Educating, shaping and enriching society

Stranmillis University College outlines how it impacts society through excellence in teaching, scholarship and research.


Since it was established in 1922 “to provide teacher training for Northern Ireland”, Stranmillis University College has developed and maintained a reputation for excellence in its core business of teacher education, preparing generations of highly-qualified, innovative and committed teachers who have contributed immeasurably to our outstanding education system right across Northern Ireland and much further afield.


There is however much more to Stranmillis than teacher education and its reach extends far beyond its beautiful 18-hectare woodland campus in South Belfast. In its new 2015 mission statement Stranmillis University College has set out its commitment “to sustain a vibrant, inclusive learning community, educating, shaping and enriching society through excellence in teaching, scholarship and research”.


In terms of teaching, as well as its renowned and highly competitive BEd and PGCE teacher education programmes, Stranmillis now offers the BA in Early Childhood Studies and the BSc in Health, Physical Activity and Sport, as well as a burgeoning range of Master’s, Professional Development and Lifelong Learning courses which attract thousands of students of all ages to the College.


Scholarship and research activity undertaken at Stranmillis is however also making a significant contribution to Northern Ireland society. The College’s results in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework were outstanding, with 72 per cent of its research activity judged to be “internationally recognised” and 55 per cent of its research publications “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” in terms of originality, significance and rigour.


Stranmillis has developed areas of particular research expertise in recent years in Early Years Education, primary literacy, diversity and inclusion, STEM and pastoral care. For instance the College’s comprehensive research into playful learning has had a major impact on the Foundation Stage of the revised Northern Ireland Curriculum which is now statutory for all children aged 4-6 in the first two years of primary school.


In line with its vision of ‘leading innovative professional practice’ Stranmillis has also attracted significant funding in recent years to lead a number of exciting professional development projects. Funding of over £4 million was awarded by the Department of Education to Stranmillis working as joint partners with St. Mary’s University College to lead the SEN Literacy Project, which aimed to enhance the skills of teachers in primary schools for the teaching of reading, writing and spelling. The extensive project has used a blended learning approach to offer professional development to over 5000 primary school teachers in Northern Ireland, with almost 500 teachers receiving funded Master’s level training.


In 2012 Stranmillis, again working jointly with St Mary’s, secured funding of €1 million from the International Fund for Ireland for its CREDIT Programme (Classrooms Re-imagined: Education in Diversity and Inclusion for Teachers Programme). This programme offered almost 200 teachers in Northern Ireland working in all phases and sectors, the opportunity to develop skills and confidence in dealing with issues of diversity, inclusion and community cohesion in the classroom and on a whole-school basis.


Other areas of particular scholarship and research expertise include primary science (where the College has also been recognised as one of just six UK science hubs by the Primary Science Teaching Trust), exploring the learning preferences of entrepreneurs (the DEL-funded EntreBRAINeur Project), developing computer programming skills among primary-aged children (“Go Berserk”), and pastoral care (safeguarding children and anti-bullying work in schools).


In 2015 Stranmillis is firmly committed to educating, shaping and enriching our society through excellence in teaching, scholarship and research.


For further information on scholarship and research opportunities, contact the Scholarship and Research Office

Stranmillis University College

Belfast BT9 5DY



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