News and events

20 August

Preschool project earns national praise

REAL photographA pioneering project carried out by staff in the School of Education and funded by the University of Sheffield to support disadvantaged children in Kirklees has received praise at national level.

The project was launched to engage with a multilingual, hard-to-reach audience living in a deprived ward and to break down barriers to education and employment. It was spread over six months and has now been highlighted by Ofsted as an example of national best practice.

Further details about the project can be found on the REAL website

19 August

The School of Education ranked in the Top 100

QS rankingThe University of Sheffield and the School of Education are both featured in the QS World University Ranking 2014′s top 100.

We are extremely proud that the School of Education has been ranked as one of the top 100 places in the world to study education.

More detailed rankings can be found on the QS World University Rankings website.

18 August

SoE in Australia and Singapore: Critical disability Studies in International Perspectives

As part of the dissemination and impact strategy for the ESRC research project "Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society"(, Professor Dan Goodley, has just completed a trip to Melbourne and Singapore to promote the on-going work of the research project with international colleagues including disabled people, family members, activists, academics and allies.

Dan travelled to Melbourne with his colleague and project partner Dr Katherine Runswick Cole, Manchester Metropolitan University, to deliver a series of keynote lectures, seminars and workshop presentations. On Thursday 24th July, Katherine and Dan delivered a workshop on research funding at the Victoria Institute, Victoria University Melbourne; this workshop addressed questions of seeking research funding in a climate of shrinking sources of funding. Katherine and Dan were then interviewed for a local community television channel which also airs via YouTube. (Links to the interviews will appear on the project website In the afternoon, Dan and Katherine delivered a seminar paper drawing on their current research "Becoming Dis/human: thinking about the the human through dis/ability" - the article on which the presentation is based is available here:

From Friday 25th - Sunday 27th July, Katherine and Dan joined delegates at the Disability Studies in Education Conference at Victoria Institute ( On Sunday, Katherine and Dan presented their keynote lecture: "A Poshuman Manifesto". Katherine and Dan said: "It was a great opportunity to meet colleagues working in the field of disability studies and education. We were able to share our ideas with disabled people, family members, activists and academics in a stimulating and friendly conference".

Monday 28th July saw Dan and Katherine visit RMIT University where they were able to meet up with members of SARU ( a self advocacy group in Melbourne and to deliver a presentation on the links between the self advocacy movement and the academy. This was another highlight for the team.

On Wednesday 30th July, Katherine and Dan arrived in Singapore to meet with Rebecca Lawthom, Professor of Community Psychology, MMU and they headed straight away to present "Reading Rosie: Four theoretical readings of disabled childhood" at the New Medical School of Nanyang & Imperial Universities, Singapore. This was the inaugural paper of the new Medical Humanities seminar series.

Dan said: "this trip was a wonderful opportunity for the research team to share our work with scholars and activists from the fields of critical disability studies, inclusive education, advocacy and the medical humanities. We hope that this trip will strengthen the international impact of the research project and help us to continue to develop research partnerships beyond the UK context."

For more details about the project please visit:

And More details of Disability Studies at the University of Sheffield:

22 July

Congratulations to all of the graduates on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood.

21 June

Charlotte Wilders featured in Doctoral Times

Read Charlotte's account of her experience of our Residential Weekends while researching her doctorate in Early Childhood Education in Issue 6 of Doctoral Times.

Charlotte is featured on page 7 of the Off Campus Edition of Doctoral times.

Normalcy Conference

 26 June

Disability painting5th Annual International Conference "Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: More Questions of the Human" is being hosted by The University of Sheffield on 7th - 8th July 2014.

The conference is organised by the University of Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Chester, the University of Toronto, the University of Leeds, the University of York in association with the White Rose Studies of Ableism Research collaboration.

If you would like to know more about the conference, please visit the website:

Space, Literacies and Culture

 25 June

Space, Literacies & Culture pictureThe Centre for the Study of Literacies @ Sheffield is pleased to announce its 6th Annual Conference at The University of Sheffield, 27th ‐ 28th June 2014.

The conference opens with a Research Exchange ‘Pecha Kucha’ style for research students. This is a popular and dynamic way of presenting research in a manner which prompts discussion and exchange of ideas.

Further information about the conference, including details of keynote speakers, can be found on our website:

Dis/ability and Intersectionality Symposium

 9 June

Disability photographThe Dis/ability and Intersectionality Symposium takes place on 10th July. Dan Goodley will introduce it by asking ‘Intersectionality: affirmation or negation?’ - this will draw on ongoing and future work with colleagues including Rebecca Lawthom, Kirsty Liddiard, Katherine Runswick Cole, Liz Wood.

Rod Michalko addresses intersectionality as a solution. To do so, he asks “For what problem is intersectionality as solution?”

Nirmala Erevelles will speak to Intersectionality: Identity politics of social practice?

Tanya Titchkosky will explore ‘Diagnostic versus Imaginative Intersectionality’ - There are various ways to “do” intersectional analysis today. Titchkosky will show the difference between a diagnostic and an imaginative use of the concept of intersectionality and their implications for the meaning made of race and disability.

The Dis/ability and Intersectionality Symposium takes place on Thursday July 10th, 10.00 - 2.00 pm in Room 1.02, Education Building, 388 Glossop Road.

The talks seek to encourage debate and conversation. To register for this event please visit:

ORIM Network event

 2 June

The ORIM Framework was developed to help practitioners in their early literacy work with families. Among the speakers at the next ORIM network event will be Sally Smith, of the Parents Early Education Partnership, who will be talking about her EdD research around ORIM. She will be joined by Kay Davies and Zohra Dabhad who will be talking about 'ORIM in WF13' which was a project working with three pre-school settings and bilingual children and families.

Join us to find out more about how ORIM is being used in work with families.

Thursday 12th June, 2pm - 5pm, 388 Glossop Road. For more information and to book, please email

What Use is Experience in Applied Child Psychology?

21 May

This one day event is intended to provide a space in which we develop ideas about how we cultivate professional judgement in the initial training and continued professional development of child psychologists. The day is structured around workshop discussion stimulated by the themes developed by the keynote speakers Professors Ben Bradley and Tom Billington.

Those interested in attending please contact Lindsay Farnsworth:

Debating Matters: UoS Staff Judge Regional Final

28 April

Staff and students from the University of Sheffield judged and chaired debates at the Yorkshire Regional Final of the national Debating Matters schools debating competition, held at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds last month.
Six schools from Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire vied for a place in the National Final of the competition, which is organised by the Institute of Ideas think tank.

Professor Kathryn Ecclestone of the School of Education, Professor Phil Withington of the Department of History, and Dr Tim Shephard of the Department of Music all volunteered as judges at the event. Meanwhile, students Patrice Ellis of the Department of Economics, and Harry Rowbotham of the Department of Psychology, both alumni of the competition, steered the day’s events ably as debate chairs.

Launched by the Institute of Ideas in 2003/04, the Debating Matters competition offers a fresh, accessible and engaging format for debating contemporary issues. The competition has successfully pioneered a format for debate that takes ideas, argument and young people seriously. The focus is on content and substance over style, encouraging young people to engage in an intelligent contest of ideas and hold up their viewpoints to critical scrutiny.

The University of Sheffield became a Judging Partner of the competition in 2013, hosting the South Yorkshire round in our HRI. A number of other members of staff have also volunteered as judges at rounds in the Yorkshire region during the 2013-14 competition. Our involvement in the competition signals our commitment to critical skills and debate, encouraging children and young people to get actively involved in the important controversies of contemporary society.

Annual Gathering of Malta Alumni

14 April

Malta Alumni of the School of Education are invited to join members of academic staff to share your news and meet other University of Sheffield, Malta Alumni. We shall celebrate the achievements of our most recent Masters graduates.

The gathering will be followed by a public lecture ‘Celebrating our Multiculturalism: European Perspectives on Languages in Education’ by Professor Terry Lamb of The School of Education to which all our students and alumni are invited.

Thursday, 8 May 2014, 6.15-7.00pm at St Catherine's High School, 11 Suffolk Road, Pembroke PBK 1901, Malta

Please email Helen Saunders if you are able to attend.

Booktrust study finds link between deprivation and not reading

12 March

The nationwide study, commissioned by Booktrust, reveals worrying indications that the UK is divided into two nations. The study indicates that those who never read live in more deprived areas, with a higher proportion of children living in poverty.

Booktrust photoLed by Professor Cathy Nutbrown, the research suggests that there are strong indicators of the importance of literacy, reading, and writing, among other factors, in contributing to positive social mobility.

You can read more about the research findings on The University of Sheffield News page.

The study has also featured in an article in The Guardian newspaper.

Career planning workshop for doctoral students in the Social Sciences

11 March

We're hosting an interactive workshop which will help students develop a strategy for gaining entry to a research career, either in academia or with one of the many organisations in the public, voluntary and commercial sectors that employ social researchers.

Further information can be found on the Research career flyer.

Wednesday 2 April 2014. 2-4 pm, ICOSS Conference Room 219 Portobello, S1 4DP. Please contact Lindsey Farnsworth ( to book a place.

Dan Goodley Inspiration & Co. finalist

4 March

Dan Goodley photographCongratulations to Professor Dan Goodley who received enough votes to take him to the finale in Inspiration & Co.

Inspiration & Co is a mind store of horizon-broadening talks from The University's most inspirational teachers, researchers and lecturers – nominated and voted for by students themselves.

His talk 'What is it to be human in 2014?' will take place at 1pm on Tuesday 18th March in the Auditorium, Sheffield Students’ Union.

If you would like to book a ticket to hear Dan talk, please visit the Inspiration & Co. website


SURE Researcher of the Year

26 February

Photograph of SURE winner Hannah MiltonWe congratulate Hannah Milton, SURE researcher of the year, who was supervised by Dr Mark Payne here in the School of Education. Hannah is a student in the School of Languages and Culture who undertook research into the linguistic and educational integration of Roma children in a school in Sheffield.

More information about SURE can be found on the website,



Inspiration & Co.

18 February

Four of our inspirational academics have been nominated to give a talk at Inspiration & Co. Dr Jools Page, Dr Rachael Levy, Prof. Dan Goodley and Dr Jon Scaife have each received nominations.

Photograph of Jools Page Photograph of Rachael Levy
Photograph of Dan Goodley Photograph of Jon Scaife

What is the role of artists within Connected Communities projects?

4 February 2014

A new research project 'Co-producing legacy' will explore how artists work within the AHRC Connected Communities programme.

Further details about Co-producing legacy.

Senate award winner Dr Terry Lamb

16 January 2014

Photograph of Terry Lamb Senate award

Dr Terry Lamb received the Senate award for Teaching Excellence at the Graduation ceremony in January.

Cathy Nutbrown presented Terry with a token of appreciation from the School of Education in honour of his award and said, "He is the founder editor of the International Journal of Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching. His award in 2009 of 'Chevalier dans l'ordre des Palmes Académiques' by the French Prime Minister recognised his contribution to research and practice on language teaching in an international context. This is an example of the prestige that Dr Lamb’s work brings to the School of Education and the University ... The School’s mission is to be the best we can in the world. Terry is one of the best we could hope for in a colleague".

Honorary degree for Professor Peter Hannon

16 January 2014

Photograph of Peter HannonEmeritus Professor of Education, Peter Hannon, has received an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) in recognition of his work improving the role of parents in their children’s education.

During his 35-year career at the University of Sheffield Professor Hannon’s research in family literacy and children’s early literacy development has paved the way for researchers around the world to understand and improve parental involvement in education. Working in partnership with parents is now mainstream practice, a clear indication of the impact that Professor Hannon’s life’s work has had in early years’ education.

His work has also influenced Government policies and played a major role in the launch of schemes like BookStart, a project which has seen thousands of children reading with their parents and carers and developing a love of books.

Postgraduate prizewinners 2013

16 January 2014

The School of Education have awarded three exceptional students with Postgraduate prizes for their outstanding work. Esther Painter is this year's Rutland Prize winner, Marek Mackiewicz is the recipient of the School Postgraduate Prize and Candida Azzopardi received the St Catherines (Malta) Prize. Congratulations to all three.

Photograph of Esther PainterPhotograph of Marek MackiewiczPhotograph of Candida Azzopardi

Funding boost to develop video games for poorly youngsters

28 November 2014

Academics at the University of Sheffield have been awarded a grant for an AHRC VideogamesNetwork: Developing videogames and play for hospitalised children project.

Dr Elizabeth Wood and Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice, from the University’s department of Education Studies, have received the funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. They will bring together academic researchers from different disciplines, videogames developers and hospital play specialists in a series of workshops.

Currently hospitals only tend to have more traditional toys and games for young patients to play with. The network will explore the scope for development in the videogames industry, using expertise from the arts and humanities to co-create digital play opportunities tailored to the needs of children in hospital, to stimulate their play experiences, imaginations and creativity when confined to medical and recovery spaces, and to connect with siblings and friends.

ESRC Festival of Social Science Events

2 November 2014

There are several events taking place in Sheffield in November organised by the academic staff in the School of Education.

Fun with Family Literacy, organised by Professor Cathy Nutbrown: This event for children under five and their families, presents fun early literacy activities and an opportunity talk informally with experts about the beginnings of reading and writing in the early years and view an exhibition of recent family literacy research in the School of Education. Download Fun with Family Literacy poster.

Why Languages Matter, organised by Dr Terry Lamb : Sheffield is a vibrant multilingual city, in which over 120 languages are spoken in our varied communities. This small exhibition will bring together the voices of Sheffield people in a display showing ‘Why languages matter!’ You will be able to add to the exhibition through writing, drawing or audio-recording. A blog will also be set up so that we can continue to build up a picture of our multilingual Sheffield after the event.

Hide and Seek: Children as Social Scientists, organised by Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice: This event will share findings from research projects about children's spaces and places to young children. The participants will respond to the research findings through a sculpture workshop, where they will make small clay figurines. We will go on a walk in Kelham Island and the children will be invited to place their sculptures in spaces of their own choosing. Anyone can engage with the children's artwork by searching for them in Kelham Island or through the twitter hashtag #hideandseek.

Keep Taking the Tablets, organised by Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice: The event will take the form of a half-day workshop during which we will present the findings of a research study we recently completed on young children’s use of iPads and then we will undertake an animation workshop during which children and industry professionals will work together to explore some of the themes emerging from the iPad research study.

Shaping our World, organised by Dr Lisa Procter: This hands-on events will provide opportunities for children and young people to interact with social science research in an engaging and reflective way. The events aim to raise awareness and understanding of research across different disciplines in the social sciences.

Baby and Toddler Takeover Day, Dr Abigail Hackett: This event will communicate about recent research into how young children (aged under 3 years), learn and interact with museum spaces. The research highlighted the sensory, embodied nature of young children's engagement with museums, and the importance of young children being able to run through the space and touch appropriate objects. Download Baby and Toddler Takeover Day poster.

Nanny, Nudger or Therapist: Government's role in Changing Behaviour, Professor Kathryn Ecclestone: A public debate will be led by a panel of 5 experts to explore pressing questions raised by the government’s activities in promoting behaviour change. Is changing our behaviour a legitimate aim for government? Who has decided that the model citizen should be exercise loving, emotionally literate and self-aware, abstemious, non-smoking, volunteering? Where should behaviour change policy begin and end?

For a full list of the events taking place and to book a place, please visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Professor Cathy Nutbrown

22 September 2014

Professor Cathy Nutbrown won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Nursery World Awards Ceremony on 21 September. She was recognised for her work - with and for - young children and those who work with them.

Her co author and colleague Professor Peter Clough - said - in a speech prior to making the award:

"Cathy is an inspiring but always modest teacher (she was nominated by her university students as 'inspirational'), and one keen to 'bring on' the next generations of teachers, researchers and policy makers. Through the development of the Masters and Doctoral programmes at the University of Sheffield, she - and the team, as she would hasten to point out - have encouraged and enabled innumerable practitioners to become critical in their practice, and to bring research insights to their daily work. An emerging generation of researchers learned their publishing skills under Cathy's guidance, several of her students have gone on to publish their own books, and a growing number of teacher-educators and policy developers are similarly graduates of the Sheffield early childhood programme."

More information on the Award

Children developing their reading skills using iPads

6 July 2013

Research conducted by Professor Jackie Marsh, Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice and Dr Julia Bishop, along with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University demonstrates that iPads and other tablets can help children to develop reading skills from a very early age.

The Sheffield Star article about the research