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Educational Disadvantage Centre

Staff Centre Members


Professor Paul Downes


The Centre Director is Professor Paul Downes 

The Centre has a number of Thematic Coordinators:

Dr Marie Flynn - Postgraduate Thesis and Social Inclusion in Education

My work for the Educational Disadvantage Centre at DCU Institute of Education has focussed on the areas on social inclusion and equality, with particular emphasis on identities and the education system. I have supervised postgraduate students at the Centre on areas such as: Traveller parental involvement in schooling; Roma education in Dublin; and the career aspirations of children attending DEIS schools. I have presented on social inclusion in initial teacher education to the Council of Europe (Education Department) on behalf of the Centre, and work closely with the Centre on postgraduate student intake and the award of fellowships (e.g most recently on the award of fellowships for teachers in Dublin North East inner city to undertake masters in poverty and social inclusion). I am committed to continuing work in the Centre across thesis supervision, representation at various national and international fora and in relation to student intake and interviews.

Dr Jones Irwin - Critical Theory and Community Development

Jones Irwin's teaching and research focus combines an emphasis on the symbiosis of theory and practice, or what Paulo Freire refers to as 'praxis'. This praxis dimension has been developed in his research work on Contemporary Philosophy of Education (especially books and papers on Critical Pedagogy and Leftist education) and his practical curriculum development (as seconded to NCCA, 2015-2019)  on pluralism in Community National primary schools. The Goodness Me Goodness You multi-belief and values curriculum in 29 CNS schools was developed with the inspiration of Freire's axiology of 'Ethics-Aesthetics-Spirit' and evolved into a four strand approach combining arts and values education alongside multi-belief and philosophical pedagogies.

Professor Anne Lodge - Applying Equality and Social Justice

Professor Anne Lodge's publications on equality and social justice in education include Equality and power in schools: Redistribution, recognition and representation (Lynch & Lodge 2004) and Diversity at school (Lodge & Lynch 2004). She has supervised postgraduate theses for the Educational Disadvantage Centre in areas including nurture rooms, Reconfiguration of Power in an Infant Classroom Setting and pupils experiences of DEIS schools . Her research interests pertain to equality and social justice, including gender, social and emotional education and power distribution in schools and society.

Dr Una McCabe - Arts and Social Inclusion in Education

Una McCabe is the Head of the School of Arts Education and Movement in DCU. She has lectured in drama education since 1998 and since then has advocated for drama and the arts as central to the improvement of children's educational experiences and outcomes. Her research and publications include extensive studies in the use of drama pedagogy in developing children’s play skills. Una has led a range of arts interventions which have taken place in areas of educational disadvantage across Dublin. She is principal investigator and co-founder of the SHAPE (Social Health, Arts, and Personal Education) project, which aims to develop wellbeing, self-expression and lifelong learning in the arts. She is a member of the Arts and Social Inclusion in Education National Working Group.

Dr Jane O’Kelly - Lifelong Learning

Jane O'Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the School of Policy and Practice. She is Chair of the BSc in Education and Training and has research interests in the areas of teacher professional identity in FET, social justice, learner voice, and neurodiversity in adults. She sits on the Board of Dublin Northside Partnership and contributes to the oversight of services including employment, health, social enterprise and the Community Lifelong Learning Hubs in North East Dublin. She supports researchers exploring the impact of Bordieu's Capitals on persistent inequality and her research goals include contributing to equity in education in terms of access, support, retention and progression for all across the lifelong learning continuum.

The Centre has the following Thematic Ambassadors

Seána Brady - Nature and Social Inclusion in Schools and Communities

April Cronin - Promoting Chess in DEIS Schools

Sinead Crossan - Children’s Voices and Active Citizenship

Orla Doyle - Children’s Voices and Spaces in their Locality

Michael Kennedy - Sport and Social Inclusion in Education and Communities

Megan Wynne - Bereavement and Loss Supports in Schools

In addition, members of the Centre include the following staff members of the Institute of Education:

Early Childhood (Psychology)

Education (Drama)

Education and Human Development (Psychology) 

Education and Human Development (Sociology)

Education (STEM)

Educational Needs of Children in Care

Guidance Counselling

Language Literacy & Early Childhood Education

Policy and Practice

Transformational Leadership