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Research in the School of Education

The School 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 interprofessionalism 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


Dr. Ruth Wood (Education Research Group lead)


Dr Mick Allen

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a special interest group new to the School of Education. Its aim is to promote STEM activity in the School by supporting colleagues in their research, writing and other scholarly endeavours.

The group is open to specialists working in STEM subjects and others whose interests may cross over into the STEM domain. Current areas of research include preschool obesity, mathematics giftedness in primary children, 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
    • The nature and development of mathematical promise/giftedness
  • Mathematics education (primary)
  • Creativity, thinking skills and teaching thinking
  • Raising the bar in mathematics through teaching thinking
  • Developing mathematical promise within a mastery curriculum
  • Understanding the reasons for high attainment in mathematics

Early Years

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

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.

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 the Master of Research (Education) which provides suitable preparation for those considering doctoral studies in this field.

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.

Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education
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