Dr Claire Cassidy



Personal statement

I joined the University in 2001 and am currently a Reader in the School of Education.  I am the research theme leader within the School for the theme Rights, Citizenship and Dialogue.  I am the course leader for the Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children, a course that is unique internationally.  Between 2005 and 2014 I was BEd programme coordinator for Educational Studies and the dissertation and the course leader for the joint honours in Education and between 2014 and 2017 I was Deputy Head of the School of Education.  Before working in the University I was a primary school teacher in Glasgow, latterly teaching children English as part of the Glasgow Asylum Seeker Support Project. 

My research interests primarily relate to the School of Education’s research theme Rights, Citizenship and Dialogue, which I lead.  I am interested in the concept of child, mainly from a philosophical perspective.  My book, Thinking Children,offers a unique philosophical exploration of the concept of child and proposes ways in which children’s voices and children’s participation might be promoted in society. 

A major part of my work is in the area of Philosophy with Children (PwC).  I am particularly interested in children’s dialogue, participation and in how PwC links to the curriculum, notably around citizenship. A key feature of my work is that I enjoy collaborating with teachers on research projects relating to Community of Philosophical Inquiry in their classrooms.  I am also working on an exciting project on using practical philosophy with young people in residential child care.

A further, and not unrelated, focus for my research is in the area of human rights education and children’s rights.  I was recently part of a research team working on an AHRC-funded project exploring Collective Worship/Religious Observance in schools in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  A key element of my contribution considered how philosophical approaches might be one way to approach Collective Worship/Religious Observance. 

I am on the editorial board for Childhood & Philosophy: Journal of the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children and for Scottish Educational Review.

As course leader of the Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children much of my teaching relates to this.  I also lead and teach on the third year BA module History and Philosophy of Education. Supervision of fourth year dissertations is also part of my remit.  I have several MEd dissertation students and doctoral students studying for their PhD/EdD awards.

My CPD/Career-long Professional Learning and Knowledge Exchange work relates to both Philosophy with Children and human rights education and children's rights.  I have recently undertaken a hugely impactful series of sessions with teachers from Glasgow City Council's Creative Learning Network.  The teachers will use PwC as a way of promoting their own and children's creativity.  The initiative has also demonstrated other positive outcomes for the pupils and the teachers.

I have established and lead the Philosophy with Children Network.  This group brings together teachers and others trained to facilitate Community of Philosophical Inquiry with children and adults.  We meet on a monthly basis to explore ways of developing philosophy in schools and the wider community, we engage in joint research activity and we continue to practise facilitating CoPI as a group to maintain our facilitation skills.  We have members around Scotland, but also in England, Australia and the USA.  Our website is currently under construction.

Within the School of Education and wider University I sit on the following committees:

  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Board of Study
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Children and Young People research group
  • University Senate
  • University Education Strategy Committee.

I am a member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children, SOPHIA, the European Foundation for Philosophy with Children, the Philosophical Society of Great Britain and the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow (Council member 2009-2010).


Bridging the theory and practice of eliciting the voices of young children : findings from the Look Who's Talking Project
Cassidy Claire, Wall Kate, Robinson Carol, Arnott Lorna, Beaton Mhairi, Hall Elaine
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal (2021)
Fostering teachers' understanding of leadership through a programme of professional learning
Cassidy Claire, Holmes Joanna, Ferguson Erin C, Christie Donald
Scottish Educational Review Vol 52, pp. 71-88 (2020)
Breaking into secure : Introducing philosophical discussions to young people in secure accommodation
Cassidy Claire, Heron Gavin
Journal of Social Work Vol 20, pp. 287-306 (2020)
Thinking about childhood : being and becoming in the world
Cassidy Claire, Mohr Lone Jana
Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis Vol 40, pp. 16-26 (2020)
Look who's talking : factors for considering the facilitation of very young children's voices
Wall Kate, Cassidy Claire, Robinson Carol, Hall Elaine, Beaton Mhairi, Kanyal Mallika, Mitra Dana
Journal of Early Childhood Research Vol 17, pp. 263-278 (2019)
SAFER than SAFE : China Club as a model of a positive after-school initiative
Cassidy Claire, Santoro Ninetta
Pedagogies: An International Journal Vol 15, pp. 1-17 (2019)

More publications

Professional activities

International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children
International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children
CELCIS: Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care
The child, the citizen and deliberative participation
Contemporary Childhood Conference - Young Citizens and Society: Fostering Civic Participation
World Educational Research Association

More professional activities


Proposal for Process and Impact Evaluation of the East Lothian Tutoring Initiative (ELTI)
Sosu, Edward (Principal Investigator) Cassidy, Claire (Co-investigator) Kennedy, Aileen (Co-investigator) Klein, Markus (Co-investigator)
06-Jan-2021 - 30-Jan-2021
Socially Innovative Interventions to Foster and to Advance Young Children’s Inclusion and Agency in Society through Voice and Story
Beaton, Mhairi (Principal Investigator) Wall, Kate (Visiting Academic) Arnott, Lorna (Visiting Academic) Cassidy, Claire (Visiting Academic)
The AdVoSt -project will take into practice the theoretical guiding principles for facilitating and enhancing young children’s voice in specific contexts (Wall et al., 2017). This will be done in close cooperation with practitioners working with indigenous children in Finland, marginalized, indigenous, and immigrant children in Canada, and children with diverse ethnical and cultural backgrounds in the UK. Previous literature indicates that young children are often viewed as ‘becomings’ rather than ‘beings’ within their communities. This is especially the case with children from non-mainstream communities, where ‘becoming’ might also mean to become a mainstream citizen, meaning simultaneously compromising identity, culture and language (e.g. von Benzon & van Blerk 2017; Sköld & Vehkalahti 2016). The AdVoSt-project will enhance educators' knowledge of multiple storytelling pedagogies including perspectives of land-based learning. The research-based development of composing narratives with young learners through art, writing, photography, performance and digital representations privilege young children’s voice enabling their full citizenship. These research-based initiatives will contribute to the development of child centred learning that is focused in land-based pedagogy and play. Play helps children to gain positive learning experiences (Tang & Adams 2010). Children’s varied play engagements often use culturally relevant toys and ephemera which help them to narrate their stories and facilitate hearing the voices of young children. However, educators, administration, local communities and parents do not always know how to promote such play to enhance children’s literacy engagements. Additionally, the digital delivery of early childhood education with distance management sets diverse challenges for educational activities. The AdVoSt-project recognizes the challenges concerning minority and indigenous children and will facilitate knowledge sharing between the participating countries and beyond. Using a community-based qualitative, comparative case study approach, the project will ensure that local cultural contexts play a key role in all research activities.
Nurturing School Ethos to Improve Educational Attainment
Cassidy, Claire (Principal Investigator) Holmes, Joanna (Co-investigator) Klein, Markus (Co-investigator) Sosu, Edward (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2019
Human Rights Education and the Curriculum for Excellence
Cassidy, Claire (Co-investigator) Webster, Elaine (Co-investigator)

More projects