IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: Bottom set citizen

29 April 2021, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Child doing maths work. Image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

This research seminar will explore how the epistemic injustice done to children in the bottom sets, produces a bottom set citizen.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Dr Bernie Munoz

There have been many uprisings around the world motivated by a sense of social injustice and ongoing oppression from the state.

However, some injustices are more difficult to acknowledge because they happen to children, the most vulnerable and disempowered group of all and in the very place designed for their welfare: school.

In this event, Paula Ambrossi will argue that by setting children by ability in UK classrooms (primary) and across the school (secondary), we inflict an epistemic injustice on them. 

Defined as ‘a wrong done to someone specifically in their capacity as a knower’ she will argue that epistemic injustice is suffered by those children segregated to the ‘bottom set’ as their academic horizons and broader knowledge base are restricted. 

She will explore how meritocratic practices compounded by latent imperial values may be responsible for schools continuing to group children by ability, regardless of mounting evidence suggesting its harm and ineffectiveness. 


  • Paula Ambrossi, Lecturer and PhD candidate at the Department of Learning and Leadership, UCL Institute of Education

DLL seminar series

The Department of Learning and Leadership (DLL) seminar series showcases ongoing research and brings the wider community together to discuss pressing research and policy-oriented issues of national and international concern.


Image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash