Professor Elizabeth Ann Wood

BA (Hons), PGCE, Certificate in the Advanced Study of Education, MEd, PhD

School of Education

Professor of Education

Professor of Education

EDU - photo of liz wood
+44 114 222 8172

Full contact details

Professor Elizabeth Ann Wood
School of Education
Edgar Allen House
241 Glossop Rd
S10 2GW
Research interests

My research focuses mainly on early childhood and primary education, with specific interests in play and pedagogy; curriculum and assessment in ECE; teachers’ professionalism and professional knowledge; policy analysis and critique.

My work on play has international reach and influence, and I am Visiting Professor at the University of Auckland, and Australian Catholic University Melbourne.

With colleagues in Australian Catholic University and Monash University, I am currently researching the ways in which children are blending digital and traditional play, and the implications for curriculum and pedagogy.

I am a Co-Investigator (with Dr Liz Chesworth, Principal Investigator, and Dr Sharon Curtis) on a project funded by the Froebel Trust on understanding the relationships between children’s interests, play and pedagogy in a multi-diverse early childhood setting. Another project, also with colleagues in Australian Catholic University and Monash University, focuses on how early childhood practitioners develop leadership of practice.

I have worked with a range of European organisations and I have provided policy and practice guidance to governments (England, Switzerland, Ireland) on play, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. My work has influenced the development of Aistear, the early childhood framework in Ireland, and I have worked with the National Union of Teachers on developing guidance for play.

Research group

#supervisionaries - stories of brilliant doctoral supervision

I would like to nominate both of my supervisors, Liz Wood and Liz Chesworth. They are incredibly supportive of my thinking and have encouraged me to pursue theories and methodologies outside of the norm. They have trusted me to be creative and to explore my thinking and this means so much. My supervisions are full of lively conversation and their critiques are done in such a way to fine-tune my thinking. It has been a privilege to have them and I feel lucky and proud to say I am supervised by them and they treat me as an equal, this is particularly moving for me. I'm a first-generation university attendee and they make me feel like I belong to this gang. Having co-supervision has worked really well for me. I have shifted my identity from academic to scholar through their wise counsel. My supervisions are a highlight for me, the support they give through e-mail on my draft writing is always thoughtful and questioning and supports me in developing my thinking and writing. I'm proud to be a Sheffield EdD student and don't want it to end. 

Teaching activities

I teach on the MA ECE Distance Learning programme, and on the EdD Part 1 strands in Education Studies and Early Childhood Education.

I supervise EdD and PhD students from many countries, and have supervised around 20 doctoral students to completion.

Professional activities
  • 2017-18 Understanding practitioners’ curriculum decision-making to support complexity in children’s play in
    a super-diverse pre-school setting. Froebel Trust Liz Chesworth (PI), Elizabeth Wood (Co-I) £57,000
  • 2017-2020 Learning-rich leadership for quality improvement in early education, (EAW Partner Investigator with Joce Nuttall and Linda Evans (Chief Investigators)(Australian Catholic University and Monash University) $AUD 518,683.
  • 2015-17 Teachers’ knowledge of children’s digital play, Australian Research Council, $AU 275,000, (EAW CPartner Investigator with Susan Edwards and Joce Nuttall, (Principal Investigators, Australian Catholic University), Susan Grieshaber, (Monash University).
  • 2015-16 How Initial teacher Education prepares student teachers for teaching about diversity in the
    classroom. PPMI, 72,000 Euros.
  • 2013-14 Videogames Research Networking: Developing videogames and play for hospitalised children, Arts and Humanities Research Council (Elizabeth Wood PI, Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice Co-I) £26,000
  • 2013 Evaluation ‘Made in Sheffield’, University of Sheffield and Master Cutlers £10,000 (with Dr Sabine Little)