Passion for PE kept Kieran coming back to Cardiff Met
PhD student Kieran Hodgkin credits the quality of staff and support at Cardiff Metropolitan University with igniting the passion which has fuelled his three-year research project.
After studying a diverse mix of subjects at A Level, Kieran moved to Cardiff from his home in Gloucestershire to study for a joint honours undergraduate degree in Education Studies and Sport & Physical Activity.
Kieran said: "I chose to study at Cardiff Met for so many reasons – the structure of my course, the reputation of the university, the atmosphere on campus and in the city… When I looked at other universities, there was nowhere that compared."
Studying at not one, but two highly-regarded schools allowed keen footballer Kieran to undertake collaborative projects and incorporate his love of sport into his academic life.
When he graduated from Cardiff Met in 2010 with a first class BA, Kieran's dissertation supervisor Professor Gary Beauchamp advised him to consider further study.
Over the following year, Kieran completed his MPhil, a higher-degree course in the fundamentals of advanced research methods which served as a preliminary training stage for his PhD.
Kieran commented: "It was a big adjustment from undergraduate to postgraduate work, as your lecturers suddenly become your colleagues. It took a bit of getting used to but all the staff were so supportive, which helped a lot."
He transferred to the PhD course in 2011 and has spent months conducting fieldwork in local schools, studying the pupils' move from primary to secondary level education and considering how PE can aid social development to support the transition.
Kieran's thesis, entitled 'Schooling, Physical Education and the Primary/Secondary Transition', aims to communicate the concerns of pupils before and after the move, so that schools can provide better support at each stage.
Kieran said: "This has taken a very different perspective to other Education research; there has been a lot of work around the transition period but the voices of the pupils are often marginalised, which is something I'm trying to combat.
"It's often assumed that the main concern when moving from primary to secondary education is social – making new friends, the risk of bullying – but I've found that pupils seem more concerned with the academic challenges, so this has real potential to help schools improve their student support systems.
"Having studied the same pupils for six weeks at the end of the summer term in primary school and then for the first six weeks of the autumn term in secondary school, I've been able to collect really strong data and I'm really excited to publish the findings."
Kieran is working with Professor Beauchamp, Dr Anna Bryant and Director of Research, Professor Scott Fleming to write up his findings, which will then be published by the British Association of Advisers and Lecturers in Physical Education in September 2013.
After his PhD, Kieran would like to stay at Cardiff Met to continue his research and lecture in Education Studies to build on the experience he has gained.
Under the spotlight:
2005 Studied A Levels in Physical Education, English Literature and History
2007 Moved to Cardiff to study BA in Education Studies and Sport & Physical Education
2010 Started MPhil degree as a training route to PhD study
2011 Started PhD thesis and research
2013 Published PhD findings with Cardiff Met colleagues
Find out more about PhD and research opportunities at the Cardiff School of Education.