BA Primary Education student, Toby Clark has been awarded the prestigious Fullbright Scholarship

Congratulations to one of our BA Primary Education students, Toby Clark, for gaining the prestigious Fullbright Scholarship Award 2023-2024!

Toby applied for the Fulbright Scholarship to further study Music Education, driven by his passion, goals and confidence. Speaking about his passion for Music Education and his time here at the University of Reading, he says: “I could write endlessly about the personal importance of Music; let alone the literature behind it. Immersing myself in University life through schemes such as the Reading Experience and Development (RED) Award, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) and extra-curricular opportunities has opened the doors for my interest in my subject”.

Looking back, he says it can be daunting to put in your application, considering how competitive such scholarships can be. But Toby advises other students to “take leaps and aspire to achieve. Push yourself into something new, realise that you are amazing, and your drive and passion will pull you into doing something you love”.

Toby is delighted for the opportunity to study a postgraduate degree in Education where he aims to push himself even further to change lives. Not forgetting the support he received during the application process, he extends his gratitude to his Programme Director and Subject Leads, for all their support throughout the application process and his time studying here at Reading. He states: “Thank you so much for everything you have done to help me throughout the course. I wouldn’t be in this position without the care and support that you have given me”.

Fullbright Scholarships provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange amongst students in the UK and the USA. It creates an impact through the promotion of academic excellence and curiosity, advancing human knowledge by investing in human potential and increasing social mobility. The Fullbright Scholarship has been dubbed “the most prestigious international scholarship in the world” by Erasmusu in 2022.

In Toby’s words: “I can proudly say… I am off to America!”

In wake of school-trip disappointment, one student teacher finds a way to bring Windsor Castle to his locked-down pupils

If the children cannot go to Windsor, then Windsor must come to the children, Kristian Greenslade decided, to the excitement of his young pupils.

Delighted to have been admitted to the Institute of Education (IoE) at the University of Reading to study BA Primary Education, Kristian describes his feelings as ‘super-excited’. Yet soon after his course began, the young trainee teacher was plunged into a world crisis. As the Covid pandemic unfolded, even qualified, experienced teachers faced immense challenges. Everyone was learning new ways of teaching in classrooms and online while looking after the mental and physical health of themselves and their pupils.

Pre-pandemic, one of Kristian’s school’s biggest plans had been to take the Year One pupils on a trip to historic St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married. Kristian’s pupils, all aged between five and six, were excited about visiting the Castle they had seen on television and in pictures. They had been learning all about its history, drama and current events. But then came the pandemic and the world shut down. The children were devastated.

Kristian had to think fast and find a way to transform his pupils’ disappointment into excitement. He talked to his wife Angelli, who is a talented hobby artist. Together, they came up with a brilliant way to show the wonder of Windsor Castle without being there in person.

They created a beautiful, metre-long model of the Chapel.

“I think for children who are five or six years old, learning about facts, dates and churches can be overwhelming. Some might just switch off. So I had the idea of giving them something visual and physical to see and be excited about, in place of their trip.”

By viewing all aspects of the Chapel online, Kristian and Angelli recreated the architecture of the chapel using recycled cardboard boxes, masking tape and a hot glue gun. They finished it off with acrylic paints, creating an effect that is startlingly good.

“I was so pleased to bring it in for the children. It introduced St. George’s Chapel to them, which was something really exciting during lockdown. Due to the pandemic, these children had not been able to enjoy the normal visits that would fire up their imagination and inspire their learning.

“There were other years doing the same topics and I was very happy that their teachers asked to use the model. All the key stage one kids got to enjoy it in the end.

“Kids absorb things in a cool kind of visual way. Having that taken away from them by lockdown was really sad. I thought it was important to give them something physical to examine and explore. Engaging the children means their minds absorb concepts naturally and enthusiastically.”

We have all read about the psychological effect of lockdown on children, which can be even harder for those with added challenges.

“With something like this model, kids who find it hard to engage; who maybe have a learning difficulty; handling and seeing the model draws them in more. Also, my class has a high number of children with English as an additional language, and I think the model helped them understand more easily.

“The children would go up to the model continually, wanting to look at it and see what was going on, even in their break or after school, even the shy ones. When you see that reaction – well, that’s why I am in the field of teaching!

“This year has been very strange because of the pandemic. But for me, in terms of learning, it has also been a very good year; in fact it’s been so fulfilling and I’ve felt so supported by the University, that I can’t wait for next year. And that’s a great feeling!”

Martin Sutton wins RUSU Excellence Award

Picture of Martin Sutton on LRC campus

We are delighted that Martin Sutton has won a RUSU Excellent Teaching Award.

The RUSU Excellence Awards recognise University of Reading staff who display excellent and innovative teaching practice. They award the staff who students believe have gone above and beyond expectations, tirelessly working to improve the delivery of their teaching and learning experience.

Martin is the Subject Leader for Secondary Geography and Secondary Religious Education within the Institute of Education, University of Reading. He is also the Geography Education Lecturer for our Primary teaching programmes.

“I am genuinely surprised yet honoured to have won this teaching award. The Institute of Education (IoE) is a superb place to work with lots of amazing people. Thank you so much to the students that have said many kind things – you’re all worth it!” 

Celebrating World Poetry Day 21 March with a Willow Class Lockdown Poem

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures. (United Nations, 2021)

Amie is one of our 3rd Year Art specialist trainee teachers on the BA Primary Education with Art (QTS) course. During her final placement, she has been working with her students at St Martin’s CE Primary School, Hants on a well being lockdown poetry session. This poem was a combination of lots of different groups verses woven together to make a free verse poem.
“I have just completed a well being lockdown poetry topic with my class. The personification verse nearly made me cry and I am very proud of Willow Class!”


We are so glad she shared this with us this World Poetry Day. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have. 


Lockdown was about the Google Classrooms

Filled with FaceTimes, meets and zooms.

We had no guests, so no money to spend

No family, no cousins, no friends.

It was cool to be sat on a stool

Scrolling through the online school.

The videos were short but long,

Our teachers wanted our brains to be strong.

As time went on, our brains were frazzled

The thought of school again left us dazzled.

The stress of ‘turning’ work in left us feeling boo hoo.

But in the end, we can all say WOO HOO!


Nothing to do, nothing to play

Online chatting saves the day

Tablets and laptops our virtual friends

To talk to your besties, just press send

Zooms and facetimes all the lot

That’s how we talk to our buddies on laptops

Coronavirus comes and goes

When will it ever leave us alone

The great google meet it has revived

These past few weeks when we’ve been on divide

Never screen-free, always online

Somehow we can all still go outside.


Selfless, super doctors and nurturing nurses,

Tireless work and exhausted minds,

Active physically, but drained mentally.

Claps and fundraising – showing our faith!

Vunderful vaccines creates an impenetrable shield.

The vunderful vaccine creating hope for the sick.

The undoubtedly, unbeatable army of the national health service

Remains undefeated.

The NHS superheroes – free of despair!


Successful scientists gather interesting information about the vital vaccine that will soon save societies.

Hope is key

We go on wonderful walks and draw rainbows in our windows

Hope is key

Sir Captain Tom Moore was not a bore

While we were talking

He was walking

Hope is key

We clap for the NHS

For freedom

For happiness

Hope is key

We will keep going



Waking up in the morning

Is always the same

Apart from pets and family

Lockdown’s pretty lame


Learning from a screen

No friends to be seen.

Going to the shops wearing masks

Then coming home to complete our tasks.


Washing our hands

About to cook with pans

Going on a run

Whilst listening to music and having some fun.


Sneakily snacking on sugary sweets

While all the siblings get more sleep

My mum cooks, while I read books.

Me and my dog play

Every single day.


We’re starting history on a new page,

We feel like a gerbil in a hamster cage,

Like a chicken in a coop,

A shark made into soup,

Like a cat on a fence that can’t jump down,

We feel like an animal trapped in a pound,

A rainbow butterfly fluttering around,

Spreading its wings to us on the ground.

Dogs in muzzles,

Birds in cages,

Unable to fly.

Birds that can’t show their feathers and glide,

A turtle that is not in the sea,

We finally understand them, when it’s happening to me.

By Willow Class, St Martin’s CE Primary School, Hants.

A new book on Teaching the Arts is coming soon with contributions from several IoE authors

We are delighted that Suzy Tutchell and Susan Ogier have co-edited Teaching the Arts in the Primary Curriculum.

This comes out May 2021 and is published by SAGE.

Teaching the Arts in the Primary Curriculum features chapters by Stephanie Sharp, Scarlett Murphy and Ali Silby (Poetry and the Arts), Rebecca Berkley (Music and the Arts) and Nasreen Majid (Maths and the Arts) also of the IoE. 

It brings Arts Education sharply into focus as a meaningful, learning experience for children of pre-school and primary age (3-11 years).  Based on many researched case studies, it reinforces the potential for the wide range of physical, mental and emotional development, through learning opportunities that engagement in arts practice facilitates.

It also provides an insight into how by providing spaces in the curriculum for children to engage in the arts, teachers can support children to consider contemporary challenges that face their generation.

Click here for more on Teaching Arts in the Primary Curriculum 


7th in the UK for Education (The Guardian University Guide 2021)

We are delighted to announce that we have been ranked 7th in the UK for Education (The Guardian University Guide 2021).

The Guardian ranks universities through looking at eight different elements. This includes what students say about their teaching, feedback and the course itself in the annual National Student Survey (NSS). It also looks at the sizes of classes through the student-to-staff ratio and how much universities spend on teaching per student, as well as students’ A-level grades, whether their academic performance improves at university (the value-added score), and how likely they’ll be to continue with their course. This year they’ve also added new data on how many students get graduate jobs or go on to further study 15 months after leaving university.

More info on how the scores are conceived can be found here:

Professor Carol Fuller the new Head of School commented:

“Whilst rankings can only tell us so much, it is a clear and evident indication that the students on our courses are happy students who enjoy the experiences they have with us. It is also testament to the excellent team of academics we have, who work hard to ensure a good experience.”

A more detailed breakdown of the statistics can be found here:

Virtual placements for students with special educational needs during COVID-19

Dr Yota Dimitriadi , Subject Leader for the PGCE Secondary Computer Science, along with the PGCE Secondary Computer Science students recently created an online escape room comprising of a set of six lessons. These lessons with supporting videos, interactive games and classroom activities were specifically designed to help a wide range of students with special educational needs, particularly students from The Addington School whose work placements were disrupted due to COVID-19.

The project was part of the Google Education Professional Development Award on supporting cyber awareness for students from special schools to support their transition into the workplace.

The lessons are designed for both ‘in classroom’ and distance learning approaches with a range of scaffolding options that teachers can use to tailor the lessons to their specific students. All the games are available online on the platform and have been tested on iMac, PC and iPad devices.

Whilst designed as an integrated series of lessons and activities, teachers may also consider using lessons individually to meet a specific learning objective. Further, access to the original project documentation and code is available through Yota Dimitriadi. 

The project has been a collaboration between the University of Reading, Institute of Education Secondary Computer Science students and The Addington School, Wokingham, made possible by funding and support from the Berkshire Branch of the British Computer Society and Google Education.

Project team:

University of Reading:

Yota Dimitriadi

Emma Harwood

John Mercer

Paul Palmer

Luke Ryall

Jenny Ellis

with support from Adrian Earle, Head of Dept, Furze Platt School

Addington School:

Danny Blatchford

Kelly Chapman

Abi Storey

BA Primary Education with Art Y3 Online Exhibition

By the final summer term, the Y3 art specialists have completed their final placement, assignments and dissertations, and have five full weeks of studio practice leading up to an end of degree exhibition. This exhibition is the culmination of three years of hard work and committed visual research, which is celebrated by friends, families, IoE tutors, the wider university and local community on London Road Campus. With the onset of COVID-19, a term of contemporary, practical and innovative practice had to be re-imagined and transformed into a digital format.

Suzy Tutchell Lecturer in BA Primary Education with Art, said:

“We were determined to create an adapted final ‘practical’ module which would celebrate who the students had become as artist-teachers and ensure the quality of teaching and learning would be intact. It was essential to retain their creative enthusiasm and drive, so that what they would produce online would be testament to their maturing identities and could still be celebrated by viewers, as it would have been in the studio.”

To that end, an alternative term was devised which comprised of online interactive group sessions, small group supervisory tutorials, paired and group critiques and digital sharing via a new website platform. All students and staff set about creating their own online portfolios, which served as a platform to document and exhibit work that was ongoing, as well as the process of making and creating the final virtual exhibition. Some students even tackled the subject of COVID-19 directly in their work, focussing on our environment and natural art forms.

A selection of the portfolios, will also feature on the National Society for Education in Art and Design website, modelling excellent practice for other university art/education departments; this continues to position us as a flagship of excellent art and education practice at national level.

The student’s final sites can be viewed below:

Elisha Harrington:

Esme Weston:

Molly Waring:

Freya Lane:

Aaron Duffett:

Paige Johnson:

Imogen Mulvenna:

Bethany Clay:

Taya Jarman:

Toby Inchbald:

Tom Radcliffe:



Professor Brian Richards, Emeritus Professor of Education, said:

I have spent several happy hours browsing the content. I usually go to the exhibition but the online virtual version has the advantage of being more permanent and you can dip in, take your time, reflect and go back for another look and think. Please congratulate the students on a particularly thought-provoking and inspirational collection. I wish I had been taught by people like them when I was at school in the 1960s—it was a rather uninspiring experience!”

The website production took over 6 weeks and throughout the entire process, students were able to dip in and out of each other’s websites, add in constructive comments to make suggestions, acknowledge some outstanding moments and, importantly, appropriate good DIY art ideas in order to learn from one another.

Imogen, a Y3 student, said:

“I actually really liked doing the website and I didn’t find any difficulty in it. I’d chat with Aaron like we were digital buddies rather than studio bay buddies! We all used messenger to make comments – it was buzzing.”

The developing process included the group as a whole attending live artists’ sessions and exhibition tours of galleries around the world. This added a further international layer to the art curriculum by enjoying global ventures on virtual tours and live artists performances in: Hong Kong, New York, Barcelona, South Africa and Sydney. It also fuelled the students’ ideas for their own websites. These were shared with all staff and students at the IoE and across the wider university, including the IoE Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, helping to raise the profile of the London Road studios as a lively hub of art activity – even remotely!

Emily Yearsley, Lecturer in Primary Art Education, said:

“Initially, both students and tutors were disappointed at the prospect of losing out on the exhilaration of the final exhibition but there is no doubt, the impact of what was produced and the process that was undertaken has enriched practice in a profound, thoughtful and reflective way.”

Molly, Y3 student, said:

“I think in the studio, I work with loads of things and then play around, but actually weirdly, I think the ideas I had for this term’s work were possibly stronger because I had more time to think before I did, so there was a lot of more intention and personal input.”

As a result of building on the successful experience of delivering small practical art activities online, Suzy Tutchell has been delivering weekly online art drop-in sessions for Alana House clients (Reading-based women’s community project); it is hoped this will continue throughout the summer and into the autumn term as she seeks a funding source to create a community project with student support and involvement.

Going forward, the adapted online portfolio model has set a new premise for visual/sound assignment work in the future; Y2 art and music students will collaborate over the next academic year to produce a Y2 creative arts digital platform as part of their specialisms in school.

2020 University Teaching Fellowship winners

The Fellowship is a prestigious award for staff who demonstrate individual excellence and dedication to the development of teaching and learning within the University and beyond.  The application process was extremely competitive again this year, and many of the applications put forward were of an exceptionally high quality. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply.

The winners of the 2019/20 University Teaching Fellowship scheme are:

Will Bailey-Watson (Institute of Education) – The Panel welcomed Will’s creative approach and his willingness to take risks to provide positive learning experiences. It also commended his clear passion for teaching and his commitment to inclusive practice and to providing equality of opportunity. The Panel recognised the broad impact of Will’s work, including the ‘Meanwhile, Elsewhere’ website, at a School level, local level (partnership schools) and national level.

Dr Alana James (School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences) – The Panel was impressed by Alana’s clear passion for her subject area and her strong philosophy of empowering and supporting students through a participatory approach. The Panel recognised the positive impact of Alana’s work on student learning/outcomes and the student experience within her School and more widely at institution-level, and her impact in raising the profile of T&L at both a local and a broader level (across the University and on a national platform).

Dr Allán Laville (School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion) – The UTFS Selection Panel welcomed Allán’s commitment to providing positive learning experiences for all students with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, and the engaging personal narrative that underpinned his application around the development of his role, impact and reach. The Panel recognised the wide reach of Allán’s practice and his dissemination work within and beyond the University.

Adrian Aronsson-Storrier (School of Law) – The Panel was impressed by Adrian’s strong, student-centred approach to teaching innovations, including his use of audio/lecture capture to support students; his commitment to equality of opportunity; and his positive contributions to the T&L agenda and community. This includes supporting staff within his School to embed good practice in T&L and contributing to T&L at a broader level in support of institutional agendas.

The winners’ achievements will be recognised formally at a Celebrating Teaching & Learning Success event later this year. 

Please join us in congratulating this year’s winners!    

About the scheme

The University Teaching Fellowship scheme is hosted annually by the Centre for Quality Support and Development. It aims to recognise and reward excellence in teaching and the support of student learning, to raise the status of teaching in the University as a scholarly activity, and to support staff to develop further in the area of teaching and learning.

To find out more, please visit the University Teaching Fellowship scheme information page.

Carol Fuller appointed Head of IoE

Carol Fuller has been appointed the new Head of the Institute of Education (IoE). She will take up her new role on 1 September 2020, replacing Professor Cathy Tissot who is stepping down from the role after six years.

A Professor of the Sociology of Education, Carol is the Research Division Lead for the IoE. Her research focuses on social justice, specifically concerned with issues of gender and socio-economic status and with a particular emphasis on identity construction, self-efficacy, resilience and aspirations.

Carol grew up in the local area of Whitley and started university education at the age of 32, after taking an Access to Higher Education course at college. She has since obtained a master’s degree and a PhD in Sociology – and is now responsible for providing supervision to doctoral students as well as contributing to research methods teaching across all programmes at the IoE.

In 2019, her ‘Marvellous Mums, Marvellous Me’ programme was shortlisted for the Research Impact and Engagement Awards and subsequently won in 2020. The programme supports local, less socially advantaged women, many of whom have been out of work for some time. It helps these women develop more fulfilling lives for themselves and their families by building their confidence and self-esteem.

Announcing her appointment, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Planning & Resource) Mark Fellowes said, “I am delighted that Carol Fuller is taking on the role of the Head of Institute of Education. Her lived experiences reflect the transformative power of education, and her work with the local community show the difference that a caring and engaged University can make. I look forward to working with Carol and supporting her vision for the Institute of Education.

I would also like to thank Cathy Tissot for everything she has done for the Institute of Education during the last five years. She has calmly and successfully steered the Institute through some challenging times – strengthening its reputation for training caring, reflective and profession educational practitioners.”

Carol Fuller said, “I am thrilled that the University of Reading has entrusted me with this important role and look forward to this next chapter of my career. Working at University of Reading has taught me that anything really is possible; I am proud to work where I do and I am proud to work in the Institute of Education, with such a fabulous team of colleagues.”

The IoE trains over 450 Early Years, Primary, Secondary teachers and practitioners every year, working closely with local schools and early years settings. Many of those who train with the IoE stay on in the area and work in these schools and settings.

Its research addresses the overarching aim of improved education and learning as a route to enhanced self-efficacy, economic well-being and life chances. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, 80% of IoE’s research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent with a global impact on educational policy and practice.

Professor Cathy Tissot

Cathy Tissot is a Professor of Education and was appoint the Head of Institute of Education in 2015.

She came to the Institute of Education, in early 2008 as a senior lecturer to teach primarily on courses on special educational needs. In 2009, she worked with the local authorities in Berkshire to create the University’s Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) accreditation programme. She is still active in teaching this course and others on special needs.

She started a lifelong research interest in autism spectrum disorders through studying for her doctorate at Brunel University which explored the factors that determine appropriate educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders. Her research focuses on adolescence and the challenges that puberty brings to this group of students, as well as the staff that support students with disabilities in schools.