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Education Policy and Practice Research Group

Unit(s) of assessment: Education

School: School of Social Sciences


The Education Policy and Practice research group is interested in the intersections between education policy, practice and pedagogy. We promote and facilitate research, knowledge exchange, evaluation and consultancy expertise across a wide range of education settings and organisations. Our group includes experienced academics as well as early career researchers and is built upon our members’ regional, national and international reputations for education research. Our research considers some of the fundamental questions surrounding education in an increasingly controlled high-profile policy environment. Education is a highly contested, politicised and transient space. Mindful of this, our group members generate research-informed commentary about what education is, does and means.  The group is interested in exploring questions such as:

  • Who are the dominant voices in contemporary education policy?
  • How do practitioners shape and develop their pedagogy within high-stakes learning contexts?
  • How do international policy discourses around achievement, progress and attainment play out for those tasked with implementing them on the ground?
  • Where are the opportunities for creativity within school curricula and in young people’s lives beyond the classroom?
  • What are the key drivers for, and indicators of, ‘outstanding’ education?
  • How can practitioners and learners draw on communities of practice to support their development?
  • What does a crisis in education mean for potential learners, students, parents, practitioners, policy makers?

To answer questions such as these, we draw on and nurture researcher-practitioner networks and partnerships. Group members use empirical and theoretical lenses, together with a wide range of research methodologies, to develop original, critical perspectives on contemporary education policy and practice. Through research and consultancy, our interdisciplinary Education Policy and Practice group speaks to audiences and stakeholders across the policy and practice landscape.

Education Policy and Practice (EPP) is a large research group with over 100 members. Within EPP we have recently established four Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These SIGs provide an indication of some key areas of our research interest and activity. These four groups began work in June 2021. If you would like to know more about a particular SIG please contact the SIG lead:

Early Childhood - Meredith Rose:

Education and International Development - Marc Mbah:

Secondary School Subjects: the intersection of beliefs, values, teachers’ contexts and pedagogy - Alison Hardy:

Special Needs & Disability - Lauran Doak:

PhD Studentships

We have a thriving cohort of students following our PhD Postgraduate and Professional Doctorate (EdD) routes.

We’re currently offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres for UK, EU or International students.

Find out more about our PhD studentships.


Work by group members has been published with leading publishing houses and international peer-reviewed journals including:

British Education Research Journal
Cambridge Journal of Education
Ethnography and Education
Journal of Education Policy
Oxford Review of Education
Pedagogy Culture and Society