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Ken Spours 2024

Social Ecosystem Thinking for Progressive Transitioning



45-degree framework of change and reinterpretation of key Gramscian

concepts in the Age of the Anthropecene

Holistic and connective thinking for multiple forms of societal transitioning.

Combining progressive horizontal and vertical thinking and knowledge production for societal transformations.

Source. Institute of Export and International Trade


Ken Spours is Emeritus Professor of Post Compulsory Education at the UCL Institute of Education and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Capital Normal University, Beijing.  Ken's political and theoretical outlook can be considered neo-Gramscian, with its focus on applying modern Marxist concepts to the challenge of 21st-century transitioning.  He is also an Associate of the democratic left think tank and pressure group Compass. WinAsOne and Chair of the UK charity Friends of Amani, TanzaniaKen is also a supporter of Sunderland AFC - Ha'way the Lads'.

(+44) 07940 544408

You can follow Ken on                 (Twitter)




Two new concepts

21st Century Gramscian theory, including a new concept of 'historical blocs' based on the 45-degree change framework.


Social Ecosystem Model Version 2 (SEM 2)

moves from a focus on place-based vocational education and training (SEM 1) to a Social Ecosystem approach to the Just Transition.

Social Ecosystem Thinking

Ken Spours. 2023. The Evolution of Social Ecosystem Thinking.  Stimulus Paper for the Workshop on 'Skills Ecosystems and the Just Transition'.  Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, 20-24 November 2023.

Ship and the Sea as progressive combinational politic

Ken Spours & Neal Lawson.

2023. The Ship and the Sea.

The Framework for a New Settlement. Compass Publications.


Ken Spours & Paul Grainger. 2023. The mediating role of further and higher education in a Just Transition social ecosystem  Journal of Vocational Education and Training.

The collapse of UK Tory political popularity

Ken Spours. 2022. Hegemony Lost.  The decline of the Tory historical project.  Compass Publications. 


Ken Spours, Paul Grainger & Carol Vigurs. 2022. ‘We are all in the same storm but not in the same boat’: the COVID pandemic and the Further Education Sector Journal of Education and Work

Ken Spours TED Talk

'An English Education Revolution' (2011)

This TED talk focused on the 'revolutionary' idea that English education should be free from ministerial political interference.  Delivered in the aftermath of the Gove/Cummings 2010 Tory Education Act and New Labour's top-down managerial governance approach, it suggested that treating education like a 'political football' should be replaced by a 'partnership covenant' between governments and the education profession.  Only this kind of collaboration can usher in a new era of both policy stability and innovation.  While this message was delivered over a decade ago it remains very pertinent today as we think about ways of rebuilding an education system undermined by more than a decade of Conservative government policy and austerity.

Ken Spours 2011 TED talk
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