Image -  Education  Research

Special and inclusive education

We advance research into the education, health and wellbeing of children in the context of special and inclusive education, and in the wider society. Our research focuses on class, gender, and philosophy, and promotes interdisciplinary research into applied musicology. This research aims to inform policy and practice at local, regional, and governmental level, nationally and internationally. Knowledge exchange is achieved through strong relationships with schools and colleges across the UK, Europe and beyond, with the government ministries, non-governmental bodies working in education, and with the voluntary sector.

Sounds of Intent

Adam Ockelford

Sounds of Intent is the result of over two decades of research into the musical development of neurodiverse children and young people with learning difficulties conducted by Adam Ockelford. A musical development framework was put in place that covers a whole range of abilities, from profound and multiple learning difficulties to those with autism. The framework is freely available on all platforms to anyone who wishes to use it and the strategy includes sending out free Sounds of Intent resource packs to Children’s Centres in England, Music Hubs and Early Years Lead Officers in Local Authorities.

Teaching, learning and (in)equalities

Research into teaching, learning and (in)equalities seeks to improve the effectiveness, and affective value, of teaching and learning, to address inequalities and to promote social justice. Our research creates opportunities for educational and social transformation in relation to schools and educational settings and promotes productive links and partnerships with other organisations including, museums, arts venues, charities and industry.


Presenting a new hybrid model of ludic authorship: reconceptualising digital play as ‘three-dimensional’ literacy practice  (Cambridge Journal of Education, 2020)

Dr Angela Colvert

This work presents a new hybrid model of ludic authorship which reconceptualises the relationship between digital play and literacies and provides a tool through which educators and policy makers may begin to articulate the value of digital literacies involved in digital play. This model emerged from an innovative empirical study into Alternate Reality Game design in a primary school classroom which demonstrated that digital play is a literacy practice requiring three dimensions of literacy: operational; critical; and cultural.


Raising the standard: Contradictions in the theory of student teacher learning (European Journal of Teacher Education, 2017)

Dr Alaster Douglas

Using an illustrative data example of student-teachers working in a school department setting, Raising the standard offers the benefits of a cultural historical activity theory. This includes ways of analysing student teacher experiences and recognising the influence of schools in affecting the kinds of learning available to student-teachers that are needed in England.

Early childhood

Research into Early Childhood is informed and inspired by the work of Froebel and oriented by Freire’s work on social justice, and our foundational relationship with the Froebel Trust. Working in an interdisciplinary way across different fields of study including early education, social pedagogy, health, psychology, social justice, environmental issues and sociology our research critically examines, develops, and applies these philosophical and practical approaches to contemporary issues concerning young children.


Love, satisfaction and exhaustion in the nursery: methodological issues in evaluating the impact of Work Discussion groups in the nursery (Early Child Development and Care, 2018)

Dr Peter Elfer

Work Discussion is a model of professional reflection distinctive in its attention to emotion in work interactions and Dr Elfer’s work critically discuss’ the complex methodological issues in evaluating the impact of Work Discussion on nursery practitioners, children and parents in the nursery.


Small-group collaboration and individual knowledge acquisition: The processes of growth during adolescence and early adulthood (Learning and Instruction, 2019)

Dr Antonia Zachariou

This study developed by Antonia Zachariou in collaboration with Christine Howe (University of Cambridge) examines the impact of small-group collaboration during adolescence and early adulthood, showing that while individual understanding can be promoted through exchanging differing opinions, the joint analyses that groups construct while collaborating play a tangential role.






External Engagement


Research Projects


Doctoral Culture