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Prof Adeela Shafi

Professor Of Education In Youth Justice

I have a background in Psychology and Education and taught in Higher Education for over 16 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.


Professor Adeela ahmed Shafi MBE 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 also an active community worker, standing for MP in 2010, is Chair of the Avon & Somerset Police Scrutiny Panel, founder of the Bristol Muslim Strategic Leadership Group and Commissioner for Race Equality in Bristol. Adeela was recognised for her contributions in research and services to social justice with an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s 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 research is focused on how to re-engage incarcerated children and young people with education and learning. Most of this work has been on international projects with the aim of raising the profile and attention of this little researched area on an international stage. Adeela’s work reflects passion and skill for collaborating across boundaries to generate the thinking for new solutions to old problems.

Adeela has been Principle Investigator on large Erasmus+ projects, such as Re-Engaging Young Offenders with Education & Learning (RENYO) and Active Games for Change (AG4C) with the aim of developing policy and practice in this area. As well as an established publishing profile, Adeela has led a Special Issue in an International Journal, Children’s education in secure custodial settings: Towards a global understanding of effective policy and practice. Adeela is currently lead editor on a new International Handbook by Palgrave entitled ‘The Education of Incarcerated Children and Young People’ with contributions from 41 world-leading scholars across 13 countries, including Turkey, China Italy, Spain, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, USA, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Greece, Australasia and the UK. The handbook examines the role education can play in improving the lives of incarcerated children and young people. It will be the first such authoritative title in the field.

To further this work Adeela established TRYJUSTICE, the Transdisciplinary Research for Youth Justice Network, bringing together key academics on youth justice from the disciplines of psychology, criminology, sociology, social work and law. The aim is to generate cutting-edge thinking which transcends disciplinary boundaries. A new centre that Adeela is leading with other collaborators is the Centre for Whole Society Resilience (CWSR), focused on leadership, decision making and cultural change for resilience in individuals, teams, organisations, communities and society.


More publications from Prof 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.