IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Ability, inequality and post-pandemic schools

02 December 2021, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Primary pupil completing school work. Image: Jessica Lewis via Pexels

In this talk, Professor Alice Bradbury will launch her recent book 'Ability, inequality and post-pandemic schools: Rethinking contemporary myths of meritocracy'. The event will explore the key issues in young children's education and how they could be reimagined in a post-pandemic world.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (HHCP)

The COVID-19 pandemic closed schools but this hiatus provided an opportunity to rethink the fundamental principles of our education system.

This event will explore the main themes of Professor Bradbury’s 2021 book ‘Ability, inequality and post-pandemic schools: Rethinking contemporary myths of meritocracy’. It will focus on how the pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink the education system’s assumption of ability to be measurable and innate, and how this myth of meritocracy reinforces educational inequalities.

Drawing on a project dealing with ability-grouping practices, Professor Bradbury analyses how the recent educational developments of datafication and neuroscience have revised these ideas about how we classify and label children, and how we can rethink the idea of innate intelligence as we rebuild a post-pandemic schooling system. 

Professor Carol Vincent will provide a response to the book and there will also be a Q&A session.

This event will be of particular interest to primary school teachers, early years practitioners, senior leadership teams, researchers, academics and policymakers.

Related links

About the Speaker

Professor Alice Bradbury

Professor of Sociology of Education at UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Alice is also Co-Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11 years).

More about Professor Alice Bradbury