Dr Sarah Chicken

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  • Qualifications:Senior Fellow (HEA) PhD, M.Ed (maths Ed.), PG Dip SEN, PG CERT EY, PGCE (primary and EY), BA (Hons) Ancient History and Literature
  • Position:Associate Professor Childhood and Social Justice
  • Department:ACE - Education and Childhood
  • Telephone:+4411732 84198
  • Email:Sarah.Chicken@uwe.ac.uk

About me

I am an Associate Professor of Childhood and Social Justice and a Senior Fellow of the HEA with substantial expertise in early childhood from both sociological and educational perspectives.


I started my career as a primary school teacher in the UK and later, Asia and have worked in the HE Sector for the past two decades.


 My areas of interest include:

  • participatory and creative research methodologies
  • children's rights and the voice of the child
  • democratically and critical pedagogies
  • Reggio Emilian pedagogical perspectives
  • Sociological constructions of learners and teachers
  • Neurodiversity and pedagogy


Please contact me for doctoral supervision in these areas. 


I am currently the principal investigator on an ESRC funded 3-year project (£700,000) entitled 'embedding children's participation rights into pedagogical practice'.  Using Reggio Emilian philosophy as a stimulus, the project foregrounds the co-production of knowledge and involves working with teachers, student-teachers, teacher-educators and children across Wales to explore pedagogy which foregrounds the voice and agency of young children. Find out more from the project website here: Home | Children's Participation in Schools (childrens-participation.org)    


As a neurodivergent adult, I aim to support the move towards viewing neurodiversity in a more positive light in all that I do; I am driven by a social justice agenda with a keen interest in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and sit on a number of University Committees for EDI. I hold a range of qualifications related to SEN and neurodivergence which have involved associated research. I currently support the National Dyspraxia Foundation's work with UG and PG research studies.


I co-convene the ECRG research group, Researching with Children and Young People.

Area of expertise

  • Dialogic curriculum models which recognise the voice of the learner with a focus on young children
  • Inclusive pedagogical  practices for neurodivergent children and young people
  • Constructions of children and childhood and associated discourses

Doctoral Students

Julie Smith  (completion, 2020)

'It's our Job to take the limits away': A Case Study approach to exploring a culture of teacher expectations in an English Secondary School, EdD completed 2020

Current supervision

 Nia Vaughan (DoS)

Innovation in Wales – a case study in policy led change in primary education practice with a focus on decolonising the curriculum.  PhD 2021- current.

 Gillian O'Demsey (DoS)

 A child rights informed inquiry into children's experiences of music therapy in mainstream primary schools. EdD 2022- current

 Nicola Hewett

Overcoming the barriers: A case study of families experience of seeking support for their children's additional needs.' EdD 2022- current.

I am a member of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee (ACE) and sit on the Research Panel of the national Dyspraxia Foundation. 


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