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Dominic Cunliffe

Head of the Department of Sport and Health

Department of Sport and Health

Dominic Cunliffe, Programme Director Physical Education


Dr Dominic Cunliffe is currently the Programme Director for Physical Education - his specialist area lies in motor learning and child development. Prior to joining the Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Sciences at Solent University, Dominic held various positions across the whole of the educational structure, in both state and private education, and was the head of department for a further education college in the UK. Dominic is also an adjunct supervisor at the University of London, supervising PhD students in a range of projects involving educational reform, and hold a Senior Fellowship with Advance HE.

Dominic built his reputation with his devotion and specialism to child development within education settings during the past 20 years, and is a champion of scholarly activity, achieving several commendations from both national and international bodies. Dominic’s own PhD examined the construct of learning to improve lesson delivery, has helped shape the learning environments of approximately 4500 children across the local area, and his seminal work regarding individual learning, personalised learning, and lifelong learning has been presented to global audiences. Additionally, Dominic has published several peer reviewed articles related to learning within physical education, including the use of technology and the promotion of physical literacy beyond the classroom

Dominic has also served as a consultant with the Department for Education during the National Curriculum reforms, assisting with the strategic direction of a national framework of education for the UK. Additionally, Dominic was trained by Ofsted, [not a current practicing inspector] and has valuable experiences in educational leadership and school development, and currently serves as a consultant with a county education authority. Dominic has led a team of education professionals through a strategic approach that involves close liaison with designated groups such as headteachers, learning leaders, school inspectors; education psychologists, occupation therapists, social care, IT and data managers, catering, and school governance, all supporting the single vision of improving school standards across the county. Such experiences have been invaluable to understand the dynamic procedures in which central, regional and local governmental departments operate, and Dominic is able to utilise such knowledge within his current role.

Dominic has also been the lead consultant to the Ministry of Education for an African nation during the reform of their national curriculum framework, assisting with their move away from the traditional colonial approach of an examination of knowledge system to an individual competence-based curriculum. As such, Dominic was tasked to complete several monitoring reports regarding the evaluation of educational practice and has worked with approximately 100 HTs across a range of school settings. Additionally, Dominic’s seminal work within child development has seen his involvement with the reform of the same African nation’s Olympic youth development programme to widen participation and nurture talented children.

Further information

Dominic’s specialist teaching area is in child development, and Dominic leads the Child Development pathway across the whole course (first year module in Child Development; second year module in Skill Acquisition in Children; third year module in Physical Literacy).

Taught courses

BA (Hons) Physical Education

Inspire the next generation and get practical experience teaching through our School Sports Partnership to deliver physical education on this CIMPSA endorsed degree.

BA (Hons) Sport Coaching and Physical Education (Top-Up)

Enhance your existing qualifications with essential practical experience, to become a knowledgeable and confident coach for physical education and sport development.

MA Physical Education and School Sport

The MA Physical Education and School Sport programme will help you to develop the academic knowledge and practical skills that underpin a career in physical education and youth...