Dr Peter Hart

Dr Peter Hart


I am currently working in the area of Inclusion, Childhood and Youth, with research interests in using gaming in education, safeguarding and professional ethics, character education, and reading comprehension. Recent projects at Leeds include using board games to develop language comprehension, young people’s perspectives on active travel,  ICKLE, REACH Primary and Narnian Virtues. I joined the School of Education in February 2016, having previously been based at the School of Applied Social Sciences University of Durham, where I completed my PhD on ethical issues in youth work.


  • Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Research interests

My main research interest is around the wellbeing of young people, particularly those in disadvantaged communities. Specifically this has been through researching: youth work, youth agency, the professional ethics of those charged with young people’s care, young people’s character development and character education programmes, and reading interventions. Methodologically, I have an interest in structural equation modelling and participatory methods. 

I am currently investigating, with Dr Paula Clarke, the feasibility of using commercially available board games to develop language comprehension in secondary schools and have a broader interest in the use of gaming for social and educational benefits. This builds on past work with REACH Primary (a reading intervention for primary schools), and I have a broader interest in using table top games for their social and educational benefit. Recently, I have been working on project gathering young people’s voices on active travel, and I have an ongoing research agenda into Aristotelian ethics and character education in schools. 

My PhD considered the everyday experiences of the relationship between youth workers and young people, focussed on the normative ethics of those encounters, entitled: An Ethnographic Study of Ethical Practices in Relationships Between Young People and Youth Workers. This theory-generating thesis considered practices and lived experiences of youth workers and young people and compared it to dominant discourses and rhetoric found in policy documents and amongst policy makers. Using a comparative ethnographic methodology across four youth centres, I aimed to understand more about the ethical issues youth workers face in practice, including those around developing and sustaining relationships with young people. When compared to other professionals this ‘youth work relationship’ often has greater flexibility, more nebulous concepts of professional boundaries, and inhabits an inherently more informal space.

Beyond that I have worked on a comparative study between the UK and Finland into the Political Presence as a Right of the Child which involved delivering an innovative mapping methodology and in depth interviews with year 6 and year 10 students, and completing ethnographic studies of leadership in Methodist churches. I have been working on a Character Education project based on the Chronicles of Narnia as medium through which students can reflect on their own sense of virtue.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Applied Social Sciences
  • MA Social Research
  • PGC Academic Practice
  • MA Theology and Ministry
  • BA Community and Youth Work

Professional memberships

  • British Sociological Association
  • Association of Moral Education
  • BERA

Student education

I act as the Director of Postgraduate Research for the School of Education, and I typically teach on the BA and MA Childhood Studies courses, particularly modules around children’s rights and welfare. 

Research groups and institutes

  • ICY: Inclusion, Childhood & Youth Research Centre

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>