Calling all UG students! Don’t miss your chance to have your say.

We want to ensure that you have everything you need to succeed in your studies and have a great time at university. That is why we take the National Student Survey (NSS) and other surveys extremely seriously – it means we can listen, understand and act on your views. 

We are listening!

“Every child has a right to achieve their full potential.” IoE researcher to be key speaker at Westminster symposium examining childhood equality

Dr Carol Fuller of the IoE

“There are unfair barriers hindering some young people,” says Dr Carol Fuller of the University of Reading’s Institute of Education (IoE).

The educational sociologist suggests that in the formal atmosphere of our current schooling system, with its focus on academic performance above all else, some children can feel they are a failure and just don’t belong.

She and other academics from the field of childhood learning will present a provoking symposium in February that will look at how greater equality can be promoted through education so that both children and society can benefit. Organisers will question the long term impact of our current education system that prioritises academic performance over other important skills.

Portcullis House, Westminster which will host February’s childhood symposium

Carol and her colleagues are set to share their important – and sometimes startling – findings on childhood equality and well-being at the event, titled “Promoting Educational Equality: from the bottom to the top”.

They hope that the discussions and ideas shared during the symposium at Westminster’s Portcullis House on 27 February 2018, will help start a movement that will eventually redress social inequality in children’s educational experiences. 

Carol says:

I am very much informed by my research and the idea that every child has a right to achieve their full potential. But there unfair barriers do exist and my work looks at how resilience, confidence and self-efficacy can aid children break down those barriers. Not only is it the right of every child to achieve their full potential but this naturally has benefits for society as they become contributing adults.

“In the research I am working on with the Ufton Court Education Trust, we are scrutinising the role of outdoor residential experiences on under achieving students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. We are exploring whether these activities have an impact on the children’s educational attainment. The impetus for this research was my longstanding ambition to help children achieve and become the best they can be.”

Carol is passionate about how children’s personal achievements can not only help the youngsters themselves but also benefit society as a whole, producing more resilient, productive adults. Raising the aspiration and achievement of all children and in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds must be achieved to reach a fairer and more balanced society, she believes.

Carol’s Ufton Court research has seen the study group of children developing the confidence to speak up and participate, sometimes to a startling degree, in a way they wouldn’t have in the traditional classroom.

What is powerfully interesting is seeing how these positive effects translate back in the classroom, producing statistically significant outcomes. Persuasive anecdotal evidence is also pointing to the activities having an all-round benefit to the children’s lives outside of school too.

The Promoting Equality symposium will focus on how best to encourage much greater equality via what organisers term a “bottom up approach to education as well as a more holistic approach to learning”.

This approach can be reinforced by resilience building activities such as those Carol is exploring in her research at Ufton Court. Not only could this improve educational outcomes, but in looking forward, it could also support children’s mental well-being – an increasing area of concern – and the character traits needed to succeed both at school and in adult life.

So how do we foster the qualities that support young people in meeting life’s changing demands? What skills and knowledge will they need to succeed educationally?

This research-led event will examine these issues closely and look at the value of alternative places and spaces for learning with a particular focus on children and young people who, for differing reasons, can face a future of disadvantage and marginalisation. The symposium will draw on a range of expertise to consider how to ensure a fairer future for all children.

Reserve a place to join these important discussions by emailing

Promoting Educational Equality: from the bottom to the top

Westminster Portcullis House

Attlee Suite

27 February 2018, 2 – 4pm

Music at Reading – Remembrance Festival: Ben Pedley memorial concert

Join the University of Reading Festival Voices and Festival Sinfonia to perform in Karl Jenkins The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace

on Saturday March 10, 7.30 pm, University Great Hall, London Road campus.

Please join the University of Reading Festival Voices and Festival Sinfonia as they perform Karl Jenkins The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace in the Ben Pedley Memorial Concert on Saturday March 10, at the University Great Hall. Students, staff, alumni and community singers and orchestral players are welcome to join for this performance of this modern favourite which depicts the horrors of war, and conveys the urgent need for nations to come together in peace.

The rehearsals for the Remembrance Festival are 9.30am – 4.30pm Saturday 10 February and 24 February at the University of Reading London Road campus. Parking is free, and drinks will be provided. Please bring your own lunch. The dress rehearsal is 2 – 5 pm, and the concert is at 7.30 in the University Great Hall. Participation fees are £15 for students currently studying at University or school; and £20 for University of Reading staff and alumni, and community participants. Click here to book your place to perform in the Remembrance festival. Tickets for the Ben Pedley Memorial concert are £12 / £8 (concessions) and may be purchased in the online ticket store

This concert is the culmination of our Remembrance Festival marking the centenary of World War One. We commemorate the life of Ben Pedley, a second year Chemistry student who died in a road traffic accident in 2017. We present music that was meaningful to Ben in the first half of the programme, celebrating his love of a diverse range of songs and piano music. The second half of the concert is a performance of Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man, A Mass for Peace, which is conducted by Patrick Barrett, the University Chamber Choir director.

Event organiser: 

Dr Rebecca Berkley       

Artistic Director Music@Reading, Director Academic Voices, Universal Voices

University of Reading, Institute of Education, London Road Campus, 4 Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX | T: + 44(0) 118 378 2694 | E:| W: 



Discover your future at Train to Teach evening 21 February

Are you considering a career in teaching?

Perhaps you are a teaching assistant, a career changer, or even a qualified teacher looking to return to teaching. Or you may be one of the many excellent teachers trained overseas, looking to enter the UK market – or indeed you may be graduating in Summer 2018.

Whoever you are, you are warmly invited by the University of Reading (ranked 3rd in UK for Education*), TeachSlough** and Upton Court Grammar School in Berkshire to a special evening dedicated to those who wish to find out more about getting into primary and secondary teaching.

The evening will be mainly informal; once you have registered your interest in the event via the link below, please feel free to drop in, meet the team and to find out more!

Join us on 21 February 4.30- 6.30 at Upton Court to discover the fields of teaching opportunities available to you.

TeachSlough** has a wide range of excellent training opportunities for teaching, both in primary and secondary schools. The Train to Teach evening will showcase these prospects and encourage anyone who has an interest in teaching to get to know the field, chat to the experts from both Upton Court and the University of Reading and find out what route would suit them best.

Come along to our event to meet the experts:

  • University of Reading* tutors.
  • The TeachSlough team
  • Specialist mentors from our partnership schools as well as from other local training partnerships


Train to Teach Wednesday 21st February 2018, 4.30pm – 6.30pm Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Slough SL3 7PR

Please confirm your attendance via this link

For more information, please contact:

Manni Sanghera Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Upton Berkshire SL3 7PR /


*Guardian University League Table 2018: University of Reading ranked 3rd in UK for Education

**TeachSlough School Direct Teacher Training is provided in Slough Partnership schools, working together with the University of Reading. All courses lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You can also opt to do the PGCE course, which leads to 60 Masters credits. You may be eligible for a salaried place, or a bursary.


Mathematics and stories? A transformative approach to teaching and learning mathematics


Dr. Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai

The idea of using story-picture books in mathematics lessons may sound eccentric to some, and yet this is precisely what Dr. Natthapoj Vincent Trakulphadetkrai, Lecturer in Primary Mathematics Education at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education (IoE), has been advocating over the past few years. You can read more about Vincent’s research and the initiative that he founded in this series of monthly blogs highlighting key research activities here at the IoE.


Why mathematical story-picture books?

“You don’t learn to cook through having swimming lessons – why are maths and English different?” – I came across this interesting quote when I was going through questionnaire data of one of my pilot research projects, which set out to explore teachers’ perceptions on using stories in mathematics teaching. In fact, this teacher was not alone. Other teachers shared her view: “Tenuous links” and “It won’t happen, Maths and English don’t mix”. These perceptions are very important to me as a mathematics education researcher and as a mathematics specialist teacher educator because, in my view, they represent misconceptions that need to be urgently addressed.


These past few years, I have been communicating to as many in- and pre-service teachers as I can to highlight to them that story-picture books, when used effectively, can be an incredibly powerful mathematics teaching and learning tool. Specifically, the narrative component can help children to contexualise mathematical concepts in everyday scenarios in a way that children can become emotionally invested in, while page illustrations can help them to visualise the mathematical concepts in question. Meanwhile, children also have opportunities to practise using both mathematical terms and general vocabularies that they find in the story – an important connection to be made particularly when my other research project found significant correlation between children’s language abilities and their mathematical word problem solving performance.


What is

When I further explored the rest of the questionnaire data – this time with a focus on teachers’ perceived barrier to the integration of stories in their mathematics instruction, a large number of teachers in my study expressed that they had either never heard of the approach (i.e. the use of stories in mathematics teaching) or that they liked the idea, but did not know any mathematical story-picture books that they can use. These views prompted me to create, which contains the world’s largest database of recommendations for 500+ mathematical story-picture books. The website also features lesson plans, book reviews and exclusive interviews with some of the world’s most popular authors of these stories.  


In the short span of ten months since the launch of the website in March 2017, has now been viewed nearly 100,000 times by over 15,000 teachers and parents from more than 130 countries globally. Not only have I been amazed by these statistics, I have also been fascinated by the way teachers and parents actively help to promote my initiative and its website among their peers and fellow parents.


This blog entry is not intended to give you a detailed report of my research as it can be found elsewhere. What I hope to achieve, with this blog entry, is to simply raise an awareness of the potential pedagogical benefits of mathematical story-picture books. If you like what you have read so far, I should be grateful if you could help to promote the website in whichever way you can!  


You can find out more about this transformative approach to teaching and learning mathematics either on the website, or the upcoming Special Issue (Summer 2018) of The Mathematical Association’s Primary Mathematics journal that Vincent edits,  or from a book chapter called ‘Bringing Mathematics Alive through Stories’ which Vincent is the lead author in an upcoming edited book, titled ‘The Strength of Story in Early Childhood Development – Diverse Contexts across Domains’ to be published by Springer later in 2018.









Ready to recharge your batteries, meet other NQTs and receive some up-to-date training?  We would be delighted to see you at our seventh annual NQT conference, for primary and secondary NQTs.

Alongside opportunities for professional contacts with peers, the conference will provide you with valuable subject-specific workshops, as well as addressing different educational themes.  You will have the opportunity to visit MERL (The Museum of English Rural Life) and the renowned Learning Hub here at our London Road campus.

A great afternoon with lots of happy NQTs, who had fun meeting up with colleagues and staff, and who took away a plethora of good ideas from the workshops.” 

NQT Conference 2017

Stephanie Sharp, tutor and organiser, looks back on last year’s NQT Conference. 

Workshop selection may be made when the final Programme Workshops 2018, containing topics and synopses, is sent to you.


WHEN:  Wednesday 24 january 2018  |  13.00 – 18:00
WHERE: Institute of Education, London Road campus Redlands Road, RG1 5EX
COST (includes refreshments and lunch): 

£40 online if you book and pay on-line by credit/debit card:  

£50 if you require invoice: e-mail  with the subject heading: NQT Conference 2018 invoice request.


12:45    Lunch, registration, networking, workshop sign-up and welcome

13:30    Workshops Session One

14:45    Workshops Session Two

16:15    Workshops Session Three

17:15    Subject drop-in and networking with NQTs and tutors

18:00    End


Interested in a career in teaching?

Interested in a career in teaching? Come to our partnership Trinity School’s Train to Teach event on Thursday 4th January 2018, 6pm-8pm, to find out more. IoE experts will be on hand, talking teaching alongside Trinity School, Speenhamland School and Fir Tree Newbury to learn how to get into teaching.

To attend, please contact Gemma Adams on 01635 510500 or email


Trinity School
Love Lane
Berkshire RG14 2DU




Considering a career in teaching? Come to the “Get into Teaching Information Evening”, hosted by the Bracknell Forest Partnership.

Raymond Wilson boy reading

Do you want to train to teach in primary and secondary schools with the best in our profession? Whether you are changing career paths, a recent graduate, in a different role in education, or trained overseas, you can discover the excellent opportunities to train to teach in our secondary and primary school centred programmes.

Train with the best in our successful Partnership schools in collaboration with University of Reading (one of the top teacher-training providers nationally). Understand why we are passionate about teaching and what you need to do to become a teacher. Meet our school-based trainers and mentors, university tutors, current trainees, newly qualified and experienced teachers.

Live outside Bracknell? Primary and Secondary teacher training providers from across Berkshire will also be there.

For further information and to confirm your attendance, please email:

“An inclusive education system at all levels” – what does this mean today? Dr Tim Williams examines the facts versus the declarations

The Salamanca declaration (UNESCO, 1994) is often thought to mark a turning point in the move towards inclusive education. It declared that education was right for all and that the education should take place in regular education settings. It has been reinforced by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (aka CRPD – UN, 2006) which asserted that “States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels” (Article 24 of CRPD). Ten years after this, the UN took stock of the situation and showed that 87% of UN Member States had ratified the convention (weblink).  Figure 1 shows the status of the convention around the world.

Figure 1 Taken from the weblink above, this map shows the legal status of the CRPD. Most of Europe is coloured orange which indicates the highest level of agreement with the CRPD and its optional protocol.

My interest in this topic had however been piqued earlier because a friend of mine began work for the European Agency for Special Needs Education which publishes data on the extent of inclusive education in a number of member countries through a biennial survey. When I looked at the data tables in the surveys I was struck by how different the levels of inclusive education were across the jurisdictions of Europe. I have carefully used the word “jurisdiction” here because nation states do not necessarily have unified education systems. For instance in the UK there are four education systems which are evolving differently  (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales). In Germany each of the Länder have their own education policies and so on. So my first step was to look at the data. I chose as an indication of inclusive education to display fully segregated education which is the converse of inclusive education because I naïvely believed that the data would look much the same whereas the definition of inclusive education is less clear. Some forms of inclusive education simply educate the children with SEN in the same buildings as other pupils even though they have little contact with each other. Other systems use inclusive education to mean that children with SEN are educated in the same classrooms and following the same curriculum at the same time.

According to the latest survey data the percentage of pupils with Special Educational Needs in fully separate education settings varies between 100% in Switzerland and 7.11% in Croatia. The data is displayed in figure 2:

Figure 2 Bar Chart showing the Percentage of children with SEN educated in entirely separate settings. The home nations are shown in orange to highlight their differences. Note that some large countries (Belgium, Germany) are not represented in this dataset.

I have been trying to understand why the rates of segregated education are so high in some countries and almost non-existent in others. In the USA researchers have found that school districts with more people in them (largely urban ones) have much higher rates of segregated education than school districts with scattered populations (rural ones). There is however a confound between population density and poverty with more rural communities often having fewer financial resources than urban districts. At the level of jurisdictions as represented in figure 2 we might be able to identify whether there is higher correlation between population wealth and segregation. Alternatively it might represent a problem of geographical distance – populations that are more scattered cannot transport their children to segregated schools which might be several hours travel time away from the child’s home. So I compiled data on rurality from the EU, income levels from the trading economics website and a measure of income inequality (The GINI coefficient) from the World Bank. Unfortunately the correlations between percentage of children in segregated education bear little statistical relationship  to any of these indices: Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (Segregation-GDP per head) = 0.17, p = 0.88; Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (segregation-GINI coefficient) = 0.03, p=0.88;  Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (Segregation-rurality index) = -0.04.

There are a couple of other factors that might be significant but which are not obvious from the data presented so far. Using the 2008 dataset on the levels of inclusive education shows that Italy is statistically different from the other jurisdictions – see figure 3. Why might this be so?

Figure 3 shows the proportion of children with SEN educated in inclusive settings in the primary age range. The only point that is labelled is Italy which has nearly 100% of its pupils with SEN in inclusive settings. The plot is a double square root plot which compares the square root of the number of pupils with SEND at primary age in inclusive settings (vertical axis) with the square root of the number of pupils with SEN of primary age in segregated settings (horizontal axis).

Data on the trends of inclusive education in Europe are instructive. They show that Italy has always had an exceptional percentage of children with SEN in inclusive settings throughout the 21st century. This probably because legislation in Italy to promote inclusive education started in 1971 and in 1992 legislated to include all pupils in inclusive settings with the exception of a few schools for the deaf and/or blind that pre-existed the legislation.

In Germany the situation mirrors that of Europe more generally. The Ministers of Education of all the Federal Länder agreed in 2010 to promote inclusive education. There is a wide variation between the Länder in the proportion of pupils educated in specialist segregated settings. Figure 4 shows the percentages of children educated in inclusive settings.

Figure 4 The percentages of primary age children with SEN in inclusive settings grouped by Land (Province). The greatest proportion of children educated in inclusive settings is seen in Bremen, with hte least in Bayern and Hessen. The bars in colour represent those Länder studied by Blanck, Edelstein & Powell (2013).

This data distribution is strikingly similar to the data from Europe displayed in figure 2. Blanck, Edelstein and Powell (2013) argued that the differences between the Länder might be due to institutional inertia and the presence of powerful forces resisting change not due to ideology, but potentially because of their financial and human investments in segregated education. They discuss four possible mechanisms for the persistence or otherwise of segregated education:

  1. Functional reproduction – the existing institutions continue to exist because there is no advantage to change from providing segregated education to providing inclusive education. The segregated institutions continue to provide all the examples of education of children with SEN so other forms of education are not able to demonstrate their abilities to be effective educators.
  2. Power-based reproduction – existing institutions have power because they have sequestered to themselves the knowledge necessary for effective special education and therefore they do not actively promote an inclusive model, and promote a segregated one;
  3. Law based reproduction – the system of laws may maintain a segregated system of education for SEN. Conversely, if a jurisdiction decides to enforce inclusive education (e.g. Italy) then inclusive education will spread.
  4. Utilitarian reproduction – essentially a financial argument for stability of maintaining a system of segregated education since the costs of change are too high.

In the German examples chosen by Blanck et al. (2013) there were very clear differences between the Länder. In Schleswig-Holstein, the Education minister determined as early as 1988 that inclusive education would be the route for the education of children with SEN. The educational professionals also developed training to enable inclusive education, thus weakening the power based reproductive stability. The authors point out that Bayern has long held itself apart as a separate entity within the German Federation and the traditions of education have been more closely linked to religious influences than elsewhere. In particular the Roman Catholic Church had invested heavily in providing charitable activities such as specialist and segregated education for children with SEN. The control of the Ministry of Education of local officials was seen as weaker since they had little local data on which to base their decisions.


The two sets of data (Europe, Germany) taken together show that important disparities in the success of inclusive education may arise. The data available do not suggest that the persistence of segregated education is due to economic factors, but rather as Blanck et al. (2013) have argued there are more “sociological” reasons for the success or otherwise of inclusive education. In this context one might note that Italy was also a major player in developing radical implementations’ of community (integrated) care for all people with mental illness (e.g. Reali & Shapland, 1986) including those that found themselves in police cells. In the future, it might be instructive to investigate the extent to which the four mechanisms suggested by Blanck et al. (2013) can hinder the changes in policy, or whether as the examples of Italy and Schleswig-Holstein suggest, a strong legislative impulse is also necessary for the abolition of segregated education.



Blanck, J. M., Edelstein, B., & Powell, J. J. (2013). Persistente schulische Segregation oder Wandel zur inklusiven Bildung? Die Bedeutung der UN-Behindertenrechtskonvention für Reformprozesse in den deutschen Bundesländern. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie= Revue Suisse de Sociologie39(5), 267-292.

Reali, M., & Shapland, J. (1986). Breaking down barriers: the work of the community mental health service of Trieste in the prison and judicial settings. International journal of law and psychiatry8(4), 395-412


Dr Tim I. Williams, D.Phil., AFBPsS

Associate Professor, Programme Director for the PGCert SENCo, Pathway Lead for Inclusive Education

HCPC registered Clinical and Educational Psychologist

Accredited Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapist 


Are you an early years practitioner or a TA working in KS1 or KS2? Come and hear about how you could progress your career and achieve a degree whilst working

Our Foundation Degree and BA in Children’s Development and Learning have been running for over 10 years and have helped 100’s of people like you to advance their job prospects. Available to practitioners working with children aged birth to eleven, the courses lead on to a range of postgraduate options, including our Ofsted-acclaimed Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice.

Attending university whilst earning means your work and studies are closely related.  As one of our graduates said, “So much of the teaching is about reflection and improving on your practice.”

An early years teacher needs the highest level of communication skills, a wide spectrum of knowledge and a passion for social justice. It’s a really valuable and important role and is increasingly recognised as such. Research has shown the importance of children’s earliest educational experiences in relation to their chances in life and the impact that highly-qualified staff have on their growth and wellbeing. 

One Early Years graduate described her career as “The most compelling job in the world.”

 We hold regular, free sessions on Early Years careers and degrees here at the IoE’s London Road campus in central Reading.  Our staff have a wealth of experience in nurturing the talent that lies in the children’s workforce. Come and meet our small, friendly team and find out more about what our programmes can offer you.    


Date Time Course being discussed
Monday 4 December 2017 16.00 – 18.00 Foundation Degree in Children’s Development & Learning

BA Children’s Development & Learning

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

Monday 8 January 2018 16.00 – 18.00 Foundation Degree in Children’s Development & Learning

BA Children’s Development & Learning

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

Monday 5 February 2018 16.00 – 18.00 Foundation Degree in Children’s Development & Learning

BA Children’s Development & Learning

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

Monday 5 March 2018 16.00 – 18.00 Foundation Degree in Children’s Development & Learning

BA Children’s Development & Learning

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

Monday 9 April 2018 16.00 -18.00 Foundation Degree in Children’s Development & Learning

BA Children’s Development & Learning

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

Monday 14 May 2018 16.00 – 18.00 Foundation Degree in Children’s Development & Learning

BA Children’s Development & Learning

Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Practice with Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)

To book a place or for any further information please email us on