Personal profile


Master of Arts in Education, Malmö University, Sweden. Teaching degree, Key Stages 3-5 and adult education. Subjects: English and Civics/Political Science. (Lärarexamen, grundskolans senare år och gymnasieskolan/vuxenutbildningen).

Master of Social Science, Lund University, Sweden. Main subject: Political Science. One year at the University of Potsdam, fully funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst). (Filosofie magisterexamen). 

Master of Arts in English, Göteborg University, Sweden. One term was spent at the University of Sussex where I took their MA course 'Language in Culture and Society'.  (Filosofie magisterexamen)

Prior to her MAs, she studied courses that meet the requirements for a BA in English and a BA in Political Science from Lund University (not awarded automatically). One term was spent at Roskilde University, fully funded by Nordplus, a higher education exchange programme funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.


Åsa Melander worked with school organisation in Hackney for many years, most recently as Head of School Place Planning & Divisional Business Manager. Drawing on her experiences of that, she has written and presented extensively on school organisation and school segregation to Scandinavian audiences.

Her PhD relates to education of high achieving students and school organisation.

A BA essay (1995) included interviews with Swedish students who had had top grades in all subjects (approximately 15) on leaving upper secondary school at age 19, and interviews with headteachers on their views on Swedish education. A book (2021), Skola och begåvning (School and aptitude [‘talent’/’giftedness’]) was published in January 2021: It was awarded the rare highest grade by the Swedish library review service (5, ‘brilliant’).

She blogs, in Swedish, on and has written a large number of articles and debate articles on education in Swedish newspapers and specialists journals.

As a Visiting Lecturer at Roehampton she supervises BA Education students'  dissertations.

Research interests

Education: England, Scandinavia, Germany.

High achieving students - [highly] able children, "gifted" education

School organisation

School segregation

School admissions systems

Equality - equity

Research projects

Åsa Melander's PhD study will explore how mainstream schools in England and Sweden might improve education for high achieving students equitably. High achieving students often miss out on challenge (Ofsted 2015), their needs pitted against other students who are deemed more deserving of support (Persson 1997). This leads to dissatisfaction for pupils with higher abilities, and to resourceful parents carefully selecting the ‘right’ mainstream school, which may in turn deplete other schools of prospects to provide better education for all (Machin & McNally 2012).

England and Sweden have both aspired to provide suitable – equitable – education for all children, whether they were traditionally considered to have academic potential or not, but their policies have differed considerably. Neither has worked satisfactorily. Disadvantaged children who are, or have the potential to be, high-achieving, are more likely to miss out on opportunities than children from resourceful families. Ensuring that such children are suitably challenged is a moral argument. Both countries’ curricula/Education Law comment on schools’ duty to compensate’ for any lack of parental support.


Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra. 2012. The Evaluation of English Education Policies in
National Institute Economic Review, volume 219, issue: 1, ppR15-R25. 

Ofsted. 2015. The most able students An update on progress since June 2013.

Persson, Roland S. 1997. Annorlunda Land Särbegåvningens psykologi. Stockholm: Almqvist
& Wiksell. ['Different Land The Psychology of Giftedness'; my translation]



Blog, in Swedish:

Consultancy work

Åsa Melander has presented extensively on school organisation and her experiences of working in Hackney to Scandinavian audiences.

She has also undertaken consultancy work for London councils relating to consultations on federations/school reorganisations, assisted charities undergoing organisational change and worked with and presented to Swedish councils on school organisation and high achieving children.

In 2021 she was employed [not consultancy work] as a Research Assistant on the 'Froebel meets Ofsted: What makes a nursery outstanding?' project directed by Dr Susana Castro-Kemp. Articles will be published in 2021 and 2022.

In 2015 she wrote an extensive report on Hackney and its schools' 'revolution in a decade' (Estelle Morris) for a leading Swedish think-tank, Timbro: