Helen Lees

Helen Lees lives in the West Midlands, England. She has published poetry as well as a number of social science monographs based on her original research, or as an editor in the field of education. She gained a PhD in Education in 2011. Helen researches alternative education (is an expert on home education and democratic education in particular) , silence/silences/silencing, sexuality (especially alternative and diverse sexualities), adoption, workplace bullying and can write dramatically, poetically and scientifically on all these topics in a research informed way, for any media and platform.

She appeared in the 2016 film In Pursuit of Silence (Transcendental Media). Her commentary and voice is the one used in the attached trailer for that film, at the start.

She is currently writing the script for a TV series with a female, non white protagonist and a feminist story-line, a monologue about women and their future and a book of poetry.

If you have a project that requires writing and/or research background to content or would like to consult Helen on anything relating to Higher Education as environment, please get in touch via email using the contact link below.




West Midlands

Edited Books

  • Lees, H. E. & Noddings, N. (Eds.). (2016). The Palgrave international handbook of alternative education. London: Palgrave Macmillan.


  • Lees, H. E. (2014). Education without schools: Discovering alternatives. Bristol: Policy Press.

  • Lees, H. E. (2012). Silence in schools. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. (Now part of IoE Press, London)

Books, Childrens writing, Film, Online writing, Poetry, Radio, Scripted reality, Television, Theatre

Excerpt from Education Without Schools: Discovering alternatives

Regarding the concept of education, confusion can come about for parents and adults who are living in a world where there is a mismatch between the rhetoric and the reality of schooling. Broadly, the idea is that education offers developmental self formation through knowledge acquisition, answering ignorance and its problems; helping people to “get along” (interpersonally and with socio-economic success) as common citizens. Ideally, schooling delivers this widely held promise to parents for their children and parents are aware of this promise and this “contract.” The following comment illustrates this idea:


...of course, most parents would assume, I would have thought quite properly, that their responsibility is to send their children to school during schooling age. (Neil Carmichael MP, House of Commons Education Committee, 2012, p. Ev 2)


But for some people schooling fails to realise and deliver on the promise of the promise: the assumed responsibility of parents to send their children to school becomes instead a responsibility to remove them from or avoid schooling for a variety of reasons. School attendance seems like a bad idea in the light of this responsibility. It is not helping and may even be harming. Harm from schooling is unfortunately common and globally wide-spread, including significant problems in the UK (see Glover, Gough, Johnson, & Cartwright, 2000; C. Harber, 2009b; C. Harber, & Mncube, V., 2013; H. E. Lees, in press-b; Osler, 2006). Its capacity to do harm is widely underestimated in favour of believing blindly in the promise, rather than facing up to a less attractive and rather difficult, often failing, reality.