Education futures

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
PhD or Professional doctorate PhD:
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
October November to January
PhD or Professional doctorate
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
Start dates
Application period
November to January

The Education Futures Research Cluster is located in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport. Cluster researchers investigate teaching and learning in order to understand and shape more equitable, innovative and futures-oriented learning opportunities in the 21st century. Our work, which explores the interplay between theory and practice, contributes to knowledge expansion and seeks to make an impact upon the unfolding educational agenda at a systemic level, locally, nationally and internationally.

We take a broadly social approach to teaching and learning and use a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches including, for example: sociocultural theory, activity theory, ethnography, historical analysis, discourse analysis and multimodal analysis. These approaches are used to explore teaching and learning and learners’ identities in formal and informal contexts in homes, nurseries, primary and secondary schools, higher education and work-based settings.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and an MA or research methods training at MA level (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

We are interested in research topics related in some way to the themes noted below:

  • Pedagogy and practice
  • Creativity in education
  • Literacy teaching and learning
  • Inclusion and equity
  • Working with children with special educational needs
  • Young learners’ and professionals’ identities, agency and voice
  • Early and primary phase learning in homes, schools and communities
  • Informal learning
  • International education and development
  • Teacher education and development, in the UK and internationally
  • School leadership and management
  • Education in the information age
  • Digital inclusion, assistive technologies and learning disabilities.

Current/recent research projects

Students’ projects explore a diverse range of issues including, for example:

  • Children’s writing practices at home and school
  • Arts partnerships and creativity in primary education
  • Children’s literature and the development of spirituality
  • An evaluation of the impact of primary nurture group provision
  • The nature of teacher and student talk in drama
  • Digital literacies in cross-curricula contexts in rural Ireland
  • Teachers’ literate identities and practices, including their literate identities
  • Secondary science teachers’ shifts in pedagogic practice in response to curriculum change
  • Effective process and structures in online learning through a social paradigm;
  • Contexts, voices and perspectives of female teachers in rural Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Home and school literacy practices of children in rural India
  • Leadership and school improvement and its influence on teacher efficacy in Ghana
  • An analysis of ICT policy development and practice in teacher education in Kenya
  • Principles and practice of syllabus design and material production in secondary education in Bangladesh
  • Participatory approaches to developing accessible heritage resources for people with disabilities

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

PhD fees

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Professional doctorate fees

UK fee International fee
Part time: £3,643 per year Part time: £9,250 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Children making circuits in school

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Natalie Canning, PGR Convenor for Childhoods, Youth and Sport

Phone: +44 (0)1908 858268

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.