News and events 2016-17

31st August

Congratulations to EdD student Zanib Rasool on the publication of his article in the journal Research for All.

Zanib Rasool PhotoCollaborative working practices: Imagining better research partnerships is based on his own research on the Imagine project.

More information about Zanib's research can be found here.

For further information about the Imagine project, please visit the Imagine website

30th July

ihuman photographiHuman launches with debate on what it means to be human in the 21st century

A new ground-breaking institute at the University of Sheffield was launched this month at Sheffield Town Hall by robots and BBC Radio 4’s Adam Rutherford.

iHuman at the University of Sheffield brings together researchers from the social sciences and humanities with psychological and biological sciences to give new understanding on what it means to be human.

Read the full news item here.

29th July

BERA Masters Dissertation award

Nathan Archer, one of our ME Early Childhood Education Students, submitted his dissertation to the annual competition run by the British Educational Research Association. He received a 'highly commended' as one of three shortlisted applications for the BERA Masters Dissertation award.

Congratulations to Nathan, who is currently continuing his research with us for his PhD!

28th July

BERA small photographBERA History SIG Colloquium 2017 – ‘Teaching British Values’

The BERA History SIG held its 2nd annual colloquium on the theme of ‘Teaching British Values’ at Friends House, London. It was convened by Dr Heather Ellis from the School of Education.

The colloquiums aim was to bring together teacher-practitioners and education policymakers interested in debates surrounding the teaching of British values in schools with historians of education working on the history of school curricula, especially the history of moral and citizenship education.

You can read more about the colloguium here.

19th July

CongratulationsGraduation 2017 photograph to our Class of 2016: Summer Graduation

Over 130 guests attended the School of Education Graduation Reception after the Ceremony on July 19th. We hope all of our graduands and their guests enjoyed the day as much as we did.

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

Well done to Bethany Mace, the recipient of the Undergraduate Dissertation Prize 2017, who received her award from Professor Jackie Marsh and Dr Darren Webb during the event.

You can view the photographs from our post-graduation event here and also on our Facebook page.

8 June

Debating dis/ability: iHuman and the School of Education at the University of Oslo

Disability studies research of iHuman and the School of Education was recently represented at an event hosted by the Department of Special Needs Education at the University of Oslo, Norway, 7th June 2017. Dan Goodley was invited to debate the role of disability categories and the global epidemic of childhood diagnosis with Professor Simo Vehmas (Stockholm University, Sweden) chaired by Professor Jan Grue, (University of Oslo).

More information about the event can be found on the Education Matters blog.

7 June

Disability studies in Education in Italy: Making connections

Dan Goodley gave a keynote at the first Italian Disability Studies conference held between the 30th and 31st May 2017 at the University Roma Tre, Rome, Italy. This was an opportunity for Dan to share disability studies research taking place both in the University of Sheffield’s School of Education and iHuman (a new research institute which seeks to analyse the human in the 21st Century of which disability is a key consideration). The conference brought together over 200 delegates including teachers, researchers, practitioners and students.

More information about the event can be found on the Education Matters blog.

28 April

Sabine Little appointed Student Advisory Engagement Fellow

Congratulations to Sabine on her successful application to become one of the Faculty's new Student Advisory Engagement Fellows! This is a year-long secondment of 100 hours, working with the Student Associates in Learning and Teaching to develop projects enhancing the learning and teaching experience of students; and supporting the Faculty's Student Research Conference. There are only two such Fellows, and the competition for such posts is always fierce - so well done to Sabine for making it through, and for being in a position to share some of her many talents with the rest of the Faculty.

12 April

'Patterns in Play: Watching Young Children Learning', 4th May 2017Public Lecture info May 2017

In this public event Professor Cathy Nutbrown will explore the schematic patterns  that can often be seen in young children's play.  The lecture will use observations of young children in home and group situations to consider how and what they are learning and how families and early childhood professionals can support them.  We welcome ECDAM members to join us at this event. 

The lecture will take place on Thursday 4th May 7pm-8.15pm at St Catherine's High School 11, Suffolk Road, Pembroke PBK 1901, MALTA. The lecture is free, but places are limited, so to book a place please contact Ms Sue Midolo [].

12 April

Annual gathering of Malta Alumni of The School of Education, 4th May 2017

Alumni of the School of Education, The University of Sheffield, 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 and celebrate the achievements of our most recent graduates. The gathering will be followed by the launch of two books written by our MA and PhD graduates and a public lecture ‘Patterns in Play: Watching Young Children Learning’ by Prof. Cathy Nutbrown of The School of Education.

All our students, alumni and members of the public are invited to the lecture, which will take place on Thursday, 4th May 6.30 – 7.00pm St Catherine's High School 11, Suffolk Road, Pembroke PBK 1901, MALTA.  Please e.mail Ms Sue Midolo [] if you are able to attend.

28 March

Free University taster event for mature students

DLL ImageThe Department for Lifelong Learning is holding a free University taster event for mature students featuring a series of short talks, taster activities, one to one advice and a tour of the University campus.  Attendees will be able to find out about our range of full and part-time courses, how to apply for a course, and the funding options available.  The event is open to anyone aged 21 or over, without traditional university entry qualifications, who would like to find out more about studying at the University of Sheffield. No prior knowledge or experience of higher education is required.

The event is taking place on Friday 5th May from 10am until 2pm in the Discovery Rooms, University of Sheffield Students' Union, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TQ.  Register for the event now on Eventbrite.

24 March

MakEY Project

MakEY photographThe School of Education is delighted to announce the partnership of the University of Sheffield with the international MakEY project, under the lead of Principal Investigator Professor Jackie Marsh. 

The MakEY project explores the place of the rising ‘maker’ culture in the development of children’s digital literacy and creative design skills. Research will be undertaken in seven EU countries and the USA in which staff working in makerspaces will collaborate with academics to identify the benefits and challenges of running makerspace workshops. The research team will work in partnership with academics in Australia, Canada, Colombia, South Africa and the USA, creating a global network of scholars working together.

For further information about the project, visit the MakEY website.  To stay informed of the latest developments, follow the MakEY project Twitter account or take a look at the project blog here.

22 March

How and why should children eat healthy?

Michalis blog

Senior Lecturer in Educational Psychology, Dr Michalis Kontopodis, is hosting a presentation at the British Sociological Association Annual Conference in Manchester entitled "How and why should children eat healthy? Ethnographic snapshots into diverse children’s everyday eating practices."

The presentation is part of the special event: "Socio-Material & Posthuman Configurations in Child & Youth Studies: Moving In-Between the Personal & the Collective", coordinated by Michalis Kontopodis and taking place between the 4th and 6th April 2017. An outline of the paper Michalis will deliver at the conference is featured in our Education Matters blog.

12 January

Prize winners at Winter Graduation 2017

Graduation 2017It was great to see so many of our graduands at our Graduation Ceremony and Reception on the 11th January. Many of our Postgraduate students celebrated with us in a whirlwind of photographs, certificates and mortarboards. Thank you to everyone who came.

It was also special to celebrate with our two prize winners for 2017. The Rutland Prize for Early Childhood Education this year was awarded to Lucy Rodriguez Leon, and The St Catherine’s High School Postgraduate Student Prize in Malta was awarded to MA in Early Childhood Education student Sr Paula Schembri.

Read more about our prize winners and the Graduation celebration event.

9 December

Desiring Disability Symposium, 23rd November

Desiring DisabilityLast month, doctoral researchers in the School of Education presented papers as part of an afternoon session held in partnership with iHuman (the newest research institute of the Faculty of Social Science). ‘Desiring Disability’ is part of the University of Sheffield’s Disability History month. Dan Goodley introduced the session.

The symposium presented a diverse range of ideas on the topics of disability of desire, each contributing unique ideas to the discussion. You can read all about ‘Desiring Disability’ in our blog post here.

5 December

School of Education students at Scholarship Celebration Evening

ScholarshipsOn the 1st November, 250 scholarship winners and guests attended the event which brought together a number of existing scholarship celebrations all together for the first time. . After a drinks reception and speeches from Prof Shearer West, Prof Wyn Morgan, Robert Dufton and previous scholarship winners, scholars loved the opportunity to meet each other, the Mayor of Sheffield, Donors and members of staff. Live music was provided by the Sheffield Music Players Society.

School of Education BA Student Madawi Alahmad attended the celebrations, saying, “the scholarship celebration evening was an ebullient experience: the scholarship funder's firm believe in our capabilities was invigorating”.

Well done Madawi and all of our Sheffield Scholars for another productive year!

3 December

Dr Penny Fogg writes for Education Matters

Penny BlogThis week, Dr Penny Fogg has contributed to the School of Education blog, 'Education Matters'. Her blog is entitled, 'Re-storying Vulnerability: young people’s narratives of "hard times"'.

Below is a short extract from her writing.

"The ‘Re-storying Vulnerability’ research group began in June 2016 as a collaboration of professionals working with young people within educational systems: educational psychologists, clinical psychologists, teachers, arts practitioners, psychotherapists and Youth Offending Team workers. We are interested in the effects of ‘transgressive’ and ‘vulnerability’ discourses, and their positioning of those deemed to be ‘vulnerable’, ‘transgressive’, or ‘not adult’, or not ‘normal’. We are interested in learning more about how young people respond to, and navigate, narratives about them which are shaped by arbitrary and shifting constructions of responsibility, pathology, blame and moral worth. What strategies of ‘resistance and co-operation assist them in preserving or attaining their definition of health and well-being?"

You can read the blog here.

28 November

EdD Student Sapna Thapa receives 2016 Research in Early Childhood Education Rhedding-Jones Outstanding Dissertation Award

The School of Education is delighted to report that Dr Sapna Thapa has received the 2016 Research in Early Childhood Education Rhedding-Jones Outstanding Dissertation Award for her doctoral thesis at the University of Sheffield. Sapna graduated in 2016, after successfully completing her EdD with us. This award is presented in New Zealand, in memory of Jeanette Rhedding-Jones and her outstanding contribution to Early Childhood Education.

Sapna's thesis focused on ‘The elusive nature of equity and quality in early childhood education: policy rhetoric, meanings and local perceptions in Nepal and Wisconsin, USA'. She studied her MA in Early Childhood Education with us, and our team are very proud of Sapna's achievement. The citation for the awarding committee reads: 'We had a number of excellent nominations, so this was not an easy decision to reach for the members of the award committee. However, we felt that [Sapna’s] work most reflected the spirit of Jeannette’s work and the mission of RECE to question global certainties and reconceptualise policy and practice'.

What makes this award additionally remarkable is that Sapna's home was destroyed in the Nepal earthquake; she managed to complete her thesis on time, and to a high level. She is now working on publications to disseminate her research. Congratulations Sapna!

25 November

Tim Herrick recognised as 'Inspirational Academic'

Tim Herrick

We are delighted to announce that School of Education’s Dr Tim Herrick has been recognised as an ‘Inspirational Academic’ by the University! Tim is one of our Senior University Teachers and works closely with our BA Education. Culture and Childhood degree. In the ‘Inspirational Academic’ video, he talks about his inspiration for teaching and his work with people from asylum seeker backgrounds.

Tim said, “I was flattered to be asked to be part of the University's "Inspirational Academics" series, as I don't think what I do is that exceptional: it's just trying to support as many students as possible, in as many ways as possible, to help them achieve what they want. It's also a practice that is heavily reliant on the good work of others - other tutors, programme secretaries, colleagues in central services, and leaders within the School, Faculty, and University all play a crucial role in enabling anything I do in a classroom that students say is of value. Finally, I am proud to be part of the University's work supporting refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants of all types, and grateful to be working in a context where this is seen as a priority."

You can watch the video here

18 November

NQT Conference

NQT/RQT Conference: Meeting the Needs of All Learners

In October we ran our inaugural NQT/RQT conference aimed at supporting those in the first two years of their teaching careers. The focus was on meeting the needs of all learners, with workshops ranging from supporting those with autism to developing approaches to enable pupils with English as an additional language to access the curriculum. Our keynote speaker, Kim Wilson, helped delegates to consider aspects of young people's lives that might affect their academic progress. Feedback from delegates was very positive, and for next year we plan to expand the conference to a full day.

For more information about how our PGDE supports teachers even after they graduate, please visit the website.

11 November

Hannah Shepherd nominated for Festival of Learning award

Hannah's AwardBA alumnus Hannah Shepherd has been nominated for a Festival of Learning award for her commitment to study over the last seven years.

Hannah’s learning journey started through an access course, Foundation Programme, and in July she graduated from her BA in Education, Culture, and Childhood. Balancing a demanding family life with study over this time is a real achievement, and she was nominated for always being positive, communicative, friendly and supportive. She inspired other students in her BA cohort to make a difference in the lives of others.

She has also lived out this commitment by inspiring her family: her eldest daughter is also a university student, taking an Applied Criminology degree, and winning the Dean's prize in her university no less than twice. The Festival of Learning is a national event to celebrate the successes of adult learners, and Hannah's work and efforts over the last seven years speaks to that very clearly. Well done Hannah!

20 October

Gary McCulloch presents at School of Education Research Seminar

Gary McCullochOn Tuesday 18th October, we were very pleased to welcome Professor Gary McCulloch from UCL Institute of Education to give the first talk in a new series of History of Education seminars. Gary spoke about his latest research project, 'Networks of Knowledge: Social Histories of Educational Studies and Research’. It was great to see such a lot of people turn out for the event.

In his talk, Gary discussed the various stages and key developments in education studies, as a field of teaching and research. He also pointed to some of the important challenges facing education departments in the current economic and political climate. He suggested that education studies should not be viewed as a single coherent discipline, but rather as a complex, sometimes contradictory, multidisciplinary field of study, offering a unique perspective in today's higher education landscape. There was a lively and interesting discussion following Gary's talk.

Tea, coffee and lunch accompanied the seminar, the event also acting as a launch event for the new History of Education seminar series. The next event in the series will be a talk by Professor Stephanie Spencer from the University of Winchester, who will speak about 'Girls School Stories as Sources for the History of Education'. You can find more details here.

13 October

BA Awarded 100% Student Satisfaction in the National Student Survey


Students’ overall satisfaction with our BA Education, Culture and Childhood has been recognised in outstanding results from the National Student Survey 2016. Our overall student satisfaction rating is 100%, ranking us amongst the highest in the country.

The results confirm our place as leaders in exciting and innovative approaches to teaching and are a testament to the commitment of our staff in delivering a high quality student experience.

Director of Learning and Teaching and Level Three co-ordinator for the BA, Dr Tim Herrick, has responded to the results: “I'm delighted that our NSS results for 2016 graduates have been so positive. It's testament to the care and hard work colleagues have put in over the last three years"

You can view the full story here.

3 October

The School of Education participates in Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind

Festival of the MindResearchers from the School of Education have played an active part in 2016’s Festival of the Mind, a ten-day festival that teamed our research up with Sheffield’s creative and digital communities.

On the first day of the Festival, Professor Kate Pahl chaired a discussion on 'Co-producing Utopia', a project funded through the Festival of the Mind. Through a specially designed 'Hope Bank', the project asked the people of Sheffield to share their hopes for the future. Together with ‘Hopeful Cocktails’, the event tried to hope against hope, think about hope and faith, and share our experiences of hope in the city with artists Zahir Rafiq and Paul Allender, the Dean of Sheffield Cathedral, Peter Bradley, Festival of the Mindexpert on Thomas More's Utopia Cathy Shrank and utopian experts Sarah Amsler and David Bell. Steve Pool, artist, curated and also contributed to the event.

‘Co-producing Utopia’ also ran workshops on Recovery with artist Mark Prest at the Art House in Sheffield, and made clay models to experience hope and recovery. The project comes out of the 'Imagine' project, representing an attempt to imagine better communities and make them happen.

Festival of the MindIn association with the Festival, Dr Sabine Little contributed to ‘Researchers’ Night’, an opportunity for the general public to find out about ongoing research in the University of Sheffield. Dr Sabine Little shared her work with heritage language families, exploring the use of technology, games and apps to support numerous languages in the household. Adults, children and whole families were invited to play "Language Ninja", an app especially designed for the event; this engaged them with vocabulary in better and lesser-known languages, ranging from German to Hungarian, Maltese and Thai. The "Top Gear"-style leader board got more and more full as the evening progressed, with the top possible marks achieved by two players.

Festival of the MindOne mum emailed after ‘Researchers’ Night’ to say, "When I got home at 10.30pm my 9 year old was still awake and buzzing about learning Chinese and telling me how your app worked and how many she had got right. She is normally quite into animals & science so I was really surprised that it had been her favourite activity of the evening!"

It has been a pleasure to contribute to the Festival of the Mind by sharing School of Education research around the city. For more information about the festival, visit the website.

30 September

Professor Dan Goodley at 'Inclusive Education: a Rights-based Approach to Policy Making', University of Leeds

On the 14th September, Professor Dan Goodley joined colleagues form across the country at the ‘Inclusive Education: a Rights-based Approach to Policy Making’ workshop at the Centre for Law & Social Justice (Disability Law Hub), University of Leeds. Participants included researchers and activists who came together to discuss possible ways forward for promoting inclusive education in Britain.

Dan told us, “there is an urgent need to reclaim inclusive education in Brexit and austerity Britain. We are in real danger of disabled young people being further excluded in educational contexts as schools and colleges struggle to deal with the cuts. Furthermore, austerity has seen a rise in hate crime against disabled people and this is in danger of being further exacerbated by a culture of intolerance evidenced by Brexit. This workshop brought together researchers of law and education, alongside disability activists to identify key ways in which we can reinvigorate societal conversations around inclusive education’.

More details can be found on the University of Leeds website

Please also visit our new website, Human Activism.

28 September

School of Education Undergraduate Prize Winner

Our recent alumnus Jess Collins has received the School of Education Undergraduate Prize for 2015/16. The prize recognises the exceptional quality of her dissertation, entitled ‘How do undergraduate students construct their identities? A study of third-year undergraduates at a university in northern England’.

Head of School, Professor Liz Wood, expressed her congratulations: “We are really proud that you’ve not only enjoyed your dissertation, but that you achieved something of such excellent quality … I hope you will carry with you all the good things that have happened to you at the University of Sheffield, and I wish you all the best for your career.”

Congratulations to Jess, and we would like to wish her all the best for her bright future.

26 September

The School of Education at BERA 2016

BERA ConferenceOn 13-15 September, colleagues from the School contributed to the British Educational Research Association Conference, hosted by the University of Leeds.

Head of School Professor Elizabeth Wood was involved in two symposia at this year's conference. She has been working with three of her PhD students to present a symposium on local responses to global policy drivers in Early Childhood Education: Amal Banunnah's presentation focused on developing sex education in Saudi Arabia, based on the perspectives of teachers and specialists in education policy and religion. Christina Fashanu presented her research on children's communicative practices in multi-cultural classrooms, focusing on children age 4-5 years old. Sevim Karaoglu's presentation focused on understanding young children's personal, social and emotional development in pre-school education in Turkey. Each of these presentations showed how global policy drivers are mediated by cultures, histories and religious influences within country-level education systems.

Elizabeth also lead a seminar with colleagues from the Open University (Professor Jane Payler), and Plymouth University (Dr Jan Georgeson) to present the BERA/TACTYC Review of Early Childhood Education (2003-16). This review covers six key themes to show the main changes in policy, research and practice, and to indicate the implications for the Early Childhood field.

Heather Ellis took part in two sessions on Thursday 15th September. She gave a paper entitled 'Examining the Classical Origins of Science in Britain, 1800-1850'. It explored the role of classical scholarship in shaping the emergence of science as a discrete body of knowledge in the first half of the nineteenth century. Heather also acted as discussant in a symposium on 'Revisionist Approaches in History of Education', organised by former head of School Gary McCulloch. She also took part in the first meeting of the new BERA History SIG, of which she has recently become a co-convenor.

Dr Michalis Kontopodis created an “innovative” storytelling session to explore everyday life scenes from contexts of youngsters involved in a variety of social and political movements in contemporary Brazil. At the same time, Dr. Kontopodis provided broader information with regards to Brazil’s ongoing urban and rural youth and social movements and their educational dimensions. The first volume of his book series, (Post) Critical Global Studies was presented at the Conference also.

For more information about the BERA Conference, please visit the website.

22 September

'Special Pedagogy: Concepts and Reality' Conference, Poland

PolandProfessor Dan Goodley and Marek Mackiewicz both presented papers at the conference held in Międzyzdroje, Poland, 12-13th September, on the shores of the Baltic Sea. The conference brought together practitioners and researchers in education, with debates exploring themes such as special and inclusive research.

Dan said, ‘this was a fantastic opportunity to share research on dis/ability with Polish colleagues from special and mainstream educational contexts. I am especially thankful to Marek who translated my talk and the testing questions posed by the delegates. We also had the opportunity to think together about pan-national ideas in relation to inclusive education post-Brexit’.

PolandMarek told us, ‘I am immensely grateful, both to the University of Szczecin - who organized this brilliant conference - and to Dan Goodley, who both made this exchange of ideas possible. The debates both within the conference rooms and outside of them have been incredibly stimulating and engaging. We got to challenge the normative ideas about disability and inclusion both in the context of education and outside of it. I would like to forward my special thanks to Professor Marcin Wlazło, the Chair of Special Education at the University of Szczecin who has been a marvelous organizer and guide in a lovely town of Międzyzdroje’

For more information on disability studies research, visit our research matters blog.

19 September

Culture and the role of civic engagement, 6-7 September

Imagine LectureOur fourth annual event for the Imagine Project took place 6-7 September 2016 at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield. Our community partners, co-research team and international colleagues from our projects came together for an exciting day of activities exploring the role of culture in civic engagement and a co-produced exhibition of work from across the whole of the Imagine project. On the evening of 6 September the exhibition was opened with public talks given by our guest speakers Kim Streets (Museums Sheffield), Paul Ward (University of Huddersfield), Mariam Shah (Who is your neighbour?) and leading cultural thinker Francois Matarasso on Culture and the City, followed by questions from members of the audience.

Imagine ActivityThe following day we were all encouraged to think about our cultural identities and get talking with Angie Hart’s (University of Brighton/BoingBoing) Culture Identity Wall activity before dividing into groups for workshop sessions. Workshops explored topics including co-designing resilience, ‘turning the tables on popular culture’, culture and hope, and art and the city.
The event drew to a close with a world café-style discussion to reflect on what we had learnt about the role of art and culture in civic engagement and from our co-produced research on the Imagine project.

Kate Pahl, Principal Investigator of the Imagine project expressed her appreciation: “Thank you to everyone who came and ran amazing workshops, did wonderful art work, wrote beautiful poems, gave fantastic talks, showed films, photographs, produced amazing ideas and contributed in so many ways to make this such a unique, vibrant and successful day”.
You can view a short film by our Artist in Residence, Steve Pool, which captures the day, here. You can also visit the Event Storify here.

5 September is launched

Human ActivismA new resource-rich website, has been launched today. The site developed by Dan Goodley (Education, Sheffield) and Katherine Runswick Cole (Manchester Metropolitan University) draws on findings from a recent School of Education ESRC research project.

Professor Dan Goodley said, "Disabled people with learning disabilities have been hugely affected by the government cuts to welfare over the last few years. This puts them and their families at risk and raises serious questions about how we as a society treat some of our most powerless fellow citizens. will raise public awareness about the catastrophic impact of these cuts but will also share productive stories by people with learning disabilities about how they are supporting one another in their jobs, their communities and the wider lives. We have also included links to organisations that can support other people with learning disabilities and their families."

Please visit and follow us on Twitter.

1 September

Education Matters and Student Matters now live

Education MattersThis month, the School of Education has launched two new blogs on Medium.

Education Matters’ boasts a collection of the department’s most exciting and current research ideas; members of our four Research Centres will be frequently posting their work in relation to conferences and other current events.

Student Matters’ will be providing a platform for our student representatives, giving them the opportunity to share what life is really like in the School of Education.

Don’t forget to follow us on Medium for all the latest updates.