Institute of Education


Q&A with Hans Svennevig

Hans is a Lecturer (Teaching) and is the Subject Leader for the Citizenship PGCE.

    What is the focus of your research, and what benefits do you hope your discoveries or insights will bring?

    I am particularly interested in the combination of citizenship education and disaster preparedness education, and have already had research published and presented in these areas, for example when considering the role of the Prevent Duty in education.

    Ultimately my intention with any research I do is to improve the quality of my teaching and the impact of education on wider society. As well as this I am involved in a number of projects in Citizenship education and peace education.

    I frequently co-edit and write for Teaching Citizenship journal – this is a non-academic journal that works to promote, represent and engage members of the Association for Citizenship Teachers, giving opportunities of teaching ideas and support to student teachers as well.

    What attracted you to take up your position at the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)?  

    The IOE is the largest provider of PGCE Citizenship in the country, it has an outstanding reputation and a very large alumni – it is a centre of excellence for Citizenship initial teacher education and academic output. The opportunities to develop student teachers and in turn progress and develop my own skills are endless.

    The IOE is in a centrally strategic location for education, for connections and networks with other citizenship providers and academics from across the world and to make links with the Association for Citizenship Teaching subject association to further and develop the subject.

    Working at the IOE connects Citizenship colleagues together and enables a wide rich network of opportunities for new student teachers whether that is online or in person, bringing out the perfect experiences and opportunities for a rich citizenship curriculum."

    What were you doing before that?

    I was an Academic Leader Professional Studies; I led and managed post-16 teacher training, degrees in Business pathways, Criminology, Psychology, and Social Justice pathways and Law pathways. Previously I have been Head of Department for Citizenship in both a school and a large FE college. I have led a team in the charity sector creating resources and workshops and I have worked abroad.

    What's the most important thing you've learned from your students about the subjects you teach? 

    We are often faced with a world with exceptionally complicated challenges, the pandemic brought to light many issues which in the citizenship education community we have been working to improve outcomes or reduce inequality throughout our careers. Through every step, I am struck with the way in which students at all levels of education have hope for the future, working together with people from a range of different communities to improve the lives of others.
    They teach me that;

    1. Being idealistic is important and should be encouraged. Being idealistic with realistic expectations drives us all to be better, to inspire others and to grow whether that be academically, practically in work or in our own ambitions and individual goals.
    2. Having big dreams and working step by step through local community grassroots organising and meeting and connecting with a wide range of different people has an enormous impact on the world, this work often starts in schools.
    3. Now seeing student teachers enthuse practical engagement and hopeful agency in their own students is empowering – seeing the plans in action is awe-inspiring.

      What do you most enjoy about your position and why?

      Teaching has always been the most enjoyable part of the role, guiding and learning student teachers and seeing their growth and enthusiastic and passionate excitement in providing opportunities for their own students. Helping student teachers through pedagogy and practical teaching challenges and seeing them achieve. Citizenship education empowers young people from all backgrounds and identities with political, economic and media literacy, critical skills needed to make a difference and participate in society.

      What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

      1. Becoming the Subject Leader of PGCE Citizenship here at the IOE in 2019, and seeing a 110% increase in applications over the last two years.

      2. Contributing to and having research published and presented in citizenship education and peace education.
      3. Being co-editor of Teaching Citizenship Journal the subject association journal for the Association for Citizenship Teachers.

      What other subjects outside of your area of specialism interest you?

      Philosophy and Computing.

      What would it surprise people to know about you?


      I love trying food, I’ll try anything twice… once is never enough – for example bamboo worms. I love walking alone even in the rain…maybe especially in the rain. I have a range of very strange experiences and chance encounters, ask me and I’ll let you know one. Like when I had a brief job in the music industry.

      Is there anything else you'd like to add about your experiences at UCL?

      It’s a vibrant community of learning and doing – I wish we all had enough time to learn and do more!