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Laura Bentley is a Research Fellow in Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. Laura joined the department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology in 2019 after submitting her PhD which examined the transitions of working-class women out of higher education. As a Sociologist, Laura's research and teaching interests are primarily focussed on how inequalities are reproduced through the structures and policies of education, employment and wider society.

While doing her PhD research, Laura also worked on the Paired Peers project (funded by the Leverhulme Trust). This was a longitudinal mixed methods study (2010-2017) which examined the young people's experiences of navigating and graduating from higher educationin the UK. For more information on the project see: http://www.pairedpeers2.org.uk/

Overall, Laura is committed to doing work which challenges and alleviates social inequalities of all kinds.


Laura is originally from Barnsley, South Yorkshire and is now situated in the West Midlands. After completing her undergraduate degree in English and Education, she moved to Bristol to begin her PhD and to start working as a Research Assistant on the second phase of the Paired Peers Project (2014-2017).

While studying for her PhD, Laura taught on Huddersfield University's Early Years Education degree (University Campus Barnsley) and worked as a Research Assistant on a Sheffield Hallam based research project: Understanding Feedback: Staff and student perspectives on the use of undergraduate feedback.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Jackie Goes Home. Working-class women: Higher education, employment and social (re)alignment, University of the West of England

Award Date: 1 Jan 2020

Bachelor of Education, Sheffield Hallam University

Award Date: 1 Jul 2014


  • HM Sociology
  • Social policy
  • Social harm
  • Social justice
  • Social class
  • Gender
  • Bourdieu
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Graduates
  • Young people
  • Social inequalities
  • Austerity


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