University Practice Settings

University Practice Settings (UPS) are the group of settings with which the Institute work most closely to collaborate on promoting research, developing pedagogy and enhancing the learners’ experience.

The UPS group includes a variety of education settings such as alternative, special education and mainstream education and we actively promote a diverse range to match our research expertise and student interests.

University of Plymouth Practice Settings are:

  • engaged in research and development projects, working collaboratively with staff from Plymouth Institute of Education
  • rich in expert teachers and mentors and experienced in working with future teachers
  • committed to an underlying concept of professionals working collaboratively together to improve the progress and holistic welfare of all learners as well as enhancing professional development of teachers throughout their career. 

UPS Theoretical Framework

The UPS Theoretical Framework is based on the notion of ‘third space’ (Moje et al, 2004) in which schools and universities build non-hierarchical relationships so that university staff and teachers are encouraged to meet in a democratic and inclusive space.

  • requires novel approaches to forging collaborations and essentially, good communication and mutual effort (Lynch 2015)
  • coping with discomfort from ambiguous roles
  • acceptance that not all partnerships can work
  • equal status and mutual respect
  • teachers’ roles recognised as pivotal in the generation of knowledge (Cochran-Smith and Lytle 2009). Multiple possible ways of working.


Lynch, T. (2015) Teacher education physical education: in search of a hybrid space, Cogent Education, 2: 1027085,

Moje, E., Ciechanowski, K., Kramer, K., Ellis, L., Carrillo, R. & Collazo, T. (2004) Working toward third space in content area literacy: an examination of everyday funds of knowledge and Discourse, Reading Research Quarterly, 39:1, 38-70.

Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (2009). Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation. New York: Teachers College Press

Full literature review

Researchers in Residence

An important part of developing the University Practice Schools partnerships will be developing research projects within the partnership schools. 

These could be any kind of project, devised between school and University of Plymouth staff and then undertaken within the school. 

Previous and ongoing projects, for instance, include:

  • investigating pupil engagement with maths
  • developing and evaluating staff peer observation cycles
  • developing children’s capacity as researchers
  • understanding children’s attitudes about travelling to and from school.
The aim for these and future projects is for benefits to accrue to both the school and the University of Plymouth; the school gains greater understanding about one particular aspect of school life, and University of Plymouth staff aim for a joint publication at the end of the academic year.

Senior Research Fellows Jan Georgeson and Rowena Passy, will be the point of contact for any Plymouth Institute of Education staff member who is planning to undertake a research project in any partnership school. This will enable us to keep track of current and planned projects, and to offer support for any part of the research that may be required. All research that plans a published output needs to have University of Plymouth ethical clearance, for instance, and we can help with this, including when to submit your application! Once the research has begun, we will be very happy to discuss your project at any time during the year. 

Where possible, UPS projects should be linked to the Plymouth Institute of Education Research nodes of:

University of Plymouth Researcher-in-Residence Project: Year One Report (2016-17)

List of Researchers in Residence