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Rafael Mitchell


Research Associate

College Research Associate, Homerton College

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767 662


  • PhD Education (University of Leicester)
  • MA International Education Management (University of Leeds)
  • PGCE Secondary English (University of Bristol)
  • BA English (University of Southampton)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Member of British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE)
  • Member of Comparative and International Education Society (CIES)

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Rafael has worked in education since 2002, largely in sub-Saharan Africa and other low-resource contexts. He has a broad interest in education in Africa, and a particular interest in schools, pedagogy, and educational leadership. His PhD research was an ethnographic study of the agendas, participation and influence of different stakeholder groups at a government primary school in Tigray, Ethiopia.

Rafael is a lecturer in comparative and international education at the University of Bristol and a research associate at the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre, University of Cambridge. Since 2017 he has worked on the African Education Research Database (AERD), consolidating research from across sub-Saharan Africa, and exploring the priorities of researchers in the region, and their experiences of funding, partnerships and impact.

Academic Area/Links

Back to topResearch Topics

  • Education research in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Educational leadership
  • School improvement
  • Stakeholder participation in structures and processes of leadership and accountability in school
  • Country experience: Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Egypt, China, India, UK

Current Research Project(s)

  • Mapping education research in sub-Saharan Africa. Led by Professor Pauline Rose, funded by Education Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA).

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Principal and Recent Publications

Journal articles

Mitchell, R. (2017). Radical student participation: lessons from an urban government primary school in Tigray, Ethiopia. Compare. DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2017.1385390

Mitchell, R. (2017). Democracy or control? The participation of management, teachers, students and parents in school leadership in Tigray, Ethiopia. International Journal of Educational Development, 55, 49-55. Link

Mitchell, R. (2015). The implications of school improvement and school effectiveness research for primary school principals in Ethiopia. Educational Review, 67, 328-342. Link

Mitchell, R. (2015). Book review: Global education policy and international development: new agendas, issues, and policies. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 43, 341-342. Link

Mitchell, R. (2015). ‘If there is a job description I don’t think I’ve read one’: a case study of programme leadership in a UK pre-1992 university. Journal of Further and Higher Education 39, 713-732. Link

Pearson, S., Mitchell, R., and Rapti, M. (2015). ‘I will be “fighting” even more for pupils with SEN’: SENCOs’ role predictions in the changing English policy context. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 15, 48-56. Link

Mitchell, R. (2013). What is professional development, how does it occur in individuals, and how may it be used by educational leaders and managers for the purpose of school improvement? Professional Development in Education 39, 387-400. Link

Conference papers

Asare, S., Mitchell, R., Rose, P. (2018). Global policy agendas and the Education Sustainable Development Goal: Perspectives from sub-Saharan African research and researchers. BAICE Conference, York 2018.

Mitchell, R., Rose, P., Asare, S. (2018). Research in African universities to inform the Sustainable Development Goal for Education: visibility, gaps and future priorities. Centre for Education and International Development (CEID) Annual Conference, Institute of Education, London.

Rose, P., Mitchell, R., Asare, S. (2018). Launch of the African Education Research Database. French Development Agency, Paris.

Mitchell, R., and Rose, P. (2018). Mapping the African research evidence base for educational policy and practice. CIES Conference, Mexico City 2018.

Fox, A., and Mitchell, R. (2017). Application and development of an ethical framework in the context of ethnographic research at a government primary school in Ethiopia. European Conference of Educational Research, Copenhagen 2017. Link

Mitchell, R. (2017). Sharing responsibility for leadership in school: modalities of student participation at a government primary school in Tigray, Ethiopia. UKFIET Conference, Oxford 2017.

Mitchell, R. (2016). Sharing responsibility: student leadership and accountability mechanisms at an urban government primary school in Tigray, Ethiopia. School of Education Annual Research Conference, University of Leicester. Link

Mitchell, R. (2015). The impossible dream: challenges in reporting an institutional ethnography of a government primary school in Ethiopia. Leicester Ethnography Symposium: Doing ethnography on crime and control, University of Leicester. Link

For other publications see google scholar profile.