School of Education and Social Work

Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR)

Welcome to CTLR


CTLR structure visual - newerThe Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR) is engaged with education in all its pedagogical and social complexity. The interests of members span local, national and international contexts and a range of formal and informal settings, running from Early Years to Higher Education and including Initial Teacher Education. Consistent with this, we aim to foster the development of more holistic, contextualised  and systemic understandings of education in all its many forms. Members of CTLR are currently working with ECORYS on a national evaluation of Alternative Provision, funded by the Department for Education (DfE). 

The Centre's strapline is Making Connections, reflecting its focus on bringing research, theory, policy and practice together with a view to promoting positive change. Each year we host an Annual Change Event that brings researchers, students and stakeholders together to promote understanding of how more equitable and inclusive approaches to teaching and learning might be achieved. We are also actively engaged in the development of locally-based practitioner researchers, hosting two conferences a year linked to our Masters in Education and Masters in Early Years programmes. CTLR is also strongly committed to supporting the development of doctoral researchers, including through its support for the ESW Doctoral Research in Progress seminar series.

'Happier in his own clothes' report cover‘Happier in his own clothes’:Post-pandemic possibilities for education for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Perspectives from parent carers

(Dr Jacqui Shepherd, Claire Durrant and Dr Christina Hancock)

This research was the second of two surveys examining the experiences of children with SEND during 2020/21. 

This second survey focused on the return to school in September 2020 and the experience of undertaking home-learning during the January/February 2021 lockdown. While celebrating the achievements of schools in supporting children with SEND back into school last September and improving the quality and provision of home learning during the second lockdown, the report also exposes some of the significant limitations in the education system not least in meeting the fundamental needs of children with SEND but also in enabling them to flourish and achieve.

Some children did thrive during lockdown without the stress and anxiety of school and the pressure of social interaction but many did not. ‘Happier in his own clothes’ was a comment made by a parent about one of the positives of lockdown in not having to wear school uniform but we also use it as a metaphor here for how school could be for children with SEND and indeed all children if we can seize this opportunity to learn from lockdown. We make recommendations, based on the learning from the positive and negative experiences of the last year, for a more reflexive and recalibrated school system which works better for all children – especially those with SEND. 

  Don't miss... 

  Translation in Research

  Jointly hosted by CTLR and the Centre for International Education (CIE)
  Date: Monday 26 April
  Time: 1-2.30pm

  This seminar looks at what is involved in cross-cultural and cross-linguistic research work, exploring the
  interpretation and translation of data/texts between one language to another, and how meaning itself is
  translated or lost or changes within these transformations. This process sometimes involved several researchers
  with differential power relations to one another.  It also raises issues around how the original speakers and
  communities are served in the process in relation to their texts. 

  Fixed as written data, using a dual language or bilingual, indeed multilingual approach to present data can
  recognise and valorise the original language (s) and allows the findings to reach a wider audience.
  This may also however devalue and problematise the original language, seen as second best against the majority
  academic language – which generally remains English.

  This joint CTLR-CIE seminar is facilitated by three researchers who have wrestled with these issues:

  Tania Nayely Campos Vidal a doctoral researcher, focuses on the narratives of Deaf adults in Mexico around formal
  and informal education and literacy practices. Tania will discuss the translation from Mexican Sign Language,
  to written and oral Spanish and then into English, analysing the issue of power dynamics and challenges of translating
  meaning as it was originally conveyed whilst at the same time acknowledging the nuances that have to be adapted.

  Norina Yusoff is an alumni PhD student from Sussex  and is currently attached to the Curriculum Development Division,
  Ministry of Education, Malaysia. She is a post-structuralist who is interested in how English Language Teaching can be
  understood from a multilingual/translanguaging angle. Norina will briefly share some data drama she faced whilst
  managing and analysing the multimodal data from her research focussing on issues of translation. 

  Jo Westbrook, a Senior Lecturer in Education who will discuss research in Western Uganda undertaken with a Ugandan
  team that looked at learning to read in a local language and English in primary school, and will consider their bilingual
  approach to analysing and presenting data extracts in the written text. 

  Each speaker will discuss their findings for 15 minutes, with 4-5 minutes of immediate questions, followed by a
  general open discussion with all attendees for 30 minutes on the challenges and ways around translation in research.



  Class Divide  


  Building Confidence, Community and Connection Inside and Outside the Classroom

  Date: Wednesday 28 April, 2021
  Time: 1-2.30pm
  Zoom link:
  (Meeting ID: 949 2234 8537 / Passcode: 902027)

  Hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Research and the 
  Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Pedagogy Plus
  This session forms part of our PGCertHE programme for academic professional development, but all are welcome to join. 

  In this session Verona Ní Drisceoil will share insights from several student experience projects aimed at building
  confidence, community, and connection. Broadly, Verona’s research and practice is guided by a key question:
  ‘Who is not in the room, and why not?’ Exploring what is meant by ‘confidence’, ‘community’ and ‘connection’
  forces us as educators to consider the barriers, hierarchies and biases that obstruct and prevent inclusion.
  Are we complicit in reproducing these barriers and hierarchies in our day to day practices? While Verona’s
  research is focused primarily on projects in the law school, the discussion will be of relevance across disciplines.



  Income Support in Sweden: Facilitating educational opportunities for young people
  in newly-arrived families from Syria

  Date: Tuesday 18 May, 2021
  Time: 4-5pm
  Zoom link:

  Jointly hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Research and the
  Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY)

  In this seminar, Professor Anette Bolin from the Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy, University West,
  Sweden, will present her research. In Sweden, many of the children and young people living in families are reliant
  on social assistance— assessed to be among the poorest in the country—have an immigrant background.

  This presentation is about 36 young people in newly arrived families from Syria and their perceptions about receiving
  social assistance. The young people and their families arrived in Sweden between 2014 and 2016. Applying Kuczynski
  and De Mol’s (2015) model of children’s agency reveals how participants’ experiences of social assistance in this study
  differ from those of young people in previous studies in Sweden. Rather than connecting social assistance with hardship,
  limitations, stigma and shame, participants viewed social assistance as sufficient for current needs and providing
  opportunities to improve the family’s situation; in particular, for parents receiving social assistance enabled the
  young people to go to school. Reciprocity was also highlighted, with participants expressing the desire to contribute to
  a welfare system from which they currently benefitted.


  And if you missed the previous sessions ...

  Carlie GoldsmithCTLR Space To Share: 'Class Divide'

  Wednesday 24 March, 2021

  ‘Class Divide’ is an independent grassroots campaign launched in 2020 to
  draw attention to the deeply unjust educational attainment gap for young
  people from the communities of Whitehawk, Manor Farm and Bristol Estate 
 Sarah Leaney in Brighton and Hove. The campaign is made up of parents, residents and
  supporters who have experienced these problems or have expertise in
  education, it is funded where necessary by donations and independent of
  any political organisation.

  Sara BraggIn this ‘Space to Share’ event, representatives from 'Class Divide' presented
  some of the views they have been collecting from people in the community
  about their experiences of local educational provision, as parents or
  students or both. They showed how these perspectives counter some
  common assumptions or explanations used to explain away educational
  under attainment. The audience were given an opportunity to share their
  perspectives as teachers, researchers and practitioners working with young
  people, exploring the issues, and sharing examples of good practice in generating
  more positive experiences of schooling for marginalised and working-class young people.



  • Dr Carlie Goldsmith, Class Divide spokesperson, and Research Fellow, School of Education & Social Work, University of Sussex
  • Dr Sarah Leaney, campaign member, and Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Brighton
  • Dr Sara Bragg, campaign member, and Lecturer, UCL Institute of Education


  Developing Online Learning in Schools

  Tuesday 23 February, 2021

  Karen SturgessThe aim of this session was to bring together teachers from across our ITE partnership,
  alongside postgraduate researchers in education to explore innovative practice and the challenges
  of online teaching in primary and secondary schools in the time of Covid-19. Discussion explored
  some of the challenges and opportunities that moving from traditional to online delivery can entail
  for teaching, and how these have been approached across key stages and subjects. We considered
  the processes of both moving face-to-face provision online, and developing online content
  from scratch.
  Mark LeswellIssues covered included those around e-safety, diverse platforms, student access, engagement
  and inequalities. 

  The first part of the session reflected on challenges and opportunities for online learning,
  alongside opportunity to discuss these together. The second part of the session invited short
  reflections from a panel of colleagues across the ITE partnership who shared their
  Tamzin Nobesexperiences so far and responded to questions from the wider group:

  • Tamzin Nobes (pic 3) - Year 6 Class Teacher,
    Science and Assessment Lead & Professional Tutor:
    Brackenbury Primary School / ITE Tutor: University of Brighton
  • Mark Leswell (pic 2) - Research Leader & Geography Curriculum Leader: Uckfield College (Y7-13) 
  • Karen Sturgess (pic 1) - Secondary Drama Teacher, School Improvement
    and Lead Practitioner for Drama: Thamesmead School, Shepperton /
    Lecturer & Course Leader of Secondary Drama Education: University of Sussex

  Session Presentation

  A Padlet was used for those wanting to make comments
  or ask questions anonymously.


  Developing Online Learning: Experiences so far!

  Wednesday 27 Jan, 2021

  Hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Research and the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education,
  this panel event focussed on and discussed the development of online and blended learning - an increasingly
  expected element of higher education teaching. 

  See details about the event, including the presentation and a full recording.


Check out our Annual Report ...

CTLR annual report 2020 coverFind out what CTLR members have been doing over the last 12 months in the 2019/20 Annual Report..


The Centre for #Teaching and #Learning #Research (CTLR) at the University of Sussex #education #UKedchat

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Key Contacts

Dr Louise Gazeley, Senior Lecturer

Sue Pinnick, Lecturer