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Welcome to the Pioneering Parents research project conducted by the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast! We are committed to exploring the impact of Shared Education programmes on children and their parents in Northern Ireland, as well as individual and community-level factors that may moderate this impact.

The social ecology framework (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) suggests that children are not passive recipients of their environments; in fact, children can also affect and shape those around them. Based on the model of developmental provocation (McDevitt, 2006), our research explores this idea by investigating whether children in Shared Education Programmes can affect their parents’ views on Shared Education and other groups in their communities. Over the course of the 2017-2018 school year, we partnered with schools across Northern Ireland to survey parents at three different times throughout the year. We are now analysing the survey data to determine whether any changes occurred over time in participating parents’ responses.

The current research is supported by a Research Grant from the Spencer Foundation. Please take time to review our site to learn more about what we do.

If you’d like to contact us, please do not hesitate to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you!


In November 2019, The Centre for Shared Education at Queen’s University Belfast was honoured with a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. QUB was one of just 22 recipients who received the award this year — read more about it here!


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