Edinburgh Research Explorer

Gillean McCluskey

Personal Chair of School Exclusion and Restorative Practice

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Education, Univ Edinburgh, Moray House Sch Educ
Exclusion from school

Professional Qualifications

1991General Teaching Council Scotland , GTCS
1989Post-graduate Certificate in Education (Secondary English), PGCE (Secondary)

Area of Expertise

Research expertiseExclusion from school, Restorative Approaches in education


  • PhD (Edinburgh University) 2004
  • PGCE (Secondary) (English) (Jordanhill College, Glasgow 1989-1990
  • Diploma in Housing Studies (Part 11) Glasgow University 1985-1987
  • MA (Hons) General (Edinburgh University) 1981-1985

In recent years, Gillean McCluskey's 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. Her 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.  Her 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. She is currently working on an ESRC funded Large Grant on school exclusion (2019-2023) with colleagues at Oxford, Cardiff and Queen's, Belfast, www.education.ox.ac.uk/research/excluded-lives 

Current Research Interests

  • Exclusion from school
  • Troubled and troublesome pupils and behaviour
  • Restorative Approaches in school
  • Relationships between youth crime and education

Current Research Interests

Current Project

Political Economies of School Exclusion in the UK.  (Co-Investigator) ESRC large grant, 2019-2023  https://www.ed.ac.uk/education/rke/centres-groups/creid/projects/political-economies-sch-exclusion-uk

Recent projects

  • Understanding learner progress in special schools (Principal Investigator) City of Edinburgh Council, 2013-2014.
  • 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 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.


  • Children and young people at risk and in trouble (home, school, community)
  • Exclusion and Disaffection from School
  • Restorative approaches in Schools
  • Behaviour and relationships

Current PhD students supervised

  • Jaye Ware - Young people's perspectives on gender and sexual diversity in Scottish high schools
  • Brendan Kwiatowski - masculinities and young men in high school

Past PhD students supervised to completion

  • Sujin Yoon - North Korean refugee students successes and challenges in alternative school settings (2019)
  • Jenestar 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

Research outputs

  1. Exclusion from school in Scotland and across the UK: Contrasts and questions

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. "Not much I can do, he’s got ADHD"

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

View all (64) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Exclusion: A four nations study Edinburgh seminar

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  2. The role of schools in ending violence in childhood.

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  3. Quality and Equality: Building Social Capital in Schools

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

View all (17) »

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