News Archive: September 2015- August 2016

10 August

Peter Winter ICT Prize Winner Celebrates at INOX Dine

Monteney Prize

Lydia Holland, a year 6 pupil from Monteney Primary School, has received the Peter Winter ICT Prize from the School of Education.

Peter Winter was an ICT teacher at Monteney Primary School who died suddenly in October 2015. His untimely death was a shock to his family, friends and colleagues, and is sorely missed. Peter was a very gifted teacher, who was highly innovative in his approach to ICT education. He was often the first to explore new areas, paving the way for other teachers to follow and providing high quality examples of his pupils' work on the school website. He was involved in a number of research studies with the School of Education at the University of Sheffield, such as the AHRC-funded study 'Playground games and rhymes in the new media age' and the ESRC-funded study 'Exploring play and creativity in young children's use of apps'.

As a teacher-researcher, Peter was diligent in his approach and keen for his school to contribute to new knowledge about children's uses of technology both at home and school. In recognition of Peter's important work and his significant contribution to research in ICT and education, the University of Sheffield has sponsored the 'Peter Winter ICT Prize': offered annually for the next five years to pupils who make significant progress in ICT Education. In the inaugural year of the prize, Lydia Holland was the worthy winner of a gift token and certificate, presented to her by the Head of School, Professor Cathy Nutbrown. During the presentation assembly, the school also opened the ‘Peter Winter ICT Suite’.

In addition to the certificate and monetary prize, Lydia, Mum and Dad visited INOX Dine on the 28th July to have afternoon tea with Professor Jackie Marsh. Congratulations to Lydia for such a great achievement!

8 August

Inspiring thinking at the Language, Literacy and Identity Conference

Literacy Conference

From the 1-2 July, delegates from around the world attended the School of Education’s International Conference.

The sparkling array of keynote speakers and conference delegates gave papers around the topic of 'Language, Literacies and Identity'. The event kicked off with a series of excellent doctoral presentations in a speedy but friendly 'Short Fuse ' format; as usual the standard of papers was extremely high and it was great to have papers from all over the world - from almost every continent on the globe.

Urszula Clark, Aston University, gave an excellent keynote revisiting the idea of Language as a semiotic, while Guy Merchant, Sheffield Hallam University, talked of ‘Slippery Subjects: bodies, texts and technologies’. These papers and the those given in parallel sessions gave us material for stimulating discussion at the end of the day led by Clare Dowdall of Plymouth University.

The second day was opened by Alexandra Georgakopoulou, Kings College London who led us in an argument that took us ' ‘Beyond (trans)language: Social media-literate identities through the small stories lens’ and was closed by Susan Jones, University of Nottingham who talked about her project and paper on ‘Everyday lives, literacies and identities in austerity Britain’.

Following on from the first days’ discussion was a tough task, but Ibrar Bhatt from Lancaster University deftly brought together themes and provoked with difficult questions, which kept delegates talking beyond the end of the conference. We are very grateful for the time and intellectual input given by all delegates and speakers for this event.

You can read the blog about the Conference here.

3 August

School of Education MA students participate in Engaged Curriculum Project

Engaged CurriculumFrom 2015, 11 full-time Masters students from the School of Education took part in a project sponsored by the Engaged Curriculum team. Alongside their formal studies, they committed to working in small groups with members of Sheffield communities with international links: the Roma-Slovak community, the Afro-Caribbean community, and asylum seekers and refugees in the city. In partnership with members of these communities, students created short films detailing their experiences of formal education in the UK. Student participants then created a fourth film drawing together their learning from the project. All films were then shown as part of a celebration event, recognising the achievement of everyone involved, including inviting community partners into the university to share in the success.

The project has been beneficial in several ways. Students say they have taken from it an intellectual nuancing of their beliefs about education in the UK; a set of rich personal experiences about meeting learners, and travelling to parts of Sheffield they wouldn’t otherwise have visited; and more practical skills, both about carrying out academic research, and disseminating that in a form other than written work. One group describes it as having learnt “about and with” a particular community: “Being part of this project is a real life experience, and has expanded our understanding about the UK education system outside the university’s border.”

Lastly, a motivation behind the project was about connecting research, teaching, and educational practice within the School. This has been realised through the connections with local communities being facilitated by researchers in the School who are already working with these groups, exploring how formal education impacts upon their lives and life chances. Within the project, we’ve sought not just to create encounters between “the local” and “the global”, but also demonstrate how complex and intertwined these two categories are.

Each of the films contains interviews with members of the community and reflects something of their experiences of education in the UK, exploring the complexity of national identity in an international world. You can watch three of the films here.

22 July

Congratulations to our Class of 2016: Summer Graduation

Summer Graduation 2016Over 100 guests attended the School of Education Graduation Reception after the Ceremony on July 21st. We offer huge congratulations from all of us at The School of Education, and take great pride in your achievements. We hope all of our graduands enjoyed the day.

You can view the photographs from our post-graduation event here.

During the ceremony, Dr Julia Davies also received a Senate Award. The Award was given for Sustained Excellence in Learning and Teaching, in her role as Senior Lecturer.

When asked how she felt to win, Dr Davies said, “I am honoured to receive this award. I have always enjoyed teaching at The University of Sheffield; we are very privileged as University teachers, as we work with students who are motivated and talented and bring with them a wealth of enthusiasm and knowledge. It makes it worthwhile putting in effort. The opportunity to work with students from all over the world is a very enriching part of the experience of teaching and learning at the University; I have learned a lot from my students.”

You can read more about Dr Davies’ work in her staff profile.

19 July

Dr Liz Chesworth presents paper at CSCY International Conference

School of Education’s Dr Liz Chesworth has presented a paper to the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth’s 6th International Conference: ‘The Social, the Biological and the Material Child’.

The conference explored social, biological and material dimensions of childhood and children’s everyday lives; Dr Chesworth’s paper focuses on her research of play in a reception classroom. The presentation at the conference further discussed these ways in which the knowledge and interests that children bring into the classroom can be seen in their play, interactions and relationships with their peers at school.

The paper, ‘A funds of knowledge approach to examining play interests: listening to children’s and parents’ perspectives’, has just been published, and can be accessed here.

For more information on the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, please visit the website.

18 July

Dr China Mills to present at Intar International Conference 2016

From the 26-28 November, School of Education’s Dr China Mills will be attending and giving a keynote speech at the Intar International Conference in Pune, India.

The Intar Conference focuses on alternatives and recovery in Mental Health; this year, the Conference is named ‘Trans-Cultural Dialogues about Mental Health, Extreme States and Alternatives for Recovery’.

For more information on the conference, please visit the website. For more information on Dr Mills’s work, please visit her staff profile.

11 July

'Family Literacy in Prisons' Award Ceremony

FLIP ProjectToday, Professor Cathy Nutbrown and Professor Peter Clough will be visiting Forest Bank Prison, Manchester, to present certificates to fathers who have completed the ‘Family Literacy in Prisons’ course.

Professor Nutbrown said "I am so pleased to be able to present certificates to the fathers who have followed the FLiP programme. Their work on young childcare's literacy and how parents can make a difference to their own young childcare's literacy development is really something to celebrate. I congratulate all the prisoners who have participated in the FLiP programme on their achievement. This has been made possible through our collaboration with Pact, whose family workers have offered the FLiP programme. Our collaboration with Pact is ongoing and we hope to see even more FLiP programmes in the future”

For more information on the FLiP project, please visit the website.

7 July

Professor Jackie Marsh presents Keynote in Braga, Portugal


Professor Jackie Marsh recently gave a keynote at the first COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action Training School in Braga, Portugal.

The aim of this COST Action is to develop an interdisciplinary network that enables researchers to synthesise existing research and identify gaps in knowledge in this area. This will help to avoid duplication, foster innovative avenues for future research and effectively advance knowledge in this area. The Action focuses on children aged from 0-8.

The DigiLitEY project that is Chaired by Jackie Marsh has launched a new interactive blog, featuring articles from members of the COST Action team, and discussion relating to young children’s digital literacy and multimodal practices.

You can visit the blog here.

29 June

Imagine Project wins Best Educational Project Award

Activity AwardsProfessor Kate Pahl has received the ‘Best Educational Project’ award at the University Students’ Union Academic Awards. She receives this in her role as principle investigator on the Imagine project ‘The Cultural Context’. The project brings together a range of different research projects working together across universities and their communities.

When asked about how she felt, Professor Pahl said, “I was delighted to receive the Best Educational Project award at the Student Union All Academic Awards.
It came as a complete surprise, but also is a testimony to the fantastic team of researchers on Imagine, particularly to the work of Zanib Rasool in encouraging university community links, developing new widening participation projects and in pursuing a doctorate as a result of the project.

“We are proud to be an example of a diverse project bridging communities and the University. Thank you to the Student Union for selecting us. "

You can read the full story here. For more information on the Imagine Project, please visit the website.

25 May

New blog by Dr Mark Payne: ‘Reducing the “boiling pot” to a simmer’

Slovakia ResearchFollowing his research on the Roma communities in Sheffield and Slovakia, Dr Mark Payne has written a piece for the Faculty of the Social Sciences blog.

The post discusses integration, the migration to and from Slovakia, and the multi-agency efforts that have significantly supported Roma in settling into life in Sheffield.

Dr Payne’s post is a reaction to recent articles from the Guardian and the Yorkshire Post. You can read the blog here.

 19 May

The National Network Meeting for the ORIM Research Projects, 3rd May

ORIM MeetingThe ORIM network meeting brought together colleagues from across the country to share ideas about good practice and hear the latest research which is being conducted by Professor Cathy Nutbrown. ORIM (Opportunities, Recognition, Interaction and Modelling) has grown as a part of the REAL project which began in 1995; it works with parents of pre-school and Reception aged children to develop ways of supporting Literacy and Learning at home- particularly to families in areas of economic disadvantage. The network meeting was fortunate to have both Professor Nutbrown and Professor Peter Hannon, the original co-founders of the REAL project, present to reflect on how their work is being adapted 20 years on.

ORIM practitioners are knowledgeable and passionate, and the event sought to share ideas about how the original literacy and language model can be adapted to support parents to learn maths, music, physical skills, home visits, as well as reading and writing, so that their children become confident and able to enjoy learning. There was a lot of parental feedback. One parent in Oldham commented, “Now I know why you do the things that you do at pre-school, I can help my child at home.” Another Dad in Blackpool said, “ I’ve never had so much fun since the day my child was born!”

One of the most important challenges for teachers and practitioners in the Early Years is how to ‘close’ the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged children whilst ensuring that they enjoy their learning and supporting their families in a positive way. Ongoing research from some of the 28 participants shows how effective ORIM can be in reaching out to families. Eight colleagues from different parts of the country, for example, are able to track their work with 278 staff, 966 children and 651 family members. As one practitioner described it, “It’s the ORIM bug!”

The ORIM network meeting at The University of Sheffield also brings together important partners who regularly work alongside Professor Nutbrown to promote the ORIM and the REAL approach notably The National Children’s Bureau and PEEPLE. If you are interested in finding out more about ORIM or REAL please use the website.

As a result of the ideas exchanged at the network meeting, there will be further follow up and another network meeting will be planned for next year. If you are using ORIM or REAL and want to contribute to Professor Nutbrown’s research please contact Kay Davies at

Also look out for a national conference in November 2017 which will be jointly run by Peeple (Supporting children and parents to work to work together), The National Children’s Bureau and The University of Sheffield. Come along and get ‘the bug’!

17 May

Pioneering study helps children living with a parent with dementia

DDEMENTIA AWARENESSementia Awareness Week runs from May 15 to 21st. Findings from, and participants involved in, Professor Pat Sikes and Mel Hall’s Alzheimer’s Society funded project The perceptions and experiences of children and young people who have a parent with dementia has been featured in the local news.

Since November 2014 Mel has interviewed, usually on more than one occasion 22, 6 to 31 year olds who have experience of a parent with young onset dementia (YOD).

On the basis of what they were told, Pat and Mel believe that YOD is devastating because the parent changes and can no longer be the parent in the way that they once were or that is expected by the child, however old they are. Young people seem to tend to put their life on hold - not wanting to make the sorts of decisions that are normal at this time (university, relationships, home purchase, marriage, having kids) because of their uncertainty about their parent's condition.

The limited research that there has been says that the effects on children and young people who have a parent with dementia are very severe and that mental, emotional and physical ill health is seriously affected and for a long time. The School of Education study (which is unique in its focus and approach) supports this.

Further information about Dementia Awareness Week can be obtained at the websiteRead the full Dementia Awareness Week special report.

You can see Professor Pat Sikes present her research on Channel 4 (aired Monday 16th May 2016) here.

Click here to listen to Professor Sikes and Dr Mel Hall on BBC Radio Sheffield (aired Tuesday 17th May).

16 May

Malta Alumni Annual Gathering and Public Lecture, 5th May

Malta Alumni GatheringThe new and existing graduates from our Malta programmes came together on the 5th of May to celebrate their achievements and meet up with their fellow alumni. Professor Cathy Nutbrown also presented a lecture on the ‘Saltiness’ of Early Childhood Education, which was attended by over 80 people, including some members of the newly founded Early Childhood Development Association of Malta. Professor Nutbrown discussed the crucial issues of high quality pedagogy in work with babies, toddlers and young children.

We would like to wish our alumni in Malta the best of luck for their futures, and hope they keep in touch.

13 May

Comments from Silvapura and Mick Connell featured on

India OrphanageIn April, 12 PGDE students visited Bangalore, India, to work with children in the Bale Maane Orphanage and a school in Silvapura.

Imogen Sahi, a co-ordinator of the Sangam centre which accommodated and facilitated the PGDE group, recently emailed us to express her well wishes and experiences of the students:

“I wanted to write to you to say a big thank you for supporting this school experience in India and for sending these students with Jane Ferratti and Mick Connell. It was an excellent project. The students were really quite extraordinary in their energy, enthusiasm, their preparedness, the quality of what they achieved with the children in the schools here, their professionalism, and their positivity. I want to congratulate the University for sending such high quality student ambassadors for Sheffield University on this programme.

India ClassroomI also want to say how very much I appreciated Jane. She was so very together, calm, organised, and absolutely on-the-ball with everything that we did, talked about and worked on here in India. Her personal enthusiasm and confidence in what we can offer here for students and teachers had a very steadying influence on the group which is so helpful and enabling. The students were also unprecedentedly prepared, mentally and practically for what they were doing here, which was such a good platform for beginning this programme on arrival in India, and this absolutely reflects the quality of the preparation that Jane was able to provide.

I also want to thank you for sending Mick on the visit with Jane. He was an incredibly interested, reflective, engaged and peaceful person, which again impacted on the mood of the student group and the feel of the project. As a team they were brilliant. The success of the project is very much due to them, and I wanted to share this with you.

We would be delighted to work with Sheffield University again on another programme like this, and we look forward to making plans for the future.”

PGDE Tutor Mick Connell has written an article about his experiences, suggesting that English schools can learn something from the educational ambitions and commitment of the Silvapura School. You can read the article here.

12 May

Dr Jools Page published by the National Day Nurseries Association

The School of Education Research Centre for Early Childhood has been featured in the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) publication this month. The work on professional love, co-ordinated by Dr Jools Page has been explored, focusing on safe care and practice. Dr Page expresses in the articles that a ‘key person relationship is more important than any resources in a nursery’.

You can read the NDNA article here.

4 May

Annual Gathering of Malta Alumni

Alumni of the School of Education are invited to join members of academic staff from The School of Education to share your news and meet other University of Sheffield Malta Alumni. We shall celebrate the achievements of our most recent graduates. The gathering will be followed by a public lecture 'The "Saltiness" of Early Childhood Education' by Professor Cathy Nutbrown of The School of Education to which all our students, alumni and members of the public are invited.

Please email Ms Sue Midolo ( if you are able to attend.

28 April

Harry Weinberger painting donated to the School of Education

Weinberger PaintingOn the 19th April, the School of Education accepted the generous donation of 'Red River Avanos' from Jo Garber, University of Sheffield alumni and former School lecturer. The painting was produced by her late father Harry Weinberger. We’re proud to have a piece of Harry Weinberger’s legacy with us, and the painting will hang in the School of Education for students, staff and visitors to enjoy.

We asked Jo to tell us more about her father’s career and her time with us: ‘My father Harry Weinberger was a professional artist, who trained at Chelsea and Goldsmiths Schools of Art in the 1940s, and exhibited widely in London, around the UK, and in Germany, the country of his birth. He was a great traveller, and liked to take his sketch book with him, using the drawings he’d made as inspiration for larger paintings in his studio once he’d returned home.

The painting we as a family have donated to the School of Education, from one of his travels, is called Red River Avenos. My parents went on a study trip to Avenos in Cappadocia, Turkey, where they visited the frescoes in the cave churches there. My father was always drawn to rivers, and while there, made sketches of the River Avenos, which features in this picture. Appropriately for this donation, the trip was during the time of my early association with the School. I was very happily involved in research, studying and lecturing in the School of Education from the 1980s until 2006, when I worked alongside Professors Peter Hannon and Cathy Nutbrown, amongst others, on projects connected with early years’ and home literacy.’

We’d like to thank Jo for her kind words and generous donation. You can learn more about Harry Weinberger and his work here.

13 April

Head of School Cathy Nutbrown published on The Conversation

'After government U-turn on tests for four-year-olds, it’s time to trust teachers': Professor Cathy Nutbrown, Head of School and Professor of Education, has been featured in The Conversation with her views that we should rely on teachers' abilities to understand, assess and act on their pupils' progress: 'It’s their job and they want to be able to get on with it. Let them do it.'

You can read Professor Nutbrown’s article here.

12 April

Professor Dan Goodley in Singapore and Malaysia with Vice Chancellor, Sir Keith Burnett

Dan Goodley SingaporeWe have been learning about the challenges facing disabled people in South East Asia. During a recent visit, Dan Goodley had the pleasure to meet a number of people engaged disability issues in Singapore. These included Judy Wee (Disabled People's Association), Lyn Loh (formerly Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and Disabled People's Association), Andrew Chew (formerly Blind Sports Association of Singapore and Guide Dogs Association of the Blind), Michael Tan (former Executive Director of Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped), Ryan IK (National Council of Social Service), Lishan Chan (mental health advocate and National Council of Social Service), May Low (Singapore Association for the Deaf), Dr Wong Meng Ee (National Institute of Education), Lu Si Yinn (disability researcher) and Professor Reuben Wong (National University of Singapore). The workshops were organised and also attended by Emily Charissa Lim (AWARE, Association of Women for Action and Research)

In retrospect of the visit, Professor Goodley commented: ‘Just as welfare services are being cut for people with intellectual disabilities in the UK – under the rhetoric of “we are all in this together” – Singaporean colleagues spoke to me of the challenges of living in a society that prides itself on individual self-sufficiency. Indeed, they told me about a number of recent government initiatives that are increasing support to disabled people; this struck me as ironic when, from a British perspective, disabled people are having their support networks disbanded.'

Dan Goodley VisitDan was in Singapore with a University of Sheffield delegation led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, that seeks to extend partnerships in South East Asia. Dan gave a public lecture on the new iHuman: The Institute for the Study of the Human, which will be launched later this year to an audience of the general public, alumni, disability activists and key policy makers and researchers. This will be held on the 5th April 2017 at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore. The following day Dan travelled to Kuala Lumpur to meet with researchers and governmental officers to discuss future research collaboration around the areas of disability, work and independent living.

To learn more about the iHuman project, please visit the website. To learn more about the recent trip to Singapore and Malaysia, click here.

10 April

DigiLitEY Newsletter- Issue 2

The second DIGILitEY newsletter is now online. You can read the newsletter here.
We would love to hear your thoughts on our e-newsletter, so please send us your views, comments or suggestions and share your DigiLitEY success stories with us for the next newsletter:

4 April

Linda Rabben speaks at the Migration Research Network, 16 March

Migration ResearchOn Wednesday 16th March, Linda Rabben gave a talk to the Migration Research Network and colleagues from local charitable organisations about migration and asylum in the United States.

Linda is a scholar, organiser, and activist based in the Maryland area, and her talk offered a brief history of asylum and refuge matters in the last few decades. She outlined the pitiably limited support available to people seeking asylum, and how this had been systematically reduced over the years; and how the Obama administration's pledge to support Syrian refuges may be well-intentioned, but was already mired in political and administrative difficulties.

There was, as ever, grounds for hope. Linda talked about the power of community activism to support refugees and migrants, including an initiative in her own town to resettle a set number of forced migrants. She also, in response to popular demand, offered her reflections on the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump; her feeling was that while he may never have enough broad appeal to come to office, the far-right political rhetoric he was using and exploiting still presented a threat to the quality of American civic life, and deserved an appropriately robust liberal response.

We thanked Linda for her talk, and we're glad that she had time for questions and discussion with interested colleagues.

31 March

School of Education research informs NCB report

The research of Dr Pat Sikes and Dr Mel Hall has informed and been cited in a report delivered by the National Children’s Bureau. The report, ‘Young people caring for adults with dementia in England’ discusses findings surrounding young people who provide regular, on-going care and emotional support for adults living with dementia.
Dr Sikes’ advice helped to inform the stance of writer Emily Hamblin, the report addressing many of her and Dr Hall’s research areas.

‘Young people caring for adults with dementia in England’ was made at the request of Public Health England, and they wish for it to be made publicly available. You can read the report here.

23 March

Dr Jools Page Speaks at What About The Children? 2016 Conference

On the 10th March, Dr Jools Page spoke at the What About The Children? 2016 Conference. The theme of the conference this year was 'Cracking the Code - young children are born ready to communicate but they need a translator'.

Lydia Keyte, chair of What About The Children, thanked Dr Page for her contributions: ‘Your research and work to implement the Attachment Toolkit are ground breaking, confronting the really challenging notion of professional love of those caring for very young children. As you know the close, consistent, sensitive and responsive relationship between child and adult does indeed 'grow the infant brain' and is vital for future physical and mental health.

‘While the debate about whether or not babies and under threes should be in group day care continues, What About The Children? is working to ensure that all those caring for children whether in the home or else where understand the importance of attunement, touch and sensitivity for optimum brain development. So often the emotional needs of children get lost in the debate between stay at home mothers and working mothers, so we were particularly pleased to be able to draw attention to the work you are doing which steps outside this debate and considers what children need (and have the right to expect) from those who care for them.

We would very much appreciate staying in touch and would be pleased to contribute to publicising current and future research.'

To learn more about What About The Children? and see the conference speakers’ notes, please visit their webpage.

To learn more about the School of Education’s research and the creation of the ‘Attachment Toolkit’, please visit the Professional Love website.

22 March

Imagine Project 2

The Imagine Project: ‘Empowering communities and making change happen’, 9 March

On the 9 March 2016, Imagine, our five-year project that brings university research and local communities together, held a policy seminar with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), supported by the Economic and Social Research Council.

The event in London was very well attended; researchers and community partners were joined by representatives from the Cabinet Office, DCLG, NCVO, The Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector (ARVAC) and London Voluntary Service Council (LVSC).

Kate Pahl

Commenting on the event, Kate Pahl, Principal Investigator of the Imagine Project said, ‘The aim of the event was to share the emerging findings from the Imagine Project and to stimulate thinking, particularly around policy implications and impact.’ 

Imagine Project 1

Robert Rutherfoord from the DCLG commented, ‘Today’s workshop has stimulated some really helpful conversations back in the office and will also help us develop future conversations with people doing collaborative research with communities.’

Photos are courtesy of Steve Pool. For more information, please visit The Imagine Project webpage.

21 March

Liz Chesworth

Welcome to Liz Chesworth

The School of Education would like to wish a warm welcome to Liz Chesworth, the newest member of our academic team. Liz comes from a background in early childhood education, beginning her career as a teacher. She’s arriving at the University of Sheffield after being the course leader of the BA in Early Childhood Education at Leeds Beckett University.

Her research focuses on the motivations and meanings of children’s play, and the exploration of respectful approaches to researching with young children; these interests will undoubtedly compliment the existing research projects of our academics. Liz will be teaching on courses throughout the School.

2 March

Student Alicia Blanco-Bayo to talk in The Education Show

Alicia Bianco

One of our current MA in Early Childhood Education Distance Learning students, Alicia Blanco-Bayo, will be presenting at The Education Show in Birmingham on the 19th March.

The talks are entitled ‘Continuous Provision in the Foundation Stage – Play as a Differentiation Strategy’, and ‘School-Home Links: The Importance of Parent-Child Interaction’.

‘Having lived in Wales, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and now England, I have a wealth of knowledge and understanding from a number of cultural perspectives, which makes me feel very fortunate. Many of the adventures I have taken part in have played a part in the professional choices I have made, and applying for a place in the MA ECE was certainly one of them. I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to speak at the Education Show and it is thanks to people like Dr Jools Page that I feel confident enough to believe that what I have to say about Early Childhood Education is certainly worth listening to.

‘I would have not taken some of the steps I have taken if I had not had the encouragement of the wonderful lecturers who have held my hand throughout the first 4 modules. I have also met students on the course who have offered me support without expecting anything in return’.

To learn more about The Education Show, please visit To find out how our Distance Learning courses can enhance your career, please visit our page

1 March

'Preparing for and Delivering a Presentation at an Academic Conference', 9 March

The School of Education, in partnership with the White Rose Universities, is delivering a webinar workshop for Education doctoral students across the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York.

This webinar will introduce you to the issues to consider when preparing for and delivering a presentation at an academic conference.

Specifically, we will look at:

- How to give an effective poster presentation

- Producing an engaging abstract

- Managing your presentation and your time

- How to ensure that your slides enhance (rather than become the focus of) your presentation

- Techniques for managing your nerves & interacting with your audience

- Handling and responding effectively to questions.

The webinar will take place at 12:30 – 14:00, on Wednesday 9 March 2016.

To attend at the University of Sheffield, please contact Lindsey Farnsworth ( to book a place. The webinar will be held in the School of Education building, 388 Glossop Road, S10 2JA, in Room 6.04.

26 February

Imagine Newsletter now online

The fourth newsletter from the School of Education’s collaborative Imagine project is now available to read. To learn more about our reimagining of Park Hill, democratic participation, updates from our Historical Context projects and more, read the newsletter here.

24 February

HE Conference 2

EdD Weekend and ‘Researching Higher Education: The Next Five Years’, 12th February

February 12th was the beginning of a busy weekend for the School of Education. Over sixty delegates attended the 'Researching Higher Education: The Next Five Years' conference, hosted by the University of Sheffield on the day. Professor Gill Valentine and Paul Blomfield, MP, opened proceedings and further keynotes were delivered by Vicki Boliver (University of Durham), Janet Ilieva (Education Insight) and Michael Peak (British Council). Presentations were heard from across a wide range of themes, including developing identities and professionals in higher education, internationalisation, widening participation, employment, and policy developments in the higher education sector. 

HE Conference

The day provided an exciting opportunity for staff and doctoral students to come together to enter into dialogue on key issues in higher education research. The atmosphere was energetic with a highlight being the panel debate on the contribution of doctoral research beyond the academy, stimulating much reflective debate. The day was also an opportunity to launch the new Centre for Global Higher Education, an ESRC and HEFCE investment. Further details about this new centre, and the University of Sheffield's lead role, can be found at For further details about the EdD Higher Education Programme at the University of Sheffield, please contact the Course Director, Dr Caroline Sarojini Hart at

EdD Weekend

Our second year EdD in Early Childhood Education students also enjoyed a weekend of self-organised, symposium-style presentations, exploring the topic of 'early thoughts on their thesis', which led to a thought provoking critical debate. For more information on the EdD in Early Childhood Education, please visit the webpage.

19 February

Storying Doncaster Sounds overview, 29 – 30 January

Storying Doncaster Sounds

January presented another interesting School of Education, University of Sheffield research project in collaboration with School of Architecture, Doncaster Civic Trust, Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, and The Bower Wirks. Dr. Lisa Procter (Early Years Education), Prof. Jian Kang (Architecture) and Dr. Abigail Hackett (Childhood Studies) presented outputs from the Sound of Childhood project, which made connections between sounds, architecture and children’s literacy.

The project culminated in the launch of the Storying Doncaster Sounds toolkit developed in collaboration with young children (ages 3 and 4) and early years practitioners from a local primary school children. The toolkit facilitates the use of sounds from the environment as a starting point for imaginative storytelling.

Overall, the events demonstrated how sounds from the environment spark children’s creativity and literacy. The next stage of the project is to create a sister Digital Toolkit, so that more children and families can use sounds in fun and educational ways.
For further information about the Storying Doncaster Sounds Toolkit please contact Lisa Procter at or go to the project website.

18 February

Call for Abstracts: Fourth Research Student Conference (FRSC), 9 – 10 May 2016

4th Conference

This conference is organised by the postgraduate students of our School. If you are a PGR student of The White Rose University Consortium (Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York) or an MA student from Sheffield, we invite you to submit an abstract.

Submission Deadline: 1st March 2016. 

Click here for more information on abstract submission.

For abstract submission and enquiries, please email

11 February

ORIM January Newsletter

The newsletter for the School of Education’s model for Raising Early Achievement in Literacy is now online. Read it here for more information on how our team have been working to develop Maths in Blackpool, the “Tune in to Talking” project, and Family Literacy in Prisons.

Coffee Morning

9 February

£350 raised for Bangalore, India

Thanks to those who baked cakes and donated on Friday 29th January, we have managed to raise over £350 for our upcoming PGDE trip to India. The group of ten students and two tutors will be working with children in the Parikrma School (which educated orphaned and abandoned children from poor households) and girls at the Bale Mane orphanage. The money from our coffee morning will be spent on resources for both.

8 February

Winner of the Rutland prize for Early Childhood Education shares his experience

Photograph of Nathan Archer

Nathan Archer shares his experience of studying for the MA in Early Childhood Education with the early years community via the popular practitioner journal Nursery World. Nathan also explains what it means to him to be this year's winner of the Rutland prize for Early Childhood Education.

You can read the article in the online edition of Nursery World magazine.

3 February

MA in Early Childhood Education Residential Weekend, 29 - 31 January

ECE Residential

Our Distance Learners for the MA in Early Childhood Education have enjoyed another great residential weekend at The Rutland Hotel. The first year group have been participating in a mixed-mode programme of lectures, seminars and workshops.

One student commented: "the sessions offered were very interesting and useful to stimulate critical thinking and to act as a starting point for personal reading and assignment preparation. It was great to meet everybody again and have time for networking and discussions."

For more information about this flexible learning style, please visit

2 February

‘Researching Higher Education: The Next Five Years’, 12th February

Our sixth annual conference on Higher Education for Researchers and Students will be held on Friday 12th February 2016, 9.00am – 4.30pm, at Kenwood Hall Hotel, Sheffield. On the day, we will be launching the new ESRC Centre for Global Higher Education@Sheffield.

Keynote speakers on the day include Paul Blomfield MP, member of the BIS Select Committee, Dr Vikki Boliver from Durham University, Dr Janet Ilieva from Education Insight, and Michael Peak from the British Council.

For further information please contact, or visit the Centre for the Study of Higher Education webpage.

1 February

Professor Terry Lamb Coordinates Multilingual Classrooms Initiative

Migration Research at Sheffield member, Terry Lamb, Professor of Languages and Pedagogy, assumes a new role as Coordinator of Supporting Multilingual Classrooms Initiative, a collaboration between the European Union and the Council of Europe (2015-). Supporting Multilingual Classrooms across Europe is a major initiative for our times and for the future, given the current diversity in schools across Europe and the increase in migration through people seeking refuge.

For further information, please visit the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe website.

26 January

Dr Jools Page on BBC Radio Sheffield

Attachment Toolkit

Yesterday Dr Jools Page was interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Radio Scotland about the School of Education’s research on ‘professional love’ in childcare settings. As discussed by Dr Page, ‘A difficulty for those who work in early years settings is how to express the affectionate and caring behaviours which the role demands of them’.

The research has lead tothe creation of an ‘Attachment Toolkit’, a resource for Early Years Practitioners, consisting of case studies, narratives and video that direct professional development in a ‘professional love’ context.

In her interview, Dr Page expressed how we need ‘strong polices, which understand both providers and parents’.

You can tune into iPlayer Radio to hear the Radio Sheffield interview, or explore the ‘Attachment Toolkit’ here.

25 January

Postgraduate Prize winners 2015 announced

Winter Graduation photographWe have awarded five exceptional students with Postgraduate prizes for their outstanding work this year. Alexandra Diemer and Holly Burkinshaw were joint winners of the School Postgraduate Prize, Nathan Archer received the Rutland Prize and Vanessa Saliba and Julia Bianco were both awarded the St Catherines (Malta) Prize. Congratulations to each of them.

Further information about the award winners, can be found on the Postgraduate Prizewinners 2015 webpage.

20 January

Around the Toilet Project

Celebrating the success of our 'Around the Toilet' project

A partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and University of Leeds, ‘Around the Toilet’ explored spaces of belonging and exclusion throughout 2015; thinking around toilets and their function in socio-cultural environments presents an opportunity to consider forms of identity in multi-faceted ways.

At the closing event for the Around the Toilet project in November, we celebrated the provocative, visual and artistic creations produced in our research workshops over the previous seven months. The exhibition space provided by Z-arts in Manchester gave us plenty of room to display the ‘Toilet Stories’ created by children at a local Primary School, toilet drawings and postcards by Smizz, and the alternative toilet symbols created by members of Venture Arts. Visitors could also interact with the incredible installation game designed and built by Sheffield’s MA Architecture students.

To read more about the ‘Around the Toilet’ programme, please visit the blog. 

Teaching and Learning Conference, 2016

19 January

Tim Herrick speaks at the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

Our Senior UniversityTeacher Tim Herrick spoke at the tenth annual Learning and Teaching Conference on the 7th January, presenting the benefits of our undergraduate programme: the close-knit nature of our BA in Education, Culture & Childhood means students and staff can really get to know each other’s interests and strengths.

For more information, visit the Learning and Teaching Conference page.

fdtwitter event display

18 January

Higher Education Academy Logo

Congratulations from the Higher Education Academy: School of Education teaching staff awarded fellowship status.

Dr Themesa Neckles, Bryony Black, and Dr David Hyatt from the School of Education have been awarded the status of Senior Fellow from the higher Education Academy. Dr Lisa Proctor has also joined the Academy, being welcomed as a new Fellow.

The award from the Higher Education Academy is in international recognition of commitment to teaching and learning in higher education; fellows have achieved continual development within the higher education sector, delivering leadership and creating a hub for best practice.

More information about the HEA awards

15 January

Winter Graduation 2016

Photograph of Graduation 2016We welcomed home our Class of 2016 and all their friends and family members to celebrate their special day with us at our pre-graduation event.

A huge congratulations from all of us at The School of Education, we take great pride in your achievements.

Follow the link for more photographs from the pre-graduation event.

13 January

Sounds of Childhood project event 29 - 30 January

Storying Doncaster Sounds logo

Storying Doncaster Sounds is a free event showcasing work from the Sounds of Childhood project, a collaboration between Doncaster Civic Trust, the University of Sheffield and the Bower Wirks. Since March the project has been working with young children in Doncaster. We have found that sounds from the built environment are a great resource for imaginative storytelling.

Join us and hear some of the exciting outputs from the project or attend the free arts based workshop for children and families.

Storying Doncaster Sounds takes place on 29th - 30th January. Further information about the event can be found on the Storying Doncaster Sounds webpage.

1 December

New guidance challenges myths on sex and relationships for young people with limited lifespans

Photograph for Talking about Sex guideDr Kirsty Liddiard is a contributor to new guidance published this week. The Guide provides assistance for supporting young people with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions who want to explore their sexuality and develop relationships is offered to practitioners in a new comprehensive OU-published guide in partnership with the charity Together for Short Lives.

More information about Talking about Sex, Sexuality and Relationships: Guidance and Standards.

20 November

The Professional Love in Early Years Settings [ PLEYS] project findings

Professional Love photographIt is our pleasure now to share the outcomes of The Professional Love in Early Years Settings [ PLEYS] project which was conducted earlier this year by a small team of researchers at the University of Sheffield, led by Dr Jools Page. The PLEYS project was funded by the University of Sheffield Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) in collaboration with Fennies Nurseries.

You can read the outcomes by clicking on the link to the website:

7 November

Park Hill Reimagined

Park Hill Reimagined exhibition is a snapshot of ideas about Park Hill now and in the past. It hopefully offers some food for thought about what life is like living and working in this modernist block of flats.

For further details please visit the website

27 October

Jayne Rushton receives TESS award

Photo of Jayne RushtonOver the last year Jayne has led the implementation of new online ethics application processes which have had far reaching benefits to the School of Education. Her contribution was recognised at the recent Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences (TESS) awards where she was presented with the award for outstanding learning and teaching. We are delighted with her success in what was described as a strong field, congratulations Jayne!

26 October

Former PGCE student, Lorna Bradford, receives Teacher of The Year award

Photo of LornaLorna Bradford, a teacher at The Farnley Academy, Leeds was presented with the Gold Plato Award for Teacher of The Year in a Secondary School 2015. Lorna studied her PGCE (now PGDE) in Geography at the School of Education between 2007 – 2008.

She recognised the support she received from former tutor, Jane Ferretti while she was on her course, "Thank you for teaching me how to teach ... Turns out you did a pretty amazing job!".

19 October

DigiLitEY website and newsletter now online

DigiLiteEY graphicProfessor Jackie Marsh is Chair of Action of a new project called The digital literacy and multimodal practices of young children (DigiLitEY).

Young children are growing up in highly technologized societies across Europe. The aim of this COST Action is to develop an interdisciplinary network that enables researchers to synthesise existing research and identify gaps in knowledge in this area.

For further details about the project, please visit the DigiLitEY website and take a look at the DigiLitEY newsletter.

14 October

Welcome to new members of staff

We are pleased to welcome the following new members of staff to the School: Sally Davies and Liz Morris have joined us as PGDE History Tutors; Heather Ellis has joined us as a VC Fellowship; and Sarah Hollely will be working as Digital Communications Officer on the Imagine Project.

7 October

Blog to help raise awareness of the affect of dementia on children

Professor Pat Sikes has written about her personal story in the blog "Cambridge doesn't take people like you", highlighting the effect of a parent's diagnosis of dementia on the whole family.

6 October

Study finds apps can benefit pre-schoolers, but parents need to choose wisely

TAP photographResearch led by Professor Jackie Marsh shows that Apps can foster play and creativity in children aged between 0 and five, but parents need to choose the ones they use carefully. The ESRC funded project, was undertaken as a collaboration between the universities of Sheffield and Edinburgh, the pre-school children’s television channel, CBeebies, children’s media industry partners Dubit and Foundling Bird and Monteney Primary School, Sheffield.

Further details about the TAP project can be found on the website.

5 October

Seminar by visting scholar

Kristiina Brunila, Professor of Equality and Social Justice, University of Helsinki is joining the School of Education as visiting professor from 1st - 29th October as part of our on-going collaboration with the University of Helsinki. She will run a seminar entitled "Becoming a professor in neo-liberal academia. Struggling with ambivalences". Her presentation which is based on experiences of a young female professor and an article (Brunila, in press) is an experiment, a beginning of something hopefully different. It is about acknowledging the complexities of our intentions and actions in academia. It is also a serious search for retaining political and ethical commitments. The main argument of the presentation is that the choices academics make stem not so much from the individual but from the condition of possibility.

October 19th 12-2 pm, Room 3.02. All welcome. Please email if you would like to attend.

18 September

School of Education wins Faculty of Social Sciences Impact Award

FSS Impact AwardAt the Faculty of Social Sciences Research Conference 2015 held on Thursday 17th September the School of Education were presented with an award for Excellence in Research Impact for our recent outstanding REF impact result.
Head of School, Professor Cathy Nutbrown, said "We thank the Faculty and PVC Professor Gill Valentine for presenting us with this award. Our high quality, world leading research in higher education, early childhood education, educational psychology and literacy is making a difference!"