Dr Janet Ramdeo

Dr Janet Ramdeo

Lecturer in Higher Education (Inclusive Education)
SIoE - Monday to Wednesday; EDI Team - Thursday and Friday

Academic and research departments

Surrey Institute of Education.


Areas of specialism

Teacher Education; 'Race' Equality; Inclusive Education

University roles and responsibilities

  • EDI Advisor (Race Equality)
  • Student Success Group
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Forum
  • Chair of the Inclusive Curricula Framework Working Group
  • Race Equality Charter (REC) Implementation Team

    My qualifications

    EdD - Professional Doctorate in Education
    MEd - Master of Education (with Distinction)
    MA - Professional Studies in Education (Leadership and Management)
    PGCE/QTS - Primary
    BA(Hons) - Modern European Studies

    Previous roles

    Senior Teaching Associate - Education Reform and Innovation (International)
    University of Cambridge
    Programme Leader: Employment Based Routes (Early Years, Primary and Secondary
    Initial Teacher Training) inc. School Direct (salaried)
    UCL Institute of Education
    Director of Employment Based Routes (ITT)
    London South Bank University
    Senior Lecturer in Education (Primary and Early Years)
    St. Mary's University, Twickenham

    Affiliations and memberships

    Advance HE
    Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). Awarded 2018.
    British Educational Research Association (BERA)
    SIG membership: Race, Ethnicity and Education, Social Justice, ECR Network.
    Conference Abstract Reviewer (2023).


    Research interests

    Research projects

    Indicators of esteem

    • April 2023- (current) - Quality Assessor for Office for Students

    • 2022/2023 (four-year tenure) - External Examiner for PGCE Primary Key Stages 2/3, Newcastle University (current)

    • 2019/2020 (three-year tenure) - External Examiner for PGCE Primary School Direct, Liverpool Hope University (complete)

    • April-June 2020 – External Advisor for the Periodic Review of Education Department portfolio (Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught, PGCE and International), University of Chichester (complete). 

    • Invited Guest Lecture: Black female teachers in white-dominated school spaces - Challenging normative views.  Lecture to the PGCE ITE cohort, London South Bank University, 22 September 2022.

    • Invited Guest Keynote Speaker (International): Teacher Development and Education in England: Initial Teacher Training and beyond, 2nd Annual EDU Forum, Jinan, Shandong Province, China, 20 May 2019.



    Ramdeo, J. (2012) Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) trainee teachers’ narratives on ‘difference’: voiced perspectives of self and identity, in Inman, S. and Rogers, M. (Eds) Holding on to our values: Teacher education for sustainable development and global citizenship, London: CCCI London South Bank University, pp. 18-32. ISBN: 978-0-946786-75-6.
    Ramdeo, J. (2011) Voiced perspectives on ‘difference: using narrative to examine lived experience of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) trainee teachers on an employment-based route’, in Inman, S. and Rogers, M. (Eds) Building Capacity for ESD/GC in times of change: 2011 Conference Proceedings, London: UK TE ESD/GC Network, pp. 100-105. ISBN: 978-0-946786-72-5.
    Six Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students currently on a Primary Graduate Teacher Training (GTP) training route were interviewed to examine their notions of 'difference'.  The modes identified by Brah (1996) to define 'difference' are used as the basis of the semi-structured interviews to produce narrative constructs.  The findings reveal a set of common themes which underpin the narratives and provide evidence for the need to address challenges face by, not only BME students on the training course, but pupils who experience a sense of 'difference' within schools. This pilot study focusses on ethnicity, although disability is also referred to.  
    Wang, T., Ramdeo, J. and McLaughlin, C. (2021) Experiencing and experimenting: An exploration of teacher agency in an international collaborative teacher professional development programme using experiential learning, Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 104.
    This paper investigated Chinese teachers' professional development in an experiential learning programme situated in a cross-cultural context and focused particularly on the role of teacher agency in the learning and localisation of foreign pedagogies. Analysis of interviews and classroom observations revealed the influence of experiential learning on deepening participants’ understanding of foreign experiences. It also highlighted the role of teachers as active agents in recontextualising overseas pedagogical practices in China, either by showing ambivalence towards changes or by developing transcultural pedagogies. The construction of their agency was related to their previous teaching experiences and learning of international perspectives on pedagogy.
    Ramdeo, J. (2021) The role of self-reflexivity in racialised researcher identity formation for research involving Black women educators: “Why are YOU researching US?”. EdD Colloquium, Oxford Brookes University, June 2021
    Who is best placed to research the lived experiences of Black women educators? The intricacies of researchers being ‘matched’ racially and/or ethnically and by gender, and the precariousness of assumed insider/outsider positionality when approaching potential research participants from Black communities gave me cause for thought and self-reflexivity through my research journey as a racialised researcher.  In the epistemological, methodological and political decisions entwined in interracial research, the location of power and the role of knowledge holders and constructors requires delicate navigation through the researcher/researched relational quagmire. My initial oversimplified and misplaced perceptions of insiderness, as a female racially minoritised educator, created a presumed ease of access to Black women educators as research participants and resulted in me being asked, “Why are YOU researching US?”.  Self-reflexivity, involving both self-monitoring and self-knowledge, therefore played a central role in considering the impact of multiple statuses, or ‘status sets’, on the methodological processes, how Black women educators were represented and who created knowledge about them for public consumption. Examining my researcher identity through a self-reflexive mirror repositioned me in the research process, reconstructed my researcher self-knowledge and enhanced my commitment to produce research outcomes which act to challenge normative stereotyped perspectives of Black women.  
    Wang, T. and Ramdeo, J. (2020) The role of teacher agency in internationalization of teacher education: A longitudinal enquiry about cross-country teacher professional development programme. BERA Annual Conference, September 2020
    Ramdeo, J. (2022) Racialised researcher reflexivity in research involving Black female teachers: “Why are YOU researching US?”, BERA ECR Network Symposium Series 2022 (Framing Research: Theories, Concepts and Reflexivity in Educational Research), October 2022
    Ramdeo. J. (2023) Gatekeeping of researcher positionality: should this be the norm in research with/on racially minoritised participants?, RMC 2023 (The London Institute of Social Studies Research Methodology Conference: Decolonising Research Methodologies and Methods), June 2023, Birkbeck University.
    In 2020, Dr Addy Adeleine and nine other Black academics, researchers, community representatives and professionals involved in research wrote an open letter to UKRI to highlight the inequalities in the award of £4.3 million to explore Covid-19 and its disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.  They noted that none of the funding was awarded to Black academic leads but that one member of the awards assessment panel was co-investigator on three of the six successfully awarded studies. They raised in their letter the apparent lack of critical reflection on the inherent systems, processes and power imbalances and questioned the balance of panelists who have specific specialism and training in race, ethnicity and inequality as an independent field of inquiry.  They further noted concerns presented by Black individuals, many of whom have repeatedly expressed a desire to challenge and study the impact of systemic and structural racism but are invisible when appropriate research funding is awarded.  In this situation, questions arise about who was gatekeeping the qualifications, backgrounds and particularly the positionality of the academic leads awarded this funding. Why did the awarding panel neglect to consider that “members of affected communities should be leaders in the response and not just be supportive voices within the research framework”?  What made the successfully awarded academic leads most suited to explore the experiences of racially minoritised communities when Black academic leads were bypassed? Gatekeeping in social science research is often associated with access to participants, particularly vulnerable, marginalised or minoritised communities, for data collection purposes (Aaltonen and Kivijärvi, 2019; Emmel et al, 2007; Singh and Wassenaar, 2016).  However, this paper raises the question of whether there should also be gatekeepers from conception to dissemination that ensure that researchers consider and articulate the researcher/researched power dynamics and ‘who they are’ in the research process involving these communities, particularly when there is not a match between the researcher and researched.  The ethical approval process will generally require researchers to consider power imbalances and whilst some ethnographic researchers explicitly express their positionality in the dissemination of their research, this is not consistent and the depth of reflexivity varies.  More problematic is the broader issue of who is being afforded the opportunities to conducted funded research with minoritised communities without gatekeeping whether they are justifying ‘who they are’ and what makes them the most appropriate researchers to conduct this research, as highlighted by the open letter to UKRI.  In research that specifically involves racially minoritised communities, locating the researcher in areas related to social and political contexts of the research and the researched group, including the impact of ‘race’ and ethnic differences or similarities, and researcher ontological and epistemological beliefs which influence their research are particularly pertinent.  Researcher positionality “reflects the position that the researcher has chosen to adopt within a given research study” (Savin-Baden and Major, 2013, p. 71), influencing how research is conducted, its outcomes and results.  Holmes (2020) notes that some aspects of positionality are considered fixed, such as social identities (gender, ‘race’/ethnicity, skin-colour, nationality) whilst other aspects are more fluid, subjective and contextual, such as political views and personal life experiences.  Fletcher (2010) notes that the researcher positionality, and specifically researcher biographies related to ‘race’ and/or ethnicity, problematises fieldwork and permeates all stages of the research – from “the questions they ask, to those that are ignored, from problem mutilation to analysis, representation and writing” (2010, p. 2).  Positionality is informed by reflexivity.  Reflexivity is the concept that researchers “should acknowledge and disclose their selves in research, seeking to understand their part in it, or influence on it” (Cohen et al, 2011).  Although much has been written about researcher positionality (Manohar et al, 2017; Milner, 2007, as examples), articulation of a researcher’s position relies on the researcher’s willingness to declare their ontological and epistemological standpoints in relation to the researched group, the importance researchers place on discussing this concept, the openness to be critiqued on researcher/researched differences and power structures which are presented or omitted in research outputs and who, if anyone, is asking them ‘who they are’ in relation to their researched community.  Although positionality statements are increasingly being included in outputs, not all researchers conducting studies with racially minoritised groups explicitly acknowledge their positionality.  Should this be a choice or an expected norm? Who could and should hold researchers accountable for acknowledging and disclosing their selves if the researcher themselves do not? I am a racially minoritised Early Career Researcher (ECR) but I was not ‘race’ matched to the Black women participants in my own research project.  During the research process and in disseminating my work, I experienced multiple forms of checks and balances through gatekeepers who forced me to robustly articulate my positionality and who I am in the research process, making the researcher biography inescapable.  Was this to authenticate my suitability to carry out research with Black communities in a way that the example of the UKRI failed to do?  This paper presents an autoethnographic perspective of the experiences of being asked four specific questions by a range of stakeholders through the research activity and publication process, acting as gatekeepers about my positionality.  I then raise the question of whether the practice of gatekeeping researcher positionality should be embedded in the research process with racially minoritised participants, from conception to dissemination, and who or what processes could potentially act as these gatekeepers.   Aaltonen, S. and Kivijärvi, A. (2019) Disrupting professional practices with research-driven intervention.  Researcher-gatekeeper negotiations in the context of targeted youth services, Qualitative Social Work, 18(4), pp. 621-637.  DOI: 10.1177/1473325018757080. Cohan, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. R. B. (2011) , London: Routledge. Emmel, N., Hughes, K. and Greenhalgh (2007) Accessing socially excluded people- Trust and the gatekeeper in the researcher-participant relationship, , 12(2) pp. 43-55.  DOI: 10.5253/sro.1512. Fletcher, T. (2010) “Being inside and outside the field”. An exploration of identity, positionality and reflexivity in inter-racial research, , Vol. 107, pp. 1-20. Holmes, A. G. D. (2020) Researcher Positionality – A Consideration of Its Influence and Place in Qualitative Research – A new Researcher Guide, , 8(4), pp. 1-10.  DOI: 10.34293/education.v8i4.3232. Manohar, N., Liamputtong, P., Bhole, S. and Arora, A. (2017) Researcher Positionality in Cross-Cultural and Sensitive Research, Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences, pp. 1-15.  DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-2779-6_35-1. Milner, H. R. (2007) Race, Culture, and Researcher Positionality: Working Through Dangers Seen, Unseen, and Unforseen, Educational Researcher, 36(7), pp. 388-400, DOI: 10.3102/0013189X07309471. Savin-Baden, M. and Major, C. H. (2013) , London: Routledge. Singh, S. and Wassenaar, D. R. (2016) Contextualising the role of the gatekeeper in social science research, South African Journal of Bioethics and Law, 9(1), pp. 42-46.  DOI: 10.7196/SAJBL.465.
    References:Research Methods in EducationSociological research onlineLeisure Identities and Authenticity (LSA Publication)International Journal of EducationQualitative Research: The Essential Guide to Theory and Practice
    Ramdeo, J. (2023) Black women educators’ stories of intersectional invisibility: experiences of hindered careers and workplace psychological harm in school environments, Educational Review (in production)
    Current research that specifically examines the racialised experiences of Black women school educators in England at different stages of their careers is scarce, creating a vacuum of understanding that can challenge barriers to their recruitment and retention.  This article focusses on how race and gender identities mutually and simultaneously hinder and harm Black women as education professionals and sustains their inferiority in the eyes of whiteness through intersectional invisibility.  Findings are drawn from personal stories of four Black women educators, shared through narrative inquiry methodology to illuminate ways in which androcentric and ethnocentric prototypical social group members maintain dominant power structures and reinforce the subordination of Black women educators as non-prototypical to manifest as experiences of invisibility and harm.  Individual stories illustrate experiences of the invisible/hyper-visible dichotomy impeding career progression, of undertaking invisible work, of assumptions about their legitimacy in school spaces and of wellbeing concerns.  From the standpoint of intersectionality’s ability to create critical citizenry, this article raises awareness of the need for action by senior leaders in English schools and beyond, to challenge and eliminate the intersectional invisibility experienced by their Black women staff.  Conclusions signpost to actions that can shape localised policy and practices to improve Black women educators’ experiences.  As Black women educators contribute to the success of underrepresented learner groups, there are significant institutional benefits to reducing Black women educator attrition, increasing representation at all levels and improving their wellbeing.