Seed Funded Projects 2018-2019

Funded Research Programme

Each year, SCoTENS provides Seed Funding to support a number of collaborative research projects and professional activities in teacher education in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The sums allocated are usually in the region of £3,000 – £6,000 (approx. €3,750 – €7,500). 

Five projects were awarded funding in 2018-2019.


CCaBB – Contested Childhoods across Borders and Boundaries:  A North-South Comparative Study

The key research questions are:

– Did the ECEC sectors North and South follow divergent or similar paths post-partition?
– What were the impacts of wider societal issues (political, social, religious, economic, gender, linguistic) on the development of ECEC systems North and South post-partition?
– How did young children become the object of educational focus, and what educational (and other) discourses underpinned development of the sector North and South?
– What part did the governance systems play in the development of the sector North and South pre- and post-partition?
– What tensions existed within power-bases that have traditionally been viewed as monolithic? Who and where were the radical voices?

Dr Leah O’Toole Froebel

Diane McClelland Stranmillis

DPIF- Documenting early year-career primary and post-primary principals’ identity formation

This research set outs to identify the key influences which shape the identity construction of early-career principals in both the Irish and Northern Irish contexts. A multi-tiered progressive research approach is proposed. First, we will begin this research by drawing on the current theoretical perspectives pertaining to identity construction, particularly the literature around leader and teacher identity. Our primary purpose is to shape our understanding of identity construction in respect to early-career principals and how this influences their practice. Second, using a neo-liberal backdrop, we will engage in a critical analysis of key policy texts in both jurisdictions. We explore the current trends, issues and tensions in policy development to include the rise of soft governance, new public management, and the drive towards measurable outcomes, with a view to ascertain if and how such social movements are influencing the identity formation of early-career principals.

Dr Alan Gorman and Prof Catherine Furlong DCU

Dr Claire Woods UU

Dr Alicia Curtin and Dr Kathy Hall UCC

ITRB – The Importance of Teachers’ Religions or Beliefs in Appointments and Promotions in Schools

The key research questions are:
1. To what extent is religion or belief a factor in the appointment or promotion of non-co-religionists in schools with a religious ethos?
2. How do non-co-religionists experience and manage religious expectations regarding appointments and promotions in schools with a religious ethos?

James Nelson QUB


Catherine Stapleton DCU

OL – Outdoor Learning – an inclusive pedagogy for an integrated connected curriculum?

Primary Research questions:
What professional knowledge, skills and values underpin outdoor learning as a pedagogy?
How does outdoor learning support an inclusive learning environment within a DL framework?
How does outdoor learning support an integrated connected curriculum?
Secondary research questions:
What factors enable and encourage outdoor learning in a primary school?
What are the barriers/challenges to outdoor learning in the primary school?

Dr Orla Kelly DCU

Dr Richard Greenwood Stranmillis



VRiTE – Virtual Reality in Initial Teacher Education –  a model for Professional Development

The research questions emerging from this study include:
• What digital skills and pedagogical content knowledge are needed by student teachers to create VR materials to support subject-specific learning in schools?
• Do ITE lecturers currently have the capacity to introduce the potential of VR to support learning in their subject area?
• What opportunities are there for collaboration between ‘teacher mentors’ and student teachers on the potential of VR technologies for subject-based learning during school placements?

Dr Pamela Cowan QUB

Dr Martin Brown DCU

Dr Stephen Roulston UU

Rachel Farrell UCD