School of Education and Sociology


The School of Education and Sociology runs research seminars on key issues in the field, drawing expertise from within the School, University and beyond.  These research seminars are open to staff and postgraduate students (from any school or department).

Details and booking information are below; please click on the relevant link to register. Events are held in St George's Building 1.12 except where stated. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.

If you require any further information please contact 

Programme 2017-2018

The Value of Multi-sited Ethnography for Researching and Informing Effective Adoption Education in the United States

4th October 2017, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, SG 0.20
Dr Rachael Stryker, Associate Professor, Dept of Human Development & Women's Studies, California State University, East Bay

Abstract:  This talk summarizes the results of a ten-year, multi-sited ethnographic project that used qualitative research along Russian-U.S. adoption pipelines to effectively inform adoption education programs for parents in California. Topics discussed include the importance of translating the geopolitics of adoption regions to prospective adoptive parents; centering a cross-cultural understanding of attachment socialization and expression within the adoption process; and focusing on how individual and holistic well-being of post-adoptive family members can be achieved.

Youth aspiration and wellbeing in Zambia: The rising importance of vocational skills training

Wednesday, 1 st November 2017, 1:00pm – 2:30pm SG 1.12
Dr Caroline Day, Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth

Abstract: A key marker of adulthood in Africa is the ability to provide an income to support oneself and one's family (Chigunta et al., 2005). However, the issue of youth unemployment and underemployment remains one of the major challenges for governments and development partners alike. In Zambia there has been an increasing focus on skills development and vocational training programmes in order to provide young people with more opportunities to improve their lives and contribute to the economy. There has also been a political ‘push’ towards entrepreneurship and the encouragement of young people to develop their own business enterprises (Gough et al., 2013). While completing education is still considered a key transition to adulthood (Day, 2016), many young people recognise that this may not be achievable, instead aspiring to develop business opportunities for themselves. However, the resources to do this are limited and as a result young people lack the skills and economic support to achieve their potential. This paper focuses on research conducted in Zambia during August 2016. Forty young people (aged 18-30 years), engaged in two different skills training programmes, took part in focus groups to discuss how they construct, sustain or adapt their aspirations in the face of structural constraints and what this means for their current and future wellbeing. This research gives voice to these young people and offers unique insights into the lives of Zambian youth from their own perspectives while also addressing the successes and challenges associated with the vocational skills based training agenda.

A Systematic Review Of The Evidence-Base For Professional Learning In Early Years Education (The Pleye Review)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018: 5:00pm-6:30pm LT3 Richmond Building
Professor Sue Rogers, UCL Institute of Education

Professor Sue Rogers will present on The Pleye Review (a project undertaken in conjunction with Professor Chris Brown, University of Portsmouth. This systematic review brings together international evidence on professional development and learning (PDL) approaches in Early Years Education (EYE) that demonstrate positive impact on children’s outcomes. The review is pertinent and topical and has a strong and direct connection with the current policy drive to a) improve the skills and knowledge of the early years workforce in order to improve outcomes for children, particularly those most at risk of disadvantage and b) develop system-led self-improvement through evidence-based approaches to PDL. The presentation is designed to will help the user community i.e. policy-makers, setting leaders and EYE professionals, to make informed decisions about the types of PDL approaches that are most effective, and to feel confident that those approaches are underpinned by robust and rigorous research evidence.

Research Learning Communities: exploring the context for and the benefits of teachers using research to improve their practice

7th February 2018, 1:00pm - 2:30pm, SG 1.09
Prof Chris Brown, School of Education and Sociology

Research Learning Communities (RLCs) were devised as a way to enable the roll out of research-informed interventions at scale (Brown, 2015). The product of new and innovative ways of thinking about how research and practice might best be combined, RLCs were originally trialled in some 55 primary schools in England as part of a randomized control experiment organized and funded by the EEF. They have subsequently been adopted by a myriad of school communities in England, Sweden and the USA. This session will discuss RLCs as a concept as well as examining the effectiveness of the approach by focusing on one specific RLC: a teaching school alliance situated in the south coast of England (‘Excellence Together TSA’). It will begin by setting out the origins of the original RLC project; the theoretical and conceptual thinking that underpins the model as well as the practical elements of how RLCs are run and delivered. It will then use the case of ‘Excellence Together…’ to illustrate how the RLC approach has led not only to teachers within this specific alliance engaging in research-informed teaching practice (RITP), but also how this practice has begun to transform teaching and improve student outcomes within participating schools.

I’m petrified of being found to be lacking: exploring the issues of teacher mental health

Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, SG 0.20
Prof Jonathan Glazzard, Professor of Teacher Education, Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University
Hosted by the MICE (Mental Health in Childhood and Education) Hub

This research focuses on the causes of poor teacher mental health. Additionally, it addresses the impact of poor teacher mental health on the quality of teaching, student achievement and the quality of relationships that teachers form with students and colleagues. Whilst existing research focuses on the impact of workload on teacher stress, there is limited research on the impact of poor teacher mental health on children and young people. This study employed a survey which was completed by over 700 teachers. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted to capture more in-depth data. Teachers with mental health needs perceived that their mental health had a detrimental impact on the quality of their teaching, student achievement and the quality of relationships they established with students and colleagues. Additionally, the results suggest that poor teacher mental health has a detrimental effect on teachers’ creativity in the classroom. The data indicate that causes of poor mental health in teachers are multi-faceted and complex. Implications for school leaders are drawn out of the data.

How Writing Works

Wednesday, 28 March 2018: 5:00pm-6:30pm LT3 Richmond Building
Professor Dom Wyse, UCL Institute of Education

Dominic Wyse is Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at University College London Institute of Education. He is author of The Good Writing Guide for Education Students and Teaching English, Language and Literacy. He has been an invited expert for BBC Newsnight and the BBC Radio Four Today programme, and for the Guardian and Times newspapers. From the invention of the alphabet to the explosion of the internet, Professor Wyse’s presentation will take us on a unique journey into the process of writing. Drawing on over twenty years of findings, Wyse will presents research-informed innovative practices to demonstrate powerfully how writing can be learned and taught.

Very early adolescent motherhood in low- and middle-income countries

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 1:00pm-2:30pm, SG 1.12
Dr Sarah Neal, Lecturer in Global Health, Centre for Global Health, Poverty, Population and Policy (GHP3)

This seminar is specifically linked to Global Education, Childhoods and Outreach. It is well recognised that adolescent motherhood poses a significant risk to the health and future opportunities of both mother and child. This presentation will bring together and present a body of work which aims to increase our understanding of these births to very young mothers. Sarah Neal originally trained and worked as a nurse before studying social policy and social research at the Universities of Bristol and Bath. She has worked on a number of public health programmes in developing countries (and particularly in fragile states), and also spent time as a UK-based adviser with DFID. She completed a PhD on the determinants of neonatal mortality in developing countries at Southampton University in 2009 and following this held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship to examine the determinants and outcomes of very early adolescent motherhood in low and middle income countries. She is currently a lecturer in Global Health, and Director of the Global Health MSc Programme.

What should students gain through university?: Exploring students', parents', and employers' perceptions of learning gain

Wednesday 6th June, 1-2:30pm, St George Building, Room 1.12
The Higher Education Forum presents a School of Education and Sociology research seminar. Presenters: Dr Emily Mason-Apps, Senior Research Fellow, School of Psychology and Dr Jessica Gagnon, Senior Research Fellow, School of Education and Sociology

The 14 HEFCE-funded Learning Gain projects currently underway across the UK are intended “to measure the improvement in knowledge, skills, work-readiness and personal development made by students during their time spent in higher education” (HEFCE, 2017). We will be presenting initial qualitative findings from the University of Portsmouth led HEFCE Learning Gain project titled “Education as transformation: Developing measures of non-cognitive development”. It is a multi-university partnership that includes the University of Southampton; Royal Holloway, University of London; and the University of the Arts London. We will explore students’ perceptions of learning gain through qualitative data collected from focus groups; parents’ perceptions through hand-written responses to questions posed on postcards; and employers’ perceptions through interviews. The data allows for an in-depth understanding of different stakeholders’ conceptions of learning gain, as well as exploring the similarities and differences between them. Findings from the project are intended to inform policy and practice, especially through identification of where expectations are and are not being met.

International Network for Gender Underrepresentation in STEM and Beyond

Tuesday, 24th July 2018, 09:30-16:00, Room 2.09, Park Building.

The event will be followed by a wine reception: Launch of International Network for Gender Underrepresentation in STEM and Beyond.

For further information please contact Dr Yuwei Xu:

The Lived Experience of Teenage Drug Use​; Through the eyes of Practitioners and Parents

Seminar and Networking Lunch being held on Monday, 30th July 2018, 12:00pm – 2:30pm, Room SG0.20 St Georges Building.

At this event we will share and discuss the early findings from the research, as a group of Academic and Practitioner colleagues.

For further information please contact Emma Maynard:

Recent seminars

29th March 2017 - Youth sexuality in Senegal: the right to silence?

Speaker: Dr Barbara Crossouard

30th November 2016 - Hidden Bellies: The Power of Silence and Invisibility in Managing Pregnancies in Mozambique

Speaker: Dr Francesca Salvi

5th October 2016 - Reforming Further Education Teacher Preparation: A policy analysis using a Punctuated Equilibrium framework

Speaker: Dr David Holloway

14 October 2015 - Evaluating School-Based Mental Health Literacy Programmes

Speaker: Dr Paul Gorcynski

18 November 2015 - Implementing the Pyramid Socio-Emotional Intervention in Schools: Bridging Research to Practice

Speaker: Michelle Jayman and Bronach Hughes, University of West London, Department of Psychology

13 January 2016 - Understanding Why Children Differ in Number Skills and How Games Can Help

Prof Richard Cowan, Institute of Education

24 February 2016 - Faculty Research Strategy and REF 2020

Speaker: Prof David Andress, Associate Dean (Research) Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

6 July 2016 – Informed consent with children and young people in social research: is there scope for innovation?

Speaker: Dr Gina Sherwood, Lecturer, School of Education and Childhood Studies

29 April 2015 - Creative processes with focus groups

Speaker: Chris Neanon, Principal Lecturer (QA/Curriculum), School of Education and Childhood Studies, University of Portsmouth

25 February 2015 - Holistic Silhouette Analysis: Making meaning from narrative research

Speaker: Joy Chalke, Principal Lecturer, School of Education and Childhood Studies, University of Portsmouth

14 January 2015 - "It's not just about voting." What turns young people on to civic participation - and off: and why it matters.

Speaker: Professor Helen Haste, Visiting Professor, Harvard (Postgraduate School of Education) and Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Bath.

19 November 2014 - 'Whassup m8??' Co-opting young people as co-researchers in the light of Giddens' reflexive-self

Speaker: Dr Simon Edwards, Lecturer, School of Education and Childhood Studies, University of Portsmouth

15 October 2014 - Developing Critical Reflection as Research Methodology?

Speaker: Professor Jan Fook, Professor in Education (Critical Reflection), Kingston University

30 April 2014 - EdD versus PhD

Dr Jane Creaton & others lead a discussion regarding the differences (and similarities) between a Professional Doctorate in Education and a PhD.

13 March 2014 - Issues relating to promoting emotional health and wellbeing amongst children and young people. Peer support, and common emotional and behavioural difficulties.

A Collaborative event with the Japanese Peer Support Association.

8 January 2014 - Some good and bad reasons to be politically correct in higher education

This will be led by Dr John Lea, from the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit, Canterbury Christ Church University.

20 November 2013 - The Moral and other Educational Significance of the Arts in Philosophy and Recent Scottish Educational Policy

Led by Dr Melita Sidiropoulou, who will be talking about how she has combined research in different fields e.g. philosophy of education, education policy, arts education, ethics and moral education.

9 October 2013 - Inclusion in HE

This will be led by Michelle Cowen, Principal Teaching Fellow / Faculty Lead for Inclusivity, Faculty of Health Sciences University of Southampton.

24 April 2013 – Consequences of Violence in Childhood - Bullying, Victimisation and Child Maltreatment. Social and Biological Measures.

Dr Louise Arseneault
Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, University of London. 

13 February 2013 - Some good and bad reasons to be politically correct in higher education.

Dr John Lea
Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit, Canterbury Christ Church University

9 January 2013 - Change - the elusive butterfly?

Chris Neanon
University of Portsmouth.