School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr James Stanfield




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 serving for the poor in the slums of Kibera (Nairobi, Kenya) and how this development relates to the United Nations concept of the right to education.   More recently, I have helped to set up SOLE Central and I'm now working with colleagues on numerous research projects relating to Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE).  My research interests include:

  • the potential of self organising systems and emergent behaviour in education
  • next generation assessments and qualifications
  • educational freedom and the right of parents to choose
  • the history of education prior to state intervention
  • all forms of technology enhanced learning

Together with Professor James Tooley I am currently the joint Degree Programme Director for the MA International Development and Education and I'm also the module leader for EDU8213 - The Future of Learning, which is run in collaboration with Professor Sugata Mitra and other colleagues.

In 2015 I also played a leading role in the development and launch of the the new BA (Hons) Education and I'm currently responsible for the development and delivery of two modules in stage 2.  EDU2002 Global Innovations in Education and EDU2004 Global Developments in Technology Enhanced Learning.

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 including education.  

James is also a member of the steering group for NUTELA - Newcastle University Advocates for Technology Enhanced Learning.


James is currently supervising several Masters and PhD students:

  • Yang Du - Language Policy in SOLE: How Chinese Students Co-construct Language Policy while Learning English in SOLE 
  • Fatma Otain - Future of Learning: A Case Study of the Implementation of SOLE in a Saudi Primary School


I am currently the Primary Investigator on the following three funded research projects:

  1. Dream, Achieve, Realise and Express (DARE) in Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, CARITAS (£90,000)
  2. Investigating the introduction of tablets computers in schools in Tanzania: the teacher and student perspective, HDIF Tanzania (£30,000)
  3. Microsoft Education (£70,000)



Module leader: EDU2002 - Global Innovations in Education

Module leader: EDU2004 - Global Developments in Technology Enhanced Learning



Module leader: EDU8213 - The Future of Learning

Module leader: EDU8226 - InvestigatingTechnology Enhanced Learning