IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Learning and Leadership

World-leading in Early Years and Primary Education, Leadership and Education Policy.


Head of Department: Professor Susan O’Neill

The Department of Learning and Leadership (DLL) specialises in early years and primary education, educational leadership and education policy. The breadth of our work includes internationally renowned research, outstanding teaching and teacher training, and cutting-edge consultancy and enterprise work.

Some examples of our areas of research are: early learning, early years and global childhoods, primary education, national and international education policy, school systems, early literacy, educational leadership and education policy.

Our vision

Our vision is to lead the way in Research and Teaching Excellence, with the integration of Enterprise and Innovation to deliver transformative, sustainable impact for present and future generations.

Our goal is to catalyse our world-leading expertise in all aspects of Early Years and Primary Education, Leadership and Education Policy to benefit:

  • children
  • students
  • teachers
  • and wider society. 


  • Early Years and Primary Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Literacy
  • Teacher training and professional development
  • Evaluation and experimental trials
  • Inspection and accountability
  • Education improvement science
  • Education Policy.

We offer

  • A vibrant teaching programme of full time and part time courses including PhDs and other doctoral qualifications, master's courses, and one of the largest and most highly regarded set of teacher training routes
  • Influential national and international research and consultancy
  • Events including research seminar programmes, conferences, short courses, and bespoke consultancies. 
Our staff

Management and administrative team

Find a researcher

View all staff profiles on UCL Profiles

Study with us 

Our department offers a comprehensive range of courses in early childhood and primary education. These include the Primary PGCE, masters courses and doctoral studies. 

Our academics, with international reputations for their research, supervise students' research and contribute to all areas of teaching including teacher training.

Teacher training

The breadth of our department's teaching includes the education of trainee teachers and practising teachers, through to doctoral study. One of our major strengths is the strong connections we make between theory, research, learning, teaching and policy.

Graduate taught

Our Master's programmes are centred on our main areas of strength in learning and leadership: more specifically, early years education, leadership, literacy, and primary/elementary education.

Graduate research

Our Early Childhood Education BA draws on the department’s expertise to examine early years education from a global perspective, emphasising children’s rights, social justice and early childhood policy and practice:

Our activities 


Our main aim is to contribute new ideas and knowledge that have the widest possible impact in order to enhance education as an academic discipline, and as a field of practice and policy. As a large department our research is wide-ranging and varied but includes two main areas:

  1. Learning and the processes of teaching
  2. Leadership and learning.

Within these two areas we carry out research funded by a range of funders including research councils, charities, governments and non-government organisations. 

Examples of our work include seminal work on early years education, how evidence informs policy and practice, literacy teaching and learning, whole curriculum study, including school subjects and areas of the curriculum such as creativity.

Featured research

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See also:

More information:


Our department provides advice and consultancy on a range of areas related to:

a) Learning and teaching

b) Leadership

Our expertise includes particular strengths in educational leadership and leadership development, school system reform, school improvement and evidence-informed practice; early years and elementary/primary education. We have strong expertise in most areas of the curriculum, and particularly in language and literacy. 

We work with governments internationally, politicians and policy makers, research organisations, education organisations, schools and other educational settings, non government organisations, companies and corporations and many other types of entities.

Case studies

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Contact us

To discuss consultancy requirements, contact Sue Hellman.

Seminar series

The Department of Learning and Leadership (DLL) hosts a research seminar series where invited speakers present work relevant to the department’s areas of expertise

The department also hosts the Educating Teachers Matters seminar series with the Centre for Teachers and Teaching Research. The series explores core issues in innovating teacher education for higher education institutions and their provider partners. 

Professor Phil Jones from the department is also a co-organiser of The Spaces Between: Equity, Voice, Agency, and Care Practices Involving the Arts and Arts Therapies seminar series led by UCL Grand Challenges.

Latest news

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Forthcoming events 

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Short courses

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