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Research – Bath Spa University

Research in the School of Education

Research in the School of Education is creative, participatory, critical and interdisciplinary. We have particular strengths in social justice research, practice-relevant and practitioner-led research, and creative education research.

We welcome research students to our vibrant research community. Explore the individual research centre pages below to read about our research and find potential supervisors.

Research centres

Research supervision

Interested in pursuing research in education? Find out more about our doctoral supervision in the School of Education.

Early Childhood Education

Research seminar series 2023/24

We host regular research events in the School of Education and we welcome Bath Spa staff and students to these seminars and lectures. Members of the public who share our interest in education are equally welcome to attend.

10 October 2023: Collaborative cross-sector writing: Is editing a book so different to creating a music compilation?

In this seminar, Professor Sarah Hayes (Bath Spa University) and Professor Michael Jopling (University of Brighton) share the pleasures and challenges of the critically reflexive process necessary to bring together an extremely diverse set of chapters from authors working across different sectors.

The event takes place on Tuesday 10 October 2023, 1pm-2pm, online. Find out more.

30 October 2023: An analysis of Teacher Education Research in the REF

Professor Linda la Velle presents findings of a novel mapping exercise to assess the extent to which initial teacher education (ITE) focused research was returned in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The event takes place on Monday 30 October 2023, 12pm-1pm, online. Find out more.

29 November 2023: Cultural heritage for people with learning disabilities

Dr Ben Simmons and Hazel Vernon present the links between several small projects related to accessibility for people with learning disabilities.

The event takes place on Tuesday 29 November 2023, 12pm-1pm, online. Find out more.

11 December 2023: Resources of hope for teacher education in the 21st century

Building on the ideas of Raymond Williams and Paulo Freire, Professor Ian Menter will draw on his comparative research on teacher education to identify key threats, opportunities and challenges for contemporary teacher education.

The event takes place on Monday 11 December 2023, and is a School of Education Staff Development session. Find out more.

24 January 2024: Something important is going on with data: The educators' search for political agency to act as professionals in a complex datafied context

Dr Caroline Kuhn, Bath Spa University and Dr Juliana Raffaghelli, University of Padova, will present their scholarship on critical approaches to smart technologies and artificial intelligence in education.

The event takes place on Wednesday 24 January 2024, 12.30-1.30pm. Find out more.

14 February 2024: Gendered capabilities built by Nepali village schoolgirls

Vandana Singh and two Bath Spa alumni, Nathan Richardson and Rebecca Richardson, present their HEQR funded fieldwork in Nangi, Nepal.

The event takes place on Tuesday 14 February 2024, 1-2pm. Find out more.

12 March 2024: From spelling to literacy difficulties; how can we empower learners and teachers

Dr Georgia Niolaki, Bath Spa University and Dr Aris Terzopoulos, Birmingham City University, present several projects that involved working with teachers and learners on increasing dyslexia awareness and supporting learners with dyslexia. 

The event takes place on Tuesday 12 March 2024, 12-1pm. Find out more.

30 April 2024: Student Voice, Behaviour and Resistance in the Classroom Environment

Dr Thomas Ralph, Exeter University, presents his work investigating the motivations behind disruptive pupil behaviour. Dr Kate Brooks, Bath Spa University, sets the scene by outlining the Attachment Research Community, its values and mission.

The event takes place on Tuesday 30 April, 2024, 1pm-2pm, online. Find out more.

7 May 2024: The mystery of why nothing works in education

Dr Sally Riordan, UCL, discusses her work on randomised controlled trials and their use in education.

The event takes place on 7 May 2024, 1pm-2pm. Find out more on the event page.

22 May 2024: Activism, we're always doing it

Katie Crouch, Annabelle Howard and Stuart Read discuss their recent community-based project 'Disability, Activism and Advocacy.' 

The event takes place on 22 May 2024, 12pm-1pm. Find out more on the event page

Research seminar series 2022/23

23 May 2023: A worrying trajectory? The Core Content Framework and the new science of educational research

In this seminar Dr Hordern unpacks the assumptions underpinning England’s new Core Content Framework (CCF) for Initial Teacher Education in respect of the educational research required for teacher expertise. He will draw on his recent co-authored paper: ‘The core content framework and the ‘new science’ of educational research’.

Find out more.

The event takes place on Tuesday 23 May 2023, 12:00-1:00pm, Newton G08.

3 March 2023: Formation of Creativity for Future Teachers in HEIs: theory and practical experience

Dr Oksana Marchuk and Dr Margaryta Shkabarina present pedagogical creativity as an essential quality of the development of teachers. Some theoretical and practical aspects of pre-service teachers’ pedagogical creativity formation will be discussed.

Find out more.

The event takes place on Friday 3 March 2023, 11:00am-12:00pm, online.

8 February 2023: Up Logic Lane: Developing Argumentation in L2 doctoral students’ academic writing through Pedagogical Innovation and Linguistic Ethnography

Dr Hania Salter-Dvorak reports on her ongoing study being carried out in the tradition of ‘linguistic ethnography’ (Copland and Creese, 2015). It focuses on argumentation in the academic writing of second-language postgraduate students in our increasingly internationalised and diverse HE sector. The study aims are to provide a pedagogic intervention in the form of optional workshops in order to develop argumentation in the academic writing of doctoral students and to complete a constructivist evaluation of the materials and activities used.

Find out more.

The event takes place on Wednesday 8 February, 1:00-2:00pm, online.

11 January 2023: Schooling in a Democracy

Richard Riddell outlines some of the thinking that has gone into his new book, out in February, for which the live research finished in late 2021. He considers how the centralisation of Education governance in England and the narrowing of its focus have distanced schools from their communities and helped degrade public life in England. He suggests possibilities for reintroducing democratic behaviour.

Find out more.

The event takes place Wednesday 11 January 2023, 1:00-2:00 PM, online.

6 December 2022: Externalisations in the Portuguese Parliament and Print Media: A complexity approach to education policymaking processes

Dr Santos presents an analysis of the complex dynamics emerging from the interactions between global, national, and local actors in policymaking processes.

In her paper she addresses how references to international organisations (such as the OECD), their tools of assessment and guidance (such as PISA), and practices of other countries are used in discussions about education taking place the Portuguese parliament and in the media.

Find out more.

The event takes place Tuesday 6 December 2022, 1:00-2:00 PM, online.

1 December 2022: What does inclusive research and engagement look like?

For Disability History Month 2022 a series of events will held to celebrate disability equality. As part of this programme this Lunchtime Seminar is a presentation of some of the current disability research taking place in BSU.

Dr Stuart Read, Dr Tanvir Bush and the 'We Are The People' team members will discuss what inclusive research and public engagement can 'look like' in practice, by sharing their reflections regarding organising and running the recent ‘Festival of Inclusion, Disability and Community Action’.

Find out more.

The event takes place Thursday 1 December 2022, 1:00-2:00 PM, online.

16 November 2022: From PhD to Publication. 'The Improvising Teacher: Reconceptualising Pedagogy, Expertise and and Professionalism' - a case study

Emeritus Professor of Education Nick Sorensen will introduce his research and discuss the journey of publishing his book.

Find out more.

The event takes place Wednesday 16 November 2022, 12:00-1:00 PM, online.

26 October 2022: Otherness and Looking Critically at Boundaries of Vulnerability

Grace Quantock shares her clinical and personal experiences of considering the boundaries of vulnerability.

Find out more.

The event takes place Wednesday 26 October 2022, 12:00-1:00 PM, online.

Research seminar series 2021/22

25 May 2022: Opportunities for learning: Erasmus+ mobilities with Bath Spa

Bath Spa colleagues have opportunities to sign up to the Erasmus+ exchanges for learning mobilities with linked universities, thereby encouraging inclusion, creativity and innovation in the collaborating HE organisations. Colleagues who have participated in Erasmus+ exchange mobilites to India and Kurdistan will discuss their experiences in this seminar.

Find out more and register to attend.

17 May 2022: Human flourishing and the challenge of interdependence

In this seminar Dr Agnieszka Bates invites exploration of human flourishing from a phenomenological perspective. Taking Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological theses of interdependence, embodiment and ambivalence as our points of departure, we will consider how human flourishing emerges in everyday interpersonal relations and how human suffering arises when relations of interdependence have been severed.

Find out more.

17 March 2022: A new social contract for education: introducing UNESCO’s 2021 global education report ‘Re-imagining our futures together’

During this seminar we invite participants to reflect critically on the role of education in our HEI and more widely, across society, when thinking about future generations. As reported by UNESCO (2021), it is meaningful to look at the future of education in challenging national and international contexts.

A new social contract for education requires us to think differently about learning and the relationships between students, teachers, knowledge and the world.

How are we going to think differently about learning and these fundamental relationships?

Find out more.

8 February 2022: From SynergyNet to Haymay: Developing the pedagogy of computer supported collaborative activities

In this seminar Andrew Joyce-Gibbons presents studies linking individuals and groups of participants to explore non-collocated, synchronous, collaborative problem solving. To date, investigations have explored the emergence of intra- and inter-group collaborative work in Primary age students. More recent studies have explored time taken to task completion and retention of information amongst undergraduate participants engaging with SynergyNet (Haymay).

Find out more.

19 January 2022: Inter-professional practice between teachers and music therapists to support learners with social, emotional and mental health concerns

Dr Nick Clough and Dr Jane Tarr will explore the participatory action research (PAR) approaches enacted in classrooms to promote inter-professional learning between teachers, teacher trainers and music therapists. They will report their findings from an ERASMUS+ funded project entitled "Learning in a New Key" which brought music therapists and teachers to work together to support the wellbeing and inclusion in learning of young people with social, emotional and mental health concerns.

The research seminar will also launch their book where their findings are documented: Addressing Issues of Mental Health in Schools through the Arts. Teachers and Music Therapists Working Together (London: Routledge, 2022).

Find out more.

8 December 2021: Is it hair or hare? What predicts spelling skill using a New Interpretive Spelling Test for Primary School Children

This presentation from Dr Georgia Niolaki will consist of two parts. First, Georgia will explain why we need to research spelling practices for primary age children. Then she will rationalise why the new interpretive spelling test she is currently developing with colleagues from UCL, NTU and BCU is needed for assessing spelling skill in primary education. In the second part, Georgia will present the results from three research papers on spelling predictors and processes based on work supported by the British Academy (2017-2019) and the British Psychological Society (BPS, 2019-2020).

Find out more.

19 November 2021: Taking the "human" in conceptions of human flourishing seriously

In this seminar, Eri Mountbatten-O'Malley will summarise his PhD research. As he will suggest, if any concept is subject to the standards of nuanced and normative judgement, it is the related notions of what it is to ‘flourish’, be happy and well as a human being. Yet what is clear is that in the understandable desire to improve happiness, well-being, success and satisfaction, researchers often neglect the importance of normativity and context.

Watch the full seminar online.

22 October 2021: Understanding data – praxis and politics

Caroline Kuhn and two co-researchers on this one-year EPSRC funded research project share their initial findings on designing and piloting an open educational resource (OER) aimed at fostering critical data literacy for HE educators.

Find out more.

28 September 2021: Contemporary issues in Disability Research in Education

Dr Tanvir Bush and Dr Stuart Read are disability activists and Research Fellows within the School for Education. In this seminar, they'll share findings from their research exploring contemporary research issues in Disability Studies and Education, and introduce their Wellcome Disability Research Collective programme (2021-2026).

Watch the full seminar online

Research degrees

Postgraduate research is one of the most demanding and rewarding experiences in higher education. Curious about doing a research degree with us, but not sure where to start?

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