection and epistemology, the Faculty of Pedagogy, University of Warsaw, Poland, December 2013

'Moodle power': Designing Moodle Forum discussions for enhancing writing and research at Masters level, Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Roehampton, London, April 2013

Recent conference presentations

Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) 2018: Character education and the 'priority of recognition'

European Educational Research Association (ECER) 2017: Lessons in happiness and 'grit': character education in policy and practice. A paper presented in a symposium on 'Standardising education policy and practice in the global age: cases from England, China and South Korea'.

European Educational Research Association (ECER) 2016: Education policy and leadership research: a view from the ‘third window’.

British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS) 2016: The self-improving system: a complexity approach to unlocking improvement in the local primary school.

European Educational Research Association (ECER) 2015: Complex knowledge and the politics of complexity reduction in ‘evidence-based’ school improvement in England.

British Educational Research Association (BERA) 2015: Beyond educational excellence: leadership ‘styles’, the child and the priority of recognition.

International Sociology of Education Conference 2014: The management of 'emotional labour' and the spread of corporate imagination in English schools.

British Educational Research Association (BERA) 2014: Articulating the reflexive self: reflexivity in postgraduate curriculum.

British Educational Research Association (BERA) 2014: Instruction to 'outperform': education policy and the art of managing appearances.

European Educational Research Association (ECER) 2012: 'Tackling knowledge like a business': extending neoliberal higher education policies to Polish universities. A symposium paper.

British Educational Research Association (BERA) 2011: On transformation, trust and the 'importance of teaching': continuities and discontinuities in the Coalition Government’s discourse of education reform.

European Educational Research Association (ECER) 2011: Transcending systems thinking in education reform: implications for policy makers and school leaders.

Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) Conference 2011: From Recommendation 20 to PLTS: Exploring the epistemological origins, development and consequences of promoting reflection in secondary and higher education.

Areas of research supervision:

  • Education policy
  • Leadership and management in education
  • Curriculum design
  • Professionalism in education
  • Complex responsive processes theory
  • Critical discourse analysis

Teaching Interests

Agnieszka currently leads the following Master's modules:

  • Key concepts and approaches to education leadership, management and policy
  • Leading teaching, improving learning and global education reform
  • Public policy, strategic management and complexity
  • Leadership and Management in Education 

She has also led or contributed to the following modules:

  • Educational Theory and Practice (BA Education Year 1)
  • Debates, Controversies and Politics in Modern Education (BA Education Year 3)
  • Critical Reading (MA in Education: Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment)
  • An Introduction to Key Concepts and Ideas in Educational Practices (MA in Education: Learning, Pedagogy and Assessment)

Agnieszka supervises Master's and doctoral students in the areas of education policy, leadership and professionalism in education.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


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