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Dr Grace Clifton

Dr Grace Clifton

Profile summary

Professional biography

Grace Clifton - BA(Hons), PGCE (Secondary French with Spanish), MA in Education, PhD

I am Associate Head of School (Curriculum) in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport.

Before coming to the Open University, I worked as a Modern Languages teacher at secondary aged level.  I have been an Associate Lecturer on several modules within the Inclusive Education programme (2001-2004), a Staff Tutor (2005-2011) and, since 2013, a Senior Lecturer.   

Research interests

Scholarship interests - Professional dialogue as a form of professional development; Working gain/learning gain; Employability for the part-time, distance learner; The different experiences of work-based and knowledge-based students; Evaluating Learning Design

Research interests - The educational experiences of armed forces children; Mobility in childhood; Ethnographic research methods; Child-centred research

Teaching interests

  • 2024 - Associate Head of School (Curriculum), ECYS
  • 2019 - Senior Lecturer, PGCE (Wales)
  • 2016 - 2017 - Academic Lead, Enhanced Employability and Career Progression
  • 2013-2016 Programme Director - Childhood, Youth and Education
  • 2011-2013, Head of Qualification - Childhood and Youth
  • Module team chair, EK310/EK311, (Early years Focus on) Research with Children and Young People (final presentation February 2013)
  • EK313 production team, Issues in Research with Children and Young People (first presentation February 2014)
  • EdD supervisor, Gavin Williams: Boundedness, belonging and becoming: primary school children’s perspectives of education and learning in the South Wales valleys (2019)
  • PhD supervisor years 1-2 , Linda Plowright, How do 7-9 year olds experience physical activity? 

Impact and engagement

  • 2024 Institutional External Examiner Trainer
  • 2024 Panel Chair, Periodic Quality Review, UG Business Programme
  • 2022 Trustee, Abingdon Learning Trust
  • 2021 Panel Chair, Periodic Quality Review, Open Programme
  • 2015 Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • 2015 Academic Consultant, BBC Radio 4 Series, The Educators
  • 2015-2017  External examiner, MA Education programme, University of Plymouth
  • 2014-2016 Academic Reviewer, FD Supporting Teaching and Learning and BA (Hons) Education and Professional Practice, Havering College of FE and HE
  • 2014-2016 External examiner, BA (Hons) Childhood, Youth and Education, University of Bath


An Evaluation of the Impact of "Learning Design" on the Distance Learning and Teaching Experience (2017-08)
Clifton, Grace
International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(5) (pp. 277-286)

Does one size fit all? Using scholarship to enhance the student learning experience (2016)
Clifton, Grace
Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 11(1) (pp. 57-65)

Making the case for the BRAT (British Regiment Attached Traveller) (2004-06)
Clifton, Grace
British Educational Research Journal, 30(3) (pp. 457-462)

Towards an institutional understanding of employability for the part-time, distance learner (2017-07)
Clifton, Grace
In : The Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2017 (4-6 Jul 2017, Manchester)

Does one size fit all? Using scholarship to enhance the student learning experience. (2015-07)
Clifton, Grace
In : Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship Conference (16-17 Jul 2015, Durham)

The experience of education of the army child (2007)
Clifton, Grace
PhD thesis Oxford Brookes University

Introduction to Personal Development Planning (2017-09)
Clifton, Grace
Employability Hub, The Open University

Did Harry Potter's extra-curricular activities land him a job at the Ministry of Magic? (2017-07)
Clifton, Grace
Open Learn

Measuring gains and employability for part-time students (2017-05-04)
Clifton, Grace and Kellett, Mary
WonkHE, London.

The educational challenges facing children in military families (2013-03-12)
Clifton, Grace
AQA, Manchester.