Improving mental health in schools – what does the research tell us?

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 



Join us for a free research-into-practice event for primary teachers and education practitioners: Breaking Barriers to Literacy, 25.5.17

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 visits Malaysia to explore multilingual language and literacy research

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.

An interview with Dr Catherine Tissot, Head of Reading’s Institute of Education

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!”

Musicianship, Performance, Community: Universal Voices choir begins with Concert in Great Hall

On March 20th, 250 children from local primary schools met to perform a mixed programme of choral music at The University Great Hall. The event is supported by music education students from the Institute of Education, and directed by Dr Rebecca Berkley, who hopes that this concert will inspire children and their parents to join Universal Voices, a new, free community choir for children aged 7-12 from the Reading area which will meet from April 2017. 


For further information please contact














Don’t miss the IoE’s inspiring spring exhibition featuring work of artists-in-residencies as well as students & tutors

Artists-In-Residence (AIR) is an innovative art project springing from the IoE’s lively and creative art department, headed by Suzy Tutchell. This inspiring spring exhibition for 2017 showcases the exciting and innovative work of our current artists-in-residence. As well as this insight into the eclectic and dynamic art produced by the artists themselves, the contemporary exhibition will also include a variety of work produced by undergraduate BA (QTS) Education Art speciality students, Fine Art students, tutors and visiting children from local schools, all of whom have been introduced to practices by the artists during workshops over the academic year.

The AIR artists are:

Emily Gillmor Printer-in-residence

Mei Ting Sze Ceramicist-in-residence


McAlistair Hood Sculptor-in-residence

David Fair

service Painter-in-residence

We look forward to welcoming all to the AIR spring exhibition 2017 at the London Road Art Studios:

Institute of Education, University of Reading London Road campus, building L04.

Admission is free.

Tuesday 14 March – Friday 23 March 2017

Open from 9 – 5 every day

(excluding the weekend)

Exhibition launch

Thursday 16 March 2017

3.30 – 4.30pm


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

Senior academics from the Institute of Education (IoE) have travelled to China to see students graduate from the University of Reading MA (English Language Education) programme at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS). Addressing the new graduates, Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller of the IoE urged them to make full use of their new knowledge and skills. She added that through their shared experience, as well as their degrees, they will have gained a depth of knowledge and friendship with teachers and students that would be a foundation stone for their future.

The IoE 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.

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.

First row: Professor Zhang Xin (Deputy Dean of FELC), Mr Wang Bin (Administrative Dean of FELC), Dr Daguo Li (Award Leader, Reading), Professor Li Yunming (Vice-President, GDUFS), Professor Treffers-Daller (Award Leader, Reading), the Dean, Professor Wen Binli, Mr Yi Zongying (Deputy Director of International Office), Professor Zhao Chen (Deputy Dean of Graduate School, who is also teaching on the award). Second Row: Dr Wang Yunfeng, course coordinator in Guangdong, left, and course administrator, Mr Zheng Changqing, on the far right.

The University of Reading is ranked as one of the top 1% 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 (FELC), 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.


The University of Reading will host its third Early Years conference on 16th March 2017

Dr Helen Bilton, conference organiser
Dr Helen Bilton, conference organiser

After an extremely successful conference last March, the Institute of Education is delighted to present this third specially designed conference for those working with Early Years children. This year, the focus will be on process of intentional teaching and children being partners in their own learning.


Conference organiser Dr Helen Bilton said: “Last year’s conference saw delegates emerging feeling reinvigorated and refreshed. That is what we have planned for them this year – with a different focus.

Some of last year’s delegates said:

“The day was thought provoking, inspiring, great resources, friendly teachers.”

“I liked the mixture of keynote speech plus workshops, and the opportunity to share ideas and network.”

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Delegates at last year’s successful conference.

“The talk was inspiring, the workshops were useful, all great ideas.”

See below for full details, including booking links. For further information, please email

Intentional teaching, intentional learners: ensuring children are partners in their development

Thursday 16 March 2017 from 09.30-15.00 at London Road Campus, University of Reading


09.00 Refreshments, networking, workshop sign-up and welcome
09.30 Introduction
09.45 Keynote speech – intentional teaching, intentional learners: ensuring children are partners in their development
10.45 Break
11.15 Workshops*
12.30 Lunch with exhibitors
13.30 Workshops* (repeated sessions from morning)
14.45 Evaluation
15.00 End – you are welcome to stay and mingle with other delegates

*The same seven workshops will be offered both morning and afternoon. Delegates will be required to select two workshops at time of booking from the drop-down menu – one for the morning and one for the afternoon. Remember, you can choose the workshops in either order, so if your morning choice is full, simply book that workshop in the afternoon instead, and your other choice for the morning. See below for workshop titles, synopses and speaker biographies.

Cost, which includes refreshments and lunch:

£95 if you book and pay online by credit/debit card via:

£120 if you require an invoice: please email to request an invoice, clearly stating ‘EY Conference 2017 invoice request’




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Congratulations to the IoE’s Dr Yota Dimitriadi for achieving her Senior Teaching Fellowship

Yota Dimitriadi

In recognition of  Dr Yota Dimitriadi’s outstanding contribution to her field, the Higher Education Academy (HEA) has just appointed her as a Senior Fellow. 

This follows Head of IoE Dr Catherine Tissot’s  recent appointment as a Senior Fellow by the HEA and IoE colleagues, Dr Alison Silbey and Ilan Dwek being awarded Fellowships of the HEA.

Being promoted to Senior Fellow is a significant honour: very few Senior Fellowships are awarded each year and the distinction carries international recognition. Senior Fellowship indicates a high level of esteem for Yota’s work in her field.

Yota, Catherine, Alison and Ilan’s route to their awards lay with the University of Reading’s FLAIR CPD scheme; an internal accreditation process that enables experienced staff to gain professional recognition for the work they do in teaching or supporting learning.

An independent, charitable organisation, the HEA is the UK’s national body that champions teaching excellence around the globe. It works with governments, universities and academics to nurture teaching excellence in higher education.

See more:                                    

Higher Education Academy (HEA)

University of Reading’s FLAIR scheme

Don’t miss closing date 18 April! Sharpen your quills for the 2017/18 Raymond Wilson Poetry Prize

UoR students are invited to explore their creativity by entering the Raymond Wilson Poetry Competition. Held in memory of the late Emeritus Professor of Education at Reading, the prize awards £200 for the winning poem.

Competition organiser, Stephanie Sharp of the Institute of Education, said:

“The competition will be judged by children in a local school and their vote carries equal weighting with that of a published children’s poet and with mine as an academic. This brings the perspectives of teacher, writer and young reader to bear on the judging.”

The children on the panel responded happily to last year’s winning poem by Judy Riddel, with its lively play on rhyming fun to support number learning, saying:

“It flows and has rhythm”                    

“We liked the inspirational message – be positive and counting and relying on others”

“It was happy and exciting”

“It helps younger children to learn their numbers by remembering the rhyme”

Raymond Wilson was an exceptional educationalist, as well as an inspired educational editor who introduced new editions of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry and Jane Austen’s novels. Wilson was also well-known as an intuitive, sensitive critic and a prolific anthologist.

This year, the closing date for entries will be 19 April 2018, with the winner being announced on 14 May 2018.

Conditions of entry are as follows:


  • Poems should be written for children.
  • You may submit up to 3 poems with a maximum length of 40 lines for each poem.
  • Poems must be the original work of the entrant.
  • Poems should be word processed.
  • Poems are regarded as copies and cannot be returned.
  • Your name should not be included with your poem(s). The poem(s) should be submitted in an envelope accompanied by a separate sealed envelope giving your name, connection with the University, contact address and either the title or first line of your poem(s).


Entries to the Raymond Wilson Poetry Prize, may be sent to the competition administrator: Chris Tibbenham, Institute of Education, University of Reading, London Road Campus, RG1 5EX.

Queries about any aspect of the competition can be addressed to Stephanie Sharp: