Education and Psychology (EP)

Education and Psychology (EP) focuses on the application and critical interrogation of psychology to improve understanding of and inform provision relating to key processes, issues and inequities in educational contexts.

Previously Special Education and Additional Needs (SEAN), EP has broadened its focus to include inequality and marginalisation in education, particularly in relation to major social issues such as mental health.

EP is a large, vital group, demonstrating diverse methodological and analytical approaches.

EP research projects have been funded by Research Councils, government departments, charities, and professional bodies. Funding bodies include:

  • Association of Educational Psychologists;
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy;
  • Department for Education;
  • Economic and Social Research Council;
  • National College for Teaching and Leadership Education Endowment Foundation;
  • National Institute for Health Research;
  • Relate.
Mental health spelled out in plastic letters.

Research closely relating to professional practice in counselling psychology and educational psychology is supported through our approved doctoral training programmes for counselling psychology and educational psychology – the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology and the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology respectively.

The programmes of research relating to each programme have forged strong networks with regional schools and professional services for children and young people.

At all levels, our work is recognised as directly impacting on educational policy and practice (e.g. the national scaling-up of the Achievement for All programme).

Our research

Applied Prevention in Education

Research in this strand applies the principles of prevention science with educational settings, with a primary focus upon behaviour, mental health and wellbeing.


  • Evaluation of school-based preventive interventions (typically through quasi-experimental or randomised designs)
  • Examining how competencies and difficulties are understood and assessed
  • The identification and understanding of risk and protective factors, and how they relate to later outcomes
  • The study of factors and processes that influence the integration of ‘evidence-based’ interventions into practice settings (eg implementation)


  • Anatomy of loneliness
  • Children and young people's mental health
  • Development of EEF database for using 'Character' measurers in evaluations
  • Evaluation of achievement for all
  • Evaluation of iThrive
  • Evaluation of work to support students' mental health and well-being in the company's associated schools and colleagues
  • Headstart pilot evaluation
  • Headstart 3 evaluation
  • Master literature review grant agreement
  • NDCS post-16 longitudinal research project
  • Opportunity area essential life skills (ELS) researcher in residence specification
  • PACT-G The Paediatric Autism Communication Trial - Generalised
  • Practitioners guide to implementation overview and costs
  • Research evaluation of FRIENDS
  • Review and development of EEF guidance for implementation and process evaluations
  • Strategic think piece on loneliness
  • The Good Behaviour Game (round six)
  • Theory of change
  • Universal school-based prevention: Examining the impact of the Good Behaviour Game on health-related outcomes for children
  • Workshop and report on Spectrum project

Educational and Counselling Psychology

Work in this strand focuses on the application of theory and research to professional practice in psychology.

The majority of the work is conducted by staff and students from the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology and the Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, as well as other staff and postgraduate students within EP.

Our work involves numerous strong national and international partnerships and collaborations with external organisations, such as schools and colleges, universities, charities and healthcare providers.

As qualified and trainee practitioner psychologists we work closely with local organisations and placements providers, and work to ensure that our research has relevance for professional practice. Projects have been funded by numerous sources including:

  • Relate;
  • the Association of Educational Psychologists;
  • the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy;
  • the Department for Education on the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology;
  • the Higher Education Academy.

Staff and postgraduate research students regularly attend and present at national and international research conferences to disseminate our work to academic audiences.

We are also involved in professional practice and disseminate our work to professional audiences through involvement in organisations such as the British Psychological Society Division of Counselling Psychology, and the International School Psychology Association.

Beyond academic and professional settings we also discuss our work more broadly and consider how our work may have an impact, for example through the partnerships and collaborations described above, and we use psychology to support schools and organisations in developing learning and emotional well-being.


  • Access and participation
  • Applied psychologist education
  • Psychology, inequality and education
  • Developmental differences and interventions
  • Therapy in educational settings


  • Digital outcomes in therapeutic support
  • Measuring teacher support for standardised assessment in GME
  • Supporting diagnostic assessment in GME
  • Supporting emotional wellbeing in schools in the context of austerity: A multidisciplinary perspective
  • The use of computer-mediated technology to support students' mental health and wellbeing in higher education settings
  • Unsettling understandings of maths anxiety: A critical synthesis to inform policy and practice

Knowledge, Power and Identity

This strand of research starts from an understanding that educational theories, practices and policies work to constitute categories of identity and subjectivity that reflect knowledge and power relations.


  • Drawing on our particular expertise in qualitative and interpretative research, including discursive, creative, participatory, feminist, queer, anti-oppressive and decolonising research
  • Examining educational practice, performance and engagement with individuals and communities in diverse social contexts
  • Exploring how definitions of educational need, such as 'special' or 'additional' are formulated and engaged with
  • Focusing on generating rich descriptions of the kind that can document subjugated or implicit understandings of power and resistance, including resistance to received normalisations and pathologisations


  • The super-diversity of British Muslims: Traditional Islamic medicine in Manchester

Our people

PhD students

PhD students in Education can be found here.