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Students are at the heart of our Institute of Education (IoE). We aim to engage and challenge them, enabling them to reach their full potential to transform lives through education.

And so we’re delighted that our final year students have rated their educational experience so highly in the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS) published today (Wednesday 9th August), with a 90% satisfaction score for the IoE.

Students taking part in the survey are asked a series of questions about aspects of university life, including teaching, assessment and feedback, learning resources, and student voice. 

Professor Catherine Tissot, Head of the IoE

We really value the results, as they help us to enhance the student experience at the IoE. They also help prospective students to make an informed choice about where they want to study.

The 2017 NSS was completed by more than 1,600 final year students at the University of Reading.

Overall satisfaction across the University remains strong, with our 2017 score matching the sector average at 84%.

Satisfaction also continues to perform well at departmental level, with eight departments, including the IoE, achieving a satisfaction score of 90% or above. 

Professor Gavin Brooks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Teaching & Learning at the University of Reading, said:

“It is pleasing to see that a number of our departments have achieved a satisfaction rating of over 90%.

“We are extremely grateful to all final year students who took the time to complete the NSS, and we look forward to using their feedback to help make Reading even better.”

Several changes were made to the wording and structure of the Survey this year and, as a result, The UK Student Information Advisory Group and funding bodies have agreed that the 2017 data is not comparable to results from previous surveys and have advised that such comparisons should not be undertaken.

The NSS is an important measure of student satisfaction. It is carried out annually by Ipsos MORI; it contributes to other independent league tables; and it has built a broader picture of the quality of higher education since it started in 2005.

The statistics are publicly available at HEFCE.

A conference on 13th July organised by Reading Borough Council celebrates a year-long project in which schools and settings have been improving the language of their early years children through engagement with parents, the environment and professional development. It gives delegates the opportunity to learn how to set up and run their own project to improve the language of their children.

Dr Helen Bilton

The RGC Hello 2 Celebration, which will run from 9.30 – 4pm at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, is set to inspire a group of professionals that is already remarkable for its dedication. The IoE’s Professor Rhona Stainthorp and Associate Professor Helen Bilton will bring their wealth of dedication, research and experience to the event as its two keynote speakers.

Early years professionals are typically very passionate about improving the outcomes for their children through language and literacy, which can come through many means, particularly through closer engagement with parents. The Celebration will offer these practitioners, who come from  early years setting and schools , the chance to mingle and discuss experiences and methods with peers, as well as hearing from the leading academics in their field. Vitally, they will also learn about the latest research outcomes that will underpin future developments in the rapidly evolving world of early years education.  

Helen has been closely involved with the year-long literacy project that culminates in this celebration. This project was based on the successful National Literacy Trust’s HELLO scheme which, with funding from the Department for Education, worked with early years experts to improve the communication, language and literacy outcomes of children from birth to age three across multiple settings in 2016.  

Professor Helen Bilton of the IoE said:

I am delighted to be involved with this happy and laudable day when we celebrate the great achievements in our field, and more specifically the remarkable progress we have seen on this year-long journey. It will be wonderful to chat to teachers and providers during the celebration, because it is their dedication and enthusiasm that drives us all forward. The people who devote themselves to our field are second to none and I look forward to talking to lots of them!” 

The RGC Hello 2 
Helping Early Language & Literacy Outcomes Celebration Conference

9.30am – 4pm Thursday 13th July 2017

The Conference Centre, Madejski Stadium

Registration, coffee & pastries – stalls open

Welcome & introduction to the project

Vocabulary matters – Dr Rhona Stainthorp, Professor, University of Reading

Break, stalls & networking

The role of the environment – Dr Helen Bilton, Associate Professor, University of Reading

Lunch & networking

How filming helped parents in supporting early reading – Miranda White, Cross Phase English Adviser & Gareth Tuck

The role of practitioners – measuring impact – Emma Mottershead, Senior Early Years Advisory Teacher

Prize giving


£90 for first delegate & second delegate has 20% discount – includes lunch & refreshments.

How to book




Have you considered becoming a Special Educational Needs Coordinator? 

The role of a SENCO is varied, challenging, and rewarding. You will need to have a love and enthusiasm for providing the best individual academic opportunities for all pupils with SEN. This vital role can be attained via our part time (12-36 months) PGCert SENCo which starts September 2017. It is required for all new SENCOs within three years of appointment and we are ideally placed to help.

Email or call us on 0118 378 5289 for a chat to see if this may be the career for you.·

Learn more about becoming a Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo)



Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos

The Institute of Education (IoE) at the University of Reading is celebrating a successful research year with its annual Postgraduate Conference entitled “Knowledge is Power” on Wednesday, 28th June 2017.

The conference is organised by the IoE’s Doctoral Researchers Conference Committee, supervised by Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos, Deputy Director for Postgraduate Research Studies.

Dr Kambouri-Danos said:

“This is a great tradition for the IoE, and I’m glad to have been able to support it and help to organise it for the last two years. All PGR students benefit a lot from presenting at conferences, and this internal PGR conference provides a safe environment for all students, no matter how far they are with their research, to practice, learn and develop.”

The main speaker at the conference is Dr Khalid Alshahrani (left), whose leadership in the field of technology in education has seen his work published extensively and contributes to his position as Academic Relations Lead at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. 

This end of year public conference is part of the IoE’s strong emphasis on working with international research colleagues to provide a rich research and networking environment for its PhD researchers. It gives IoE postgraduate researchers the opportunity to prepare abstracts for review, to present their work to IoE students and staff and to receive feedback from a wide range of specialists in their field.

The Committee’s work on the conference with its international speakers also gives the postgraduate researchers a vital real world experience of ‘live’ research events.

Coupled with the strength of expertise at the University of Reading in education, for which it is it ranked third in the UK in the Guardian University League Table, 2018, projects like this develop the crucial skills required to contribute incisive research to the public education arena.

Date: 28th June
Location: Institute of Education, London Road Campus

Admission is free, but please book via email: m.kambouridanos@reading.ac.uk


The influence of education is not confined to the humans at London Road, as our trees have finally found their voice and are set to share their views during a special Treelaxation session today, 8 June, outside Building 33 between 1.15-2 pm . 

The trees will be in a reflective mood as they branch off into this new venture in which they will share their stories, leaf through their poetry canon and root among their memories.  

If you are stressed, tired or just in need of a break, don’t be stumped – instead, join us for some treelaxation under a couple of our more chatty trees. 

Brought to us by NatureNurture, a dynamic local charity, that engages in using technology outdoors, this immersive installation is part of our Secondary ITE Computing Outdoors Enrichment Project. NatureNurture partnered up with The Woodland Trust and presented the Talking Trees Project successfully in London at Potters Field Park last week.



Prof Rhona Stainthorp

Primary school children needing more support for phonics could get a welcome boost from a masterclass tour by education experts.


The roadshows, run by the University of Reading’s Institute of Education, are funded by the Department for Education to support authorities/districts where five and six year olds in the Year 1 phonics screening check are performing below national averages.

The team will be highlighting how their research into reading development can benefit the teaching of early reading, and have worked with lead practitioners and consultants in local authorities to tailor the roadshow’s content to local needs.

Prof Rhona Stainthorp, a phonics expert from the University of Reading’s Institute of Education said:

“We’re delighted to have been given the support from the Department of Education to work with and develop the practice of teachers of young readers.

“There is a wealth of evidence that can help the teaching profession to continue to improve, and at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education we are committed to ensuring that the 400 teachers that we train each year benefit from the latest research. It’s a great privilege to be able to take this experience around the country to help teachers grow in confidence in their phonics teaching.

“The response we have had from the authorities selected to take part has been fantastic and it is a privilege to be working with such dedicated practitioners.”

The Department for Education’s School Standards Minister Nick Gibb added:

“The government is determined to make this country work for everyone, not just the privileged few. Ensuring all primary school children can read fluently by the time they leave primary school is fundamental to this ambition.

“Thanks to the hard work of teachers, our continued focus on raising standards and our increased emphasis on phonics‎, there are now an additional 147,000 six-year-olds on track to becoming fluent readers. These roadshows will help spread these effective methods to more schools.”

The roadshows will equip teachers and their schools to raise attainment in reading through an enhanced understanding of how research about reading can inform practice, and through the opportunity to reflect on how they can adapt what they do currently.

The events start with a summary of what research says about the teaching of phonics, and then move into activities that support teachers and senior leaders in analysing their current phonics schemes and their pupil data. Later parts of the day include advice about what to do when children seem ‘stuck’ in their reading progress, and advice about the practicalities of effective phonics teaching using local expert teachers from schools where reading results are strong. Events are co-led with local authority personnel with the intention that the impact of training can be sustained after the Reading team have left.  

Professor Cathy Tissot, Director of the Institute of Education said:

“This is another feather in the cap for Reading’s excellent reputation for both research and practice in the teaching of reading. We are delighted to be working with the DfE in this way.”

The team, which includes Dr Naomi Flynn and Dr Daisy Powell from the University of Reading’s Institute of Education and Professor Morag Stuart from UCL’s Institute of Education will be following up with schools who have attended the roadshows during the next academic year to check their performance and what further support they might need.


The IoE was proud to present a fantastic ATP (BA Primary Education (QTS) Advanced Teaching Project) conference at our beautiful, sun-filled London Road campus on 7 May.

The conference proved, if proof were needed, what talented and innovative students we have. This annual occasion is always fun-filled, lively and above all, the culmination of a lot of hard work.

It is also bittersweet as we wave goodbye and good luck to our much valued Year 3 BA Primary Education (QTS) students. They are a wonderful cohort who have contributed enormously to the work and spirit of the IoE during their years with us. 

And the winner is ….

Each year, the best ATP candidate receives The Professor Rhona Stainthorp Prize for outstanding achievement in undergraduate research, with two runners up. This year, Carol Fuller was glad to present the well-earned prizes to the winner, Rosemary Lawrence for her research, “What are the perceptions of ‘teaching British Values’ within the educational community?” and the two runner ups, Aniqa Leena and Charlie Allen.

All the students’ projects were broad and accomplished and the posters in particular were visually appealing and lively, with the research within them searching and relevant to today’s world. Five of our final year students presented their work (see below for details), representing a broad cross section of the type of research undertaken. Nasreen Majid, Director of the programme, who leads the conference said:

I am so proud of the calibre of research that our students have developed. Teaching is a research embedded profession. Our students demonstrate this by the range of work they undertake for their ATPs.

“Cutting edge ideas, such as the Singapore Model, strategies for advanced bilingual learners, perceptions of “British Values” and mathematics beliefs of year 2 boys and girls are among the projects undertaken.

We benefited from our excellent key note speaker to the conference: Dr Carol Fuller, the distinguished educational researcher and Associate Professor in Education.

Carol is a strong advocate of learning that promotes confidence and positive educational identities so as to ensure all children achieve their full potential, regardless of their background. Hearing her dedication as she spoke was thought-provoking and stimulating.

After the ceremonies, everyone was finally able to kick back and relax over a picnic, enjoying the chance to be together one more time before our much-valued Year 3 students head off into their bright futures.

We are proud of our five presenting students, who did such sterling work at the conference. Congratulations to you all!

Victoria Huxley
A mixed methods investigation exploring mathematics self-efficacy beliefs of Year 2 boys and girls.

Rosemary Lawrence
What are the perceptions of ‘teaching British Values’ within the educational community?

Aniqa Leena
“No hold on, that won’t make sense”
An exploration of strategies that can support the English vocabulary and writing development of advanced bilingual learners (ABLs) in Year 5

Emily Pearce
Do traditional constructions of masculinity have an impact on boys’ achievement in literacy? 

Harriet Pope
The Singapore Model Method, a Help or a Hindrance to Developing a Conceptual Understanding of Mathematical Ideas in the British Primary School?


This is an exciting year for all of us at the Institute of Education at the University of Reading, since we are celebrating 10 years of successfully delivering the BA (hons) in Children’s Development and Learning (BACDL). To mark the occasion, we are holding a Celebration Event for BACDL’s 10th anniversary and we would like to invite you to join us! The event will take place on Friday 30 June between 15:15 and 16:30 in L24 G06. Our Head of School, Dr Cathy Tissot as well as our Head of Early Years, Jo Elsey, and many other academics that have supported our programme over the years will be there to celebrate with us and congratulate all past and current students for their achievements.   The event is free, but registration is required.  Please book your place as soon as possible and latest by Saturday 10 June to help us plan for catering, since the event will be a tea party, with lots of drinks, snacks and cakes to enjoy. For more information and registration, please click here.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos Lecturer in Early Childhood, Education and Care Programme Director BA Children’s Development and Learning

A delegation from the Universities of Cambridge and Reading visited the Minister of Education in Bihar, Dr Ashok Choudhary, in April this year to discuss a new research project on multilingualism in primary schools in India.

The delegation visiting the Minister in Patna consisted of:

  • the Principal Investigator, Professor Ianthi Tsimpli from the University of Cambridge
  • two Co-investigators from the University of Reading, Professor Theo Marinis and Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller
  • and a representative from the British Council India, Joydeep Bordoloi [see picture].

This new four year project, entitled Multilingualism and Multiliteracy in Primary schools in India (Multilila), looks at progress in learning and teaching of language, reading and maths in primary schools in India over a period of four years. As part of the project primary school children in Hyderabad, Delhi and Bihar will be invited to take language, reading and maths tests, and to carry out tasks that measure their attention levels. The project aims to make recommendations for the development of Multilingual Education and to identify good pedagogical practice in primary schools in India.

Support for home languages in Indian schools

It is well known that children who use more than one language in everyday life can have advantages in attention and learning skills. Most Indian children are multilingual in that they use more than one language on a daily basis but not all Indian children experience the advantages in attention and learning skills that have been found in other contexts.  

A key focus point of the project is how children’s understanding of the curriculum content is supported through the use of different languages in the classroom. While Hindi is the language of education and official matters in Bihar, some schools that the delegation visited in Patna make very good use of the children’s home languages, such as Magahi or Majthili, to explain difficult concepts in the classroom. Teachers who are not from the area are given word lists with translations of key terms in the children’s home languages to help them bridge the gap between school and home languages.

In other Indian contexts, for example in areas where children have immigrated from other parts of the country, learning through the mother tongue is more challenging because of the wide range of languages that are spoken by the children.

These findings will also be relevant for the UK, because classrooms in British primary schools are increasingly multilingual too. Professor Tsimpli explains:

“There are important lessons to be learned from the Indian context for teachers and policy makers in the UK interested in improving support for children who speak more than one language at home and in school.”

Next steps

The UK researchers work closely with a team of Co-investigators in India, consisting of:


From left to right: Joydeep Bordoloi (British Council India), Professor Theo Marinis (University of Reading, Clinical Language Sciences), Dr Dr Ashok Choudhary (Minister of Education in Bihar), Professor Ianthi Tsimpli (University of Cambridge) and Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller (University of Reading, Institute of Education).

Research assistants from these three universities are currently carrying out a pilot study in Delhi before the start of the first round of data collection in July. An important project partner will also be the A. N. Sinha Institute of Social Sciences in Patna, which has a wealth of experience in studying the socio-economic and educational context in Bihar.

“The interdisciplinary composition of the team is a key strength of the project”, says Professor Marinis, Director of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism. “It is only through truly interdisciplinary projects such as this one that we can hope to gain further insights into why some children flourish and others struggle in multilingual contexts in India as well as the UK.”  

By  Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller of the University of Reading, Institute of Education.



No homework, no set times for attendance and a slave to take you to school: could this be one of the wilder ideas in a Year Six suggestion box? No, just an ordinary day in the life of an ancient Roman classroom.

As part of a unique time-travelling adventure organised by leading classicist Professor Eleanor Dickey and the Department of Classics, schoolchildren and families can experience ancient classrooms first-hand at the University of Reading from 27 June to 7 July 2017. Students will have the opportunity to become completely immersed in Roman daily life: dressed in Roman costume, they will learn to write with a stylus on a wax tablet, read from papyrus scrolls, work on Roman school exercises and try their hand at multiplication in Roman numerals.

Of particular interest to schools and pupils will be the differences between ancient and modern classrooms. In ancient schools there were no raised hands and the teacher never spoke to the class as a whole, only to individuals. Lecturers and students from the Department of Classics, as well as Institute of Education PGCE students, are currently swotting up on ancient teaching methods in preparation for what Professor Dickey describes as, “an event which we believe is unique in modern times.”

“The changes in the way children are taught now are massive, even going back 10 years. Well we are going back 2,000 years! There was no set curriculum – parents paid for what they wanted their child to learn – no set classes, year groups or times for attendance.

“But children wouldn’t get away with skipping lessons. The majority of parents sent their children to school with a slave who not only kept them safe on the way there but also reported back any errant behaviour.”

Professor Dickey continued: “No obelisk has been left unturned to create an authentic atmosphere, from Roman costumes to windows looking out on the River Nile.

“They’ll be no need for pupils to pack their papyrus as we’ll be providing all the equipment including tablets, the Ancient World kind, and reed pens.

“The Roman Empire is one of the most important periods in our history. The day promises to be fun and educational, for pupils and students alike.”

The inspiration for this event arose from Professor Dickey’s work on The Colloquia of the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana, Europe’s most ancient children’s books. These were manuals written to help ancient Greeks and Romans get around in each other’s languages. They tell of a day in the life of a schoolchild and his teacher as well as containing numerous dialogues that shed light on daily life in the Roman Empire.

While much has obviously changed, some scenarios in the book will ring a bell now; from the daily tasks of shopping and banking, to a telling off for a husband returning home late a little the worse for wear.

The Roman schoolroom will appear at the University of Reading from 27 June to 7 July 2017. School groups, families, and individuals will all be welcomed. There will be a small charge, which will be waived under certain circumstances. There is capacity for around 20 people per hour in the school room and larger groups will be accommodated by revolving activities. The cost will be £5 per attendee for one school room visit and £10 for the whole day.

For more information about practicalities, including the schoolroom’s offerings and how it can further modern classroom objectives, see:

Booking is essential: please contact E.Dickey@reading.ac.uk to reserve a date and time.


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