Being of a nervous disposition as a child, Gary Thomas failed to write anything on his 11-plus examination paper, which inaction took him to secondary modern school. His subsequent zigzag through the education system gave him broad experience of its good and bad sides.
He eventually became a teacher, then an educational psychologist, then a professor of education at the University of Birmingham (and four previous universities) where his teaching, research and writing now focus on inclusive education and the methods used in social science research.
He has led a wide range of research projects and has received awards from the AHRC, the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the Department for Education, charities such as Barnardos and the Cadmean Trust, local authorities and a range of other organisations. He has written or edited more than 20 books and lots of boring academic articles.