Institute of Education

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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.

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We Dr Yota Dimitriadiare delighted to announce that Dr Yota Dimitriadi has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance HE (previously the Higher Education Academy).

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme raises the profile of teaching and learning at a national level, recognising and celebrating individuals who make an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession.

National Teaching Fellows play an ongoing role in enhancing teaching and learning within their institution, the higher education sector and further afield.

As well as working with the next generation of Computer Science teachers, Dr Yota Dimitriadi helps students across Education programmes at the Institute of Education (IoE) to reflect on the uses of digital technologies to enhance classroom learning and self-care practices.

“I am delighted and humbled to have been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship. The NTF nomination provided this amazing platform to celebrate collaborations with internal and external learning communities. My heartfelt thank you to the University for offering me this unique opportunity to share my story and to all, students and colleagues, who have supported me on my journey. As a recipient of this prestigious award and member of this amazing group of educational leaders I am inspired to pursue more opportunities for teaching and learning collaborations and community engagement”.

Dr Dimitriadi champions Technology Enhanced Learning in the Institute of Education, and supported Reading and other universities to respond to a shift in teaching from Information Communication Technology to Computing in 2014. In addition, Yota was involved in setting up the Computing Network of Excellence and helped establish the University of Reading’s Institute of Education as a key player in the policy and practice of teaching Computing at schools.

Dr Dimitriadi also contributes to international efforts to encourage more women to participate in STEM subjects. She worked as the Lead Academic in a pioneering Knowledge Transfer Project between the University of Reading and the World Association for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which provided thousands of young women around the world with opportunities to develop their leadership skills.

You can find further information about all our National Teaching Fellows, here.

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On 28 May 2019, we celebrated the inspiring women finishing the Marvellous Mums and Marvellous Me programmes (https://research.reading.ac.uk/education/marvellous-mums/), as they all received their certificates of completion from the Vice Chancellor, Professor Robert Van de Noort.

The programmes were created by Professor Carol Fuller and Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos, with funding from the University of Reading, and in partnership with Whitley Community Development Association, Sure Start, and the Reading job centre and with support from Alok Sharma.

Providing sessions, including goal setting and practical support, such as interview techniques to women from the local community, the overall goal of the course is to promote greater self-confidence for those on both programmes.

Professor Carol Fuller opened the certificate presentations with a few words:  

I am delighted we have funding from the University of Reading to run this programme and that we work with some amazing local organisations.”

She continued:

We are so happy to be empowering women to define their own paths in life. For me the work we do here is one of the biggest joys of my job and I’m lucky to have met you. I’m inspired by your stories and your drive on a daily basis, and feel so invested in your development. We are a community that support each other long beyond the end of the course and I’m always here for you all! We also hope that any children here today will see what you’ve accomplished and be inspired as much as we have been.”

Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice Chancellor of the University also said: 

University is for everyone and should be accessible by everyone. We are determined to make the University of Reading a University for Reading as well.”

Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos proceeded to call each member up to collect their certificates, in some cases the children present took the certificates for themselves which resulted in many giggles.

 

The event ended with lunch to further celebrate with Professor Carol Fuller and Dr Maria Kambouri-Danos and talk to the Vice Chancellor.

We’d just like to say congratulations once again to these Marvellous individuals. We can’t wait to see what you do next!

 

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An athlete and trainee teacher at the University of Reading says he is grateful for the support that allowed him to compete alongside Olympians at the recent international rowing championships.

Francis Highton represented Team GB at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Canada in October, after being given special permission to take time out of his studies by both the University of Reading and Wexham School in Slough, where he is carrying out his placement.

This allowed the 27-year-old to compete alongside high-profile athletes like Zoe de Toledo, the British rowing cox who won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and Louisa Reeve, who represented Great Britain at Beijing 2018 and London 2012, as well as winning bronze at two World Championships.

Francis is studying at the University’s Institute of Education and specialises in secondary Geography. He admitted juggling his studies and being a competitive athlete was a challenge, but was thrilled at being given the opportunity to do so.

When asked why he wanted to teach Geography Francis said: “Geography  interconnects with every subject – literature, languages, history, science, physical education, all of it. I’d like to help students realise this and use this knowledge to make a real difference!”

Francis, from Henley-on-Thames, continued: “It’s been a balancing act and it’s quite hard – harder than I expected. Lesson planning this year has been a lot more time consuming than studying, and I have that extra responsibility of focusing on my students. But I’m managing so far. Everyone is quite invested in how I’m doing and seem to really care.

As soon as I got the opportunity to compete in Canada I spoke to the University and Wexham School. Being given permission to travel earlier allowed me to give my all in the race. I was even given the opportunity to speak to the school about the experience.

It was quite humbling to be next to athletes who have made it to that level. Their knowledge base is really impressive so you can’t help but learn from that.”

Francis finished 7th out of 52 rowers in the Men’s Solo Single at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, between 11-14 October. He followed this up by helping his team to 4th place in the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, US – the world’s biggest two-day rowing event involving more than 11,000 athletes – the following weekend.

The opportunity to compete at both events emerged after Francis was part of the Row Zambezi team that rowed 900km along the Kafue river in Zambia this summer. The charity mission was to raise awareness of issues faced by the Zambezi River Basin and the Kafue river. The team carried out water quality tests and made wildlife observations while raising money to help the WWF and World Rowing build a water research and rowing centre there.

Francis, who started rowing aged 15, said he was particularly pleased with his performance at the Coastal Championships due to his relative lack of experience of coastal rowing.

“It was great to race on the world stage in Vancouver,” he said. “I hadn’t done a lot of coastal rowing and the boats are much bigger and heavier. It was a fantastic experience. To finish seventh in the world at something so new and exciting was great.

Francis is back to studying now but continues to prepare for his next race.”I use the gymnasium at the University of Reading’s London Road campus to do circuit training, and when I am on site I like to go running along the river in Reading, as it is a beautiful town.”

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