Cloakroom in school

Research-informed pedagogies for schooling and learning improvement

Co-creating and evaluating theories of educational practice

This group brings together academic researchers, practitioner researchers (including EdD students), schools and the voluntary sector to promote inter-organisational collaboration, knowledge creation and exchange with a focus on social, environmental and inclusive practice. As a community of practice, we co-create and evaluate theories of educational practice through exploratory research, knowledge exchange events, action research and evaluative inquiry.

Current research themes include:

  • Partnerships: scholarship, knowledge exchange and research partnerships with local and regional schools (and other schooling/educational organisations)
  • Curriculum policy change and the impact on school improvement
  • Critical lens on innovative, transformational pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning
  • Impact of aspirational outreach programmes in schools on disadvantaged pupils
  • Mental health, wellbeing and character education initiatives, including relationships education, health education, peer massage and mindfulness in schools
  • Issues of gender and equality in education
  • Education for sustainable development agendas and initiatives, including global learning, philosophy for children (P4C), forest school and outdoor learning

As a multidisciplinary group with university and wider affiliated members from a range of theoretical backgrounds, educational perspectives and methodological expertise, this CERES cluster operates as a forum for collaborative action research, the development of evaluation tools, case studies, participatory research, critical policy analysis and critical discourse studies. The breadth and depth of the membership’s methodological expertise, along with its collective passion for innovative and creative approaches to research, makes the cluster an ideal vehicle to partner with external stakeholders including both primary and secondary schools and the voluntary sector. 

Our current projects include:

  • Shaping Futures (MCOP), Shaping Futures with Absolute Chemistry
  • Towards a Natural Curriculum: Preservice teachers’ perspectives of the tensions and contradictions in the use of outdoor learning pedagogies across the primary curriculum
  • Trainee teachers’ perceptions of the use of Systematic Synthetic Phonics in Key Stage 1
  • An evaluation of Primary BA (QTS) trainees’ efficacy for engaging in green spaces to develop a range of effective outdoor pedagogies to enhance and provide a broad and balanced primary curriculum
  • Use of therapy dogs as an intervention in primary schools
  • Preservice teacher’s perceptions of gender in the primary school setting

Who we work with


  • TBC

  • University partners:

    • Leeds Trinity University

    Charity sector:

    • Mersey Forest
    • Community by Nature
    • Trees For Cities