Research in the Department of Education

The Department of Education aims to improve the lives of learners in all settings and to enhance the wellbeing of communities in which they form part in education-related fields. A close relationship with experienced and ingénue education and child care professionals and partner institutions regionally and nationally underpins our research activity.

We provide a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including initial teacher education (subject to the requirements of the department for Education) and continuing professional development, which are informed by our research specialisms and expertise. As part of an Education Research Group (ERG), there are Special Interest Groups (SIGs) focussing upon inclusion and social justice; science, technology, engineering and mathematics; pedagogy and technology in addition to Early Years. The ERG will also enhance strengths and opportunities for new work in professionalism and inter-professionalism in Early Years' provision, citizenship education, technologies-enhanced learning and digital literacies, mathematics education and curriculum policy in the primary and secondary years.

Key research areas

Current areas of interest in the school for research enquiry include professionalism and interprofessionalism in Early Years' provision, citizenship education, technologies-enhanced learning and digital literacies, mathematics education and curriculum policy in the primary and secondary years. A wide range of research projects have been undertaken. Examples of these include children's understanding of science in the early years; enhancing learning experience through the implementation and integration of digital technologies and exploring the learning needs of higher ability children.

Partnerships and networks between higher education and schools continue to be the focus of much enquiry as do those that relate to professional development opportunities for teachers in the region and internationally. The school's collaborative work with teachers and its commitment to improving the practice of teacher education underpins its research. We are very active in attending professionally relevant conferences and presenting papers which lead to published outcomes in the form of books, book chapters and scholarly journals.

Special Interest Groups

Contact

Dr. Ruth Wood (Education Research Group lead)

Currently, there are six special interest groups. STEM-focused research is undertaken within three special interest groups, Science Education, Mathematics Education in addition to Technology & Pedagogy. Three further groups, Early Years, Inclusion & Social Justice and Teaching & Teacher Education offer opportunities to engage in wider educational issues. Details for each specific group can be found below.

Science Education

Dr Mick Allen

The group is open to specialists working in science subjects and others whose interests may cross over into the this domain. Current areas of research include preschool obesity and issues surrounding the initial training of secondary science teachers.

Although we have a wide range of research interests, (all phases/ages), we would particularly welcome inquiries from prospective research students interested in the following topics.

  • Science education generally (all phases/ages), but would be especially interested in:
    • Preschoolers' concepts of biology
    • Science misconceptions
    • Primary children's conceptual development regarding science topics

Mathematics Education (SIG-ME)

Dr Christos Dimitriadis

The SIG-ME is a special interest research group within the School of Education that connects diverse research and disciplines within mathematics education, with a shared focus on improving mathematics teaching and learning. In a world which is rapidly changing socially and technologically, the group is interested in advancing the theory and practice for mathematics learning across educational levels and learning settings.

The group works collaboratively with other special interest groups within the SoE and the university and has links with mathematics education groups in different universities and the wider professional community.

The group is open to colleagues and research students, across and beyond our university, who want to be part of a community of researchers actively engaged with generating and disseminating research outputs in refereed academic journals, conferences and professional community, and with bidding for research funding.

We would particularly welcome inquiries from prospective research students interested in any of the following topics.

  • Mathematics mastery
  • Mathematics curriculum
  • Mathematics instruction
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Affect, emotion, beliefs and attitudes
  • Organisational strategies for mathematics teaching (such as grouping, differentiation, enrichment)
  • Use of technology for teaching and learning mathematics
  • Creativity and higher-order thinking in mathematics
  • Mathematically able learners and issues of identification and educational provision
  • Underachievement in mathematics, including disadvantaged and twice-exceptional pupils
  • Critical evaluation of school provision
  • Teacher knowledge, thinking and beliefs 
  • Gender issues and equity

Technology and Pedagogy

Dr Dejan Ljubojevic

Technology and Pedagogy (TaP) is a special interest group new to the School of Education. The aim of TaP group is to promote purposeful use of digital, virtual and social media technologies and platforms to enhance learning and teaching. The emphasis is on the enhancing property of the technology when appropriately and purposefully implemented.

The group is open to colleagues with interests in the enhancing affordances of digital, online, networked, and simulated learning and teaching.

Current research ideas include:

  • Technology enhanced learning/Reflection;
  • Enabling/Promoting critical pedagogy with technology;
  • Learning design;
  • Learning design and Learning analytics;
  • Open educational resources;
  • Technology enabled learning;
  • Flipped classrooms; and
  • Evaluation of Technology enhanced learning.

Early Years

Dr. Daryl Maisey

Contemporary issues relevant to the Early Years will form the basis for designing and developing research opportunities individually and collectively. This SIG will encourage members to share expertise and interests in order to facilitate research activity culminating in publications.

The SIG is open to all colleagues who specialise in the Early Years and to those who may have interests which are relevant and contribute to the activities of the group.

Inclusion and Social Justice

Dr Paty Paliokosta

The Special Interest Group on 'Inclusion and Social Justice' was created with the following remit for colleagues at the School of Education and across Faculty and beyond: discussing teaching and learning issues in relation to inclusive education and special educational needs for different higher education courses; sharing expertise; discussing research and current or future projects; linking to wider organisations; peer mentoring and co-authoring; linking to wider academic forums; applying for research bids. 

Research and professional practice investigation has taken place on: 'reasonable adjustments and multi-professionalism'; 'preparing student teachers for 'inclusion'; 'debating outcomes from students' extended placement in specialist settings'; safeguarding vulnerable groups and lessons learnt from Serious Case Reviews; social marginalisation; transitions and mental health as a new SEN Code of Practice category; supporting student teachers with SpLD in HE and practice placements.

We would particularly welcome inquiries from prospective research students interested in any of the following topics.

  • Current issues regarding educating highly or exceptionally able students
  • Twice-exceptional students and issues relating to identification and educational provision in primary schools
  • Critical evaluation of school provision for highly and exceptionally able students
  • Investigating post-code lottery for inclusive education; implications for policy and practice;
  • Developing Inclusive curricula in developing countries. Teachers' perspectives
  • Transitions for children with SEND
  • Reasonable adjustments and exclusions for children with Mental Health and other SEND
  • Parental involvement in interventions for children with SEND/ASD

Teaching and Teacher Education

Marcus Bhargava

This Special Interest Group (SIG) brings together those interested in exploring, debating and engaging in scholarship and research in the field of teacher education and development. This SIG aims to be inclusive and collaborative, attracting a range of people who are involved in the education of teachers including those engaged in the initial and ongoing education of teachers. We particularly welcome members drawn from outside the profession including SEND therapists, community educators, charitable education providers and education services.

The SIG aims to:

  • Provide a forum to explore key themes in local, national and international teacher education and development, identifying those of interest for further investigation and scholarly activity by the group
  • Provide support and guidance to members who are engaged in scholarly and research activity in the field of teacher education and development
  • Connect with other groups engaged in the field (e.g. CITED, BERA Teacher Education and Development SIG)
  • Secure grant funding to further the scholarly and research activities of the group
  • Influence policy making through its outputs

Education Research Group

Our academic staff have developed research expertise within a broad range of contexts and settings and across the education sector from nursery to higher education; work-based and intercultural learning to the formation of inclusive and international curricula. A broad range of participatory and networking opportunities for experienced, early career and student researchers provides a strong foundation for rigorous, research-led pedagogy and praxis.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) form the core of the Education Research Group; acting as catalysts for the development of conceptual, theoretical and empirical-based knowledge generation with dissemination through a range of publications, including books, book chapters, journals in addition to conferences, seminars and workshops. Recognising the potential for multi and interdisciplinary perspectives, the SIGs actively seek to develop and extend networks within and beyond the University; crossing discipline-related thresholds and creating synergy between theory and practice.

With a strong and long-standing commitment to continuing professional development and practitioner research, the School of Education also possesses a portfolio of award-bearing programmes including a fully online post graduate certificate focussing upon Research Methods in Education and a Master of Research (Education) which provides suitable preparation for those considering doctoral studies in this field. We also offer an Education Doctorate (EdD) which is designed for educational professionals working in a wide range of settings.

The Centre for Physical Education, Sport and Activities (PESA) offers an innovative PESA degree programme for people working or wishing to work in PESA settings and aims to establish a world-class centre to transform the way all children and young people engage with physical education, sport and activity through aligning excellent teaching, research and practice.