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Past event

Complexity and education




Online registration has now closed. If you want to attend this event, please email for details of how to register onsite. 

Anyone familiar with education knows that it is a complex undertaking, involving the interaction of myriad influences and concerns. Over the last few decades however, the term ‘complex’ has taken on new meaning in both the natural and social sciences, denoting how the interplay of dynamic elements results in the emergence of patterns and meanings that cannot be predicted by considering those elements in isolation.

In education, complexity theory offers an alternative to the simple causality and reductive accounts of change which dominate contemporary policy and practice. This day conference will explore how complexity problematises what it means ‘to educate’, and how it has drawn upon philosophical discourses which promote imminent, embodied and situational views of education.

The day is structured around four papers with significant time given over to extended discussion of these ideas. The first paper will introduce complexity theory in education and is followed by three papers which will consider curriculum, learning and assessment through this lens. These papers will consider education from early years to adulthood.

The event will be followed by a wine reception and networking event, in order to forge greater links between those interested in this area.

13.00 Welcome and introductions, refreshments
13.30 Paper 1: An Introduction – The Case for Complexity in
Education, followed by 10 mins initial questions
14.00 Paper 2: Curriculum and Complexity: A Different
Imaginary, followed by 10 mins initial questions
14.30 Refreshments
15.00 Paper 3: Complexity and the Characterisation of Learning,
followed by 10 mins initial questions
16.00 Paper 4: Assessment Policy, ‘ Readiness for School ’ and a
Complexity View of Time, followed by initial questions
16.30 Chaired questions and discussion
17.55 Completion of evaluation forms
18.00 Wine reception and networking event
20.00 Close of event


BERA offer a limited amount of bursaries for BERA Student Members only.

  • Bursaries are available for BERA Student Members to the value of £50 towards travel, and complimentary registration for the event.

To apply for one of these bursaries, please email with a 200 word statement on why you want to attend this event. Bursaries are offered on a first come, first served basis. Once approved you will be sent details of how to register online. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after the event in accordance with our travel policies. You must not have previously received bursary funding from BERA.