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Ellen Bishop

MGS Alumna

Postdoctoral Innovation Fellow (passed PhD viva in November 2022)

Thesis Title: Geographies of School Pupils who Speak English as an Additional Language (EAL)

The research examines the education of pupils who speak English as an additional language (EAL) and how languages and multilingualism are negotiated across and within school spaces. A lack of existing scholarship on language, and EAL more specifically, within geography presents a gap in which this thesis intends to address.

The research utilises data from ethnographic fieldwork in a secondary school in the English Midlands where I undertook the role of a Teaching Assistant (TA) one day a week for a year to become immersed in the everyday lives of EAL pupils and the staff who teach and support them. Ethnographic fieldwork was followed by 37 interviews
with teachers and educators from different schools across the UK, providing wider context around the teaching and support provision for EAL pupils in schools with different demographics and practices.

Through analysis of research data, I argue that the spatialities and geographies of schools impact the way that EAL pupils and their learning and emotional needs are positioned and provided for, and more broadly how languages and multilingualism are negotiated across school spaces. This research contributes a new empirical area to the geographies of education sub-discipline around EAL education. Theoretically, the spatial and scalar lens used within this investigation of EAL pupil education contributes an enhanced understanding of the impact of the spatialities and geographies of schools, whilst also contributing a more nuanced understanding of the reciprocal relationship between space and language.

This thesis also contributes to the geographies of multiculturalism, where, in existing scholarship, there is minimal reference to language despite being an identity characteristic that contributes to
ethnicity and culture, through placing language as central in shaping young people
educational encounters.


Ellen Bishop is a Postdoctoral Innovation Associate at the University of Leicester funded by the ESRC IAA. She submitted her PhD thesis at the University of Leicester, funded by the ESRC MGS, in September 2022 and passed her PhD viva in November 2022. Ellen is the Convenor of the Critical and Creative Geographies Research Group meetings at the University of Leicester. She has published her work in Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, and Child Abuse and Neglect, and has an upcoming chapter in the Concise Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Elgar Encyclopedias in the Social Sciences series) in press.


Dobbins, K., Adams, N., Bishop, E., Ismayilli, M., Papadopoulou, M., Phillips, M., Tauchner, N., van Wessem, E., and Watkins, J (2021) The power of peers in GTA development of practice: evaluation of an equal-status teaching observation project, Compass: Journal of Learning and Teaching, 14(2): 1-18.

Katz, C., Varela, N., Korbin, J., Najjar, A., Cohen, N., Bérubé, A., Bishop, E., Collin-Vézina, D., Desmond, A., Fallon, B., Fouche, A., Haffejee, S., Kaawa-Mafigiri, D., Katz, I., Kefalidou, G., Maguire-Jack, K., Massarweh, N., Munir, A., Munoz, P., Priolo-Filho, S., Tarabulsy, G., Thembekile Levine, D., Tiwari, A., Truter, E., Walker-Williams, H., and Wekerle, C. (2022) Child protective services during COVID-19 and doubly marginalized children: International perspectives, Child Abuse & Neglect,

Bishop, E. (2022) Right where we belong: how refugee teachers and students are changing the future of education (Book Review), Educational Review, opens in a new window

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Human Geography

University of Leicester

2017 Cohort, 1+3


Supervisory Team

Dr Katy Bennett

Prof Peter Kraftl

Dr Claire Jarvis