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

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

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
Early-career teachers' experiences in NSW secondary schools 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).