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An image to illustrate studying the doctorate in education with The Open University

The Educational Studies Research Cluster is located in the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET). Cluster researchers investigate teaching and learning in order to understand and shape more equitable, innovative and futures oriented learning opportunities in the 21st century. Our work, which explores the interplay between theory and practice, contributes to knowledge expansion and seeks to make an impact upon the unfolding educational agenda at a systemic level, locally, nationally and internationally. We take a broadly social approach to teaching and learning and use a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches including for example: sociocultural theory, activity theory, ethnography, historical analysis, narrative analysis, discourse analysis and multimodal analysis. These approaches are used to explore teaching and learning and learners’ identities in formal and informal contexts in homes, nurseries, primary and secondary schools, higher education and work-based settings.  

Recent externally-funded cluster projects have included an examination of storytelling and story acting in the early years, creativity in maths and science across Europe, an international review of provision for children with special educational needs, explorations of  teacher education in developing countries (with particular reference to new technologies), creative primary practice in England, teachers researching children’s literacy lives, and explorations of the nature of extra-curricular reading groups in primary and secondary school settings.

Qualifications available:

PhD. See also our Master of Research (MRes) and our Doctorate in Education (EdD).


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

  • Curriculum
  • Pedagogy and practice
  • Creativity in education
  • Creative teaching and learning
  • Literacy and science teaching and learning
  • Assessment
  • Early and primary phase learning in homes, schools and the community
  • Inclusion and equity
  • Learners’ and professionals’ identities, agency and voice
  • Teacher education and development, in the UK and internationally
  • School leadership and management
  • Education in the information age.

We are interested in research topics related in some way to the above themes. 

Current / recent research projects

Students’ projects explore a diverse range of issues including, for example:

  • Writing at home and at school
  • Arts partnerships and creativity in primary education
  • Children’s literature and the development of spirituality
  • The nature and characteristics of teacher talk and possibility thinking in drama
  • Digital literacy practices in homes and classrooms
  • Teachers’ professional identities and practices, including their literate identities
  • Secondary science teachers and shifts in pedagogic practice in response to curriculum change
  • Formative approaches to professional development in secondary contexts
  • Formative assessment from a sociocultural perspective in the teaching and learning of primary writing
  • Contexts, voices and perspectives of female teachers in rural Sub-Saharan Africa
  • An analysis of ICT policy development and practice in teacher education in Kenya
  • Teachers’ beliefs about research: a Syrian case
  • Principles and practice of syllabus designing and material production at secondary school education in Bangladesh

Potential supervisors

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Mrs Anne Foward
+44 (0)1908 655364

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under ‘Your questions’ on the right of the page.