Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR)


CTLR members have a particularly diverse range of research interests and approaches. Some are involved in national and international projects while others are (also) closely involved in local research networks and active in the development of critical and reflexive practitioner-led research.

A common theme in all our work is an interest in creating the conditions in which good practice can be identified and shared – to the benefit of those currently in (all stages and forms of) education but also those involved in its delivery and development.

Researchers interested in visiting CTLR

We are always pleased to receive enquiries from academics based in other universities who are interested in visiting CTLR for a fixed period to further their research and/or make connections with us.  You are welcome to contact the member of staff whose work has brought the centre to your attention to initially scope out your ideas. However, you can also contact Dr Louise Gazeley, centre Director, for information and advice.


Resources and publications produced by CTLR researchers

James Williams' book coverHow do education students effectively interpret the research that underpins much of their learning? How do they judge whether results are valid or relevant?

Dr James Williams (Senior Lecturer in Education) had a new book published in 2020 called: 'How to Read and Understand Education Research'. Published by Sage, the book is aimed at final year undergraduates and postgraduates undertaking research in education.

The book aims to promote engagement with educational research through a focus on a wide a range of key skills and concepts, supported by examples that demonstrate the use (and misuse) of research in education.

'Supporting Supporters' toolkit for stakeholders

This practical resource came out of a project that aimed to support foster carers, educators, and social care professionals involved in supporting the progression of care-experienced young people to university. 

"We hope that, through the toolkit, the insights they shared will support other stakeholders to support young people in their care and those considering a future in higher education."  (Tamsin Hinton Smith)

The Supporting Supports project was led by Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith, and funded by the Sussex Learning Network under the Office for Students funded Uni Connect Programme. Others involved were  Dr Louise GazeleyDr Tam CaneAnne-Marie Bird from the University of Sussex's Widening Participation team.

SLN Toolkit cover    SLN artwork

Education and COVID-19:
Perspectives from parent carers of children with SEND

Researchers in the Department of Education at the University of Sussex have been working with parents across the country to obtain their views about the return to school for children with SEND. 

Their first brief report summarises the key findings.

CIRCLETS Research Student: Jacqui ShepherdDr Jacqui Shepherd said:

“In our survey, it was clear that parent carers of children with SEND had a number of concerns about returning to school including social interactions, social distancing, noise, all day learning and transport arrangements.”

The recommendations include schools being prepared to incorporate technology, phased returns, one-to-one support, small group work, social stories, checklist and visual supports to support children to transition back to full-time education as well as incorporating home learning preferences established over lockdown to allow them to be continued in the classroom. 

Christina HancockDr Christina Hancock said: 

“We believe the significant changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have created an opportunity to revitalize education for children with SEND if schools, government and policymakers consider retaining or adapting the aspects that worked well across the home learning experience."

A  report on the follow up research that Dr Jacqui Shepherd and Dr Christina Hancock undertook to explore how this transition went is now available. Enquiries also welcome.