Research theme and strands within the Education and Childhood Research Group (ECRG)


Research within the School of Education and Childhood at UWE Bristol operates within its four inter-connected strands of:

Watch the short video below about the ECRG Showcase and Social event which spotlighted the ECRG strands of research. The event brought together UWE Bristol-based researchers and potential external partners to discuss collaborative research and scholarly possibilities.

ECRG Showcase and Social event, 19 May 2023

Equity in education strand

Co-lead by Professor Richard Waller and Malcolm Richards.

Equity in Education (EiE) brings together a community of practice undertaking and engaging with research on critical issues of equity, diversity, and social justice across and within a range of educational contexts and settings. Social justice is central organising principle for the research within the EiE strand, which investigates:

How can education research contribute to the production of a more inclusive, diverse, equitable and just communities and society?

  • Sociology of education
  • Education politics, policy and ideology
  • Widening participation
  • Education, social mobility and/or the reproduction of social inequalities
  • Decolonisation
  • Critical and anti-racist pedagogies
  • Social class
  • Race, identities, and cultures in education
  • Genders and sexualities
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • Student voices, experiences, and decision-making
  • Community education, teaching, enquiry and learning
  • Global citizenship and knowledge creation

Members of this inter-disciplinary community share a common interest in researching the inequities that persist in societies through critical enquiry. We engage with our local-global students, teachers, and community, to collaborate on exciting research, knowledge co-production, and impactful outcomes.

Our staff have experience in supervising and examining research students in a wide range of themes centring on principles of equity and social justice. We welcome new postgraduate students to conduct research with us, and continue to be open to teacher, school, college and community-led research partnerships.

Find out more about our research activities from a selection of publications and blog posts below:



Pedagogy strand

Co-lead by Dr Benjamin Knight and Dr Paul Redford.

Pedagogy is a broadly interpreted and broadly applied umbrella concept covering many aspects of education and overlapping with a wide range associated educational and social concepts. In the Education and Childhood Research Group (ECRG), the Pedagogy research strand is more narrowly focussed on classroom teaching and learning,

The strand has two key elements. The first investigates interpretations of what it means to ‘learn’, what learning looks like, contexts in which it occurs and factors which influence it for individuals and groups. The second element investigates teaching and instruction with a view to developing insights about the most useful ways of organising and configuring teaching in the interest of learning. Research within this strand is predicated on the belief that we have much more to learn about learning and teaching, and that novel insights and new theories are there to be uncovered. Seeking effective and innovative approaches to teaching, appropriate for the 21st century, is a central aim of this research strand.

Our staff have experience in examining and supervising research students in the area of research with children and young people. We welcome new postgraduate research students to conduct research with us.

Childhood, children and young people strand

Co-lead by Dr Tim Clark and Professor Jane Andrews

The Childhood, Children and Young People strand focuses on research into children and young people’s experiences, rights, voices, perspectives, and related policy and practice. The strand is underpinned by a construction of children and young people as agentic meaning makers who are experts in their own worlds (Malaguzzi, 1993) and there is a privileging  of research with, rather than on this often overlooked group.  The strand aims to showcase work in this area and provoke critical discussion about research with children. 

The research expertise of the strand encompasses a range of areas, including, but not limited to: 

  • Sociology of childhood 
  • Children’s rights 
  • Ethical and methodological approaches to research with children 
  • Literacies, languages and identities 
  • Teaching, early childhood, pedagogy and curriculum 
  • Policy relating to children, young people and families 
  • Early education and learning 
  • Professional development and identity for early childhood practitioners 
  • Youth and young people

Our staff have experience in examining and supervising research students in the area of research with children and young people. We welcome new postgraduate research students to conduct research with us.

Find out more about a current research project with Dr Sarah Chicken (Principal Investigator), Embedding children's participation rights in pedagogical practice, funded through the ESRC.

Embedding children's participation rights in pedagogical practice


Sustainability in education strand

Co-lead by Dr Verity Jones and Dr Tessa Podpadec.

Research on sustainable development creates knowledge and influences practices to shape sustainable futures and work towards greater social and environmental justice. 

UWE Bristol recognises the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), designed to take action to combat climate change and its impacts, ensure sustainable consumption and production  patterns, end poverty and hunger, improve education and health care for all, and end discrimination against women and girls. The core purpose of this research strand is advancing knowledge in economic, social and environmental dimensions to solve sustainability challenges, create opportunities and shape our communities across the region and beyond as set out in the UWE Bristol Strategy 2030.

The strand members’ research incorporates sustainable development questions about diverse local, national and global contexts. For example: how can we educate children about climate change; how can society approach responsible and ethical consumption; why are there inequalities in global education; how can we achieve gender equality and end violence against women and girls?


Listen to Dr Verity Jones chat with Dr Kathy Weston in episode 125 of the Dr Kathy Weston's Get a Grip! Parenting Podcast series about sustainable futures and education, and optimal ways to discuss climate change with children and young people.

Listen to the podcast episode

Research projects and publications

Find out more about related research projects and publications from members of the Education and Childhood Research Group.

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