Dr Sue Chapman-Kelly

Programme Director: PGDE Primary Education


Since starting teaching in 2001, I have taught in a number of Primary, Middle and Secondary Schools across the UK, holding pastoral and academic leadership roles. I began working in ITE at the University of Edinburgh in 2016 and have taught and supervised across a range of programmes.


  • PhD - Education - University of Edinburgh (2020)
  • MSc Educational Research (Distinction) - University of Edinburgh (2013)
  • PGCE Secondary English - University of Durham (2001)
  • BA (Hons) Literature & Psychology - Staffordshire University (2000)

Undergraduate teaching

I am currently Programme Director for the PGDE Primary Education

Research summary

I have always been interested in the lived experiences of teachers, focusing on issues relating to retention. In my current role, I am interested in ITE student mentoring and in teachers' professional learning, thinking particularly about how we can bridge the gap between what happens in universities and what happens in schools. 

Central to my role as Programme Director is a focus on teaching for social justice and I am particularly interested in creating inclusive learning environments, both at ITE level and in the school classroom.

Past research interests

My PhD thesis offered further conceptualisation and exploration of self-cultivation, within a philosophical context, drawing on literature focusing on Professional Ethics and Bildung. I asked why self-cultivation is a proper concern, specifically for teachers, and explored what the discussion around teaching as a practice can offer to this concept. The thesis was qualitative in nature, presenting findings from interactive interviews focusing on the storied experiences of committed teachers, in addition to a series of autoethnographic vignettes. I positioned self-cultivation within other discourses of teaching and concluded that self-cultivation is individual, complex and inextricably linked to many school and non-school related issues and factors, deeply related to school culture, and linked to teachers’ initial motivation. Finally, I proposed that if we are to improve retention levels in teaching, we must look toward providing means, opportunity and encouragement for teachers to be self-cultivating in their own right. Key areas upon which to focus are coaching/mentoring and supervision, and Professional Learning