Collaborative and evolving research

Staff and students within SEED have a long-standing reputation for developing collaborative partnerships with schools, colleges and other education providers within Greater Manchester, the North West, and internationally.

Our staff are currently involved in a diverse range of research projects that aim to add to knowledge in the field of education and support schools, parents and young people.


#BeeWell is a youth-centred programme led by The University of Manchester, The Gregson Family Foundation and Anna Freud. Together with our partners, we listen to the voices of young people, act together for change and celebrate young people’s wellbeing.

#BeeWell believes that young people’s wellbeing is as important as their academic attainment. Using a co-designed survey, we listen to the voices of as many young people as possible; publish the results privately to schools and publicly by neighbourhood; and drive action across society to improve young people’s wellbeing.

#BeeWell’s Mission is to see this approach implemented nationally by 2030.


Investigating teachers’ autism knowledge

Investigation of Mainstream Teachers' Autism Knowledge and Self-Efficacy for Working with Autistic Students in England: The Role of Professional Development

This project examines mainstream education teachers’ knowledge of autism, autism-related self-efficacy and their professional development experiences in England, to investigate the impact of prior autism-specific professional development experiences.

Preschool, primary, and secondary school teachers can participate through an anonymous online survey. The questionnaire includes two short scales about knowledge of autism and self-efficacy, and one section for prior professional development experiences in addition to demographic questions. Teachers who have no experience with a professional development activity can also participate. The results of this research will identify gaps in the professional development needs of teachers and inform future teacher professional development programs to empower mainstream teachers to create a more inclusive environment.

To join the project, or for more information, contact Dr Busra Besdere



Local Matters

Local Matters, a professional learning programme tackling poverty and disadvantage in schools

Manchester Institute of Education’s research on child poverty and its implications for schools, educationalists and policy makers has been put into practice via the development of ‘Local Matters’ - a participatory university/school professional learning programme. Led by Dr Carl Emery and Dr Louisa Dawes, the programme hasbeen developed over several years through work with a variety of educationalists in and around Greater Manchester, the North West of England and nationally 

The programme is designed for participants to explore the way that society and education views, understands and responds to poverty in schools and educational contexts. University-led sessions build knowledge about poverty through an exploration of national and local data and question what we know about low-income communities by examining popularised narratives and myths associated with poverty and the current responses to the poverty/attainment gap in education. As part of the programme, participants construct a school survey of attitudes towards poverty and based on the responses from their educational setting, design co-enquiry action research projects, bringing knowledge and learning together to develop contextually responsive policy and practice that has a direct impact on the educational experiences and outcomes of children from low-income communities 

Currently, the Local Matters is working with several networks of schoolsin the Northwest region and it has also developed tailored programmefor Manchester Museum, The Tutor Trust, alocal third sector educational charity and with the National Union of Teachers (NEU) as part of its CPD offer for teacher members nationally. It is a collaborative, relational approach, developed with educators from the beginning, that places negotiated partnership, equality and the critical illumination of power as the foundational values for the teaching, learning and researchLocal Matters has been awarded the University of Manchester commendation for High Impact 2020, 2021 and 2022. 



Teachers’ Perspectives on Loneliness

Teachers’ Perspectives on Loneliness Among Children and Adolescents: A Qualitative Analysis of Interviews with Teachers from the UK and Mainland China  

This research project explores teachers’ insights into their students’ loneliness, including their perceptions and experiences with lonely students, perceived roles in supporting them, and opinions on the current intervention within the school setting.

Data collection will take place in both the UK and China. Teachers will participate in semi-structured interviews, answering a series of questions centred around loneliness among young people. By collecting data from both British and Chinese teachers, we also aim to explore the similarities and differences in teachers’ perceptions towards loneliness across cultures.  

If your school is interested in participating, please contact for more information. 

Youth Loneliness Scale

Youth Loneliness Scale

Loneliness is an uncomfortable feeling that is experienced when we feel disconnected or out of touch with other people. Research has shown that it can be a common problem for young people. However, we still don’t have very good ways of measuring loneliness in young people. This project hopes to create a new questionnaire to address this research gap.  

To ensure that this questionnaire contains statements that actually reflect what loneliness is like for young people, we need to hear about the experiences of young people. The current project involves co-production  of the questionnaire with young people, meaning they are engaged in every step of the development process. This includes generating questionnaire items through focus group and art workshop discussions, and evaluating the suitability of the items, and a scale for capturing the experiences of loneliness in young people. 

The project is a collaboration between The University of Manchester and Queen Mary’s University of London. It incorporates young person co-applicants and a Young Persons Advisory Group (YPAG). Along with charity partners from The McPin Foundation and Campaign to End Loneliness they collaborate with the research team to promote young people’s involvement in the research. 

Contact: Dr Lily Verity 


Parents and Children Together 3 (PACT-3)

The PACT-3 project is designed to evaluate an early language intervention programme aimed at pre-school children.

The programme is parent-led, and provides parents with resources, strategies, and activities to support children’s early language development at home.

The programme takes place over 30 weeks in the year before children start school and is broken down into daily 20-minute sessions, delivered 5 days a week. Each 20-minute session is split into a series of short, fun activities aimed at targeting early language development. Sessions follow a consistent structure targeting shared book reading (storybooks are included in the programme packs), vocabulary teaching, and narrative instruction (storytelling).

A previous evaluation (Burgoyne et al., 2018) showed that the PACT programme boosted children’s early language skills.

The programme is currently being evaluated through a randomised control trial (RCT) funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), to see if these findings can be replicated with some changes to the materials and a larger number of families and schools (PACT-3 has involved over 370 families and 43 schools around the North-West). The results of this trial are being evaluated with more information about the efficacy of the programme expected in early 2024.  


To find out more about PACT-3 and the PACT project, please visit our website here: 

Parent-Delivered Early Language Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome (PACT-DS)

Language difficulties can have a long-term impact on children’s educational outcomes and later job opportunities, their ability to take part in social activities and develop friendships, and their emotional wellbeing and mental health – so finding effective ways of supporting children’s language development is important. This has particular relevance to children with Down syndrome (DS) who have significant language learning difficulties and need support for language development from an early age. 

Parents and Children Together (PACT) is a parent-delivered language teaching programme which has previously been shown to boost typically developing preschool children’s language and early literacy skills. Whilst originally developed for typically developing children at risk of language delays, the programme uses many strategies that support language learning and development in individuals with Down Syndrome.  

Therefore, we have recently worked with families to adapt the PACT programme for young children with Down syndrome (into what we call ‘PACT-DS’). We are currently working with a group of families to explore the delivery and potential effects of the adapted programme (PACT-DS). The results of this project will help us determine whether it is feasible to conduct a further, larger study to evaluate PACT-DS. 


PACT website