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.


The Institute of Education (IoE) is ranked in the top three UK Universities in the field of Education, according to the Guardian University League Table 2018, just published. The IoE has leapt up five places to 3rd from 8th last year, confirming the Institute’s national and international standing.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the IoE was celebrating its leap by four places to 10th in the Complete University Guide’s Education rankings, which cited the Institute’s “sky-high score for Student Satisfaction”.

Find out why we are leaping up league tables by visiting us during our next Open Days on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June. To book your place, visit our Open Days website.

Dr Cathy Tissot, Head of the IoE, who has just been conferred Professorship along with two IoE colleagues, said of the Guardian League Table result

Dr Cathy Tissot, Head of the IoE

“This significant top three position on the Guardian University League Table for 2018 demonstrates how everyone at the IoE is driven to achieve the very best for our students and for the pupils they go on to teach. Our students go on to success in secure excellent jobs, having studied in a very supportive and exciting environment.

“We are very fortunate in our strong partnerships with our much-valued local schools, an alliance that contributes significantly to an engaging and wonderful student experience.

“Many congratulations to staff and our wonderful students on this superb result; it is an 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 The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 as well as 10th in the Complete University Guide. 

The University of Reading as a whole is once again ranked in the Top 30 UK universities; 29th in the UK by the Guardian University League Table 2018

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said:

“This latest result shows Reading is consolidating its position at the top end of the national league tables. Our academic and professional support staff deserve praise for their hard work, which makes Reading one of the best universities to study in the world.

“While individual positions tend to fluctuate from year to year, it is clear that the longer-term picture is one of overall improvement. We are focused on making sure that we provide the highest quality university experience for all our students, both now and in the future.”

The Guardian league tables focus on the quality of teaching, student satisfaction and employability, issues that are vital to young people choosing where to study.



Did you know you can achieve your Masters in Education whilst working full time? Our highly regarded MA Education programme is available part-time to meet the needs of busy professionals like you. Taught modules can be taken singly or as part of an award bearing course and you may be able to transfer PGCE credits.

Join us on Thursday 25th May 2017 at the Institute of Education for one of our special evenings to learn more.

As well as lots of useful information, there will also be time set aside for informal chats over biscuits and a cup of tea or coffee with lecturers, administrators and our Director of MA Programmes, Dr Helen Bilton.

We look forward to welcoming you to our evening of discussion and friendly advice, where you can ask all your questions and find out about our programmes from the people who teach them.

Please do share this invitation with your colleagues who have an interest in Continued Professional Development at one of the top 1% of universities in the world.*


Dr Helen Bilton, event organiser and MA Programme Director

25 May 2017
from 5pm-6pm (arrivals from 4.00pm)
University of Reading, London Road Campus, 4 Redlands Road, RG1 5EX
RSVP ioe-ma@reading.ac.uk Or alternative date this spring:
4 July 2017







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 invited current potential early years teachers to a free event devoted to discussing the concept, rewards and training around a career working with children.

There was a programme of talks, with informal discussions with staff available on a flexible basis. After the main talk at 5pm, there were mini taster sessions in each subject along 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:*

Thank you to all attendees! We all thoroughly enjoyed the occasion.




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 Early Years team at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education (IoE) is leading a study on collaboration and partnership in early years, funded by The Froebel Trust (Nov. 2016 – Jan. 2018). Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos, Director of BA in Children’s Development and Learning at the IoE, is the Principal Investigator of the study, which brings together a range of experts in the field.

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 invited 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; one that took place on 10th May and another to happen on 17th May 4pm-7pm.

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 the second session. 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 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.




(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.

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