Institute of Education


Subject Specialism Research Group

Conducting and promoting research into subject-specialist teaching. We are interested in all areas of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment, and the role of knowledge in school teaching.


The Subject Specialism Research Group (SSRG) was established in January 2017. It is seed funded by the UCL Institute of Education.

The SSRG has two key, mutually dependent aims:

  • to conduct and promote research into subject-specialist teaching, across the areas of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment
  • to investigate the leading role of knowledge within our schools.

Leadership group



Our members’ research is currently focused in one or more of the following areas:

  • the investigation of ‘recontextualisation’ issues that arise and the relations between school subjects and the disciplines
  • the relationship between knowledge-led curriculum and appropriate pedagogies
  • the realisation/enactment of progressive school curricula based on subject specialisms
  • the design, creation and use of ‘textbooks’ within the resource ecologies of specialist subject teaching
  • instructional and task design
  • how we conceptualise ‘progress’ in different specialist domains
  • the design, creation and use of assessment strategies in different specialist domains
  • issues around teacher identity and teacher preparation in relation to subject specialism.

ROSE group, Karlstad University, Sweden

The research group ROSE (Research On Subject-specific Education) is rooted in several academic disciplines specialising in different school subjects. ROSE researchers share a focus on subject-specific education in relation to teaching and learning. 

The Research Council has awarded the ROSE research group SEK 1.2 million to develop an interdisciplinary network of internationally prominent researchers with focus on school subjects and teacher education. The goal is to produce new knowledge with the potential to advance teacher training in Sweden and abroad.

More info: ROSE news

HuSoEd group, University of Helsinki, Finland

The main foci of the Research Community for Humanities and Social Sciences Education, HuSoEd Group (pronounced who said), are the learning and teaching of subjects related to humanities and social sciences in early childhood education, comprehensive education and adult education.

The subjects that are mainly linked to humanities and social sciences are mother tongue and literature, Finnish as a second language, foreign languages, history, social sciences, religious education, secular ethics, philosophy, and geography.

Book Series

Knowledge and the Curriculum

Series Editors: Arthur Chapman, Cosette Crisan, Jennie Golding and Alex Standish, all at UCL Institute of Education 

The series explores the nature of knowledge in contemporary societies, academic disciplines, school subjects and other fields of knowledge production. In doing so, it aims to foster inquiry into the relationships between knowledge disciplines in schools and elsewhere. Promoting equity in access to knowledge is a key driver.

This series emerged from the Subject Specialism Research Group in the UCL Institute of Education and a major international network of curriculum theorists (KOSS) centred around a research group in Karlstad (ROSE) and in Helsinki (HuSoEd). 


Call for book proposals

  • Monographs and edited collections welcome. We aim to publish two volumes a year. Open access. Peer reviewed publications.
  • Email us on ssrg@ucl.ac.uk if interested.

Related events


Knowledge and Quality in School Subjects and Teacher Education, KOSS

A network aiming to establish subject-specific and interdisciplinary research groups in Sweden, Finland and England.

GeoCapabilities 3: Teachers as Curriculum Leaders

The project will strengthen the profile of the teaching profession by helping geography teachers take on a leadership role as curriculum makers using powerful disciplinary knowledge (PDK).

We aim to help teachers make powerful knowledge available for less privileged young people, through such curriculum leadership.

We are viewing Geocapabilities as an educational conceptual tool for social justice and seek to examine ways in which this approach can serve to counter the undermining of teachers’ curriculum making in schools situated specifically in areas of socio-economic deprivation.
In the project we are asking:

  • Is there a social justice dimension to Geocapabilities?
  • How can a Geocapabilities approach benefit schools (teachers/ pupils) in challenging (socio-economic) circumstances toward the goal of ‘powerful knowledge for all’? 

PI and other contributors

  • Dr David Mitchell (PI)
  • Nottingham University (UK)
  • Charles University (Czech Republic)
  • University Paris 7/ Andre Revuz didactic laboratory (France)
  • Sint-Lodewijkscollege (Belgium)
  • Eurogeo (Belgium)

Length of project: 2 year project (start 1 October 2018)

Related projects: GeoCapabilities 2