skip to primary navigation skip to content

Mandy Swann


  • University Lecturer
  • Fellow, St Edmund's College

E-mail Address


(+44) 01223 767536


  • PhD, University of Cambridge
  • MPhil in Education, University of Cambridge
  • BEd (hons) in English Literature and Education, University of Cambridge

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Association for the Study of Primary Education (ASPE)
  • Editorial Board Member: Forum for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education

Positions Previously Held

Senior MPhil Examiner

Director of Studies in Education, St Edmund's College

Chair of the Board of Trustees: Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination (CCI)

Back to top


Mandy Swann has been a University Lecturer since 2005 working in teacher education and research into teaching and learning. She was previously a primary school teacher. Her teaching and research concerns issues of anti-determinist pedagogy, professional learning, informal learning, parental involvement in education and ethnographic research. Mandy leads the faculty’s research into Learning without Limits which has focused on working with teachers to develop alternative approaches to teaching and learning that do not rely on determinist beliefs about ability. The project is inspired by decades of research that have drawn attention to the many complex ways in which ideas of fixed ability, and the practices based on them, can unintentionally limit learning. We have developed the concept of ‘transformability’ where all children (not just some) can become more powerful, committed, successful learners given conducive conditions and opportunities for learning. Our most recent published work, Creating Learning without Limits, has just been translated into its third language. Mandy has helped to establish the Learning without Limits Network which brings together early years, primary and secondary teachers, head teachers and researchers who are interested in exploring the core Learning without Limits theoretical ideas and principles in practice. Mandy has served on a number of editorial boards, including the best-selling textbook Reflective Teaching, the Journal FORUM, and Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination, a charity which she co-founded in mid-2000 and worked with artists to develop arts-based approaches to re-engage disaffected learners, working with teachers, children, families and local communities. Mandy lives in Cambridge with her husband Robert and their two children.

Back to top

Research Topics

  • Primary education
  • Teaching and learning
  • Learning without Limits
  • Parental involvement in education

Current Research Projects

Learning without Limits in a Norwegian School: an impact study. (ESRC)

Back to top

Course Involvement

  • Masters, Educational Research – educational ethnography
  • Masters, Researching Practice
  • Masters, Educational Leadership and School Improvment
  • Primary PGCE
  • Masters and Doctoral supervision

Back to top

Principal Publications


Swann, M., Peacock, A., Hart, S. and Drummond MJ. (2012)  Creating Learning without Limits, Maidenhead, Open University Press.

Peer reviewed journal articles

Burnard, P. & Swann, M. (2010) Pupil Perceptions of Learning With Artists: a new order of experience?, Thinking Skills and Creativity, 5(2), 70-83.

Swann, M., McIntyre, D., Pell, T., Hargreaves, L. & Cunningham, M. (2010) Teachers’ Conceptions of Teacher Professionalism in England in 2003 and 2006, British Educational Research Journal, 36(4), 549-571, First published on: 30 June 2009 (iFirst).

Singal, N. and Swann, M. (2009) Children's perceptions of themselves as learner inside and outside school, Research Papers in Education, First published on: 15 October 2009 (iFirst).

Maddock, M., Drummond, MJ., Koralek, B. and Nathan I. (2007) Doing school differently: creative practitioners at work, Education 3-13, Vol. 35, No. 1, February 2007, pp 47-58.

Maddock, M. (2006) Children’s Personal Learning Agendas at Home, Cambridge Journal of Education, Vol.36, No. 2, June 2006, pp. 153-169.

Warin, J., Maddock, M., Pell, A. and Hargreaves, L (2006) Resolving Identity Dissonance through Reflective and Reflexive Practice in Teaching, Reflective Practice, Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2006, pp. 231-243.

Book chapters and short works

Pollard, A. with Black-Hawkins, K., Cliff Hodges, G., Linklater, H., Swaffield, S., Swann, M., Warwick, P. and Wolperts, MA (2014) Reflective Teaching (4th edition), London: Bloomsbury.

Drummond, M.J. & Hart, S. with Swann, M. (2013) 'An alternative approach to school development: the children are the evidence', Forum for promoting 3-19 comprehensive education, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 121-132.

Swann, M., Peacock, A., Hart, S. & Drummond, MJ. (2012) Swimming Against the Tide, School Leadership Today, Vol. 4.3, pp. 48-55.

Pollard, A. with Anderson, J. A., Maddock, M., Swaffield, S., Warin, J. and Warwick, P. (2008) Reflective Teaching (3rd edition)</a>, London: Continuum.

Maddock, M. & Sapsed, R. with Drummond, MJ. (2008)
Igniting a Fuse: developing the creative practice of primary school educators, London: Creative Partnerships.

Hargreaves, L., Cunningham, M., Everton, T., Hopper, B., McIntyre, D., Maddock, M., Pell, A., Rouse, M., Turner, P., Wilson, L., Hansen, A. & Mukherjee, J. (2006) The Status of Teachers and the Teaching Profession: views from inside and outside the profession, interim report from the Teacher Status Project, London: DfES. PDF

Maddock, M. (2005) Enemies of Boredom, Cambridge: Refocus Cambridge.

Related Websites