Our People

Dr Jennifer Skattebol

Senior Research Fellow

Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood), B. Ed., PhD, UWS

Social Policy Research Centre


+61 2 9385 7816
+61 2 9385 7838
211 Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Social and Cultural Geography, Social Policy, Sociological Methodology and Research Methods, Sociology of Education, Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
Tags: Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being), Education and Training Systems Policies and Development


Jennifer Skattebol, Dip Ed (EC), B.Ed., PhD, explores issues of economic inequality and how they are experienced by children and their families. She is primarily a qualitative and mixed method researcher grounded in the disciplines of education, sociology and social policy. Her methodological expertise is designing research with children, young people and their families in contexts of disadvantage. She has worked extensively with government and non-government bodies on issues related to early years education, child and youth poverty and how service systems might better meet the needs of these young Australians and their families. She is interested in how constructions of family are lived and experienced and how the nexus of the family is a site where inequalities and power focus, operate, are resisted and transformed. This work includes consideration of how young people manage tensions between family and school (and other services) and how services might be more responsive to the needs of disadvantaged citizen. Current research projects include equitable access to early childhood education and care, of child wellbeing in the middle years and an investigation of the lifecourses of young poeple using multiple service systems.

Research Summary

Jennifer Skattebol's research interests include children and young people's experiences of poverty, education in underserved and/or under resourced communities, child/youth-centred methodologies, and participatory methodologies.

Teaching HDR Supervision:

Jennifer Skattebol welcomes enquires from prospective Higher Research Candidates interested in children and young people’s experiences, families with young children, services for low income and culturally diverse communities.

HDR completions:

Inara Walden: Participation in Indigenous policy making

Jan Idle: Talking and Listening in Primary School

Kabirul Islam: Food Security and Social Safety Net Programs: A Study of Bangladeshi Rural poor Households



    Book Chapters

    • Skattebol J, 2016, ''It's Hard to Blend in': Everyday Experiences of Schooling Achievement, Migration and Neoliberal Education Policy', in HunnerKreisel C; Bohne S (ed.), CHILDHOOD, YOUTH AND MIGRATION: CONNECTING GLOBAL AND LOCAL PERSPECTIVES, edn. Childrens Well-Being Indicators and Research, SPRINGER INT PUBLISHING AG, pp. 83 - 99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31111-1_6
    • Skattebol J, 2016, '‘It’s hard to blend in’: everyday experiences of schooling achievement, migration and neoliberal education policy', in Hunner-Kreisel, C; Bohne, S (ed.), Childhood, Youth and Migration: Connecting Global and Local Perspectives, edn. 1, Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp. 83 - 99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31111-1
    • Skattebol J;Aydemir O;Mourad F;Arthur L, 2015, 'Insider Islamic Spaces of Inquiry: Muslim educators producing new knowledge in Sydney Australia', in Practitioner research in early childhood: International issues and perspectives.
    • Hayes D;Skattebol J, 2015, 'Education and the Politics of Belonging: Attachments and Actions', in Handbook of Children and Youth Studies, pp. 517 - 528, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-981-4451-15-4_66
    • Skattebol J, 2005, 'Difference, deafness and donor choice', in Jones HG; Kirkman DM (ed.), Sperm Wars: The Rights and Wrongs of Reproduction, edn. Original, ABC Enterprises, Sydney, pp. 242 - 252
    • Skattebol J;Gilbert S, 2004, 'Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families', in Salter G; Johnston C; Lunn H (ed.), Does this child need help? Identification and Early Intervention, edn. Original, Australian Early Intervention Association, Sydney, pp. 24 - 30

    Journal articles

    • Fenech M;Skattebol J, 2019, 'Supporting the inclusion of low-income families in early childhood education: an exploration of approaches through a social justice lens', International Journal of Inclusive Education, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2019.1597929
    • Skattebol J;Redmond G, 2019, 'Troubled kids? Locational disadvantage, opportunity structures and social exclusion', Children's Geographies, vol. 17, pp. 76 - 89, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2018.1487031
    • Redmond G;Skattebol J, 2019, 'Material deprivation and capability deprivation in the midst of affluence: The case of young people in Australia', Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 97, pp. 36 - 48, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.06.067
    • Skattebol J;Newell M, 2018, 'Gayby Baby – From the politics of representation to the politics of care', Health Education Journal, vol. 77, pp. 720 - 731, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0017896918759569
    • Skattebol J, 2017, ''Stories from beyond': Understanding the lifeworlds of young people', Queensland Review, vol. 24, pp. 129 - 146, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/qre.2017.16
    • Skattebol J;Adamson E;Woodrow C, 2016, 'Revisioning professionalism from the periphery', Early Years, vol. 36, pp. 116 - 131, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2015.1121975
    • Skattebol J;Hayes D, 2016, 'Cracking with affect: relationality in young people’s movements in and out of mainstream schooling', Critical Studies in Education, vol. 57, pp. 6 - 20, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2015.1096803
    • Skattebol J, 2015, 'Taking advantage of early childhood education and care: the priorities of low-income families in their children’s early years', Families, Relationships and Societies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/204674315X14281323075723
    • Skattebol J;Hayes D, 2015, 'Cracking with affect: relationality in young people’s movements in and out of mainstream schooling', Critical Studies in Education, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17508487.2015.1096803
    • Skattebol J;Redmond G, 2014, 'Filling in the details – significant events and economic disadvantage among young people in Australia. In', Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, vol. 60, pp. 552 - 567
    • Redmond G;Skattebol J, 2014, 'Filling in the details: Significant events and economic disadvantage among young people in Australia', Zeitschrift fur Padagogik, vol. 60, pp. 552 - 568
    • Skattebol J;Arthur LM, 2014, 'Collaborative practitioner research: opening a third space for local knowledge production', Asia Pacific Journal of Education, vol. 34, pp. 351 - 365, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2013.871690
    • Skattebol J, 2011, '"When the money's low": Economic participation among disadvantaged young Australians', Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 33, pp. 528 - 533, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.05.007
    • Skattebol J, 2010, 'Affect: A tool to support pedagogical change', Discourse, vol. 31, pp. 75 - 91, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01596300903465435
    • Skattebol J;Griffiths MJ, 2008, 'Making a Difference: Young People’s Perspectives of Economic Adversity', ACWA News, vol. Oct/Nov, pp. 6
    • Skattebol J, 2008, 'Research on and with Children and Young People at the SPRC', SPRC newsletter, vol. 100, pp. 8 - 9
    • Press F;Skattebol J, 2007, 'Early Childhood Activism, Minor Politics and Resuscitating Vision: a tentative foray into the use of 'intersections' to influence early childhood policy', CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, vol. 8, pp. 180 - 191, http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2007.8.3.180
    • Skattebol J, 2007, 'Through their mother’s eyes: the impact of heteronormative paradigms in child care on lesbian- and gay- headed families', International Journal of Equity and Innovation in Early Childhood (IJEIEC), vol. 5, pp. 47 - 63
    • Skattebol J;Ferfolja T, 2007, 'Voices from an enclave: Lesbian mothers’ experiences of child care', Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 32, pp. 10 - 18
    • Skattebol J, 2006, 'Playing boys: The body, identity and belonging in the early years', Gender and Education, vol. 18, pp. 507 - 522, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540250600881667
    • Skattebol J, 2005, 'Insider/Outsider Belongings: traversing the borders of whiteness in early childhood', CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, vol. 6, pp. 189 - 203, http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2005.6.2.8
    • Skattebol J, 2005, 'Insider/Outsider Belongings. Traversing the borders of whiteness', Contemporary Issues In Early Childhood, vol. 6, pp. 189 - 203
    • Skattebol J, 2003, 'Dark, Dark and Darker: Children’s negotiations of identity', Contemporary Issues In Early Childhood, vol. 4, pp. 149 - 166

    Conference Papers

    • Skattebol J;Redmond G;Zizzo G, 2017, 'Expanding Children's Agency: Cases of Young People Experiencing Economic Adversity', in Children and Society, pp. 315 - 329, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/chso.12224


    Conference Presentations

    • Skattebol J;Blaxland M;Brennan DJ;Purcal C, 2010, 'Progressive policies? Australian early childhood policy and low income families', presented at Mapping Families – Practices and Concepts of Children, Parents and Professionals, Bielefeld, Germany, 01 November 2010
    • Helyar S;valentine K;Skattebol J;Adamson E;Brennan DJ;Bevan K;Woodruff J, 2010, 'Because children and families matter: delivering on the national reform agenda', presented at 11th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne, 07 - 09 July 2010
    • Skattebol J;Evans J, 2009, 'Workforce Issues in Integrated Early Childhood Services. Getting it together for Australia’s Children. What Role for Child and Family Centres?', presented at NIFeTY/ CCCH conference, Melbourne, Australia, 15 - 16 February 2009
    • Skattebol J;Blaxland M;Purcal C;Brennan D, 2009, 'Integrated services: voices and silences from Australian history', presented at NIFeTY, Melbourne, 01 February 2009
    • Skattebol J;Arthur L, 2008, 'Supporting Activist Leadership through Practitioner Research', presented at Early Childhood Australia Biennial Conference, Canberra, 01 October 2008
    • Skattebol J, 2006, 'Situated belongings: practices of identity and social participation in an Australian early childhood space', presented at Childhood and Youth: Choice and Participation, University of Sheffield, 04 - 06 July 2006
    • Newman L;Woodrow C;Skattebol J;Arthur L;Dwyer J, 2006, 'Powerful Partnerships: Students and Teachers Learning in Communities of Practice', presented at AARE 2006, 01 January 2006
    • Skattebol J, 2005, 'The role of affect in critically reflective practice', presented at AARE 2005, Parramatta, Sydney, 01 November 2005
    • Gilbert S;Woodrow C;Perry B;Dockett S;Skattebol J;Mason T;Howard P, 2005, 'Successful transition programs from prior-to-school to school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Methodological considerations', presented at AARE 2005, Parramatta, Sydney, 01 November 2005
    • Gilbert S;Woodrow C;Perry B;Dockett S;Skattebol J;Mason T;Howard P;Whitton D;Simpson T, 2005, 'Successful transition programs from prior-to-school to school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Emerging Issues', presented at AARE 2005, Parramatta, Sydney, 01 November 2005
    • Skattebol J, 2004, 'Working with 'whiteness' in early childhood', presented at Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference, University of Melbourne, 16 - 19 July 2004
    • Dwyer J;Simpson S;Skattebol J, 2004, 'Children's voice in research', presented at Education and Social Action Conference, Centre for Popular Education. UTS, 07 - 08 December 2004
    • Skattebol J, 2003, 'Playing with Boys', presented at UWS postgraduate conference, UWS, 01 January 2003

    Working Papers

    • Adamson E;Skattebol J;valentine K;Brennan DJ;Katz I;Helyar S;Woodruff J;Bevan K, 2009, Because children and families matter: Delivering on the National Reform Agenda,, UnitingCare Australia, Canberra.

Teaching and Supervision

HDR Supervision
Jen Skattebol welcomes enquires from prospective Higher Research Candidates interested in children and young people’s experiences, families with young children, services for low income and/or culturally diverse communities, practitioner or participatory research methods.

Dr Skattebol is currently supervising Inara Walden, Jan Idle and Kabir Islam


ARC Linkage grant(LP180100142)Engagement in early childhood education in the context of disadvantage.

September 2019-September 2022

with Dr Megan Blaxland, Dr BJ Newton, Dr Marianne Fenech, Ass Prof Christine Woodrow, Prof Frances Press, Ms Penelope Markham; Dr Sandra Cheeseman.

Industry Partners: KU children's services;Family Day Care Australia; Early Childhood Australia; Goodstart Early Learning, Creche and Kindergarten Association Queensland.

This research responds to enduring inequalities in children’s participation in high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC). Contemporary families face precarious labour markets and a childcare system with stringent workforce participation requirements. This project will illuminate the affordances of everyday life for families most challenged by these emergent conditions and develop understandings of how to calibrate services accordingly. Findings will support universal ECEC access through knowledge translation about contemporary disadvantage to policy and practice forums. A strong Indigenous component contributes to researcher training and knowledge about effective practice for Indigenous children and their families.

ARC Discovery Program: Social Exclusion in Adolescence.

with Prof Gerry Redmond (lead CI); Professor Fiona Brooks; Prof Colin Macdougal, Ass. Prof Pammi Raghavendra; Ass Prof Gill Main

March 2019-March 2022

This project aims to investigate social exclusion among young people (aged 8-17) – the risks of exclusion they face, the assets mobilised to support their inclusion, their lived experiences in the context of these risks and
assets, and outcomes that matter for their overall life chances. Applying a social exclusion framework to existingcross-sectional and longitudinal survey data, and informed by in-depth qualitative research with young people, the
project will investigate which risks, assets and experiences are most closely related to outcomes, and how these vary age and gender. The project will provide a new understanding of the relationship between social exclusion
and outcomes in adolescence, and entry points for policy intervention.

Gonski Institute or Education:Equitable Access to High Quality Early Childhood Education

July 2019-Dec 2019

with Dr Megan Blaxland, Dr Elizabeth Adamson

Industry Partners: Early Learning and Care Council of Australia; The Front Project; Early Childhood Australia; KU Children's Services.

The Council of Australian Government 2008 plan to ensure all children have access to 15 hours of preschool in the year before school has seen increasing numbers of children utilising Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services. However, there remains a persistent minority of children who still do not access ECEC. These children are likely to live in disadvantaged contexts and have the most to gain from ECEC. The Australian Early Development Census shows that nearly 40% percent of Indigenous children and 35 percent of children living in low-income areas (Q1 and Q2 on the SEIFA index of disadvantage) do not attend ECEC (O’Connor, 2016) and do not accrue the advantages that a high quality ECEC experience offers. Furthermore, they are more likely to live in areas where there is little high quality ECEC provided in both regional and urban areas. This project will coalesce the evidence on the barriers to ECEC take-up, identify communities where there are better than expected (‘off-diagonal’) patterns of service use among families who share the characteristics of families who do not use ECEC services, generate evidence on effective ECEC initiatives in different contexts of local area disadvantage.

Gonski Institute or Education: What does sucess mean for Aboriginal children in NSW preschools?

July 2019-July 2020

with Dr Megan Blaxland (lead CI) and Wendy Jopson

High quality early education has been identified by SNAICC (2019) as a key strategy for ensuring equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are helped by their family and communities to start school through strong family support, strong cultural identity, good health and a positive self-identity. But the desire of Indigenous families for their children to be well-engaged and well-supported in school and learning is not always successfully met by the educational institutions, including preschools, that children attend.This project will adopt a strengths-based, co-design research model, in which research plans and methods are developed collaboratively with participating communities. With a view to co-designing a proposal for research on what success looks like for Aboriginal communities and families, this project will undertake scoping and relationship building as the foundation for future research.

Industry Partners: Cages Foundation

Engagement and Professional contributions

Dr Skattebol has been a member of the UNSW Human Research Ethics Committee.

Jennifer is also a regular reviewer for academic journals including Discourse: Cultural Studies in the politics of Education; Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Australian Educational Researcher, Qualitative Studies in Education, Child Indicators Research.

Dr Skattebol is a company director of KU Children's Services.

Related links

Related news

Other information

KU Children's Services Board