Professor Gillean McCluskey

Co-Director of Research, REF 2021 Co-ordinator, Moray House School of Education and Sport


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

  • The Delivery of Education and Certification: the impact of Covid-19 on  children and young people, Scottish Public Inquiry on Covid-19, 2022
  • In isolation instead of in school (INISS): Vulnerable young people’s experiences of COVID-19 and effects on mental health and education, CSO, May-Oct 2020
  • Political Economies of School Exclusion in the UK, ESRC,  2019-2023
  • Exclusion from School: A four nations study, John Fell Fund 2017-18
  • Exploring the intersections of violence in childhood, learning outcomes and educational practices: Towards a new conceptual model 2016-17

  • Understanding learner progress in special schools (Principal Investigator) City of Edinburgh Council, 2013-2014.
  • Youth Justice in Western Europe and the Baltic States (researcher) European Union, 2012-2015
  • Exclusion and Education Provision for Children and Young People Educated Outside School  (Principal Investigator) Welsh Government, 2011-2013
  • Theory, policy and practice in behaviour management (Principal Investigator) Moray House School of Education, 2011.
  • Muslim families experience of education in England and Scotland (researcher). Centre for the Study of Islam, University of Edinburgh, 2010-2012.
  • Confident Staff, Confident Children;  the impact of staff training on emotional health and wellbeing in schools (Principal Investigator) City of Edinburgh Council, 2011.
  • Behaviour in Scottish Schools 2009 (researcher) Scottish Government, 2009.
  • Restorative Practices in Scottish Schools: Follow-up (Co-investigator) Scottish Government, 2008.
  • Additional Support for Learning: School Staff Survey (Principal Investigator) City of Edinburgh Council, 2008.
  • Evaluation of Development of Restorative Approaches in Falkirk (Co-investigator) Falkirk Council, 2008.
  • Restorative Practices in Educational Settings 2004-2006, (Researcher) Scottish Government.
  • Restorative Practices in Scottish and South African Schools, (Principal Investigator) Royal Society of Edinburgh, 2008.
  • Outcomes for Excluded Pupils, (Researcher) Department of Children, Schools and Families, 2006-2009.
  • Religious Education in Multicultural Societies, (Researcher) European Union, 2006- 2009.

Current project grants

Political Economies of School Exclusion
In isolation instead of in school (INISS): Vulnerable young people’s experiences of COVID-19 and effects on mental health and education

View all 71 publications on Research Explorer