Dr James Stanfield

  • Email: james.stanfield@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: 07966 865 860
  • Address: SOLE Central
    B83 King George VI Building
    School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
    Newcastle University
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU


Together with Professor James Tooley and Professor Pauline Dixon, I helped to set up the E.G. West Centre in 2002, a research centre dedicated to generating knowledge and understanding about how markets and self organising systems work in education and which institutions and regulatory frameworks best allow education to flourish.  My PhD research focused on the growth of private schools for the poor in Kenya and how this development relates to the United Nations concept of the right to education.   More recently, I have played a leading role in setting up SOLE Central and I'm now working with Professor Sugata Mitra and colleagues across ECLS and Open Lab on numerous research projects relating to Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE).  I have also been responsible for the ongoing development of the School in the Cloud web platform and maintaining relationships with key partners including TED and Microsoft.  

Together with Dixon, Tooley and Mitra I have taught on the MA International Development and Education for several years and I'm also the Technology and Development pathway leader on the MA Education: International Perspectives.  In 2015 I launched a new module titled Foundations in Technology Enhanced Learning and I'm currently working with colleagues in Open Lab to develop a more open and connected version of EDU8213 - The Future of Learning.  In 2015 I also played a leading role in the development and launch of the the new BA (Hons) Education and Im currently responsible for the development and delivery of six modules across all three stages.  

Since 2015 I have also been the lead education consultant on the Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) - a £30 million competitive challenge fund in Tanzania which provides grants to organisations driving innovative approaches which aim to improve the quality, value-for-money, and sustainability of basic services in education, health and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Research interests 

  • self organising systems and emergent behaviour in education
  • education as a spontaneous order
  • entrepreneurship, the profit motive and inclusive business models in education
  • next generation assessments and qualifications
  • educational freedom and the right of parents to choose
  • the role of technology in all of the above


James is currently supervising several Masters and PhD students.



Module leader: EDU1002 - International Development

Module leader: EDU1006 - Education in Developing Countries

Module leader: EDU2002 - Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Education

Module leader: EDU2004 - Technology and the Future of Learning



Module leader: EDU8211 - Education Policy and Entrepreneurship for Development

Module leader: EDU8225 - Foundations of Technology Enhanced Learning

Module leader: EDU8226 - Developing Research-Informed Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning