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Dr Ayo Mansaray

Dr Ayo Mansaray

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Lecturer in Sociology of Education & Policy

Research subject areas

  • Education


Prior to joining King’s Dr Ayo Mansaray was a lecturer and researcher in education at the University of East London, Brunel and London Metropolitan University. He is a sociologist of education, with interests in educational inequalities (particularly in urban contexts) – of race/ethnicity, gender and social class – and in understanding how urban social change inflects educational identities and processes. Ayo's work is informed by Bourdieusian concepts and concerns (including feminist developments and appropriations) with forms of social structuring. A further theoretical influence is the micro-sociological approach as represented by Erving Goffman, and more latterly Randall Collins, Frederick Erickson and Thomas Scheff, and their emphasis on social interaction as a locus of agency and processes of mutual influence.


Ayo's PhD thesis ‘The roles and positions of teaching assistants in two urban primary schools: An ethnographic study of educational work and urban social change’ won the Institute of Education Director’s Thesis Prize in 2013. He was the recipient of a Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 2013 which enabled Ayo to develop a comparative and international dimension to his research by visiting the USA and Finland. During the spring of 2016 he was a visiting scholar in the Department of Sociology, University of Porto. During spring and summer 2013, Ayo was a visiting scholar at The Paraprofessional Resource and Research Center, at the University of Colorado Denver; the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont; and the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Turku.

Ayo has worked on a range of large and politically-significant research projects evaluating education policies for funders such as the Department for Education, Ofsted, as well as smaller projects funded by charities and foundations. Broadly, his work has been in the following areas:

  • Gentrification and education
  • Urban schooling and educational policy and reform
  • Educational inequalities of race, gender and social class, in schooling and higher education
  • Theorising the roles and positions of teaching assistants in schools
  • The formation of educators’ identities, careers, and educational work
  • Young people’s educational trajectories and aspirations
  • Multilingual learners in an international context

As well as academia fora, Ayo is committed to disseminating his work to wider publics and working with policymakers and communities to bring about social change. A recent research project for the London Borough of Hackney has contributed to the ongoing development of their Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men policy initiative.

He is a member of the School’s Centre for Public Policy Research.  


Ayo is the Programme Director for the MA Education programme at KCL, and leads the core module Critical Perspectives on Education, for this MA. He also contributes to other modules in MA programmes across the School.

Further information

See Ayo's  Research Profile for details of his publications.