He studied for his PhD (researching the development of phonological awareness and word reading) under David Wood at Nottingham University and was later involved (with Maggie Snowling and Charles Hulme) in large scale reading interventions in schools.
More recently he has been investigating influences on teachers' efficacy beliefs and how these beliefs may be compromised. He is particularly concerned by the attrition of teachers and the dehumanising of education. Central to this is his work to develop understanding of educational systems (as currently operationalized in England and other countries) perpetuates discrimination and the 'essentialising' of difference. Work in hand includes an international study of the effects on teachers' beliefs of labels ascribed to children.
In 2017 he was honoured to receive the British Psychological Society Division of Educational and Child Psychology's Award for his Distinguished contribution to Educational and Child Psychology.