Prof. Nigel Thomas

Prof. Nigel Thomas


School of Social Work, Care and Community


Nigel Thomas's research with children and young people includes child welfare, children’s rights and theories of childhood, with a particular focus on children and young people’s participation. He has worked with children in care, young carers, school pupils and members of youth councils, using a range of innovative methods. He is Associate Director and co-founder of The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation. For seven years he co-edited the journal Children & Society, whose editorial board he now chairs. He is internationally known for his work on children and young people’s participation, and featured in the book Key Thinkers in Childhood Studies. He is a visiting Professor in the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University, New South Wales, and an Honorary Professor in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at Aberystwyth University.

Read more about the Impact and Outcomes of Independent Advocacy .pdf (1MB)

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Recent Publications


Percy-Smith, Barry, McMahon, Gráinne and Thomas, Nigel Patrick (2019) Recognition, inclusion and democracy: learning from action research with young people. Educational Action Research . ISSN 0965-0792

Thomas, Nigel Patrick (2019) What is the Point of Studying Childhood as a Social Phenomenon? Children & Society. ISSN 0951-0605


Thomas, N. and Stoecklin, D. (2018) ‘Recognition and Capability: A New Way to Understand How Children Can Achieve Their Rights?’ in Baraldi, C. and Cockburn, T. (eds) Theorising Childhood: Citizenship, Rights and Participation. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Graham, Anne, Truscott, Julia, Simmons, Catharine, Anderson, Donnah and Thomas, Nigel Patrick (2018) Exploring student participation across different arenas of school life. British Educational Research Journal . ISSN 0141-1926

Graham, A., Truscott, J., Simmons, C., Anderson, D., Thomas, N. Bessell, S. Cashmore, J. & Moss, A. (2018) Improving Wellbeing through Student Participation at School Phase 2 Qualitative Report: Views of Students, Staff and Policymakers. Centre for Children and Young People, Southern Cross University: Lismore, Australia.




Thomas, N. (2017) ‘Turning the Tables: Children as Researchers’ in Christensen, P. and James, A. (eds) Research with Children: Perspectives and Practices (3rd edition), Routledge.

Thomas, Nigel, Crowley, Anne, Moxon, Daniel, Ridley, Julie, Street, Cathy and Joshi, Puja (2017) Independent advocacy for children and young people: developing an outcomes framework. Children and Society . ISSN 0951-0605


Thomas, Nigel, Graham, Anne , Powell, Mary Ann and Fitzgerald, Robyn (2015) Conceptualisations of children’s wellbeing at school: the contribution of recognition theory. Childhood . ISSN 0907-5682


Thomas, Nigel (2013) ‘Children and Politics’ in Montgomery, Heather (ed.) Oxford Bibliographies in Childhood Studies, New York: Oxford University Press.


Thomas, Nigel (2012) Love, rights and solidarity: studying children's participation using Honneth's theory of recognition. Childhood, 19 (4). pp. 453-466.

More publications

Teaching Activities

Nigel is actively involved in supervising research students, and he contributes to teaching on social work and social policy degrees.


  • PhD Applied Social Studies, University of Wales, 1999
  • AdvDipEd in Child Development, Open University, 1996
  • MSc in Applied Social Studies (CQSW), University of Oxford, 1976
  • BA in Philosophy and Politics, University of Oxford, 1971

Membership of Professional and Learned Bodies

British Association of Social Workers