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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    My work examines language and inequality in schools, with a focus on how policies concerned with language are shaped by standard language and raciolinguistic ideologies.


    Spencer Foundation. 2022-2025. Challenging raciolinguistic ideologies in teacher education policy and practice.

    British Association of Applied Linguistics. 2022-2023. Challenging language discrimination in schools: toward a typology of teacher-led resistance.

    BERA BCF Curriculum Investigation Grant. 2021-2022. Sounding right, sounding white: language, race and curriculum in secondary education.

    EHU RIF. 2021-2023. Transatlantic language policing: stigma and surveillance in UK and USA schools.

    United Kingdom Literacy Association. 2021. “You’ll never be as good as the white kids in their language”: Using children’s literature to explore, challenge and resist intersectional language discrimination. 

    Recent publications

    Cushing, I. (2023). Standards, Stigma, Surveillance: Raciolinguistic Ideologies and England's Schools. Palgrave.

    Cushing, I. (2022). Word rich or word poor? Deficit discourses, raciolinguistic ideologies and the resurgence of the 'word gap' in England's education policy. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/15427587.2022.2102014

    Cushing, I & Snell, J. (2022). The (white) ears of Ofsted: a raciolinguistic perspective on the listening practices of the schools inspectorate. Language in Society. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404522000094

    Cushing, I. (2022). Raciolinguistic policy assemblages and white supremacy in teacher education. The Curriculum Journal. https://doi.org/10.1002/curj.173

    Cushing, I & Carter, A. (2021). Using Young Adult fiction to interrogate raciolinguistic ideologies. Literacy. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/lit.12277

    Cushing, Georgiou, A & Karatsareas, P. (2021). Language policing in mainstream and complementary schools in the UK. Special issue of International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2021.1933894

    Cushing, I & Helks, M. (2021). Exploring primary and secondary students’ experiences of grammar teaching and testing in England. English in Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/04250494.2021.1898282

    Cushing, I. (2021). Policy mechanisms of the standard language ideology in England’s education system. Journal of Language, Identity and Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/15348458.2021.1877542

    Cushing, I. (2021). Language, discipline and ‘teaching like a champion’. British Educational Research Journal 47(1): 23-41. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3696

    Cushing, I. (2020). Grammar tests, de facto policy and pedagogical coercion in England’s primary schools. Language Policy. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-020-09571-z

    Cushing, I. (2020). ‘Say it like the Queen’: the standard language ideology and language policy making in English primary schools. Language, Culture and Curriculum. https://doi.org/10.1080/07908318.2020.1840578

    Cushing, I. (2020). The policy and policing of language in schools. Language in Society 49(3): 425-450. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404519000848

    Cushing, I. (2020). Power, politics and language education policy mechanisms: a response to Hudson. Language in Society 49(3): 461-475. https://doi.org/10.1017/S004740452000038X



    I joined the Faculty in December 2021 after posts at Brunel University London and University College London. I completed my PhD in Educational Linguistics in 2018, and worked as a secondary school teacher prior to this. 

    My work challenges language ideologies in education policy and practice, especially those which work against marginalised students and teachers. My current research is investigating how teachers might resist such ideologies in their practice, and I am leading research projects funded by the British Association of Applied Linguistics, the Spencer Foundation and the British Educational Research Association.

    I sit on the UK Literacy Association Research Sub-Committee.

    I was the co-recipient of the 2022 UKLA Brenda Eastwood Award for Diversity & Inclusion.


    I teach on the following modules:

    SEN1002 Beginning Language Study

    SEN2002 Further Studies in the English Language

    SEN3002 Language and Schools

    I also supervise doctoral students.

    Research interests

    • Language and inequality in schools
    • Race and raciolinguistic ideologies
    • Histories of linguistic oppression in schools
    • Teacher-led resistance to linguistic racism and oppression

    I am currently joint PI on two externally funded research projects:

    • Challenging raciolinguistic ideologies in transatlantic teacher education policy (Spencer Foundation, with Dr Clara Vaz Bauler, Adelphi University, NY, USA)
    • Challenging language discrimination in schools: toward a typology of teacher-led resistance (British Association of Applied Linguistics, with Dan Clayton, English and Media Centre, UK)

    I am in the early stages of co-editing a special issue on race, language and (in)equality for English in Education (with Furzeen Ahmed, April Baker-Bell and Dan Clayton).

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

    Education/Academic qualification

    Educational Linguistics, PhD, Aston University


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