Dr Richard Harris wins highly competitive University Award

Dr Richard Harris, MA Programme Director and Secondary History leader at the IoE, has been named as one of three recipients of the 2015 University Collaborative Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning. This highly competitive scheme recognises select groups of staff who have made significant, ongoing contributions to student learning and who have also demonstrated an integrated team approach to enhance teaching and learning.

One of Richard’s fellow recipients is Dr Elizabeth McCrum, formerly Director of Teaching and Learning at the IoE, now Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science, who retains close links with Education. Dr. Catherine Tissot, the IoE’s current Director of Teaching and Learning said: “It is wonderful to see that Richard and Elizabeth, along with Dr Elizabeth Matthew of the History department, have just won this important University award. This is a recognition for the development of a History Education module. The IoE has a long tradition of sharing good practice in terms of teaching and learning and it is exciting to see that continue.  The University Awards for Teaching and Learning are very competitive and therefore it is good to see their success.”




STaR Mentors: Students using their own experience to make a difference

Students talking during Welcome WeekThe campaign to recruit hundreds of students to be a friendly face and the voice of experience for next year’s new intake of undergraduates is moving apace. We are looking for students from (almost*) every subject, so if you are in the first or second year (or other non-final year) and would like to make a difference to those around you, as well as improve your CV, keep reading and find out about the new STaR (Supporting Transitions at Reading) mentoring programme.

As a STaR mentor you would use your own experience, topped up with a bit of extra training, to give friendly informal tips to new students studying the same subject as you. You would aim to help them settle into your Department or School, navigate the complexities of the University, and get involved in university life. You are not expected to be an expert or to take the place of a parent, a personal tutor or a professional counsellor, but simply to be the voice of someone who was in their position not so long ago and has survived.

People become mentors for many different reasons but here are some really good ones

  • You will make the world a better and easier place for someone
  • You will learn a lot about people, what makes them tick and how others see the world around us
  • You will learn a lot about yourself in the process
  • It is a great addition to your CV and It will count as 20 volunteer hours towards the RED Award

See the FAQs for a better insight into what exactly a STaR mentor will do.

Mentoring is one of those simple things in life that can actually have a tremendously powerful effect. A few words of experience here and there can really make the world of difference.  Sign up to be a STaR mentor and be part of something that will make that difference for hundreds of students next October.

See the STaR Mentoring FAQs for more info on the programme, or if this doesn’t answer your question email starmentors@reading.ac.uk

Complete the short application form today to join the ranks of the first ever STaR mentors.

* Henley Business School, Pharmacy, TAEDS and Film Theatre and Television run their own mentoring programmes, please contact them directly, or if you are studying these subjects and would like to be a mentor we will pass on your application to the organisers in these Schools.

Anne Diamond to interview IoE’s Teresa Wilson on BBC Radio Berkshire as Foundation Degree celebrates ten years of transforming lives through its “earn to learn” concept.

Programme Director of the Foundation Degree in Children’s Development and Learning (FD), Teresa Wilson will appear on the Anne Diamond show at 11.10 on Monday 27th April. Under discussion will be the support offered to mature students, our convenient location for local Colleges, the different ways that the University supports the local community and many other topics. Tune in on Monday to listen to Anne and Teresa.

In March, the Institute of Educaton and the University of Reading hosted a special event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this degree which has transformed the lives of hundreds of people from the local community.

It provides non-traditional learners with a chance to further their chosen career without giving up work. Parents or mature students have the opportunity to ‘earn as they learn’ through weekly afternoon and evening lectures and the coursework based programme.

Over 350 people have graduated on the course. Students, who receive a 50% waiver in course fees over the two years of the award, attend the programme at one of three partner Colleges of Further Education: Berkshire College of Agriculture, Bracknell & Wokingham College and Newbury College.

On Monday 23 March University of Reading Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell joined FD graduates, current students and staff from the University’s Institute of Education for a special event to mark the 10th anniversary.

Programme Director Teresa Wilson has been involved with the Foundation Degree since its inception in 2005. She said: “The University is proud to have offered the FD for over 10 years. Balancing work and family life with career progression can be a tough proposition. The course offers people flexibility combined with training of the highest quality. Many graduates have become Early Years Teachers, Nursery Managers or Higher Level Teaching Assistants in local schools.

“The celebration reminded me once again of the impact of this programme. Past and present students talked of the life changing career opportunities, the increased confidence and the lasting friendships that they have made since embarking on the FD. It’s more than just a higher level qualification: it’s an opportunity to develop in so many other ways too.”

FD graduate Ashley Rodgers is currently a Family Support Worker for Barnardos Children’s Centre, and completed her FD in 2013. She said:  “I never thought I would have the opportunity to return to education, but the Foundation Degree gave me this.  It was a great sense of achievement, particularly when balancing study with work and family. It was a wonderful support system and continues to be so now.

“I now have a greater understanding of how my practice impacts those I work with – both adults and children alike. Now as I’m completing the third year of studies, I’m looking to apply for a Masters after taking another year out.”

For more information about enrolling on The Foundation Degree in Children’s Development and Learning visit the course website.






Institute of Education celebrates new graduates of its joint MA programme with Guangdong University in China

Senior academics from the Institute of Education have travelled to China to see students graduate from the University of Reading MA (English Language Education) programme at Guangdong University. Addressing the new graduates, Head of Institute Professor Andy Goodwyn urged them to make full use of their new knowledge and skills. He added that through their shared experience, they will have gained not only a piece of paper with their degree certificate, but also a depth of knowledge and friendship with teachers and students that would be a foundation stone for their future.

Professor Goodwyn has worked hard with his counterparts in China to link the two universities across the continents, resulting in the 2013 launch of the MA programme. Increasing numbers of students from many different provinces of China enrol each year and there has been great enthusiasm and commitment from all sides. This year’s graduation was a happy celebration, presided over by Dr Wang Yunfeng, Programme Director (Academic) (GDUFS).

Fostering international talent is an increasing feature of higher education. The Institute of Education has keen eyes on the global horizon and places enormous value on its strong and growing links with China. The IoE is particularly proud to have forged such a productive partnership with the esteemed Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, which is among the top three specialist foreign language institutions in China.


Professor Wen Binli (Dean of the Faculty of English Language and Culture, GDUFS), Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller of the IoE, Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the IoE, Dr Daguo Li of IoE and ISLI
Professor Wen Binli (Dean of the Faculty of English Language and Culture, GDUFS), Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller of the IoE, Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the IoE, Dr Daguo Li of IoE and ISLI
First row: ten of the 19 graduates. Second row: Dr Wang Yunfeng, Deputy director of International Office (who is in charge  of the Joint programme with Reading), Professor Wen Binli (Dean of the Faculty of English Language and Culture), Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the IoE, Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller of the IoE,  Dr Zhao Chen (Deputy Director of the Graduate School and teaching on the award), Dr Daguo Li (Reading, ISLI and IoE), Ms Zhang Xin (Vice Dean of the Faculty of English Language and Culture, in charge of foreign affairs), Mr Zheng Changqing (administrator in charge of the programme, GDUFS)
First row: ten of the 19 graduates. Second row: Dr Wang Yunfeng, Programme Director (Academic) (GDUFS), Professor Wen Binli (Dean of the Faculty of English Language and Culture), Professor Andy Goodwyn, Head of the IoE, Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller of the IoE, Dr Zhao Chen (Deputy Director of the Graduate School and teaching on the award), Dr Daguo Li (Reading, ISLI and IoE), Ms Zhang Xin (Vice Dean of the Faculty of English Language and Culture, in charge of foreign affairs), Mr Zheng Changqing (administrator in charge of the programme, GDUFS)



The University of Reading is ranked as one of the UK’s 20 most research-intensive universities and is in the top 1% (ranked 176th in 2012) of universities in the world. The University has a particular strong tradition in applied linguistics and language education. It was on the Advisory Board for the development of Chinese College English Test (CET) Band 4 and Band 6 and has been supporting English language teaching in China over the decades. The IoE is one of the largest and leading providers of teacher education and educational research in the UK. Many of its graduates soon become leading figures in their respective schools.

The Faculty of English Language and Culture, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, is renowned both nationally and internationally for its research in linguistics and applied linguistics. It is the only nationally designated Research Centre for linguistics and applied linguistics in China. It leads South China in the research of foreign languages and cultures, overseas economy, trade and international strategies.

Student on the (printing) block

BA Education (Art) students took a fresh approach to exhibiting their work during the recent ‘Print as a Verb’ exhibition at the prestigious OpenHand OpenSpace in Reading, with some demonstrating their own very unique print-making techniques.

While Kim Tate showed her printing skills using her wood block designs, fellow Year 4 student Emily Crye took it further, using her own face as the printing ‘block’.

More than 20 artists displayed their individual take on the use of print at the show, which aimed to celebrate and deconstruct print in the realm of contemporary art. There were demonstrations, performances, hands-on opportunities – as well as many inky fingers – by the end of the exhibition in March.


EmilyCryeSmilingkimTatePRINTASAVERB A6

“Fantastically proactive” student Emily wins Faculty Rep of the Year award

Institute of Education student Emily Crye has been awarded Faculty Rep of the Year at the RUSU (Student Union) Partnership. Emily, a fourth year in Primary Education (Art), was nominated by her peers, with glowing recommendations such as ‘Emily is committed, approachable and full of amazing ideas’, Emily is fantastically proactive’ and ‘She never gives up, which is why she is a great Faculty Rep!’

Emily Crye
Emily Crye

Faculty Reps are elected students who represent their peers on academic issues in their Faculty.  They make sure students in each Faculty are being listened to and receive the best academic experience possible.

Emily says that she’s passionate about the idea of building connections and relations between the London Road and Whiteknights campuses. Her interest in becoming a Faculty Rep sprang from her desire to be involved with change first hand, she explains.

It was this desire for change that also prompted Emily to chop 18 inches off her hair last month to donate to a charity that makes wigs for children who’ve lost their hair as a result of cancer treatment. This fresh, direct attitude has strongly underpinned Emily’s success as a Rep and brought her appreciation and praise from fellow students during her nomination for the award:

‘Emily is a friendly and approachable rep’

 ‘Emily puts all of our opinion across and she has kept us up to date with the feedback and responses’

 ‘Emily played a significant role in helping establish the new social space at London Road campus’

 ‘Emily is fantastically proactive, always attending the meetings that she needs to’

 ‘She is extremely enthusiastic about giving London Road campus more of a main campus vibe’

‘Emily is committed, approachable and full of amazing ideas. She should have recognition for her hard work and dedication.’

Well done, Emily and many congratulations on your well-deserved recognition!

Emily after cropping her hair to help children with cancer
Emily after cropping her hair to help children with cancer

Congratulations to our group of newly qualified SENcos

A small group of newly qualified Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCos) met recently at the IoE to receive their certificates of completion and thereby be eligible for recognition as qualified SENCos.

SENco group 2015

Every state funded  school is required to employ a qualified SENCo in a school leadership role. The Institute of Education at the University of Reading is one of about 25 organisations nationwide eligible to provide training for the qualification and each year about 40 people achieve the qualification here.

Recent changes to the Code of Practice have emphasised the role of SENCos as enablers of the achievement of all pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, and has recognised their role in ensuring quality first teaching for all pupils regardless of ability.


Thank you to the Reading Alumni Fund for the specially designated shelf for PENPAL resources in the Learning Hub

penpalThe Learning Hub, part of the Institute of Education (IoE) is committed to education; inclusion is an essential part of this commitment. The Hub aims to enhance the IoE students’ understanding of inclusion and diversity by incorporating specific equipment and books that are designed for blind, partially sighted and dyslexic children. A recent development in this area is PENpal. PENpal books are very different to ordinary paper books; they use ‘sound spots’, invisible to the eye but located in the corner of each page. These sound spots use ‘tactile talking technology’; the spots are sensitive to the PENpal and when touched by the PENpal the sensors inside the page borders are activated. The result is the book effectively ‘talks’ to the reader. PENpal texts are available in 55 different languages.

The pens and books are quite unique, and by the incorporation of such novel resources within the Hub, Education students are given not only a sense of the difficulties presented to some young readers by conventional readers but also of how ‘good practice’ can be promoted through the use of less conventional resources.


Thank you, Reading Alumni Fund.

Stargazing update

Stargazers converged on IoE’s London Road campus on March 13th when the Reading Astronomical Society joined with the British Science Association for a fun filled evening of stargazing.

Space activities and workshops themed around the International Year of Light were combined with talks from space scientists and astronomers and of course plenty of chances to look through telescopes. The free event was attended by people of all ages and proved a fun and informative evening for all.star

IoE’s Sarah Chorley’s mission to help beautiful but stricken Vanuatu

IoE’s Sarah Chorley is flying the flag for the stricken islands of Vanuatu following the recent devastating cyclone that hit recently.

Says Sarah: “This is no longer in the media, but it is still an urgent cause where a lot of people are desperate for a lot of aid. The country is made up of 82 different islands and within these islands are many pockets of communities, so delivering aid is not straightforward and a lot of their crops, shelters, schools and water supplies have been destroyed.Island Dress


“To start with, I am organising a cake sale on Tuesday the 24th of March at the London Road Campus of the University of Reading in the staff room of L16 (next to café!). I know we all do a lot for charity and for cake eating already, but I would be really grateful if everybody can help to raise money.

“The reason I want to help Vanuatu is because as a teenager I spent six months teaching English as a foreign language on the island of Pentecost. The people of Vanuatu (Ni-Vans) are the kindest, most generous and happiest people that I have ever met and whilst Vanuatu is one of the poorest countries in the world, the Ni-Vans are still incredibly happy. They are self-sufficient (or at least were before the cyclone), non-materialistic and proud of their culture. My friend has a donation page here, which is where I will send the money we raise to:


“Please share this and donate if you would like to. Any questions, email me on s.chorley@reading.ac.uk.”