Fiona Couper Kenney (PhD student)

Thesis title: How do children, parents and professionals understand school non-attendance? Exploring tensions in policy and practice in Scotland


I'm beginning this (part time) PhD research due to insider awareness of the lack of sufficient understanding and support of the education of children who do not attend school while being on the school roll. I am delighted to have been awarded the Principal's Career Development Scholarship in order to do this.  Having worked in other fields, I came to study education as a parent trying to find the best educational path for children who have experienced critical and chronic illness, and for those who are neuro diverse. I recognised that the information available to me, and to practitioners, was insufficient for planning successful inclusion in these circumstances, and I hope that this research contributes to better equip our system for all children.


MEd, Open University (2017)

PhD Speech Technology, University of Edinburgh (2008)

MSc Speech and Language Processing, University of Edinburgh (2002)

BSc Mathematics, University of London (2001)

Responsibilities & affiliations

Co-founder A24 Scotland

Mathematical mindsets tutor with Winning Scotland Foundation

BERA member

Research summary

I'm interested in constructions and experiences of non-attendance at Scottish Secondary schools. Having experienced a number of forms of non-attendance as a parent I became aware of the potential for non-attenders to provide insights into the current school system and am delighted to be supported to study this area. I am using a rights-based approach and will be conducting a mixed methods study in order to contribute to the better understanding of patterns and causes of attendance and non-attendance. 

Current research interests

School attendance, non-attendance, additional support needs, child rights.