News and events

19 August

Teaching Maltese as a foreign language

Photograph of Charles SalibaOne of our recent PhD graduates, Charles Daniel Saliba, who conducted his research on the Malta PhD Programme received publicity in two national newspapers following his award. Follow the links to the press releases about his research and publications:

17 July

Staff Obituary

Photograph of John RoachWe were sorry to hear of the recent death of Professor John Roach. A Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Sheffield. Professor Roach was an eminent historian and a much respected Head of Department. He is remembered by many colleagues who worked with him for his kindness and encouragement to them as young academics in the early years of their careers here at the School of Education. Professor Roach made a significant contribution to the study of the History of Education and his acute judgment, outstanding scholarship and generosity of spirit are warmly remembered.

Professor Roach died on 11th July, aged 95 years. His funeral service will be held at St. Mark's Church, Broomhill, Sheffield on Friday 24th July 2015 at 11.00am.

14 July

Theorizing and challenging the conditions of disablism and ableism

Professor Dan Goodley is visiting The Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Sydney where he will lead a 5 day program of individual lectures and workshops. To find out more, please visit the website:

13 July

Help for young people affected by parents with dementia

Alzheimers research

Professor Pat Sikes and Dr Melanie Hall gave a workshop on 'The perceptions and experiences of children and young people who have a parent with dementia' at the recent Alzheimer's Society Research Conference 2015.

If you'd like to find our more about their research project, please visit the webpage:

16 June

PGDE students fundraising

Students on the PGDE course have an intense year of training, so it is impressive that during the year they dedicated time to raise money to support a good cause.

The fundraising was led by the PGDE Staff-Student committee and supported by Mick Connell. Two maths students ran the Sheffield Half Marathon, raising £410 between them. The science and maths cohorts organised a charity football match and raised £150.

In addition to this, the cohort elected to donate the £200 security deposit from their end-of-year ball. In total they raised £760 for Sheffield Children's Hospital. Well done to all those who took part and we wish you every success in your careers.

20 May

Staff Research Seminar

The next School of Education Research Committee Staff Research Seminar presents "Ask your doctor about": Disciplines of the 'psy' and the 'symptoms' of poverty.

Dr China Mills will be talking about the globalisation of two contemporary epidemics: Depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) based on her fieldwork from India.

Venue: School of Education, Room 7.02. Date: 9th June, 12.15-1.30pm

Please contact Lindsey Farnsworth,, if you would like to attend.

12 May

Visit to TAOS Institute

Professor Tom Billington recently spent several days in Santa Fe at the invitation of the TAOS Institute. TAOS is an international community of scholars and practitioners concerned with the social processes essential for the construction of reason, knowledge, and human value, developing and exploring the ways in which scholarly research can enrich professional practices, and in which practices can stimulate scholarly inquiry

The orientation of TAOS is towards collaborative methods such as social constructionist research, narrative, relational leading and appreciative inquiry. Professor Ken Gergen (Swarthmore College, US) was the principal speaker but for the majority of time Tom was networking with scholars and practitioners at the interface of mental health, counseling, family therapy, organizational change, education, psychology, community building and medicine.

During the visit the foundations were laid for future collaborations and we hope to have leading figures from TAOS visiting CEPCH over the next few years. Should anyone (not necessarily members of CEPCH) be interested in potential TAOS collaborations please contact Tom at

28 April

Young Children's Engagement with Television and Related Media in the Digital Age

CBEEBIES photographOne of our research students, Fiona Scott, is currently working on an industry collaboration PhD project with CBeebies.

Watching programmes on television, and now online on smartphones and tablets, is still one of the main leisure activities of young children. Nevertheless, we actually have little evidence about how young children engage with television in the digital age and how their television viewing relates to other aspects of their media lives.

Fiona’s research aims to understand how 3-6 year olds engage with television and other forms of digital media in their homes every day, merging a critical psychological approach with an awareness of wider developments in cultural and media studies. In particular, the study will seek to better understand the television viewing patterns of this age group, the relationship between their television viewing and engagement with other media, and the transitions in their programme and channel choices over time and at key life points. It will also consider the digital media experiences of children living in deprived communities in the UK, an area of research which is currently underexplored.

The research results will have implications for CBeebies' programme development, the children’s media industry, parents and early years educators.

27 April

Big Society Project featured in Borneo Post

Post Professor Dan Goodley recently visited Malaysia

Professor Dan Goodley recently visited Malaysia with other members of the Big Society Project team. During the visit he met with a journalist on the Borneo Post to discuss some of the issues raised by the project and how to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. You can read the article using the link below.


24 April

Susie Hewer at the Join Dementia Research launchAlzheimer's research featured in the Which me am I today? blog 

Professor Pat Sikes and Dr Melanie Hall discussed their research with a research monitor for the Alzheirmer's Society who writes a blog Which me am I today? Their research, looking at the experience of children and young people who have a parent with dementia, is identifying and continuing to unearth issues not currently addressed.

21 April

Memories of Reading features in the British Library blog

paddington bear quoteThe ESRC funded project, Memories of Reading, is featured in the British Library's Untold lives blog.

Dr Sabine Little invites all contributions to the project, so please share your memories of reading, writing, literacy and storytelling,

27 March

Celebrating success at the Sheffield Professional Service Awards

Sheffield Professional Service Awards photoOn 26 March the first Sheffield Professional Service Awards were held to recognize and celebrate the talent and contribution of the University’s professional services staff. Out of the 220 nominations, two of the School of Education Professional Service team were nominated for awards. Judi Duffield was shortlisted for the Playing Our Part - Valuing Everyone's Contribution Award. This award recognises staff who are exceptional in the way they care about doing the right thing for students and colleagues, valuing everyone's contribution. Ann Whorton was successful in her category of Creating Knowledge. This award recognises exceptional contribution to creating world-class teaching and research.

It is tremendous achievement to be shortlisted and congratulations to both Judi and Ann on their achievement.

18 March

Dis/ability & Support Seminar

An audience of activists, academics and practitioners packed into a seminar room at the Birley campus of Manchester Metropolitan University to listen to inter/national speakers talk about dis/ability and support, an event co-organised by Disability Studies @ The University of Sheffield and Critical & Community Psychology Research Group at MMU. Rebecca Lawthom, Professor of Community Psychology at MMU, welcomed the attendees to the Brooks Building, part of the new Birley Campus. Next up was Professor Dan Goodley, Professor of Education and Disability Studies at the University of Sheffield, who introduced the theme of the public event exploring the ways in which disability requires us to think more collectively, about the 'we' not the 'I', in talking about support.

Dan introduced the first speaker Jack Levinson, from City University New York and Visiting Fullbright Scholar at the University of Sheffield. Jack's ethnographic exploration of what it means to be 'normal', 'healthy' and 'independent' was informed by his insights from his book Making Life Work: Freedom and Disability in a Community Group Home (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Jack was followed by Paul Doyle, an MMU alumnus. Paul has recently completed his doctoral study focused on self-advocacy for young disabled people in education settings at the University of Sheffield. Paul spoke about the challenges and opportunities that being a researcher with 'multiple impairments' had raised in the research process. Paul was followed by Freyja Haraldsdóttir and Embla Guðrúnar Ágústsdóttir. Freyja and Embla are disabled, feminist activists from Iceland, who first met at the Theorizing Normalcy & the Mundane Conference held in MMU in 2010. Freyja and Embla discussed the ways in which the Personal is Political and the Political is Personal giving examples of their diversity work in Iceland as disabled feminists.

One of the attendees, Dr Rachel Swindells, Senior Research Assistant at RIHSC, described the seminar afterwards as "incredibly thought provoking, troubling and empowering".

For more information about future events follow @critcommpsymmu @disabilityuos on Twitter, or visit

18 March

Professional Love in an Early Years Setting

Professional Love photographDr Jools Page is conducting a new University of Sheffield research project. Entitled, Professional Love in an Early Years Setting, the project will focus on professional relationships with very young children. Early Years Practictioners will contribute to the study and the results will be used to develop guidelines and a ‘toolkit’ for use in all early years settings.

The survey can be accessed at

Further details about the project can be found on the Professional Love in Early Years Setting website.

17 March

Talk at International Medical Film Festival (MedFest)

Dr China Mills will be speaking at the MedFest on Saturday, 21st March. Her talk is based on her recent book 'Decolonizing Global Mental Health', begins at 10am. She is also a panellist in the afternoon film session.

The event is free and open to all.

Check out the MedFest website for further details.…/medfest-2015-global-m…/353256491546567#

14 January

Winter Graduation awards

Postgraduate award winnerRutland Prize winner 2015 The St Catherines Prize winnerSchool of Education have awarded three exceptional students with Postgraduate prizes for their outstanding work. Kah May Yong is the recipient of the School Postgraduate Prize, Martina Smith is this year's Rutland Prize winner and Natalie Cachia received the St Catherines (Malta) Prize. Congratulations to all three.

Honorary Degree

Honorary degree for Anne WoodAnne Wood CBE, was awarded an Honorary Degree at this year's winter graduation. Anne is a Fellow of the Royal Television Society and has received over 70 international television awards, including a special BAFTA for her Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Television, the Olswang Business Award from Women in Film and Television, and the Harvey Lee Award for her outstanding contribution to broadcasting from the Broadcasting Press Guild. Her charity, the Ragdoll Foundation, is dedicated to developing the power of imaginative responses in children through the arts.

5 January

Study on children’s use of apps aimed at helping parents and teachers

ipad photographA new study by the Universities of Sheffield and Edinburgh will examine how youngsters use apps to learn and play.

University researchers will collaborate with the BBC children’s television channel CBeebies, development studio and consultancy Dubit, children's media company Founding Bird and Monteney Primary in Sheffield to explore how far tablet apps for 0-five year olds promote play and creativity.

The study, which is being funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council, will begin in January 2015.

Professor Jackie Marsh, who is leading the study, said: “We know that almost 40 per cent of pre-schoolers in the UK use tablets, but many parents and teachers say that they are not sure how to choose good apps for this age group."

“From our work, we aim to develop guidance on the features of apps that promote play, creativity and learning”.

The study will be completed in June 2015, along with guidance on choosing apps for parents and pre-school teachers.

Kay Benbow, Controller of Cbeebies, said: "It's hugely helpful to be working with partners to benefit from an academic lens on the work which will help us shape our future output and serve our audiences the best we possibly can."

Peter Robinson, head of research at Dubit, added: "We've seen how tablets are able to grab children's attention in ways that physical media isn't always able to do. We're looking forward to taking part in this project.

"The more we can understand how children use these devices, the more we can help to improve their entertainment and their education."

10 December

Dr Sabine Little made SFHEA

Congratulations to Dr Sabine Little who has been made Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

9 December

Heritage language literacy support at primary level – are YouTube and Apps the answer?

UKLA photographDr Sabine Little has successfully secured research funding from the UK Literacy Association for a new project entitled 'Heritage language literacy support at primary level – are YouTube and Apps the answer?'

The project will involve questionnaire research with heritage language families with children of primary school age, exploring how they use technologies to support heritage language literacy development. This will be followed up with ten in-depth family interviews, which will provide more detail on the individual families’ literacy development journeys.

The project will be disseminated at next year’s UKLA summer conference in Nottingham, and in September 2015 via a local Sheffield event.

8 December

Wishing all our staff and students a very Peaceful Christmas

Photograph of dovesThis year many of our students, staff, collaborators and friends have been troubled by conflicts around the world and we wanted to use the opportunity, as 2014 comes to an end, to think about those whose lives have been blighted by war and struggles.

We have installed a Peace Tree in The School of Education foyer and invite anyone to send a message of peace for display alongside the tree. Please email a short message to Judi Duffield, mark your subject 'Peace Tree' and please include your name, location and your link with us.

27 October

ESRC Festival of Social Science event -
iHuman: This is what it means to be human …

The iHuman event will bring together young people and researchers to share ideas about what it means to be human. We are living in an age marked by the rapid growth in knowledge about the human body and brain. These include the development of powerful new technologies with the potential to augment our bodies (and modify behaviour) and diagnostics for the early detection of disease, drugs to aid cognition, and devices to extend physical capabilities. And many more of us, so it seems, are endlessly plugged in to our smartphones, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat. Our lives are lived in the virtual. How are these developments changing how we understand what it means to be human?

For more information, please visit the website,

Sessions will be accessible, visually led, interactive, always focused on maintaining understanding and connection. Join us on Saturday 1st November, 10am to 4pm, Jessops West Exhibition Space, University of Sheffield.

22 October

ESRC Festival of Social Science event -
Hospital Heights: designing videogames for hospitalised children

Hospitalised Play photographThis event is based on our project aimed at developing videogames and play for hospitalised children. Working with local hospital play specialists, videogames designers, artists and researchers, the project has been looking at digital and physical play, space, isolation, connecting to family and friends and emotions.

The event takes place on Monday 3 November, Activity Room 3, Weston Park Museum, 11am - 3pm.

Join us to help make a quilt of stories and emotions that will be displayed in a hospital space (no stitching required!).

More details about the project are available on our website:

21 October

ESRC Festival of Social Science event -
100 Years of Literacy

100 Years of LiteratureThe 100 Years of Literacy event is part of our "Memories of Reading" project. As part of the project we are hoping to create a data base of stories and memories spanning the past 100 years.

The 100 Years of Literacy event will take the form of a 'drop in' day for the whole family including a range of hands-on activities for everyone to enjoy. These include: 

  • object handling - including a writing slate, type writer, telegraph ticker and letter stamping set - get hands-on with objects to do with reading, writing and literacy from the past 100 years
  • play the "guess the decade" quiz by putting adverts, postcards, tickets and other resources in the right order
  • rack codes and create your own (and learn a bit about the Enigma machine)
  • make personalised loom band bracelets using letter beads

The event takes place on 8th of November, 10am-5pm, at Weston Park Museum. All welcome.

Stories can be shared via the project website, at There is also a Facebook event set up at, which will be populated with more information running up to the event. We do hope you will take part.

14 October

Are we all vulnerable now? Battle of Ideas Festival

The University is proud to sponsor a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival, celebrating its tenth weekend of free thinking, dissent and open-ended public discussion.

The Festival will take place at the Barbican in London on 18 and 19 October. Are we all vulnerable now? is an event Chaired by School of Eduction's Professor Kathryn Ecclestone.

Can grit and determination really be taught? Or does a preoccupation with vulnerability actually threaten to sap our resilience, making us dependent on external support?

Find out more about this event:

Find out more about the Battle of Ideas:

13 October

Project to help young people cope with a parent with dementia

Professor Pat Sikes and Dr Melanie Hall's project aimed at helping young people cope with a parent with dementia has received press attention. Funded by the Alzheimer's Society, the aim of the project is to create helpful resources based on the stories of youngsters who know what it’s like to be in this position and thereby use their experiences to good effect.

You can read the article in The Star.

6 October

PESGB Seminar: Women in Philosophy of Education

This year's Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) Seminar is organised by academic staff in The School of Education. The Seminar is entitled Women in Philosophy of Education, Curriculum Knowledge: reconstituting nationhood, citizenship, educational practice. We are delighted that the weekend has attracted international participants and presenters as well as early career researchers.

Women in Philosophy of Education Seminar, 1 pm Friday 10 October to 12.30 pm Sunday 12 October at ICOSS, 219 Portobello, Sheffield.

22 September

New MOOC Exploring Play: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life

MOOC Exploring PlayThe Faculty of Social Sciences are running a new MOOC, led by Professor Jackie Marsh and Professor Elizabeth Wood, looking at understanding the nature and value of play through the course of our lives, across cultures and communities.

The MOOC will explore different issues of debate, including whether light-hearted games help people learn and how they prepare youngsters to be successful as adults.

Professor Jackie Marsh discusses Exploring Play in a newspaper article in The Star.

Exporing Play begins on 29 September. If you would like to register for this free online course, visit for more information.

22 September

The World in Our City: Languages Live!

Why languages matter badgesAs part of the Festival of the Mind, Professor Terry Lamb has organised a programme of interactive exhibitions, talks, workshops, performances by children, multilingual poetry, storytelling and radio broadcasts.

The programme runs from Tuesday 23 September to Saturday 27th September. Further details are available on the Festival of the Mind website.

15 September

European Early Childhood Education Research Association 2014 award

Amal Banunnah EECERA awardCongratulations to Amal Banunnah who has won an award for the best paper in the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) 2014 conference. Her paper entitled 'Taking a Sociocultural Perspective towards the Importance of Sex Education in early Childhood in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia' is a courageous study in an under-researched area of early childhood studies, carried out in an Islamic cultural context where the topic of sex education, particularly with young children, is viewed as extremely sensitive.

On receiving the award, Amal said "I am deeply honoured that my paper was selected ... it was a real pleasure to participate in panel discussions with so many experts from around the world."

Amal is now beginning her third year researching her PhD in the School of Education with Professor Liz Wood as her supervisor.