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Dr Adeela Shafi

Associate Professor in Education

I have a background in Psychology and Education and taught in Higher Education for over 15 years. My research interest is education of for young people in conflict with the law and in secure custodial settings and how to re-engage them. Chevron icon


Adeela has a background in psychology and education, teaching in higher education for over 16 years. Her research draws on psychological theories to explore how to re-engage young offenders with formal education and learning in a secure custodial setting. She has worked on international projects in Rwanda and Pakistan, currently leading on two European Erasmus+ projects. Adeela’s other research includes how to develop academic resilience and buoyancy.

Adeela is an active community worker, standing for MP in 2010 and is founder of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group. Adeela was recognised for her contributions in research and services to social justice with an MBE in the Queens 2020 New Years Honours List.


  • BSc (Hons): Psychology, University of Bristol, 1994
  • PGCE: Education, University of Wales, 1996
  • MEd: Psychology of Education, University of Bristol, 2012
  • PhD: PhD Education, University of Bristol, 2017


MBE for contributions in research and services to social justice

Power 100 Excellence in Education (Leeds Metropolitan University)

Government of Pakistan (London High Commission Award. Bristol City Council for Services to the Community. Nominated for Exemplary Asian Woman by Theresa May MP

Nomination for Inspiring Lecturer University of Gloucestershire

Membership of professional bodies

Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Member of British Psychological Society (MBPsS). Member of Academic Board (University of Gloucestershire). Panel Member for RPA Learning in Professional Contexts (University of Gloucestershire).

Teaching & Research


Teaching and leading modules on a range of courses, including BA Education and MA Education and PGCAP, particularly psychology and research related modules or those which have an international dimension. Also supervising post-graduate research degrees.


Adeela’s area of research interest are disengaged learners who may have other background characteristics which may affect their full participation in learning and achieving their potential. To that end, Adeela is involved in research which explores this. A second EU funded project seeks to develop emotional and social competencies of young offenders through the use of games and sport. Adeela has a consistent publishing profile in her areas of research interest. Adeela is also engaged in research on academic resilience and currently leading on a book entitled ‘Reconceptualising Resilience in Education’.

Adeela’s current research is focused on the education of young people in secure custodial settings. She is currently leading 2 large Erasmus+ projects, Re-Engaging Young Offenders with Education & Learning (RENYO) and Active Games for Change (AG4C) working with partners in 8 European countries with the aim of developing policy and practice in this area. Adeela is also leading a Special Issue in an international journal with research contributions on education in secure custodial settings from across the world, including Nigeria and South Africa, to further raise the profile and attention of this little researched area on an international stage. Adeela has an established publishing profile in this field and leads the Research Priority Area Learning in Professional Contexts and REF submission for Education.


More publications from Dr Adeela Shafi can be found in the Research Repository.

External responsibilities

Chair of Avon & Somerset Police Powers Scrutiny Panel.

Subject for media interview

Education of young offenders in custody.

External examining

External Examiner at the University of Hertfordshire for BA Education Studies.