Ken Spours

The Just Transition


Recent work 

 Ken Spours is Emeritus Professor of Post Compulsory Education at the UCL Institute of Education and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Capital Normal University, Beijing.  He is also an associate of Compass, a democratic left think tank and pressure group.


His theoretical perspective could be described as neo-Gramscian, involving a fusion of modern political Marxism and ecosystem modelling.  This hybridity has led to the development of Social Ecosystem Thinking (SET) as a new way of looking at whole-system transformation.  

As part of this broad intellectual-political exercise, there is the development of two related concepts - The Organic Intellect and the role of 21st Century Organic Intellectuals and Socialised Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.


Ken's latest work applies SET to the Just Transition - linking the demand for a whole system and rapid movement to carbon net-zero through an emphasis on social justice.

The demand for the Expansion of the Just Transition is based on a recognition that the transitioning to carbon net-zero will require reciprocal transitioning activities at all levels of society to produce a Just Transition Ecosystem - a new dynamic ecological and social settlement.  These ideas are explored further in the Just Transition web pages.

Ken's academic specialism concerns the fields of upper secondary and further education and training and there is a page where you can find his recent academic contributions.


He is also active in poverty reduction, being the Chair of Friends of Amani, Tanzania  -  a UK-based charity that supports the Amani Centre for the mentally disabled in Morogoro, Tanzania.

There is also a page on the Northern Pennines, a wild area of England close to his heart and where he lives part of the time. Ken is also a Mackem (Sunderland AFC supporter).




Prof. Ken Spours

UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL


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Expand the Just Transition: the contribution of Further and Higher Education to achieve net zero and climate justice

A stimulus paper for the City of Glasgow College Symposium COP26 UN Climate Conference, Glasgow - 8 November 2021 (revised 24 Nov)

Ken Spours

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Mitigating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the further education sector - research for DfE and SAGE  - September 2021


Ken Spours, Paul Grainger, Carol Vigurs and Rachel France