Professor Gillean McCluskey

Deputy Head of School (Faculty), Moray House School of Education and Sport; Interim Director, Centre for Research in Education, Inclusion and Diversity (CREID)


In recent years, my research, teaching and writing has focused on two related fields of endeavour: a) restorative practices in education and b) exclusion from school. Restorative practices (RP) examines relationships and conflict in school and represents a rapidly developing field of international interest. My own involvement in this area arises out of a professional and academic interest in, and concern about, the experiences of  children and young people who experience exclusion. Underpinning these interests is a concern more broadly about inequalities in education.  My work aims to contribute to understanding of the impact of inequalities in education by advancing first, our understanding of exclusion from school and, secondly, the role that RP may have to play in this. I have worked in mainstream schools and alternative settings with young people in trouble and at risk in the past, and maintain a close interest in the lived experiences of schooling, and the importance of listening to young people.


  • PhD (Edinburgh University) 
  • PGCE (Secondary) (English) (Jordanhill College, Glasgow 
  • Diploma in Housing Studies (Part 11) Glasgow University 
  • MA (Hons) General (Edinburgh University) 

Postgraduate teaching

  • Children and young people at risk and in trouble (home, school, community)
  • Exclusion and disaffection from school
  • Restorative approaches in schools
  • Inter-agency work with children and young people at risk or in trouble
  • Listening to children and young people

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome enquiries about supervision on topics related to my areas of interest.

Current PhD students supervised

Brendan Kwiatkowski - Experiences of  'Healthy Masculinities' in high school

Neil Hume - Positive transitions for all: Using action research to improve. how practitioners support young people at risk of making a poor transition from primary to secondary school in Scotland 

Jian Liao - Social justice for migrant pupils in urban China:  a case study

Past PhD students supervised

  • Sujin Yoon (2019) North Korean refugee students successes and challenges in alternative school settingsJenestar Wanjiru (2016) The experiences of head teachers in improving retention of vulnerable children in primary schools in Kenya
  • Geetha Marcus (2016) Improving understanding of the experiences of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland
  • Kevin Wright (2015) How do classroom assistants in Scottish schools negotiate identities?
  • Jessica Pei Wen Chong (2014) Discourses, Decisions, Designs: an international comparative analysis of “special” educational policymaking

Project activity

  • Public Inquiry on Covid-19 in Scotland. (Jan-Dec 2023) The delivery of education and certification: the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people: Phase 2 Overview. Project lead.
  • Public Inquiry on Covid-19 in Scotland. (Jan-Dec 2023) The impact of Covid-19 on children and young people in relation to learning and academic progress in general, known benefits and disadvantages of online learning. Project lead.
  • Public Inquiry on Covid-19 in Scotland. (Jan-Dec 2023) The impact of Covid-19 school closures and changes to support packages on pupils with additional support needs. Project lead.
  • Scottish Institute for Policing Research. (2023-2024) Policing after Lockdown: re-building relationships with the Covid Generation. Co-I. 
  • Public Inquiry on Covid-19 in Scotland. (2022). The delivery of education and certification: the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people: Phase 1. Project lead.
  • ESRC IAA. (2022-2023) Covid-19, education and adolescent mental health: translating research evidence into teacher practice. Co-I. 
  • Chief Scientist Office. (2020). In isolation instead of in school (INISS): vulnerable children’s experiences of Covid. PI. 
  • ESRC. (2019-2024) Political economies of school exclusion and its consequences. Co-I. Scotland lead. 
  • John Fell Fund, University of Oxford. (2017-2018) Exclusion from school: a four nations study. Scotland lead. 
  • ESRC GCRF. (2017-2018). Counting Every Child in: Promoting inclusive and quality education for disabled children in China. Co-I. 
  • University of Edinburgh Challenge Investment Fund. (2016-17)Exploring the intersections of violence in childhood, learning outcomes and educational practices: Towards a new conceptual model. Co-I. 
  • City of Edinburgh Council. (2103-14)Understanding learner progress in special schools. PI.
  • European Union. (2012-15) Youth Justice in Western Europe and the Baltic States (researcher) 
  • Welsh Government (2012-13)Exclusion and Education Provision for Children and Young People Educated Outside School. PI.

Current project grants

Political Economies of School Exclusion

View all 71 publications on Research Explorer