Dr Helen Proctor

BA(Hons)(Sydney), GradDipEd(UNE), PhD(Sydney), GradDipEdStud(Sydney)

Senior Lecturer

Research Higher Degree Student Co-ordinator


Phone: +61 2 9036 5401

Fax: +61 2 9351 4580

Building.Room: A35.505

Research interests

Educational history, sociology and philosophy

  • History of education
  • Sociology of education

Social structures, inequalities and social justice

  • Gender relations and gender identity

Professional and community roles

  • Consulting editor, Australian Review of Public Affairs

  • Member, Public Education Foundation Scholarship Advisory Committee

  • Co-editor, History of Education Review

  • President, Australian and New Zealand History of Education Society

Current projects

  • Histories of home-school relations and the "good" educational parent.
  • The experience of Early Career Researchers in the Faculty of Education and Social Work (with Dr Aek Phakiti, University of Sydney).
  • Proctor, H. & Burns, K. (2013-2015). Making the healthy school student: the public school and the governance of public health in the twentieth century.

Current research students

Project title Degree Research student
Historical thinking and new media (associate supervisor) PhD James Goulding
Design, accomplishment and creativity: the history of art education in NSW: 1880 - 1940. PhD Rebecca Kummerfeld
Building schooling identity and tradition: the approach of the archivist. PhD Welwyn Margaret Petersen
The Impact and Future Implications of Parental Decision Making in Deaf Education from 1970-2010 PhD Aaron Payne
From the safety net to the high wire: High-achieving early-career teachers' experiences across the market spectrum PhD Meghan Stacey
TBA PhD Paul Martin
TBA MEd (Research) Ruby Rottenberg

Selected publications


  • Craig Campbell & Helen Proctor. (2014). A history of Australian Schooling. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
  • Campbell, C., Proctor, H. and Sherington, G. (2009). School choice: How parents negotiate the new school markets in Australia. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
  • Proctor, H. (1995). Ruling Russia: from Nicholas II to Stalin. Melbourne: Longman Modern History Series.

Book chapters

  • Arathi Sriprakash and Helen Proctor. (2014). Social class and inequality. In R. W. Connell et al (Ed.), Education, change and society Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Helen Proctor and Arathi Sriprakash. (2014). School systems and school choice. In R. W. Connell et al (Ed.), Education, Change and Society Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Helen Proctor & Claire Aitchison. (2013). School choice and family capital. In Gabrielle Meagher & Sue Goodwin (Ed.), Markets, Rights and Power University of Sydney Press.
  • Alison Mackinnon & Helen Proctor. (2013). Education . In A. Bashford & S. Macintyre (Ed.), The Cambridge History of Australia (Vol. 2,), Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
  • Helen Proctor. (2010). The Good Mother and the high school: A view from the twentieth century. In S. Goodwin & K. Huppatz (Ed.), The Good Mother: Contemporary motherhoods in Australia Sydney: University of Sydney Press.

Journal articles

  • Jo May & Helen Proctor. (2013). Being Special: memories of selective high school, 1920s-1950s.. History of Education Review, 42(1).
  • Helen Proctor. (2011). Masculinity and social class, tradition and change: the production of ‘young Christian gentlemen’ at an elite Australian boys’ school. Gender and Education, 23(7), 843–856.
  • Proctor, H. (2009). An aristocracy of talent? Describing self and other at an early twentieth-century high school. History of Education (UK), 38(2), 247–261.
  • Proctor, H. (2008). School teacher parents and the retreat from public secondary schooling: A view from the Australian Census, 1976-2001. Australian Educational Researcher, 35(2), 123–138.
  • Proctor, H. (2007). Gender and Merit: Coeducation and the Construction of a Meritocratic Educational Ladder in New South Wales, 1880-1912. Paedagogica Historica, 43(1), 119–134.
  • Proctor, H. (2001). Gender, merit and identity at Parramatta High School, 1913-1919. History of Education Review, 30(2), 39–50.
  • Proctor, H. (2000). Gender, grievance and bad behaviour at a New South Wales state high school, 1913-1922. Change Monograph, (1), 53–65.


  • Helen Proctor. (2012). Top marks to Gonski review for its focus on children, schools and teachers., Opinion page, Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February..
  • Helen Proctor. (2011). School choice is not the answer to everything, .
  • Helen Proctor. (2011). Families, schools and the modern education market, The Sydney Papers.
  • Helen Proctor. (2010). Bringing up baby in the 21st century, Australian Review of Public Affairs Digest.
  • Helen Proctor. (2010). Introduction, In Threads through time: a photographic history of 125 years of Abbotsleigh. (Sydney: the school).