School of Education and Social Work


Tamsin: 200x200Head of the Department of Education: Dr Tamsin Hinton-Smith

Simon Thompson 2021Head of the School of Education and Social Work:
Professor Simon Thompson

Education at Sussex

The Department of Education at Sussex is a community of researchers, learners and teachers engaged fully in every aspect of education, both in the UK and internationally. Located within the School of Education and Social Work, the Department of Education offers an extensive programme of study for all those interested in education.

You will find us to be a warm, caring community of scholars who pride ourselves on the quality of the courses we offer and of the research we undertake, and also on our commitment to - and depth of involvement with - our students, policy-makers and professionals.

Undergraduate study

The School of Education and Social Work excels in the study of childhood and youth. The interdisciplinary Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice BA straddles not only the Department of Education and the Department of Social Work and Social Care, but also comprises modules from Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology.

Teaching on the Primary and Early Years Education BA (with Qualified Teacher Status) focuses on the learning and wellbeing of primary and early years children and offers regular opportunities for professional placements to give you a solid understanding of significant issues in education across a range of contexts, environments and age phases.

We have also developed a selection of 'Pathways' and elective modules which will enable you to specialise and focus your degree. 

The School has an impressive employment record with a high proportion of graduates entering graduate-level employment in a related field within six months of graduation.

Postgraduate study

Our postgraduate taught degrees include the well-established and internationally respected International Education and Development MA and Education MA (full-time). The Education MA (part-time) is very popular with Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) wishing to specialise or looking for additional academic recognition or promotional opportunities. The Early Years Education MA (with Early Years Teacher Status) is free for Home/EU students, and its sister course without EYTS is particularly attractive to students from overseas.

The School of Education and Social Work also excels in the study of childhood and youth. The multidisciplinary Childhood and Youth Studies MA straddles the Department of Education and the Department of Social Work and Social Care and focuses on the differing political and ethical claims on childhood and youth that inform contemporary policy and practice. Studying full or part-time, you’ll explore new and original ways of thinking about and working with children and young people.

Initial Teacher Education

Those wanting to train to become new teachers are likely to study one of our postgraduate initial teacher education (ITE) courses.

Those studying our 'Outstanding' Ofsted rated Primary PGCE course will cover a broad general curriculum, developing strengths in SEN and behaviour. Through assignments, they will also have the opportunity to develop a subject specialism. They will undertake a long placement that enables them to focus on pupil progress and build strong relationships with schools.

Those wanting to teach at Secondary School level can choose to specialise in any of the following Secondary PGCE course subjects:

Business Studies
Computer Science
Design Technology
English and Drama
English and Media Studies
Media Studies
Modern Foreign Languages 
Pedagogy and Practice
Religious Education
Science with Biology
Science with Chemistry
Science with Physics

The Department of Education also offers Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses in Classics (Latin), Design Technology (DT), English, French/German/Spanish, Mathematics or Science for those whose subject knowledge needs boosting in advance of undertaking an initial teacher education course. These courses are funded by the Department for Education and free to those who have been accepted on to an initial teacher education course with a condition that they take a subject knowledge enhancement course. They are also subject to varying bursaries for participants depending on their degree status.


Research is well established in the Department of Education and is carried out individually by faculty, research students and teams associated with externally funded projects.

The Department of Education hosts a number of research projects funded by agencies such as the ESRC and DFID.

Within our interdisciplinary group, staff work within research traditions that range from ethnographic and case study methods to survey and experimental design. Quantitative and qualitative data collection methods are taught and supported.

Expertise exists within most of the major social science disciplines and in mid-career staff development and professional practice in a range of fields. Our research community encourages openness and debate between traditions, enabling students to make informed choices on the approaches that they adopt.

Research is closely linked with teaching and many of our courses and programmes have a strong research component.

Those studying at doctoral level within the Department of Education can undertake the Childhood and Youth PhD, the Education PhD, or the International Education and Development PhD on a full- or part-time basis

The Department hosts three research centres:
- The Centre for International Education (CIE)
- The Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER)
- The Centre for Teaching and Learning Research (CTLR)

... and co-hosts a fourth (with the Department of Social Work and Social Care):
The Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY)

The Department also has a research network with local schools focused on the creation and sharing of useful educational knowledge in partnership.

Most members of faculty within the Department of Education are affiliated with one or more research centres and view their role as much research oriented as teaching. Their research interests are listed in one place on the page with details about applying for a PhD.

Childhood and Youth

The School of Education and Social Work prides itself on its academic staff's expertise in the study of childhood and youth in both the Department of Education and the Department of Social Work and Social Care. The School currently offers three courses in this area:

- Childhood and Youth: Theory and Practice BA
- Childhood and Youth Studies MA
- Childhood and Youth PhD

We welcome applications from candidates who are keen to pursue a broad, challenging and rewarding degree. Local and international students are welcomed and the participatory nature of these courses provides opportunities to share and develop interests in working with children and young people in a broad range of environments and contents. The BA and MA degrees prepare graduates for a diverse range of careers and/or for further study, while the PhD gives you the opportunity to develop specialist knowledge in an area of interdisciplinary interest and to hone advanced research skills.