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MA (Cambridge) Engineering, MA (London) Comparative Education, PGCE (London), PhD (London) Comparative Education


Professor David Turner has wide-ranging interests in the field of Education Studies. His book, Theory of Education, presented a novel approach to viewing education as a complex system, which is shaped by the choices that individuals within the system make. The book was very well received and won the World Education Fellowship Book Award in 2005/6. That book was followed by Theory and Practice of Education, published in 2007.

Professor Turner believes that the role of theory in education is to provide a coherent and stringent critique of policy, and by that means to provide a framework for improving educational institutions. He is critical of much current policy in education, including the desire to see institutions ranked in league tables. He is committed to the view that the education system needs to accommodate diversity in all its expressions. His work on university league tables is an effort to implement an approach that allows for diversity of mission in higher education.

He is currently working on a book which critiques the use of medical models in education which will be published in 2009. He is also preparing a volume on quality in higher education.


After graduating in engineering, Professor Turner became a science teacher in secondary schools for nine years, before moving into teaching in higher education. He has taught in a variety of higher education institutions, teaching comparative education at the University of London Institute of Education before moving to the School for Independent Study at the North East London Polytechnic. It was in the latter institution that he encountered a range of methods for engaging students in their own learning, and became interested in higher education pedagogy.

He took up his post a the University of Glamorgan in 1998, and has since had responsibility for a range of educational activities, including managing the MA in Educational Development, supporting curriculum development in the Learning and Teaching Office, and coordinating doctoral studies in the area of education.


Leadership in the field of education with particular reference to developing research in the subject, teaching on undergraduate, masters and doctoral programmes in education, administration of the doctorate in education, membership of committees with responsibility for quality assurance in research and also in the development of distance education and e-learning across the University.


  • Turner DA (2008). “The Education System of England and Wales”, in Steyn HJ and Wolhuter CC (eds) Education Systems: Challenges of the 21st Century, Noordbrug: Keurkopie Uitgewers, Chapter 8: 267-298.
  • Turner DA (2008). “World University Rankings”, in Baker DP and Wiseman AW (eds) The Worldwide Transformation of Higher Education, Bingley: JAI Press, Chapter 2: 27-61.
  • Turner DA (2007). Theory and Practice of Education, Continuum books, London.
  • Turner DA (2007) “Vygotsky and the History of the Development of Higher Mental Functions: What’s in a title?” in Kozuh, B, Kahn, R., Kozlowska, A. and Wolze, W. (eds.) New Paradigms and Methods in Educational and Social Research, Los Angeles, Graduate Education Initiatives, 53-62
  • Turner DA (2007) “If Globalisation, Decentralisation and Privatisation are the Answer, What was the Question?” in Educational Practice and Theory, Vol.29, No.1, 35-45
  • Turner DA (2007) “University Funding: Government steer for autonomous institutions” in Gokulsing, K.M. The New Shape of University Education in England: Interdisciplinary essays, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY, 49-64
  • Jones N, Connolly M & Turner DA (2006). E-learning: A fresh look. Higher Education Management and Policy, Vol 18(3): 135-146.
  • Turner DA (2005). Development, Globalisation and Decentralisation: Comparative research towards a theory for managing diversity", in Zajda J (ed) International Handbook on Globalisation, Education and Policy Research, Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Turner DA (2005). Benchmarking in Universities: League tables revisited. Oxford Review of Education, Vol 31(3): 353-371.
  • Turner DA (2005). Ten ways to misunderstand Dewey. New Era in Education, Vol 86(1): 2-6.
  • Turner DA (2004). Theory of Education, Continuum books, London.
  • Turner DA (2004). Alternative Structures for Lifelong Learning. New Era in Education, Vol 85(1): 14-15.
    *Turner DA (2004). Benchmarking Universities: The Canadian case. World Studies in Education, Vol 5(2)
  • Turner DA (2004). Privatisation, decentralisation and education in the United Kingdom: The role of the State. World Studies in Education, Vol 5: 347-357.
  • Turner DA (2004) “The Butterfly of Motivation: Two approaches to the theory of education” in Kozuh, B. Kahn, R. and Kozlowska, A., Theory, Facts and Interpretation in Educational and Social Research Los Angeles, Czestochowa, 45–52


  • Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) (1999-date)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2007-date)
  • Treasurer of the World Council for Comparative Education Societies (2000-date)
  • Chair of World Education Fellowship GB (1996-date)
  • Member of the British Association for International and Comparative Education (and member of the Executive Committee)
  • Member of the Comparative Education Society in Europe
  • Member of the Comparative and International Education Society


Professor Turner has acted as a consultant to a number of government bodies, including the Secretaria de Educacion Publica in Mexico, the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Slovak Republic, and the Government of Madrid.

He has been an invited lecturer in universities in the USA, Japan, Mexico, Australia and the Netherlands.


Professor Turner’s research deals with theoretical approaches to a number of areas of importance in education, including learning and teaching in higher education, education governance and finance, comparative education and progressive education. He is currently working on a book on cognition enhancing drugs; if we can believe that cognition enhancing drugs work, what else could we believe?

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