Eszter Neumann

Eszter Neumann


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Personal profile

Research interests

Provisional title

The ‘Soft’ and ‘Hard’ Processes of Student Streaming: patterns of categorization and marginalization in England and Hungary.

An in-depth investigation of processes of social inclusion and exclusion in socially mixed schools.


My research explores the complex processes of social inclusion and exclusion and the streaming and guidance practices at socially and ethnically mixed secondary schools in one educational authority in Hungary and in England. It is argued that while low achievement and dropout rates are regulated through documented practices and nationally or regionally-set targets, diverse ‘soft’ classificatory strategies and tacit forms of knowledge also contribute to schools’ internal cultures of identifying underachievment, providing learning support and assigning therapies and interventions. The project aims to map out the forms of professional expertise – special-needs pedagogy and pedagogy more generally, psychology, psychometry, social work, etc. – and the lay assumptions which, taken together, rank, grade, include or marginalize pupils. 

Individual and group interviews with teachers, students and parents as well as in-class observations will be carried out to explore the individual and group support, setting, tracking and banding strategies of secondary schools. 

Research questions: How do schools conceptualize and organize young people’s educational trajectories in Hungary and England? What are the secondary school strategies relating to post-14 study pathways, subject choice guidance and ability grouping? What are the main social and institutional factors that lead to social exclusion and early school leaving in contemporary education?


ESRC +3 PhD Funding 2013-2016

Biographical details

Major research projects

2011-2013. “Autonomy and Control in Public Education: quantitative and qualitative study of two towns”, research funded by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund at Corvinus University Budapest - researcher;

2011-2013: „Counter-Pedagogies under Communism: Jewish Childhood, community experiences and trauma recovery in the Kadar-era”, carried out by the AnBlokk Association - researcher and seminar leader;

2010-2011: "Evaluation and Assessment of Public Education Research Program", Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (funded by the National Development Agency) - researcher;

2007-2011: KNOW&POL (Knowledge and Policy) research project funded by the European Commission (Priority Seven - Citizens and Governance) at the Sixth RTD Framework Programme  (Website:, researcher at the research team of the Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary.


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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


  • HM Sociology
  • Sociology of education
  • L Education (General)


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