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Peter Kutnick


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Biographical details


Peter Kutnick is a Professor of Psychology and Education within the School of Education, Communication and Society (ECS) at King’s College London. He currently works part-time and also holds an Emeritus Professor position within ECS. Professor Kutnick’s main research interests focus on the social/interpersonal development of children in the context of schooling, the effective use of group work within classrooms, the promotion of academic achievement within classrooms and how school-based engineering education affects students STEM-based career expectations. These interests are developed in areas of children’s moral and social development, the use of within-class groups for learning, large- and small-scale studies of factors affecting academic achievement, the development of social pedagogic theory, and practical alternatives to traditional pedagogies. Recent studies into school-based engineering education have explored large-scale, representative samples of students and have evaluated engineering education initiatives. These studies have taken place in the UK, North America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. Each of these research interests has received external funding, leading to publications (books, monographs, refereed articles, etc); many of which have been drawn upon by the DfE, General Teaching Council and other organisations. He has held Honorary and Visiting Professorships in Faculties of Education at the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Education University of Hong Kong.

Funding for research, has been received from UK-based: DfID/ODA (concerning school achievement, alternative pedagogies and gender in the Caribbean); the Economic and Social Research Council (concerning the nature and use of pupil groups in primary and secondary school classrooms, Teaching & Learning Research Programme study ‘Improving the Effectiveness of Pupil Groups in Classrooms’, and a bilateral UK/Hong Kong grant); Leverhulme Trust; Esmee Fairbairn Trust; European Community (concerning peer relationships in pre-schools in the Caribbean, UK and across Europe); DfES (concerning pupil grouping policy); the Royal Academy of Engineering (concerning education for engineering); and the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (implementing effective group work in a Confucian Heritage Culture).

Professor Kutnick has been responsible for teaching and leading research units in a number of universities around the world. His appointments have been in the UK (King’s College London, University of Brighton, Roehampton Institute, University of Sussex), the Americas (University of the West Indies, California State University), and the Far East (University of Hong Kong).


‘Preparation and support for primary school teachers engaged in the transition to smaller class size, enhancing learning communities’, (PI: C. Fung, CoIs: I Mok, P. Kutnick), EDB Competitive Funding, HK$600,000.

‘Evaluation of Connecting STEM Teachers programme’ (with David Good), Royal Academy of Enginering, £57,600, 2016-2018.

‘Aspiring to be an engineer: secondary school students’ attitudes and experiences associated with the choice to pursue an engineering career’ (with R. Chan and C. Chan), Hong Kong Research Grants Council 744013, HK$330,000, 2013-2015.

‘The effects of social pedagogic contexts in the teaching of primary mathematics: facilitating learning in two cultures’ (with HK: F. Leung, I. Mok & D. Fung; UK: L. Hargreaves, K. Ruthven, T. Rowland), ESRC-RGC ES/J017264/1, HK$435,000, 2012-2013.

‘Adaptation, piloting, and initial assessment of tools to research the impact of engineering education for secondary school students in Hong Kong (with cross cultural implications)’ (with R. Chan), HKU Seed Funding Programme, HK$103,000, 2011-2012.

‘An evaluation of the London Engineering Project in schools’ (with Sarmin Hossain and David Good), Royal Academy of Engineering, £48,000, 2010-2011.

‘A systematic review concerning evaluations of engineering education at secondatry school level in the UK’ (with Sarmin Hossain and David Good), Royal Academy of Engineering, £33,000, 2010.

‘Pupil grouping at Key Stage 3’ (with J. Sebba, P. Blatchford and M. Galton), DfES, £100,500. 2005-2006.

‘Developing a relational approach to peer-based, pre-school experience’, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation £58300. 2005-2006.

‘Relational approaches in early education: enhancing social inclusion, personal growth and learning’, European Community, Socrates Observationa and Innovation 6.1, 6.2, €328000.  2004-2006.

‘Enhancing classroom practice of training teachers and establishing educational evaluation in the Caribbean’, British Council Higher Education Link £24000, 2003-2006.

‘Discourse and Development’ an ESRC funded seminar series (organised by King’s College and Open University), 2004-2005.

‘Countering educational underachievement through groupwork in didactic classrooms; combatting gender differentiation and inequities in Caribbean classrooms’, British Council, Gender and Development Grant, £10000, 2003-2004.

‘Improving the effectiveness of pupil groups in classrooms’ (with P. Blatchford and M. Galton), ESRC £1001000, 2001-2004.

‘Nature and use of groups within classes in secondary schools’ (with P. Blatchford), ESRC, £96000, 1999-2001.

'Friendship and cognitive development in classrooms', Froebel Educational Research Trust, £1000, 1998.

'Extension to gender and school achievement in the Caribbean; longitudinal results', DFID, £6000, 1998.

'Nature and use of groups in the primary school' (with P. Blatchford), ESRC, £55,000, 1997-1998.

British Council CICHE link with the University of the West Indies, 1995-1998.

'Gender and school achievement in Trinidad and Barbados', ODA/DFID; £35000, 1995-1997.

'Groups and computer use in practice tasks', Froebel Educational Research Trust, £1,000, 1995.

British Council CICHE link with the University of the West Indies, 1991-1993.

'Preschool effects on primary school performance in Trinidad, Leverhulme, £3800, 1992.

'Groupwork with Computers', cowriter and collaborator, ESRC, £250,000, 1988-91.

'Preschool education', University of the West Indies, £500, 1986.

'Images of Japan', University of Tokyo, £2500, 1984.


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 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Inception of Social Authority, IoE Institute of Education

1 Oct 197130 Jun 1974

Award Date: 30 Jun 1974

Master in Science, LSE London School of Economics & Political Science

1 Oct 197030 Jun 1972

Award Date: 30 Jun 1972

Bachelor of Arts, Oakland University

1 Sept 196630 Jun 1970

Award Date: 30 Jun 1970

External positions

Chair Professor, Psychology of Education, University of Hong Kong

1 Sept 201028 Feb 2015

Professor of Education (Research), University of Brighton

1 Sept 199831 Aug 2006

Reader in Education Research, University of Roehampton

1 Sept 199431 Aug 1998

Senior Lecturer in Education Research, University of the West Indies

1 Sept 198531 Aug 1987

Lecturer in Psychology of Education, University of Sussex

1 Jan 197431 Aug 1994


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