Helen Gunter and Lewis Entwistle

Lewis's thesis is entitled 'An investigation into building democratic values and practices through young people’s experiences of knowledge and learning in a sixth form college'.


Helen Gunter

What are the areas in which you most like to supervise?

I undertake research, teaching, and supervision in Education policy. I tend to focus on issues relating to the experience of what it means to be a professional in a setting subject to policy change. Educational contexts are in a permanent state of evolution, where research and theory can bring new understanding and meaning to these experiences and these contexts.

Why do you enjoy supervising Lewis?

There are a number of reasons. He is required to produce three papers of 10,000 words each, as well as a 50,000-word thesis. Over the past four or five years, he has demonstrated an ability to think in creative ways about what it means to be a professional. He is somebody who pushes the boundaries of the ways you can understand knowledge about and for practice. He has been innovative, for example, by incorporating methods such as photography.

Researching within your own organisation is a challenge, and he has handled this really well. For his thesis project, he is undertaking an ethnography of a staff group in order to look at how that group has facilitated staff participation. He is always thinking and developing as a researcher. Lewis is on track to make an excellent contribution to knowledge about how educational professionals operate in a dynamic policy context.


Lewis Entwistle

What's your research about?

I am investigating the democratic values and practices experienced by staff in a sixth form college in England. I'm asking questions such as 'how does the culture amongst staff develop?' and 'how does staff participation affect and influence issues of democracy?'. The broad topics of my research are leadership, power and control.

What's it like to be supervised by Helen at the Manchester Institute of Education?

It's great! I started in 2011 and Helen has been with me all the way. She has been consistent in her approach with me. She knows my weaknesses and steers me away from the pitfalls I open up for myself! She also knows how my ideas have developed over time and her advice and guidance is bespoke. I benefit immensely from her expertise in the areas of Leadership. Helen is highly regarded in her specialist fields but she has always maintained a down to earth approach with me, full of reassurance and sincere support.