School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Eric Fletcher

Res Ex Academy Post-Doc Fellow


I joined the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences (ECLS) in December 2018 as a Research Excellence Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow, this post is situated within the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT). I am a member of the ECLS Research Ethics Committee and convene the ECLS Paper Writing Group.

I worked in poliicing for 34 years in a range of operational and teaching roles. Since 2012 I have volunteered with a sail training charity providing Adventures under Sail for children and young people from across the north of England. I also volunteer as a trainer with a Local Safeguarding Children Partnership in the development and delivery of their multi-agency child protection training for education, health and social care professionals.

I have completed two studies aboard sail training vessels, one with the University of Cumbria and my doctoral study with Newcastle University.

I am a member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (IOL), and a co-convenor of the NE Outdoor Learning Practitioner Research Hub (hosted by CfLaT). I am also a member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA).


Since 2013 I have been investigating the processes to be found in Sail Training, an outdoor adventure residential experience aboard a sailing vessel manifesting in personal and social development, with outcomes including inter- and intra-personal, such as well-being and the formation and development of character. My doctoral study explored the process(es) and experiences of sail training practitioners and crew participants during a six-day sail training voyage.

My research interests include:

  • the investigation of outdoor adventure education (OAE) processes and outcomes; 
  • boundary crossing experiences, that is the subjective experience as we move from one context, setting or 'frame of mind' to another;
  • using and further developing innovative approaches to educational research, such as visual methods.

My current Research Excellence Academy study is exploring the boundary crossing experiences of sail training practitioners as they are trained and mentored to conduct action research projects in their own settings.

in December 2019 I began the internally funded reconnaissance to investigate the transition, as a boundary crossing experience, to secondary school. This investigation has, more recently, been focussed on the experiences of children in care or with experience of care and how boundary crossing attributes, skills and behaviours may be developed to ease this often challenging period and prepare for other types of transition, such as adolescence to adulthood, or secondary to tertiary education or employment. This study is engaging with local Virtual School Heads and is developing a collaborative approach for a larger study.


My current post does not include any teaching responsibilities, however, I do hold a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in Post-Compulsory Education (PGCE; University of Bedfordshire). I have been involved in the design, development and delivery of specialist vocational training for police officers and police staff.

My volunteering now includes experiential learning in a sail training context, and classroom-based learning for professionals working with children and young people for a Local Safeguarding Children Partnership.