You are here

Dr Sarah Coombs

Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies

Sarah-Coombs 2

Dr Sarah Coombs

T: 01473 338566

Career Overview

Sarah began her career as a Registered Nurse (adult), working in a number of specialisms including medicine, haematology, oncology and care of older people. She maintains links with the nursing profession by remaining on the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register and as a member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Sarah graduated from The Open University with a BSc (Hons) Psychology and is a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

After graduating she began work at Suffolk College (now University of Suffolk) as a lecturer on the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies (ECS) programme, and is now Deputy Course Leader for this route. Having changed professional environments Sarah also completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

In July 2012 Sarah jointly organised the first University of Suffolk International Conference of Children and Childhood and is a founder member of the University of Suffolk Unit for the Study of Childhood and Youth.

In January 2014 Sarah obtained a PhD in Sociology from the University of Essex, the title of her thesis being We re OK with Death Listening to young people discuss the end-of-life.

Teaching Responsibilities

Sarah teaches on a number of modules across ECS, currently Children and Health (level 4), Children, Health and Wellbeing (level 5), Early Childhood Interventions (level 6) and as a Dissertation supervisor (level 6).

Previous teaching commitments have included developmental psychology, social psychology, the development of language, communication and creativity, and global perspectives on child health.

Sarah has been invited as a guest speaker on the module Politics of Childhood (level 6) and the MA Childhood and Youth programme.

Research Interests

Sarah's research interests are predominantly within the interdisciplinary study of death and society, her attention being focused on how children and young people are positioned/or not within discourses that frame our approaches to end of life. She maintains links with other scholars in this field through membership of the Association for the Study of Death in Society (ASDS) located at the University of Bath.

Sarah is also currently involved with the Organ Donation and Transplant Research Centre (ODTC) at the University of Bedfordshire in a bid to raise awareness of organ donation/transplantation in 14 -16 year old students via the PSHE National Curriculum.

Conference Presentations 


  • Paper presented: BSADDB Seminar, Children and Death, London [Nov 2013]
  • Paper presented: The 11th International Conference DDD: Where theory meets practice, Milton Keynes UK. [Sept 2013] 
  • Poster Presentation: 1st International Conference of Children and Childhood, University Campus Suffolk [July 2013]


  • Paper presented: The 9th Global Conference: Making Sense of Death and Dying, Salzburg Austria
  • Symposium Presentation: The 4th International Conference: Diversities of Childhood, University of Sheffield [July 2012]


  • Paper presented: The 10th International Conference of DDD (Death, Dying and Disposal): Changing European Deathways: New Perspectives in Death Studies Nijmegen Netherlands [September 2011]
  • Paper Presented: University Campus Suffolk: Research Colloquium: Death wears a T-Shirt [July 2011].


  • Coombs, S.  Death wears a T- Shirt - listening to young people discuss the end of life, Mortality (Forthcoming)