Dr Helen E Lees

Position: Reader in Alternative Education Studies
Tel: 0121 476 1181 (Ext. 1436)
Email: H.Lees@newman.ac.uk


Helen's teaching and research activity centre on education seen from an alternative perspective. From this emerges work linked to a variety of topics such as home education, democratic schooling, educational theory, education studies, silence, sexuality, attachment, democratic societies as understood at the personal level and morality.

Helen's PhD (2011, University of Birmingham) was on the discovery of educational alternatives by adults: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/1570/1/Lees11PhD.pdf. She has worked as a Research Fellow in Educational Theory at the University of Stirling (2010-2013) and since 2014 is part of the Multi-Professional Practice team, School of Education, Newman University - where she teaches across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. This includes acting as the Truth, Knowledge and Values module leader for the EdD programme at Newman: /higher-degree-courses/4462/doctor-of-education-edd.

If you would like supervision by Helen in areas linked to her own research, please contact her directly to discuss your project.


BA Hons Philosophy


PhD Education, University of Birmingham

Teaching Interests

Education studies (multi-disciplinary, esp. philosophy and theory), alternative education, silence, sexuality

Research Interests

  • Education (broadly conceived)
  • Alternative education
  • Silence
  • Spirituality
  • Sexuality
  • Adoption
  • Morality

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Alternative Education Resource Association (AERO)
  • Philosophy of Education Society (PESGB)
  • European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC)
  • Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE)
  • Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS)
  • Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)

External Roles

  • Co-convenor with Dr Max Hope of Alternative Education Special Interest Group (SIG), British Educational Research Association.
  • Co-Editor with Professor Michael Reiss of Palgrave Studies in Alternative Education book series, Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Founding Editor-in-Chief of Other Education - the online open access journal of alternative education. www.othereducation.org

Publications (Books)


Lees, H. E. (2014). Education without schools: Discovering alternatives. Bristol: Policy Press.

Lees, H. E. (2012). Silence in schools. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. (Now part of IoE Press, London)

Book Chapters

Lees, H. E., (2016). Educational Mutuality. In H. E. Lees and N. Noddings (Ed.). Palgrave International Handbook of Alternative Education. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Lees, H. E. & Nicholson, F. (2016). Home Education in the United Kingdom. In Gaither, M. (Ed.) The International Handbook of Home Education. Wiley, US.

Lees, H. E. (2013). Alternative education in Scotland. In W. Humes & T. Bryce (Eds.), Scottish Education. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.

Lees, H.E. (2013). Is the idea of compulsory schooling ridiculous? In M. Phaspastonou (Ed.). Philosophical Perspectives on Compulsory Education. Dortrecht: Springer.

Encyclopaedia Entries

School Violence. (2015). In Encyclopaedia of Public Administration and Public Policy, (Eds. M. Dubnick & D. Bearfield). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Books Edited

Trotman, D, Lees, H.E & Willoughby, R. (2017). Key concepts in educational studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

Lees, H. E. and Noddings, N. (Eds.). (2016). The Palgrave International Handbook of Alternative Education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.  

Publications (Journal Articles)

Lees, H. E. (2016). Choosing silence for equality in and through schooling. FORUM, 58(3), 399-406.

Lees, H. E. (2016). Hanging around, pottering about, chilling out: Lessons on silence and well-being from Summerhill School. International Special Issue on Summerhill.  Revista Hipotese, (Sao Paolo, Brasil), 2.?

Lees, H. E. (2012). Is R.S. Peters’ way of mentioning women in his texts detrimental to philosophy of education? Some considerations and questions. Ethics and Education, 7(3), 291-304.

Lees, H. E. (2012). A politics of the other in education. Other Education – the journal of educational alternatives, 1(1), 130-140.

Publications (Mainstream Articles)

Learn to love theory to find joy in your practice. (15 April, 2016). Times Educational Supplement (1,800 word feature article)

Research Intelligence (British Educational Research Association, Spring 2015) A new SIG for Alternative Education, H. Lees.

Research Fortnight (9 Apr, 2014) - Get limited to get free, article on researchers setting up their own limited companies, H. Lees.

Times Higher Education (30 January, 2014) - The Boss of Me Ltd, opinion article on applying research to industry via consultancy, H. Lees

Research Europe - "Voice? What voice?" (Dec 2013) on researcher experience by H. Lees.

Times Educational Supplement (20/27 Dec, 2013) – Environment of trust: Break down barriers so that students feel able to share problems, by H. Lees

Times Higher Education (23 Aug, 2013) - Quiet Revolution: Using silence effectively in the university classroom is a growing art with pedagogical benefits, article by H. Lees.

Times Education Supplement PRO magazine – lead 2,000 word practitioner-focused article on silence in schools: ‘Strong silence is a sound strategy’ 11 January, 2013 by H Lees.

Publications (Conference Papers)

Lees, H. E. (2011, March). Philosophy of education at the edge of the world: The concept of education revisited... Proceedings from: Philosophy of Education Society Great Britain, annual Oxford conference. Retrievable from  https://www.academia.edu/548714/Philosophy_of_education_at_the_edge_of_the_world_the_concept_of_education_revisited..

Lees, H. E. (2008, July). The democratic school meeting and Foucault’s ‘Care of the Self’: Technologies of the self in practice for purpose. In C. Corcoran, N. MacNab, E. Lucas-Gardiner & W. Milner (Eds.), proceedings from Privatising Education, Privatising Education Research, Privatising Education Policy. Birmingham: University of Birmingham, School of Education

Lees, H. E. (2007, July). A perspective on established debates within educational research. Is an alternative ontological foundation available? In C. Corcoran, N. MacNab, E. Lucas-Gardiner & W. Milner (Eds.), proceedings from Understanding Education Research: Principles and Practice. Birmingham: University of Birmingham, School of Education.


Commentary appearance in Transcendental Media Film Co (Los Angeles), The Pursuit of Silence film. Trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64c_1MtQUlM Website here: http://pursuitofsilence.com/home

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