Dr Maria Evangelou

Maria became an Honorary Research Fellow on the 1st May 2018. Before that, she was Associate Professor at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. She was the Director for MSc Education; the pathway Leader for the MSc in Child Development and Education; the convener of the Families Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL) Research Group and the co-ordinator of the Departmental Research Theme Language Cognition and Development.

Maria studied at the Faculty of Primary Education at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica Greece and taught in a primary school for 8 years in Greece before moving to England. In 1996 she received a Masters degree in Language and Literature in Education (English as a Mother Tongue; ESRC studentship) from the Institute of Education, University of London. She won an ESRC studentship and obtained a doctorate (D.Phil) from the University of Oxford in 2001 (St Anne’s 1997). In 2008 she completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PG DipLATHE) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Her research has focused on the evaluation of early childhood interventions; the development of children at risk of educational underachievement; the language and literacy development in early years; enhancing parental engagement in children’s learning; parenting education and support; the effects of home learning environment and quality learning environments; early years professional development; the methodological issues involved in research; and the role of evidence-based practices in education. Her methodological expertise covers longitudinal studies, quasi-experimental designs, mixed methods and systematic reviews.

Maria’s research has focused predominantly on the evaluation of early childhood interventions. Through a series of four studies, she has used complementary and rigorous methodologies to explore different aspects of the effectiveness of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP). PEEP is a birth to five intervention that aims to improve the life chances of children from a disadvantaged area of Oxford by raising their educational achievement through working with their families. The research findings contribute to the evidence-base on which the provision of early childhood interventions maybe considered. She has led many large studies evaluating parenting programmes including the Birth to School Study (BTSS) and the Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project (ELPP). Maria was awarded the Brian Simon Educational Research Fellowship from the British Educational Research Association (BERA) for 2006/7 for the project: A systematic review on ‘hard-to-reach’ families. During 2009 she led the literature review on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional development that provided part of an evidence-base which informed the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum in England in 2010. She was one of the Principal Investigators on a major longitudinal mixed methods National Evaluation of Children’s Centres (2009-2015) project studying their impact on children and families. She was leading the parenting strand of the evaluation. The study was funded by the Department of Education (DfE) and was carried out jointly between the University of Oxford, NatCen, and Frontier Economics. She is currently involved in four research projects funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and one funded by Horizon 2020.

She frequently reviews papers for submission to many national and international journals including the: British Educational Research Journal; British Journal of Educational Psychology; Children and Youth Services Review; Children and Youth Services Review; Early Childhood Research Quarterly; Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development; International Journal of Early Years Education; International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders; Journal of Early Childhood Research; Journal of Educational Psychology; Learning Culture and Social Interaction; Learning Media and Technology; Oxford Review of Education; and Research in Comparative Education. She also reviews research grant applications and end of an award reports for the ESRC and for the Irish Council for children with Special Needs.

Completed Doctoral Students
• Dr Alex Baron (2017) Retooling the approach to students’ self-regulation development in early childhood: An analysis of the Tools of the Mind curricula effects
• Dr Boby Ho-Hong Ching (2016) Contributions of the understanding of the part-whole relationships in additive reasoning to children’s success in story problem solving: A longitudinal study
• Dr Gillian Lake (2015) Let’s Talk! Supporting children’s oral language through sustained planned pretend play and storybook reading in the early years
• Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis (2015) Is this the right room for an argument? The effects of an internet-based argumentation intervention on self-regulated learning, achievement and progress in young adolescents in England.
• Dr Lindsay Burton (2011) Community-Based Early Learning in Solomon Islands: Cultural and Contextual Dilemmas Influencing Program Sustainability.
• Dr Ebrahim Talaee (2010) Patterns of Home Computer Use and their Relationships with Children’s School Achievement and Social Behavioural Development.
• Dr Eleni P. Soukakou (2007) AERA shared Best Thesis award (2009) Assessment of quality of classroom practices in inclusive preschool settings: Development and validation of a new observation measure.

Current Doctoral Students
• Denny Vildiridou (Co-supervisor): An exploration of museum pedagogical approaches and practices: An in-depth case study of museum educators in two museums in Oxford
• Hanako Shimamura (2nd supervisor): Teacher-child relationships – self regulation, social emotional skills, and academic achievement: comparing two different kindergarten programmes
• Nardos Tesfay (started 2012) (Co-supervisor) – Opportunities to learn: the effects of poverty on children’s development and learning in Ethiopia.
• Xi Lian (2nd supervisor): The English language learning outcomes at primary school level of young EFL learners in China
• Lauren Burton (Co-supervisor): The spelling of a word does not always parallel with the way it sounds: the importance of teaching children morphological spelling rules
• Yu Wing (Brad) Chan (2nd supervisor) Transfer of phonological and morphological awareness in Chinese Children Receiving English Instruction: An intervention
• Zhen Zheng (2nd supervisor) The Collaborative function of Oral Form, Written Form, and Meaning in Chinese Children’s Learning of English Vocabulary

Books

  • Murphy, V.A., Evangelou, M (2016) Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages. London: British Council.

Book chapters

  • Evangelou, M, Goff, J, Sylva, K, Sammons, P, Smith, T, Hall, J, Eisenstadt, N (2017) “Children's centres: An English intervention for families living in disadvantaged communities”, In: Handbook on Positive Development of Minority Children and Youth. 455-470
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43645-6_27

  • Murphy, VA, Evangelou, M, Goff, J, Tracz, R (2016) “European perspectives on early childhood education and care in English for speakers of other languages”, In: V Murphy, M Evangelou (eds.) Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages. London: British Council.

  • Evangelou, M, Wild, M (2014) “Connecting home and educational play: Interventions that support children's learning”, In: The SAGE Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood. 378-390
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473907850.n32

  • Evangelou, M, Brooks, G, Smith, S (2011) “The Birth to School Study: evidence on the effectiveness of PEEP, an early intervention for children at risk of educational under-achievement”, In: K Pahl, J Rowsell (eds.) Early Childhood Literacy. London: SAGE Publications.

  • Good, J, Kucirkova, N, Sylva, K, Evangelou, M, Goff, JC (2008) “Enhancing Parental Involvement: the parent sub-sample”, In: M Evangelou, K Sylva, A Edwards, T Smith (eds.) DCSF Research Report RR039 - Supporting Parents in Promoting Early Learning: The evaluation of the early learning partnership project. 84-110

Conference papers

  • Sylva, K, Evangelou, M, Smith, T, Good, J, Goff, JC (2008) Parents and their children’s learning: practices and processes. (London)

  • Evangelou, M, Wild, M Parents’ Perspectives on Childcare Quality: Exploring Ways of Measurement. (Birmingham)

  • Evangelou, M Parents’ Perspectives on Childcare Quality. (Greece)

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K Presentation to the National Strategies Group. (London)

  • Evangelou, M Room to Play: Working with ‘hard-to-reach’ families in their children’s learning. (Manchester)

  • Evangelou, M, Taggart, B, Sylva, K, Melhuish, E, Sammons, P, Siraj-Blatchford, I What makes a Successful Transition from Primary to Secondary School?. (Edinburgh)

  • Wild, M, Evangelou, M Getting the Balance Right: the Role of the Adult in Supporting Children’s Early Learning. (Porto)

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K, Wild, M, Glenny, G Evidence Base for the 2010 Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage. (Invited presentation to the National Strategies group)

  • Evangelou, M, Touloumakos, A, Lake, G The Role of HLE in Language and Literacy Outcomes at Ages 4 and 5. (Munich)

  • Evangelou, M, Sammons, P, Taggart, B, Sylva, K, Melhuish, E, Siraj, I What makes a successful transition from primary to secondary school in England?. (Limassol, Cyprus)

  • Evangelou, M, Sammons, P, Goff, J, Hall, J, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Smith, G, Eisenstadt, N, Smees, R The Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England: Delivering services through a UK family intervention. (Limassol, Cyprus)

  • Evangelou, M The Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England: Parenting Services in Children’s Centres. (Jyväskylä, Finland)

  • Evangelou, M Evaluation of Sure Start Children’s Centres in England: Delivery of Family Services. (German Youth Institute, Munich)

  • Evangelou, M Supporting children’s learning through parent-child interventions: Evidence from England. (Hanover)

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K, Edwards, A, Smith, T Lessons for Workforce Development in ELPP. (London)

  • Evangelou, M, Taggart, B, Sylva, K, Melhuish, E, Sammons, P, Siraj-Blatchford, I EPPE 3-14: Transition between primary & secondary school: Evidence from the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project.

  • Evangelou, M Birth to School Study: The methodology of the long-term longitudinal evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP). (Warwick)

  • Evangelou, M, Smith, S Effects of a Birth to School programme: Findings from the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP). (Cardiff)

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K Foundation PEEP: Evidence from a Short-term Longitudinal Evaluation. (London)

  • Evangelou, M New Evidence: Birth to School Literacy Intervention. (Welsh Assembly: Wales)

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K New Evidence: Birth to School Literacy Intervention. (Warwick)

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K Mothers’ qualifications & children’s literacy outcomes – a target for interventions?. (Exeter)

  • Evangelou, M Involving Parents with their Children’s Learning: Evidence from Research. (Oxford Brookes University and Oxfordshire Early Years Unit: Oxford)

  • Evangelou, M Self-esteem of children at risk of educational underachievement: Findings from the longitudinal evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP). (Warwick)

  • Evangelou, M The Early Childhood Foundation Stage: Views from near and far. Celebrating 10 years of the Families Early Learning and Literacy (FELL) Research Group. (Oxford: Department of Education)

  • Evangelou, M, Coxon, K, Sylva, K Reaching ‘Hard to Reach’ families: Findings from the second phase of a three year evaluation project. (London)

  • Evangelou, M Effects of a pre-school programme on children at risk of educational underachievement. (Paris)

  • Evangelou, M The impact of a family focused early intervention on the cognitive development of young children: Evidence from a local evaluation. (London)

  • Evangelou, M, Smith, S Reaching ‘Hard to Reach’ families: evaluation of a shop-front programme in a shopping centre. (Warwick)

  • Evangelou, M “Supporting Parents in Promoting Early Learning: The Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project FPI Disseminating ELPP findings to Practitioners”, Leeds.

Journal articles

  • Soukakou, E, Evangelou, M, Holbrooke, B (2018) “Inclusive Classroom Profile: a pilot study of its use as a professional development tool”, International Journal of Inclusive Education.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1416188

  • McLean, K, Edwards, S, Evangelou, M, Lambert, P (2018) “Supported playgroups in schools: bonding and bridging family knowledge about transition to formal schooling”, CAMBRIDGE JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. 48(2) 157-175.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2016.1268569

  • Soukakou, E, Evangelou, M, Holbrooke, B (2018) “Inclusive Classroom Profile: a pilot study of its use as a professional development tool”, International Journal of Inclusive Education. 1-12.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1416188

  • McLean, K, Edwards, S, Evangelou, M, Skouteris, H, Harrison, LJ, Hemphill, SA, Sullivan, P, Lambert, P (2017) “Playgroups as sites for parental education”, Journal of Early Childhood Research. 15(3) 227-237.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1476718X15595753

  • Hall, J, Sammons, P, Sylva, K, Evangelou, M, Eisenstadt, N, Smith, T, Smith, G (2016) “Disadvantaged families are at greatest risk from austerity cuts to children's centres.”, BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 352 i897+.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i897

  • Evangelou, M (2015) “International perspectives on transition to school: reconceptualising beliefs, policy and practice”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES. 63(1) 114-115.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2015.1006966

  • Hall, J, Eisenstadt, N, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Sammons, P, Smith, G, Evangelou, M, Goff, J, Tanner, E, Agur, M, Hussey, D (2015) “A review of the services offered by English Sure Start Children's Centres in 2011 and 2012”, OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION. 41(1) 89-104.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03054985.2014.1001731

  • Evangelou, M, Coxon, K, Sylva, K, Smith, S, Chan, LLS (2013) “Seeking to Engage 'Hard-to-Reach' Families: Towards a Transferable Model of Intervention”, CHILDREN & SOCIETY. 27(2) 127-138.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1099-0860.2011.00387.x

  • Evangelou, M, Coxon, K, Sylva, K, Smith, S, Chan, LLS (2013) “Seeking to Engage 'Hard-to-Reach' Families: Towards a Transferable Model of Intervention”, Children and Society. 27(2) 127-138.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1099-0860.2011.00387.x

  • Goff, J, Evangelou, M, Sylva, K (2012) “Enhancing parents' ways of supporting their children's early learning through participation in an early-intervention project in the UK: The Early Learning Partnership Project”, ZEITSCHRIFT FUR FAMILIENFORSCHUNG. 24(2) 160-177.

  • Boag-Munroe, G, Evangelou, M (2012) “From hard to reach to how to reach: A systematic review of the literature on hard-to-reach families”, RESEARCH PAPERS IN EDUCATION. 27(2) 209-239.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2010.509515

  • Evangelou, M, Boag-Munroe, G (2009) “A Systematic Review of the Literature on how ‘hard-to-reach’families might be engaged to reduce social exclusion”, researchintelligence. (22)

  • Evangelou, M, Brooks, G, Smith, S (2007) “The Birth to School Study: evidence on the effectiveness of PEEP, an early intervention for children at risk of educational under-achievement”, OXFORD REVIEW OF EDUCATION. 33(5) 581-609.
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03054980701476477

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K (2007) “Evidence on effective early childhood interventions from the United Kingdom: An evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP)”, Early Childhood Research and Practice. 9(1)

  • Evangelou, M, Scollo, P (2004) “Studying teachers in early childhood settings”, BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL STUDIES. 52(3) 330-332.

Posters

  • Motraghi, TE, Evangelou, M, Spencer, TD (2013) The effects of a preschool-based story grammar intervention on 4- and 5-year-old children’s story retelling, language production and language comprehension skills: A randomised controlled study.

Reports

  • Sylva, K, Goff, JC, Eisenstadt, N, Smith, T, Hall, J, Evangelou, M, Smith, G, Sammons, P (2015) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE, Strand 3): Organisation, Services and Reach of Children’s Centres. London: DfE.

  • Sammons, P, Hall, J, Smees, R, Goff, J, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Evangelou, M, Eisenstadt, N, Smith, G (2015) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). Strand 4: The Impact of Children’s Centres: Studying the Effects of Children’s Centres in Promoting Better Outcomes for Young Children and their Families. London: DfE.

  • Sammons, PM, Smees, R, Hall, J, Goff, J, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Evangelou, M, Eisenstadt, N, Smith, G (2015) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). Strand 4: Managing change and resourcing for Children’s Centres. London: DfE.

  • Sammons, PM, Smees, R, Hall, J, Goff, J, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Evangelou, M, Eisenstadt, N, Smith, G (2015) Changes in resourcing and characteristics of children’s centres. Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE, Strand 4) – Additional research report. London: Department for Education.

  • Evangelou, M, Goff, JC, Hall, J, Sylva, K, Eisenstadt, N, Paget, C, Davis, S, Sammons, P, Smith, T, Tracz, R, Parkin, T (2014) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England - Strand 3: Parenting Services in Children's Centres. London: DfE.

  • Evangelou, M, Edwards, A (2013) Developing Preventative Services in Oxfordshire. University of Oxford: Department of Education.

  • Maisey, R, Speight, S, Haywood, S, Hall, J, Sammons, P, Hussey, D, Goff, JC, Evangelou, M, Sylva, K (2013) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE) - Strand 2: Baseline Survey of Families Using Children’s Centres in the Most Disadvantaged Areas. London: DfE.

  • Evangelou, M, Goff, J, Hall, J, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Smith, G, Eisenstadt, N, Sammons, P, Smees, R, Chu, K (2013) “Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). Strand 3: Delivery of Family Services by Children’s Centres”, In: Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). London: DfE.

  • Tanner, E, Agur, M, Hussey, D, Hall, J, Sammons, P, Sylva, K, Smith, T, Evangelou, M, Flint, A (2012) “Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). Strand 1: First Survey of Children’s Centre Leaders in the Most Deprived Areas”, In: Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE). London: DfE.

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K, Kyriacou, M, Wild, M, Glenney, G (2009) Early Years Learning and Development Literature Review. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K, Edwards, A, Smith, T (2008) Supporting Parents in Promoting Early Learning: The Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.

  • Evangelou, M, Taggart, B, Sylva, K, Melhuish, E, Sammons, P (2008) Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education 3-14 Project (EPPSE 3-14). What Makes a Successful Transition from Primary to Secondary School?. Nottingham: DCSF Publications.

  • Evangelou, M, Coxon, K, Sylva, K (2008) Sutton Trust Evaluation Project (STEP): Phase 3 Research Report, An Evaluation of PEEP Provision for “excluded” families: Room to Play. University of Oxford: Department of Education.

  • Evangelou, M, Brooks, G, Smith, S, Jennings, D, Roberts, F (2005) The Birth to School Study: A longitudinal evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) 1998-2005. London: DfES.

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K, Taylor, R, Rothwell, A, Brooks, G (2004) Enabling Parents: the role of PEEP in supporting parents as adult learners. University of Oxford: Department of Education.

  • Evangelou, M, Sylva, K (2003) The Effects of the Peers Early Educational Partnership (PEEP) on Children’s Developmental Progress. London: DFES Publications.

Category

  • Honorary Research Fellow

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Publications, books and other work