Staff profile

Vanessa Cottle

Programme Leader: MA Education


Education Studies and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am the Programme Leader for the MA Education.  Within this role I oversee a diverse programme which meets the needs of a complex student cohort with whom I work.  Some examples of this are:

The MA Education is predominantly subscribed to by part-time students who are practitioners in the world of education, but we have a growing number of Full Time students including international and european.  Our students are diverse in terms of their career routes - they range from school teachers to NHS Trainers and from those intending to practice to leaders and managers.  In addition, the programme has a well developed 'flying faculty' approach, in particular we deliver our programme to school cohorts on their sites.  Currently, I also work with two collaborative partners - one which offers a unique named award at Certificate Level, the Post Graduate Certificate in Emotional Education at their site in Derbyshire and the other partner is Mediterannean College which delivers the MA Education in both Athens and Thessaloniki.

Teaching responsibilities

I teach across the programme on modules which include: Masterly Academic Practice (which offers new students the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for masterly study); Evidence Based Practice (which provides the knowledge and understanding to support research within the Independent Study); Developing the Skills of the Specialiast Practitioner (which is an opportunity for students to focus on a specialism - subject or otherwise - of their choice) and Learning Theories in Action (which offers students an opportunity to seek alternative strategies for practice drawing from theoretical perspectives).  I am also the Independent Study Coordinator.

Professional interests

My professional interests are all matters Education. Continuing Professional Development is a key motivator for MA Education students and it is important that I have insights into their needs.

Research interests

My research interests reflect my role as programme leader.  Currently, I am working on my doctoral studies which focus on the transition of our students into the MA Education programme.  The current developing foci of these studies are to do with tensions that arise in identity and the underlying implications for their self-esteem and confidence.


Recent conferences


Oxford Brookes Ed D Symposium (presentation on student identity: An Exploration into the Influence a Master of Arts in Education has on Emerging Identities

LTA Conference (University of Derby) (presentation of Progress: Achievement and Attainment Record PAAR)

Durham University - International Identity Conference (presentation: An Exploration into the Influence a Master of Arts in Education has on Emerging Identities

University of Lancaster - HE Close up International Conference (presentation: Making a Difference: PAAR for the Course)

Experience in industry

Adminstration work in Local Authority and private companies.

Most of my career has been located within Further Education, working with a range of student types.  I have a strong experience of working with NVQs and later became Operations Manager for FE Teacher Education which laterly included responsibility for the College CPD.

International experience

I had the pleasure of visiting the Reggio Emilia conference which included visits to a range of schools there to see first hand the Reggio Emila approach to early years teaching.

I also worked with European colleagues in Portugal for a week where we visited a number of secondary schools in Lisbon with a particular focus on meeting the needs of children in lower socio-economic groups.

Recent publications

Author of Lifelong Learning chapter and co-author of Alternative Schooling Chapter in Walkup, V., Ed (2011) Exploring Education Studies, Harlow: Pearson

Currently co-editor of Exploring Education at Post Graduate Level - to be published approximately September 2015 by Routledge