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Collaborative Projects, Events and Governance

Collaborative Projects and Events


The Nottingham Institute of Education is passionate about raising standards and widening participation.

We are happy to host/support 'TeachMeets' and other events and do not charge partners for using our venues (subject to availability).

If you would like the Institute's involvement in a project, meeting or an event that meets this agenda please contact


Nottingham Trent University (NTU) actively encourages staff to become involved in the governance of local educational providers and allows time for this vital work. We have professionals who are familiar with the world of education who can add skilled and experienced voices to governing bodies, academy councils and MAT boards, complementing contributions from parents and community representatives.

Find out how we can work together

Are you considering employing a student on a placement, recruiting a graduate, or developing your staff? Do you have a project or challenge we can help you with? Please get in touch:


Phone: 0115 848 4460

Close to Practice Project

Are you a practitioner seeking opportunities to get your research interests supported? Or a setting leader searching for professional development opportunities for your research-engaged staff?

We are delighted to launch our Close to Practice (CtP) Partnership project for the academic year 2023-24. This is an opportunity to engage in a professional development opportunity that is centered on your own professional interests, whilst developing your research-informed practice.

This development of a CtP partnership is linked to educational enquiry. For these purposes we use the British Educational Research Association understanding of this term:

“Close-to-practice research focusses on issues defined by practitioners as relevant to their practice, and involves collaboration between people whose main expertise is research, practice, or both.”

Please see the Close to practice educational research from BERA link to navigate BERAs statement on what close to practice educational research looks like. In it, BERA defines high-quality close-to-practice research as follows:

'High quality close-to-practice research requires the robust use of research design, theory and methods to address clearly defined research questions, through an iterative process of research and application. The research process will be well documented and the conclusions that are drawn will be appropriate to the strengths and weaknesses of the design, theory and methods used. Such research will draw upon practitioners’ and researchers’ reflections on both practice and context'.

The project is being coordinated by Dr Kate Mawson and Rebekah Gear.

The aim of this project is to support and develop practitioner enquiry, which is underpinned by research informed practices and approaches. You will be supported through an engagement with a research skills and knowledge CPD package, which includes:

  1. Ethics and ethical practices workshop
  2. Research Methodologies & Methods workshop (Helen Kara)
  3. Routes for dissemination activity-supporting school based publications (Louise Dillon & Rebekah Gear).

In addition, you will also be linked to one of our of research partners. This will be someone who shares an interest in your project area and will work with you closely throughout the project. Our Close to Practice partners are a member of the Nottingham Institute of Education staff team. It is our hope that this project will draw together distinguished colleagues from both the Nottingham Institute of Education and our partnership schools to support and enhance a research culture.

Our vision is to support public engagement with research and innovation through stakeholder engagement, evidence, and insight gathering, improving participation in research from traditionally underrepresented groups and via diverse routes.

Finally, as advocated by Stenhouse (1981 pg 111):

“What seems to me most important is that research becomes part of a community of critical discourse. But perhaps too much research is published to the world, too little to the village. We need local cooperatives and papers as well as international conferences and journals. (Stenhouse, 1981 pg 111)”

It is our hope that this CtP partnership becomes our village, which supports and inspires future practice within our teaching and learning communities.

This is a funded opportunity. There are 10 x £750 allocated grants available to our selected school partners. This is to support this small-scale 'close-to-practice' research in schools, and our mission to engage more people in research; ultimately, providing access to research in educational setting in the East Midlands.

This funding will enable our successful applicants to receive funding to be released to attend all three workshops, be allocated 4 half days to conduct the research project, and a further day to attend our celebration conference event, due to be hosted in the Summer 2024.

Aaron Bradbury

Aaron is a Principal Lecturer for Early Years and Childhood (Learning and Development, Psychology, Special Educational Needs, and Inclusion) at Nottingham Trent University. He is a Member of the Coalition for the Early Years on the Birth to Five Matters Non-Statutory Guidance for the EYFS and chaired and written the Equalities and Inclusion section with colleagues in the sector.

Aaron is currently researching on Early Childhood workforce development and has a project called “Reconceptualising the third teacher: A study of trainee experiences of work-based learning on level 3 early years programmes. Aaron is also a published author on early childhood theories and child development. He is leading a joint research project with academic colleagues from NTU and UPSI in Malaysia focusing on Early Years Policy.

Aaron sits on many national early childhood groups and is also a consultant on many aspects of early years and child development. He has spoken as a keynote speaker both nationally and internationally on contemporary issues within the early childhood sector. He has a passion for making the voice of the child, nurturing through a diverse lens and pioneers of early childhood the foreground of practice.

Alison  Murphy

Alison is a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and primarily teaches on the undergraduate BA (Hons) in Primary Education. She currently leads the fourth year of the degree.

She originally trained as a primary school teacher at Canterbury University and has worked in several schools across Kent and the East Midlands. Before working at the university, she was an Advanced Skills Teacher and supported her school to achieve the Primary Science Quality Mark. She has worked on an international research project focusing on STEM curriculum content across Europe and is also Level 3 Forest School trained.

She completed her Masters in Education whilst teaching in Nottingham. Her current research interests are in science and outdoor learning, specifically thinking scientifically, behaving scientifically and also questioning. She has recently completed her Professional Doctorate and won awards for her research dissemination at the Annual BERA Conference.

Dr Krishan Sood

Dr. Krishan Sood is a Senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. He is a Scientist by training and taught in Secondary schools before becoming an advisory teacher for Intercultural Education in Warwickshire. He has wide range of experience through privileged position of working across all sectors of education- primary, secondary, FE and HE.

He has taught in four universities in England. His research interests are in leadership and diversity management, English as Additional Language, gender, and Early Years. He has extensive international and national presence through his scholarly work and conference presentations in Asia, Europe, US, Africa and UK. His passion is to ensure education is liberalising and humanising.

In addition, he has served as a secretary for the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS). Having previously led the CtP research projects he has required human and research skills and the ability to collaborate with school partners; including being sensitive to school staff needs given their busy school life schedule when co-designing and co-executing school-based research.

Julie Kent

Julie Kent is a senior lecturer on the BA (Hons) Childhood degrees programmes and strand leader on the new Education and Early Childhood MA programme at Nottingham Trent University where she has worked for 10 years. Her areas of teaching interest are in working together with children and families, child health, communication and language and leadership and management.

Julie's professional heritage is in Speech and Language Therapy, having initially qualified and practised as a Speech and Language Therapist in the NHS for 15 years, working with children in school and community settings.

Prior to working in higher education, Julie led the team in a Sure Start Children’s Centre in rural Northamptonshire with a focus on developing the inter-agency working and the early communication support for children and families.

She is a qualified trainer for the Early Language Development Programme and is a Makaton Regional Tutor.

Her current PhD research interests are in the communication environment in Early Years settings and the interface between health and education in the support for children’s early Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).

Lizzie Greeley

Lizzie Greeley is a senior lecturer on the post and undergraduate ITE Primary Education programmes. She leads the English Team and delivers the programmes for music.

She originally worked within primary and secondary schools to set up and support access to instrumental, vocal and curriculum music as a Music Development Officer at Nottingham City Arts in Education Centre and taught cello as a peripatetic and private music teacher. She has coached on a number of musical ensembles for young people. After training in Primary Education and obtaining QTS she taught in a large primary school. As Creative Arts Lead, she developed music, art, drama and dance and sought opportunities to network with outside providers offering enrichment opportunities including working with the British electronic musician Clark on two albums which featured the school chamber choir.

Her Masters degree in Education focused on engaging children in reading for pleasure and she currently heads the Teachers’ Reading Group at NTU in conjunction with the OU UKLA initiative.

Her interests centre around the motivational power of arts in education, the value of using drama as a vehicle for teaching, introducing children to Shakespeare and poetry in the primary years and encouraging reading for pleasure.

Matt Woodford

Matt is a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and has taught on a variety of courses including the masters programme, the mathematics PGCE and the SCITT programme for teacher training.

He originally trained as a secondary mathematics teacher and has worked in several schools across the East Midlands in a variety of roles. Following time as a senior leader of a large school he led one of the national, government funded mathematics hubs responsible for developing ideas around teaching for mastery in both the primary and secondary phases. He left this role to work on a national Education Endowment Foundation funded research project that trialled mathematics lessons through lesson study in the post-16 sector.

His current research interests continue to focus on the development of mathematics teaching and understanding across all phases. In particular, he has considerable expertise in utilising lesson study, and designing professional development materials that focus on beliefs around the teaching of mathematics.

Dr Natasha Serret

Dr. Natasha Serret is a senior lecturer and the joint course leader for the undergraduate BA (Hons) in Primary Education at the Nottingham Institute of Education. She is passionate about science learning and teaching, and this is reflected in her range of experiences of teaching and educational research over the last 20 years. Natasha’s research focuses on classroom practice, investigating the impact that professional learning through professional development, communities of practice and ‘Close to practice’ research can have on teaching and learning. Her research considers science inquiry both inside the classroom and also in outdoor learning contexts. Natasha draws from qualitative research methods and has applied a multi-step open coding approach across a range of data sources (interviews, written teacher reflections, lesson observations and transcripts of classroom talk) to determine the conditions that support and constrain learning and teaching in science. This has enabled Dr. Serret to explore how classroom talk can be used to promote cognitive development and support formative and summative assessment practices in science classrooms.

Dr Sara Davies

Dr Sarah Davies is an experienced teacher educator who taught design and technology in a local secondary school. She has over 25 years of teaching experience, having moved into education from industry in 1997. Sarah had the privilege and opportunity of supporting secondary teachers across the East Midlands as an Advanced Skills Teacher before joining NTU in 2007. During her time in higher education, Sarah has taught various courses, including MA Education, PGCE Secondary and PGCHE. She has received funding for several collaborative research projects with local and national teachers. Sarah completed her Professional Doctorate in 2022, which involved the study of subject change and teachers in the context of secondary design and technology education. Her other professional and research interests include teacher agency, subject knowledge development and curriculum innovation.