Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Dr Sharon Elley

Director of Foundation Level

I manage the BA Social Sciences Foundation Programme which is a four-year extended degree programme intended to widen participation to university education. Previously, I worked as a lecturer in various settings with many different student groups. For several years, I was a youth worker across various contexts from traditional youth centres to detached work out on the streets. This entailed taking part in youth and community projects.

Research Interests

My key areas of research are children and young people's intimate, personal relationships; educational practices; class, gender and sexuality. My doctoral research is entitled: 'Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) and Young People's Lived Experiences' and explores the 'gap' that exists in SRE knowledge, provision and practice. I am mainly interested in qualitative methodologies and researching biographies over time (QLR). 


I have worked with both traditional and non-traditional students at Foundation Level to Level 3, disaffected students aged 14 upwards, and students with different learning requirements. My main teaching interests are social theory, childhood, youth and family studies as well as qualitative methods and study skills.

PhD Supervision

I am keen to supervise promising students in a range of topics, including:
• general education, but, particularly, widening participation
• children, young people and their families with a particular focus upon social identity, personal relationships, class, gender and sexuality.

Key Publications

Elley, S. (2013) Understanding Sex Education, Youth and Class: A Youth Work-led Perspective, Palgrave: Basingstoke

Elley, S. (2011) ‘Young People and Sex Education: Rethinking the Interconnections between Class, Gender and Sexuality’, Sociology, 45 (3). 

Elley, S (April, 2010) ‘If I shut my eyes, I cannot hear you’: The Regulation of Parent and Adolescent Communication about Sexual Practices and Identities in the Family Context, Sociological Research Online, 15(2)4.

Irwin, S. and Elley, S. (2011) 'Concerted cultivation? Parenting Values, Education and Class Diversity',  Sociology 45 (3).

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