Department of Education

Maria Evangelou

Honorary Research Fellow

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

Research

Maria’s research has focused predominantly on the evaluation of early childhood interventions.  The completed studies are listed below:

  • Sylva, K., Sammons, P., Evangelou, M., Smith, T., & Stein, A. Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England, DfE/NatCen, 2009-2015 (£1,327,040 allocated to Oxford from a total grant of £4,208,348)
  • Evangelou, M., & Soukakou, E. Measuring the Quality of Inclusive Education Practices in Early Years Settings, John Fell Oxford University and Oxfordshire County Council, 2012- 2013 (£15,000)
  • Edwards, A., & Evangelou, M. Evaluation of Preventative Work within the seven Early Intervention Hubs of Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire County Council, 2012 (£24,850)
  • Edwards, A., &  Evangelou, M. Staff Development within the seven Oxfordshire Preventative hubs, Oxfordshire County Council, 2012 (£20,650)
  • Evangelou, M., Sylva, K., Wild, M., & Glenny, G. Literature Review for the Early Years Foundation Stage, DCSF, 2009 (£49,504)
  • Nabuco, M., Evangelou, M., & Sylva, K. Evaluation of PEEP in Portugal (APAR). Portuguese Science Council, 2007-2010 (€192,800.00)
  • Mathers, S., Sylva, K., & Evangelou, M. Evaluation of the Two-Year-Olds Pilot, sub-grant to main grant held by NatCen. Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2007-2008 (sub-grant £71,600; main grant £1,278,126 to all partners)
  • Evangelou, M., Sylva, K., Edwards, A., & Smith, T. National Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project. Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2007-2009 (£449,584)
  • Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Taggart, B., & Evangelou, M. EPPSE 3-14: Transition from Primary to Secondary School, sub-grant to main grant held by the Institute of Education. DCSF, 2007-2008 (total grant £120,397; Oxford share £96,619)
  • Evangelou, M. “Hard to Reach” families: a systematic review. BERA 2006 (£3000)
  • Evangelou, M. & Sylva, K. Sutton Trust Evaluation Project (STEP). Sutton Trust, 2006-2008 (£60,165)
  • Sylva, K., Evangelou, M. and Mathers, S. in collaboration with the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, IFS and NatCen.  Children’s Centres Feasibility Study, Department for Education and Skills, Oct 2005- June 2006 (£90,000 to all partners)
  • Evangelou, M. & Pring, R. The Birth to School Study (BTSS), Department for Education and Skills, 2003-2005 (£250,000)
  • Sylva, K., Evangelou, M. & Brooks, G. Enabling Parents: an evaluation of parent early education programme (PEEP), Learning and Skills Council, 2002-2004 (£113,000)
  • Evangelou, M. & Pring, R. The Birth to School Study -Oxford Site-, Learning and Skills Council, 2002-2005 (£105,000)
  • Evangelou, M. & Pring, R. The Birth to School Study-Oxford Site- (BTSS), Learning and Skills Council, 2001-2002 (£68,000)
  • Evangelou, M. & Sylva, K. An Evaluation of Nursery-level PEEP, Department for Education and Employment, 2000-2001 (£42,982)

Current projects

  • Evangelou, M. And Mathers S. (2015-16) Supporting the development of the Maths Champions Intervention (EEF)
  • Nunes, T., Barros, R., Evangelou, M., Strand, S. and Mathers, S. (2015-18) Evaluation of First Class at Number (EEF)

Publications

Research reports

Refereed articles

  • Evangelou, M. (2015) International perspectives on transition to school: reconceptualising beliefs, policy and practice, British Journal of Educational Studies, 63:1, 114-115, DOI: 10.1080/00071005.2015.1006966
  • McLean, K., Edwards, S., Evangelou, M., Skouteris, H., Harrison, L.J., Hemphill, S.A., Sullivan, P., & Lambert, P. (2015). Playgroups as sites for parental education. Journal of Early Childhood Research. Vol 13 – 3 DOI: 10.1177/1476718X15595753
  • Wang, J., Evangelou. M.  Xu, S., Downey, M., and Hang, L. (International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, under review) The Effect of an Audience on the Narrative Performance of Chinese Children
  • Hall, J., Eisenstadt, N., Sylva, K., Smith, T., Sammons, P., Smith, G., Evangelou, M., Goff, J., Tanner, E., Agur, M, and 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: 10.1080/03054985.2014.1001731
  • Goff, J., Evangelou, M., and 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 für Familienforschung, 24. Jahrg., 2012, Heft 2 – Journal of Family Research
  • Evangelou, M., Coxon, K., Sylva, K., Smith, S. & Chan, L.S. (2013). Seeking to Engage ‘Hard-to-Reach’ Families: Towards a Transferable Model of Intervention, Children and Society. [Online] Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 127–138.
  • Boag-Munroe, G. And Evangelou, M. (2010). ‘From Hard to Reach to How to Reach: A Systematic Review of the Literature on Hard to Reach Families.’ Research Papers in Education. Volume 27 (2), pp. 209-239.
  • 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. [Online] Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 581 – 609.
  • Evangelou, M. and 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. [Online] Volume 9. Issue 1.
  • 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. British educational research association (BERA): researchintelligence, 22.
  • Evangelou, M., Taylor, R., Sylva, K., Rothwell, A. and Brooks, G. (Submitted to Children and Society) Evaluating support for mothers’ life-long learning through the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP)

Edited book

  • Victoria Murphy and Maria Evangelou (Eds) (forthcoming) Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages. British Council

Book chapters

  • Evangelou, M., Goff, J., Sylva, K., Sammons, P., Smith,T., Hall, J. and Eisenstadt, N. (forthcoming)  Children’s Centres: an English intervention for families living in disadvantaged communities in the Handbook on Positive Development of Minority Children . Natasha J. Cabrera and Birgit Leyendecker (Eds) Springer Netherlands
  • Evangelou. M. and Wild. M. (2014) Connecting Home and Educational Play: Interventions hat Support Children’s Learning. In: Brooker. L., Blaise. M and Edwards. S (2014). The Sage Handbook of:  Play and Learning in Early Childhood (eds). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • 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’, in Early Childhood Literacy. Sage Library of Educational Thought and Practice ( Pahl, K. and Rowsell, J. (2012 (Eds))  London: Sage

Refereed and invited conference papers

  • Evangelou, M., Sammons, P., Goff, J., Hall, J., Sylva, K., Smith, T.,Smith, G., Eisenstadt, N.  and Smees (2015) The Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England: Delivering services through a UK family intervention, Limassol, Cyprus, EARLI
  • Evangelou 2015  Sammons, P., Taggart, B.,  Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., and Siraj, I. (2015) What makes a successful transition from primary to secondary school in England? Limassol, Cyprus, EARLI
  • Touloumakos, A., and Evangelou, M (2015) «Γνωστική Ανάπτυξη και οικογενειακό περιβάλλον μάθησης Μια διαχρονική μελέτη. Στο 15ο Πανελλήνιο Συνέδριο Ψυχολογικής Έρευνας , Greece
  •  Evangelou, M., (2014). The Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England: Parenting Services in Children’s Centres, Jyväskylä Finland EARLI.
  • Evangelou, M., (2014). Evaluation of Sure Start Children’s Centres in England: Delivery of Family Services, Munich, Youth Institute.
  • Evangelou, M., (2014). Supporting children’s learning through parent-child interventions: evidence from England, Hanover
  • Evangelou, M., Touloumakos, A. & Lake, G.  (2013) The Role of HLE in Language and Literacy Outcomes at Ages 4 and 5, EARLI Munich
  • Motraghi, T.E., Evangelou, M., & Spencer, T.D. (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. Poster will be presented to the New Zealand Psychological Society Annual Conference, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Wild, M. & Evangelou, M. (2012) Getting the Balance Right: the Role of the Adult in Supporting Children’s Early Learning EECERA Porto
  • Evangelou, M. (2010) ECERS International Conference: Parents’ Perspectives on Childcare Quality: ECERS: Greece
  • Evangelou, M. & Wild, M. (2010) Parents’ Perspectives on Childcare Quality: Exploring Ways of Measurement EECERA: Birmingham
  • Evangelou and Sylva: Presentation to the National Strategies Group 14thJanuary 2011: London
  • Evangelou, Sylva, Wild and Glenny Evidence Base for the 2010 Review of the Early Years Foundation Stage: Invited presentation to the National Strategies group March 2010: London
  • Evangelou, M. (2010) ECERS International Conference: Parents’ perspectives on childcare quality: ECERS: Greece
  • Evangelou, M. and Wild, M. (2010) Parents’ perspectives on childcare quality: exploring ways of measurement EECERA: Birmingham
  • Evangelou, M. (2009): Symposium presentation: Engaging The Hard-to-Reach: Strategies for Drawing Families into Settings.  Paper Room to Play:  Working with ‘hard-to-reach’ families in their children’s learning BERA: Manchester
  • Evangelou, M., Taggart, B., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P. and Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2008) EPPE 3-11: What makes a Successful Transition from Primary to Secondary school?  BERA: Edinburgh
  • Sylva, K., Evangelou, M., Smith, T. and Good J. (2008) Parents and their children’s learning: practices and processes.  FPI – NCB Conference: London
  • Evangelou, M., Sylva, K., Edwards, A., and Smith, T. (2008) Lessons for Workforce Development in ELPP.  FPI – NCB Conference: London
  • Evangelou, M. (2008) Supporting Parents in Promoting Early Learning:  The Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project FPI Disseminating ELPP findings to Practitioners: Leeds
  • Evangelou, M., Taggart, B., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P. and Siraj-Blatchford, I. (2007) EPPE 3-14: Transition between primary & secondary school Evidence from the Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education Project (EPPSE 3-14) DCSF Research Conference
  • Evangelou, M., Coxon, K. and Sylva, K.  (2007) Reaching ‘Hard to Reach’ families: findings from the second phase of a three year evaluation project BERA: London
  • 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, (2007).  Early Years Foundation Stage and Parents.  Oxford: Department of Education
  • Evangelou, M. (2006).  Effects of a pre-school programme on children at risk of educational underachievement World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH): Paris
  • Evangelou, M. (2006).  The impact of a family focused early intervention on the cognitive development of young children: evidence from a local evaluation Evidence-Based Conference: London
  • Evangelou, M. and Smith, S. (2006).  Reaching ‘Hard to Reach’ families: evaluation of a shop-front programme in a shopping centre BERA: Warwick
  • Evangelou, M. (2006).  Self-esteem of children at risk of educational underachievement: findings from the longitudinal evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP), BERA: Warwick
  • Evangelou, M. (2006).  Involving Parents with their Children’s Learning: Evidence from Research.  Oxford Brookes University and Oxfordshire Early Years Unit: Oxford
  • Evangelou, M. and Smith, S. (2005) Effects of a Birth to School programme: findings from the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) BERA: Cardiff
  • Evangelou, M. (2005) Birth to School Study:  The methodology of the long-term longitudinal evaluation of the Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) 5th Warwick International Early Years Conference: Warwick
  • Evangelou, M. and Sylva, K. (2003) Foundation PEEP: Evidence from a Short-term Longitudinal Evaluation.  Evidence-Based Conference: London
  • Evangelou, M. (October 2002) New Evidence: Birth to School Literacy Intervention Welsh Assembly: Wales
  • Evangelou, M. and Sylva, K. (2002), Mothers’ qualifications & children’s literacy outcomes – a target for interventions?  BERA: Exeter
  • Evangelou, M. and Sylva, K. (2002) New Evidence: Birth to School Literacy Intervention 4th Warwick International Early Years Conference: Warwick
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