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Dr Burgess' primary research focus is the impact of selective practices on the learning experiences and destinations of moderately attaining students in school sixth forms. As part of this, she is interested in the ways in which schools enact government policies on access to HE within a marketised system, and how Bourdieusian concepts may be applied to help theorise school practices and student and teacher agency.

Dr Burgess has become increasingly interested in the lack of comprehensive careers advice in school sixth forms and how this impacts on the quality of support given to students applying to non-Russell Group universities and alternatives to university.

While studying for her doctorate, Dr Burgess was awarded an ESRC-funded internship with Comprehensive Future, a group which campaigns to end the 11-plus and for fairer school admission. Her research into the educational outcomes of selective and non-selective education in two English counties was published as A Tale of Two Counties (Comprehensive Future and King’s College London, 2016).

Dr Burgess continues to campaign for comprehensive education and was elected Chair of Comprehensive Future in November 2018.

Before studying for her doctorate, Dr Burgess taught English at secondary level. Before teaching, she had a variety of jobs, including a significant period managing a community theatre project working with disadvantaged young people.

Research interests

  • Bourdieusian approaches to theorising school practices and teacher agency
  • School sixth forms
  • The UCAS application process
  • Post-16 subject choosing
  • Post-16 transitions


Dr Burgess teaches on  Critical Perspectives on Education, a core module of the MA Education programme. She also supervises Master’s dissertations.