Education, Childhood and Youth (ECY)

Researching education, learning and development, from birth to early childhood through to adulthood, encompassing lifelong learning, formal and informal education.

The focus of attention in the Education, Childhood and Youth (ECY) pathway is a range of societal challenges within and across the fields that include: Critical ‘Race’ and whiteness scholarship, Cultural Studies, Disability, Education, Language and Linguistics, Psychology and Sociology. These challenges include the realities and demands of learning (and teaching) for an unknown future, both nationally and globally; the ethics and changing nature of social justice in education; shifting notions of activism in civic society; inequalities in educational provision, access and attainment; wellbeing, and the cognitive and social-emotional development of learners. Pathway members have an interest in formal and informal learning and development across the lifespan: from perinatal, to babies and early childhood through to adulthood.

As the world is rapidly changing and becoming increasingly precarious for many people, research in education, childhood and youth that draws on a range of disciplines is ever-more vital in the study of complex physical, social, political, economic and environmental issues. In this interdisciplinary pathway, we encourage and support a wide range of research topics, for example:

  • global and national critical education policy studies;
  • laboratory studies of cognitive and social-emotional development of learners;
  • the development and evaluation of educational interventions;
  • arts-based methods for engaging with communities;
  • the role of play in learning;
  • educational knowledge production;
  • practitioner research, including action research, exploratory practice, and reflective practice;
  • critical investigations into curriculum, pedagogy and assessment; and
  • professional development for practitioners negotiating competing priorities and uncertain futures.

We also support and promote the use of innovative methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, to respond to key challenges in the field of education, childhood and youth, such as critical policy discourse analysis, visual and multimodal methodologies, digital teaching and learning, narrative inquiry, co-production (including learners and teachers as co-researchers) and experimental, quasi experimental and, feasibility studies , such as the neuroscience of learning and development.

Pathway Governance Team

Professor Rachel Holmes

Pathway Director, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Louise Tracey

Pathway Director, University of York

Dr Richard O'Connor

Deputy Director, University of Hull

Dr Abigail Hackett

Deputy Director, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Judith Hanks

Deputy Director, University of Leeds

Dr Liz Chesworth

Deputy Director, University of Sheffield

Dr Gill Adams

Deputy Director, Sheffield Hallam University