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Xin Fan

Research Student

Research Student in the School of Education


Xin Fan is a PhD student in the School of Education at Durham University. Her doctoral research is fully funded by the ESRC NINE DTP Doctoral Studentship. She is supervised by Dr. Cora Lingling Xu and Prof. Vikki Boliver.


Xins doctoral research investigates Chinese rural parents’ school choices through a cross-case study that draws on the theoretical tools of Pierre Bourdieu and Stephen Ball. The research aims to reveal both the structural constraints and the possibilities of individual agency to give a complete picture of rural parents’ decision-making. 


Previously, Xin completed her BA degree in Japanese from Nanjing University and was selected as Outstanding Graduate of Nanjing University in 2019. During her undergraduate study, she spent a year at the University of Tokyo as an exchange student. Xin holds a Masters degree in law from Beijing Foriegn Studies University. She also holds a MA degree in Education and International Development from the University College London with Distinction. Her masters study at UCL was fully funded by the China Scholarship Council.


In her masters thesis, Xin analysed China's rural school consolidation policy using the theoretical lens of policy-as-text and policyas-discourse’ developed by Stephen Ball. She applied critical discourse analysis based on Norman Fairclough's Three-dimensional CDA Framework in analysing the policy documents and interview data. The study concluded that the urban-oriented value behind the design and implementation of rural school consolidation policy excluded the village schools from the educational support and funding system, which strengthened rural parents and teachers' preference for urban schools and caused a loss of students in rural schools. The study formed the basis for her ongoing PhD research.


Her provisional PhD thesis title is School choice fever: parentsperceptions and practices in rural China.