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The Institute of Education (IoE) is once again ranked in the top ten UK Universities in the field of Education, according to the Complete University Guide 2018 league table, just published. The IoE has leapt up four places to 10th from 14th last year, confirming the Institute’s national and international standing. This is credited in part to “a sky-high score for Student Satisfaction”, according the Complete University Guide’s Education page.

Dr Cathy Tissot, Head of the IoE (pictured), commented: “This significantly higher position on the table demonstrates how hard we are working to ensure our students are successful, secure excellent jobs and are studying in truly supportive and exciting environment. Many congratulations to staff on our wonderful students rating the IoE ‘sky-high’ for Student Satisfaction. This is a superb accolade to everyone’s hard work and dedication.”

The result echoes the IoE’s very strong position in the main UK league tables, being ranked eighth in the country by both The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 and the Guardian University League Table 2017

The University of Reading as a whole is once again ranked in the Top 30 UK universities; Reading is ranked joint 26th in the UK by the 2018 Guide, up one place from last year. The University has maintained steady progress in recent years, with this being the third consecutive move up the table.

In addition, Reading is ranked as the 6th best university in the South East, and 3rd in the region for Good Honours and Degree Completion.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “Reading is now firmly in the top 30 universities in the UK. Our steady rise over the last few years is testament to the hard work of our staff and students.

“League table results are a good indicator of a university’s overall performance but they are prone to fluctuation year-on-year. A rise of one place this year is good news but I think it is more important to look at our performance over a longer period. We have risen 11 places in three years, which is no mean feat. Of course, if we are to continue this success we cannot rest on our laurels.”

The Complete University Guide is based on ten measures: Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, Entry Standards, Student: Staff Ratio; Spending on Academic Services; Spending on Student Facilities; Good Honours Degrees; Graduate Prospects and Completion. It includes 129 institutions (127 last year).

The 70 subject tables are based on five measures (Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects) and include 143 universities, university colleges and specialist higher education institutions (137 last year).

The IoE is part of a study on collaboration and partnership in the early years, conducted by the university of Reading and funded by The Froebel Trust (Nov. 2016 – Jan. 2018).

The study focuses on collaboration and partnership in the early years, as previous research has shown that when parents/carers plus educators from setting or schools work together, children have better self-esteem, are more self-disciplined and show higher aspirations and motivation toward school.

The aim of the study is twofold, as it seeks:

  • to identify parents’, carers’ and early years professionals’ views on parental involvement, and also
  • to evaluate the efficacy of a programme, planned and delivered to a group of early years teachers and practitioners as well as parents and carers.

We are currently inviting early years teachers, practitioners, parents and carers to participate by completing a short survey and also by attending two sessions at the University of Reading on the 10th May 4pm-7pm and 17th May 4pm-6.30pm.

The sessions will cover topics such as ‘Soulful Play’, ‘Empowering Partnerships’, ‘Effective communication’ and more. All those working with or caring for early years children are invited to participate.

Attendance is free and places are limited, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to attend. Coffee/tea and biscuits will be provided, while we will also try to accommodate requests for child care on the site of the event.

Please follow the link to complete the survey and join us on the 10th and 17th of May at London Road Campus, Room L24 G06!












Together, for our children!

Dr Naomi Flynn is currently engaged in a follow-up to her study of Polish children in Hampshire schools that was conducted when Polish migration to England was a relatively new phenomenon.

Dr Naomi Flynn

In her earlier study Naomi interviewed teachers in Hampshire schools, between 2007 and 2009, that were admitting Polish children but which were in areas not accustomed to teaching children from whom English is an additional language (EAL). Interviews focused on how teachers adapt their pedagogy for their EAL learners, and findings threw light on the way in which a monolingual curriculum and assessment system can work against teachers’ capacity to make adaptations.

In her current study – funded by Reading University’s Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) – Naomi interviewed teachers, children and their parents in Hampshire schools with high numbers of Polish children, to assess whether her earlier findings still hold. Outcomes suggest that teachers are growing in their understanding of effective teaching for EAL, but that Polish children’s identities are very fluid between home and school.

“Gathering the views of children and their parents, as well as their teachers, was particularly interesting,” says Naomi, who teaches Reading IoE’s trainee teachers about EAL teaching and learning.

“The differences between teachers’ and parents’ perceptions of their children’s English language acquisition, and the realities for their children, were often starkly contrasting.”

Naomi will present findings from her project in July, to Hampshire teachers, at a conference run by Hampshire’s Ethnic Minority Traveller and Achievement Service, and at a conference on EAL for academics at St John’s College, Oxford, in September, which has been organised by her IoE colleague Dr Holly Joseph.

Find out everything you need to know about teacher training at the flagship Train to Teach Roadshow, hosted here at the University of Reading on 11th May 2017 16:30 to 20:00.

These popular roadshows are presented in conjunction with the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL)* and offer a brilliant opportunity to get all of your questions answered by a range of teaching professionals. Best of all, they’re completely free – just register to guarantee your place.

You will find a wealth of information on how to get into teaching and how to apply for training in your region at the event, so don’t miss your opportunity to find out more. Drop in at any time during the event, allowing at least two hours to:

  • first attend a presentation on the different teacher training options – these will take place at 5.30pm and 6.30pm
  • speak to teaching experts to receive advice on your training options – please check your eligibility for teacher training before coming along to this event
  • receive personalised advice on your UCAS application – don’t forget to bring a copy of your personal statement with you
  • talk to practising teachers about life in the classroom
  • meet University of Reading teacher training experts as well as representatives from schools and universities that deliver teacher training in your region to find out about courses and entry requirements.

Venue information:

University of Reading, Institute of Education, London Road Campus, 4 Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX

*National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Education.




At the Institute of Education, we believe that the ‘children’s workforce’ should be spearheaded by a cadre of highly creative, analytical and experienced graduate leaders.

We invite you to an event devoted to introducing the concept, rewards and training around a career working with children.

There will be a programme of talks, with informal discussions with staff available on a flexible basis. The programme will start with the main talk at 5pm and continue with mini taster sessions in each subject afterwards. There will be with complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits served throughout.

We offer three respected and successful programmes that can lead to a range of Post Graduate teaching qualifications:*


Tuesday 9th May 2017 5-7pm: Get into Early Years Teaching; Free Event.

Building L22, Room G01, London Road campus, Redlands Road, RG1 5EX.

Book your place here* or copy this link: *Please specify which programme you are interested in when booking.

(and you could benefit from an alumni discount*)

Have you considered teaching as a career?

Did you know that the University of Reading is a leading provider of teacher training courses?

Ranked 8th in the UK for Education, our Institute of Education is the perfect place to become a teacher.

Come to one of our information events about Early Years, Primary and Secondary Initial Teacher Training courses. The next ones run from  4pm to 6pm on London Road campus:

  • Monday 10 April
  • Monday 8 May 2017
  • Newly added: Monday 22 May 2017, just for secondary 4-6pm 
  • Monday 5 June 2017


Book your place now: 

*Alumni of University of Reading undergraduate degrees, who have not already completed a postgraduate course at the University and enrol on one of our core PGCE courses in 2017, are entitled to a 10% discount on our tuition fee. Please note that this does not apply to individuals who undertake a PGCE via the School Direct route.

Mental health disorders are extremely common in children and young people. They often persist into adulthood and are associated with serious long-term consequences. Yet only a minority of young people ever receive professional help for these problems, although there are clinically proven and cost-effective treatments. This is where schools can play a vital part: by preventing children from slipping through the net and becoming valuable sources of mental health support and input.

An event on Tuesday, 12th September 2017 will explore this vital issue of tackling mental health in schools. A group of distinguished experts will gather to discuss how we can support schools in improving mental health in their environments.

Supported by The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and Children & Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, the one day conference brings together high-profile experts from various disciplines, as well as young people who have experienced mental health problems themselves, to offer the latest evidence-based advice on how to address mental health in schools, and the best methods to achieve this.

Given the vast number of policy initiatives and programmes being developed for use in schools, it is critical that schools know what they are able to achieve on the basis of the research evidence and where funding should be directed. The conference will involve keynote addresses, as well as poster presentations and opportunities to meet and talk to other professionals working in this area.

This not-for-profit conference is aimed at key authority figures in schools, commissioners, policy makers and researchers nationally. Schools will gain practical guidance about what works and what doesn’t, on the basis of the latest research evidence. Commissioners and policy makers will gain clear guidance on the best use of resources and priorities for future investments. Researchers will be able to see updates on the latest research and opportunities to develop research collaborations. 


Professor Mick Cooper – University of Roehampton

Dr Jessica Deighton – The Anna Freud Centre and University College London

Professor Neil Humphrey – University of Manchester

Dr Pooky Knightsmith – The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

Lord Richard Layard – London School of Economics

Professor Shirley Reynolds – University of Reading

Young people with experience of mental health problems

Find out more about our Speakers

Book Online

Full priced ticket @ £100 



Breaking Barriers to Literacy 

Following on from a successful research-into-practice event last year, the Institute of Education (IoE), partnered and funded by the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM), are staging another for 2017. This event will draw on presentations from both academics and practitioners in order to make links between research and practice related to potential barriers to literacy for primary aged children.

The event will focus on four areas of research and practice:

  • Dyslexia
  • Language Impairment
  • Reading and the home literacy environment
  • English as an Additional Language

The first part of the afternoon gives attendees the opportunity to hear presentations on all four areas of literacy and language teaching from IoE and CeLM academics joined by expert practitioners. For the second part of the afternoon attendees will select from workshop discussions to explore one of the areas in more depth.

This event will be of interest to primary school teachers and senior managers, specialist learning support assistants, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and local authority personnel.

Admission is free to this event but numbers are restricted. Sign up early to guarantee your place and your first choice for the workshop.  

Breaking Barriers to Literacy takes place on:

Thursday May 25th 2017
1.30 – 6.00pm
The Institute of Education, London Road Campus, Redlands Road, Reading


Register to attend 

Dr Daisy Powell is Director of Postgraduate Research at the Institute of Education (IoE) and a member of the Language and Literacy in Education Research Group and of Centre for Literacy and

Dr Daisy Powell and Dr Tze Peng Wong, in Seminyih, Malaysia

Multilingualism (CeLM). Here she discusses her recent visit to Malaysia.
Recently, I travelled to Malaysia on a visit to Dr Tze Peng Wong, of the University of Nottingham, Malaysia (UNM), where we ran a two-day workshop “Language and Literacy Research in a Multilingual Context”. The trip was funded by a British Academy and the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia, Newton Mobility Grant and the workshop was held at the UNM Seminyih campus, near Kuala Lumpur. 

This workshop involved a series of research talks by leading researchers from universities across the region, including the University of Reading, Malaysia and universities in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Singapore.  It was well-attended by academics, students and practitioners.

As well as discussing speakers’ recent research, there was a focus during the workshop on sharing information about newly developed tests of Malay and English language and literacy. These are appropriate for use in the region and essential to the development of research in this field.

Tze Peng and I also talked about a collaborative project we are currently carrying out investigating literacy learning in Malaysia’s highly multilingual context, and the extent to which cross-linguistic transfer can help children in their first year of primary school who are learning to read in a second or third language. I also ran a series of research methods training sessions as part of the workshop.

It was a very interesting experience and most satisfactory to discuss common themes with peers from different countries and environments. The trip has added an extra dimension to our on-going work at the IoE to explore Language and Literacy.

Dr Catherine Tissot, Head of Institute of Education

Speaking recently on International Women’s Day in her capacity as a female senior academic, Dr Catherine Tissot revealed her early inspiration and had some unusual advice for those embarking on a career in education, special needs and academia.

Catherine’s undergraduate degree in the USA focused on special needs teaching and that is certainly where she saw her future lying. She had no inkling then that she would become a teacher of teachers and ultimately the Head of one of the highest ranked schools of education in the United Kingdom. 

Catherine’s childhood involvement in voluntary activities with kids in her local park confirmed to her from a very early age that her future lay in education.

She said: “I absolutely knew I wanted to become a teacher from earliest memory and I also became passionate about Special Needs teaching from a very young age.”

After High School (in the USA), Catherine enrolled at the renowned university for special education provision, Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Drawn as always to special needs, Catherine found herself helping out with SN children’s swimming programmes at University in her spare time. She loved her voluntary work and saw her future being in the classroom as a special needs teacher.

Fate thought differently. Travelling to live in France in 1990, following her husband on a work posting, Catherine as quickly formed contacts with local SN groups and began volunteering. Their next posting took the couple to the UK, where she picked up her charity work again. The connections she made at the local University through this led to her being offered a scholarship to pursue a PhD.

Catherine said: “I was so delighted and excited at being offered this unexpected opportunity.”

Focusing her research on how appropriate provision can be determined for the vast array of individuals on the various spectrums of special needs, Catherine examined the perspectives of school, parents and Local Authorities.

Fully absorbed by now, having finished her PhD, Catherine started lecturing part-time at Brunel University. After a brief foray back into a special needs school, she finally arrived at the Institute of Education at the University of Reading in 2008.

As Head of School since 2015, Catherine envisages a world where teachers are given the support and time to attend appropriately to individual children’s differing needs.

She said: “Each special needs child is unique, so teachers need to have the opportunity to make plans that suit the child’s own pattern of learning and well-being. Often the first plan may not work, so you will need to revisit and there needs to be provision for this level of flexibility in the curriculum.”

Catherine sees the academic community getting closer to understanding the causes of autism, but warns that it will be a complex network of causes, rather than just one. She sounds a further warning note about the future of teaching in general in the UK:

“The point I’d like to make is that we are rapidly approaching significant shortages of teachers. This is partly because we are not able to recruit enough new teachers to replace retirees. Sadly, another cause is that teachers are not staying in the field because of the work load. This is a problem that needs addressing at policy level and any solution will come at a cost.

“Another area where I’d like to see change is in the public perceptions of teachers. Remember that what you see in the classroom is only the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know of any good teacher who doesn’t work evenings, weekends and holidays to stay on top of planning, marking and paperwork.

“I’d like to see parents more involved too, shouldering their own responsibility of raising children who are school-ready, in the most basic terms. I was talking with a Year 2 teacher last week who was frustrated because a child was not yet toilet-trained, for instance. How can a teacher achieve meaningful results when facing such basic obstacles?”

Catherine’s other concern is the effect of new technology on children’s communication.

“They become consumed by it, addicted to it, and this impedes communication skills, real world skills, writing skills; in fact all the indicators of a successful future. It’s very sad.”

Does Catherine have any words of advice for young people setting out on a career in education?

She cites seizing opportunities when they arise as the secret to achieving life goals – even those goals you didn’t realise you had to begin with.

She said: “I’m now Head of School. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if hadn’t taken the chance the moment I was offered that scholarship. My confidence grew with the scholarship, and of course each stage of attainment gives you more confidence in yourself.

“I would say, be bold and take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way. Be sure to realise and recognise opportunities that may be right in front of you. And remain constantly reflective in your daily life. Take suggestions positively, seize opportunities and don’t be too risk averse.”

When she has time off from running the Institute of Education, Catherine absorbs herself in another kind of growth. Her allotment is her pride and joy and she describes the pleasure of growing all her family’s vegetables. Catherine also closely follows the fortunes of her favourite American football team, the Green Bay Packers and when she has a moment to spare, loves to swim with the group of lads who are her swimming buddies.

When asked whom she would point to as her career inspiration, she pauses for a moment.

“There are so many. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been helped by informal mentors throughout career and my family has a tradition of strong women! My most recent inspiration though has been the IoE’s own Professor Rhona Stainthorp. She is so very good at challenging me in a supportive manner and she always has an open door and cup of tea ready!”

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