Fiona Jelley is a DPhil student in the Child Development and Learning (CDL) research group. Her doctoral work focuses on children’s early numeracy development and is funded by a LiFT project studentship.

The aim of Fiona’s doctoral research is to investigate the possible causal relationships between core numeracy skills (e.g. number knowledge) and arithmetic. Her broader research interests include evaluations of interventions designed to enhance young children’s development, parental involvement in children’s education, and investigating the way technology can be used in supporting children’s learning.

Before joining the Department, Fiona gained a first-class honours degree in Psychology from The University of Bath. Since then, she has worked in a variety of research roles at the Department, most recently as a senior researcher on the LiFT project, exploring the potential of digital technology in parental engagement. She has been involved in various other parental engagement projects, often involving evaluations through randomised controlled trials. She was also part of a team working with Oxford University Press on new and innovative ways that technology can support young children’s reading.


Book chapters
  • Mathers, S., Roberts, F., & Sylva, K. (2013). Quality in early childhood education. In G. Pugh & B. Duffy (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in the Early Years (pp. 55-72). Sage Publications.

  • Roberts, F., Mathers, S., Joshi, H., Sylva, K., & Jones, E. (2010). Childcare in the pre-school years. In Children of the 21st Century: The First Five Years (pp. 131-152).

  • Sylva, K., & Roberts, F. (2009). Quality in early childhood education: evidence for long-term effects. In G. Pugh & B. Duffy (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in the Early Years (pp. 47-62). Sage Publications.

  • Journal articles
  • Murphy, V., Karemaker, J., Sylva, K., Kanji, G., & Jelley, F. (2019). Effective intervention to support oral language skills in English as an additional language in the early years. TEANGA: Journal of the Irish Association of Applied Linguistics, 10(Special Issue 10), 1-18.

  • Karemaker, A., Jelley, F., Clancy, C., & Sylva, K. (2017). The effects on children’s literacy skills of reading e-books with different features: Are ’bells and whistles’ over-rated?. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 12, 30-36.

  • Reports
  • Jelley, F., Sylva, K., & Karemaker, A. (2016). EasyPeasy parenting app: findings from an efficacy trial on parent engagement and school readiness skills. Sutton Trust.

  • Sylva, K., Jelley, F., Karemaker, A., Ebbens, A., & Archer, A. (2016). Final report to the Educational Endowment Foundation (EEF) on the SPOKES intervention.

  • Sylva, K., Roberts, F., Beckett, C., Doolan, M., Scott, S., Kallitsoglou, A., & Ford, T. (2011). Factors associated with levels of reading in the HCA trial. Report to DfE. NAPR/KCL.

  • Sylva, K., Roberts, F., Price, J., Scott, S., Doolan, M., & Beckett, C. (2011). Teaching parents to support their children’s reading: is it feasible? Report to DfE. NAPR/KCL.

  • Other
  • Sylva, K., Crook, C., Jelley, F., & Price, J. (2014). Supporting Parents on Kids’ Education in Schools (SPOKES) Literacy Programme: manual for Group Leaders. University of Oxford/King’s College London.

  • Roberts, F. (2006). The relationship between oral language skills at age 3 and emergent literacy at ages 4 and 5 (Unpublished dissertation).

  • Funded Research Projects

    • "Engaging parents to improve children's outcomes: building the evidence base"