|Siyu is a research associate working on TalkTogether, a UKRI GCRF-funded research project based at the Department of Education
At TalkTogether, Siyu is responsible for designing online surveys on platforms such as Qualtrics, liaising with international research collaborators and partners, and analysing quantitative data from child assessments and parent reports.
Prior to joining TalkTogether, she completed the MSc in Education (Research Design and Methodology), under the supervision of Professor Sonali Nag. Her dissertation explored the roles of family background and home literacy environment in the literacy and language development of a Wales subsample from the Millennium Cohort Study and was awarded a High Distinction.
Denise is a Co-Investigator and Project Manager for the Teaching Effective Early Mathematics and Understanding in Primary (TEEMUP) Schools study.
She plays a leading role in the management of the study and has responsibility for the development of its manuals, delivery of the intervention and direction of the work. As a Co-Investigator of the study, she has primary responsibility for developing the intervention associated with this Education Endowment Foundation funded research project.
Sarah is a Research Assistant at the Department of Education working with Professor Charles Hulme and Dr Gillian West.
Sarah completed her MSc in Social Cognition: Research and Applications at UCL. Her dissertation project was supervised by Dr Anne Schlottmann and investigated the development of a sense of fairness in children aged 4 to 7 years.
She is currently assisting on the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI) trial for Reception children, working directly with schools as well as supporting the development and delivery of professional online training courses for school staff.
The British Academy has today announced the election of 86 new Fellows, including the Department’s own Professor Kathy Sylva.
An Honorary Research Fellow and Professor of Educational Psychology, Professor Sylva specialises in preschool development and education, with particular expertise in the effects of early education and care (including parenting) on children’s development. She is well-known for longitudinal studies and for robust trials of interventions in both the UK and low-income contexts, with findings of her studies directly informing policy decisions. In the past 10 years, she has received >£30m of research funding and is frequently asked to advise on education matters nationally and internationally. Awarded an OBE in 2008, she is also a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Academy of Social Sciences.
Commenting on her election as a Fellow of the British Academy, Professor Sylva said: ‘It is an honour to be elected to the British Academy at a time when research in the Humanities and Social Sciences is contributing to an inter-disciplinary response to health and social challenges. My work lies at the intersection between psychology and education, a no-man’s land characterised by very practical needs and a range of research methods. When I first embarked on applied research, I knew it was a risk to leave well-trodden paths in psychology. However I try to bring the rigour of psychological methods to interventions that support families and childcare centres as they shape the child’s intellect and imagination. I am delighted that the British Academy has recognised the work of researchers who aim to make a difference, no matter how small, to the lives of children, families and teachers.’
Professor Jo-Anne Baird, Director of the Department and Professor of Educational Assessment, added: ‘Professor Sylva is an outstanding scholar who has achieved far-reaching research impact with her work. This honour, in recognition of her achievements, is well-deserved. The Department is fortunate to have Professor Sylva as a member of our research community.’
Read the British Academy’s full announcement here.
Alex Hodgkiss is a research officer working on the LiFT project, which is a collaboration with Ferrero international.
Within this project, Alex’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of a digital tool to support parent-child conversation in the home, with the overall aim of supporting pre-school children’s language development.
Before joining the Department of Education, Alex completed his PhD in Psychology and Education at University College London. His previous research focused on the role of children’s spatial thinking skills in the development of conceptual understanding in science.
- Cognitive development in educational contexts.
- Cognitive training and interventions.
- Early language development: the role of parental input and parent-child conversation.
- Spatial tools: gesture, spatial language, diagrams/models.
- Children’s conceptual understanding and development.
Gilligan-Lee, K. A., Hodgkiss, A., Thomas, M. S., Patel, P. K., & Farran, E. K. (2020). Aged-based differences in spatial language skills from 6 to 10 years: Relations with spatial and mathematics skills. Learning and Instruction, 73, 101417.
Gilligan, K. A., Hodgkiss, A., Thomas, M.S.C., & Farran, E.K. (2019). The developmental relations between spatial cognition and mathematics achievement in primary school children. Developmental Science
Hodgkiss, A., Gilligan, K. A., Tolmie, A. K., Thomas, M. S. C., & Farran, E. K. (2018). Spatial cognition and science achievement: The contribution of intrinsic and extrinsic spatial skills from 7 to 11 years. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(4), 675-697.
Gilligan, K. A., Hodgkiss, A., Thomas, M. S. C. & Farran, E. K. (2018). The use of discrimination scaling tasks: A novel perspective on the development of spatial scaling in children. Cognitive Development, 47, 133-145.
Sandra is part of the Child Development and Learning research group. Her main research interests are the quality of early education and its effects on child development, early language development and professional development.
She began her career as a primary school teacher, and her work remains strongly practice and policy-focused. In addition to her research, Sandra is a Trustee of the charity Early Education and a regular adviser to local and national policy-makers. For example, she recently served as a member of the Department for Education Expert Panel on early years language, literacy and communication apps (2019) and on the proposed revisions to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (2017-18).
Current research projects
- Murphy, V. with Mathers, Nag & Hodgkiss. Investigating the home language environment for disadvantaged UK families speaking EAL (John Fell Fund, £55,199, 2021-22)
- Dockrell, J., Law, J. and Mathers, S. Empowering Staff to enhance oral language in the early years (Nuffield Foundation, £357,257, 2019-20)
- Miner, S., Black Country Consortium Members, Mathers, S., Williams, C. Ryders Hayes School – Strategic School Improvement Fund Round 3 Project (Language First) (£745,517, 2018-20)
- Curtis, L., Mathers, S. & Williams, C.Everton. Nursery School and Family Centre – Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF) Round 3 Project (Language Leaders) (£498,634, 2018-20)
- Murphy, V., Mathers, S. & Eynon, R. Learning for Families Through Technology (LiFT) (Ferrero, £500,000, 2017-20)
Previous research projects
- Barlow, J., Lindsay, G., Sylva, K., Mathers, S., Solomon, E., Summerbell, C., Glover, V. and Bick, D. Fulfilling Lives: A Better Start Evaluation (BIG Lottery Fund, £5.5m, 2013-2019)
- Mathers, S., Siraj., I., Evangelou, M. and Williams, C. Using Research Tools to Improve Language in the Early Years (Intervention Study) (Education Endowment Foundation, £907,544, 2015-19)
- Mathers, S. and Sylva, K. Evaluation of the Oxfordshire Leaders of Early Learning Programme (Oxfordshire County Council, £51,102, 2015-19)
- Mathers, S. & Broome., E. Starting Out Right: Early education and looked after children (Nuffield Foundation, £44,483, 2015-16)
- Sylva, K., Mathers, S. & Eisenstadt, N. Sound Foundations: What do we know about quality for under-threes and what are the implications for policy? (Sutton Trust, £30,869, 2013)
- Mathers, S. Quality and Inequality: Do Children from Deprived Areas Experience Lower Quality Preschool Provision? (Nuffield Foundation, £32,723, 2012-14)
- Mathers, S., and Singler, R. Improving Quality in the Early Years: University of Oxford, Daycare Trust and A+ Education Ltd (Nuffield Foundation, £79,672, 2011-12)
- Mathers, S. and Sylva, K., Evaluation of the Graduate Leader Fund (Quality study) (Sub-grant to main DfE grant held by the National Centre for Social Research. Sub-grant: £766,000; main grant: £1,244,794 to all partners)
Sophie Booton is a research officer working on the LiFT project.
The Learning for Families through Technology (LiFT) project is a collaboration between Ferrero international and three research groups in the Department of Education: Applied Linguistics, Learning and New Technologies, and Families, Effective Learning, and Literacy. The project aims to examine key questions about children’s learning with technology, with a focus on language and literacy skills.
Within the project, Sophie is investigating vocabulary development in children with and without English as an Additional Language. Sophie’s research interests lie in children’s cognitive and emotional development, particularly in in how areas of development interact to affect children’s learning and well-being.
Before joining the Department of Education, Sophie studied for her PhD in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. Her doctoral research in collaboration with Dr Daniel Carroll focused on the impact of emotional states on children’s self-control. Prior to her PhD, Sophie gained a MEd on the Mind, Brain and Education programme at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a BA in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford.
Katharina is a research member of the Child Development and Learning research group and the Rees centre. Her main areas of research are the quality of early childhood education and care (ECEC), and parent support. She has a particular interest in support for disadvantaged families and their young children, firstly in the context of ECEC, and secondly in the context of families.
Katharina has expertise child development and wellbeing in the early years, including age zero to three. Her work focuses on practice as well as policy. She has worked on a number of national and international research projects. She has experience in in quantitative and qualitative research methods, and in leading and co-leading research. In addition to her research, she has served as an expert on an OECD thematic ECEC-system review. She is a member of the Departmental Research Ethics Committee (DREC).
In May 2022, Katharina was awarded the Sylva-Chan Junior Research Fellowship. The fellowship has been named in honour of Professor Kathy Sylva OBE, whose work at Oxford since the 1980s has been a major contribution to the study of early childhood education and care, and has helped to inform policy and practice in the UK and beyond. Under her research fellowship, and mentored by Professor Iram Siraj, Katharina focuses on expanding ECEC research within the department.
In addition to her fellowship, Katharina has a postdoc research position at the Rees centre, where she currently works on the research project ‘Data and Voice to Improve Children’s Lives’, led by Leon Feinstein and funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The project is an innovative collaboration between local authorities and universities to transform how information about and from children and families is gathered, interpreted, and used in child and family social policy at both local and national level.
Her work on previous research projects focused on ECEC access, -quality, and -curriculum, the impact of early childhood education and care on child wellbeing and development, parent support in the early years, and early language interventions. For her DPhil, Katharina investigated associations between mother-infant interactions and children’s developing Theory of Mind and emotion understanding. Katharina’s DPhil research was supervised by Professor Kathy Sylva and carried out in collaboration with the Families, Children and Child Care study.
PREVIOUS RESEARCH PROJECTS
Katharina worked as a research officer on the following research projects:
- Building an Inclusive and Equitable ECE for Refugee Children: Framework for Action (funded by the British Academy)
- Improving Early Years Practice through Professional Support by Speech and Language Therapists: A Feasibility Study (funded by the Sutton Trust)
- Inclusive Education and Social Support to Tackle Inequalities in Society (ISOTIS; funded by the European Commission)
- Curriculum Quality Analysis and Impact Review of European Early Childhood Education and Care (CARE; funded by the European Commission)
- Sound Foundations: What do we know about quality for under-threes and what are the implications for policy? (funded by the Sutton Trust)
- Toddlers’ Transition to Child Care/Wiener Kinderkrippenstudie (funded by the Autrian Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung)
- Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE; funded by the Department for Education)
- Families, Children and Child Care (FCCC; funded by The Tedworth Charitable Trust and the Glass-House Trust)
Lyudmila Nurse is a sociologist of education and culture with over 25 years of experience of research into education, culture and identities. Lyudmila is currently Co-Investigator in AHRC funded project Cultural Artefacts and Belonging: A comparative case study of displaced and refugee young people and families in Ukraine.
In 2017-2019 she worked for the H2020 ISOTIS: Inclusive Education and Social Support to Tackle Inequalities in Society project in which she led a qualitative study of mothers with pre-school and primary school children from low-income families in two metropolitan areas of England: Greater London and North West (Merseyside). She also coordinated comparative qualitative study of mothers from low-income families, families with immigrant background and ethnic minority background in ten European countries: Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Portugal.
Lyudmila publishes widely in the fields of international comparative studies of social mobility and education, parenting and well-being of families with children and young people, identities and belonging, cultural diversity, comparative inter-generational studies of cultural identities of ethnic minorities and migrants for which she creatively applied methods of qualitative biographical research. Lyudmila is currently Coordinator/Chair of the Research Network 03 ‘Biographical Perspectives on European Societies’ of the European Sociological Association. Member of the Cultural, Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of Music Mind Spirit Trust, UK
Nurse, L., Sidiropulu-Janku, K., Obrovska, J., Gajek, K., & J.Mbiatong. (2022 forthcoming)
The place of religious and non-religious values and beliefs in identities of mothers of young children: Methodological approach and empirical evidence from the European countries. In: Kuusisto, A. (editor): The Routledge International Handbook of the Place of Religion in Early Childhood Education. Routledge
Nurse, L. (2020). Construction of Schooling Time as Part of Mothers’ Identities in: Schilling and O’Neill (eds). Frontiers in Time Research-Einfuhrung in die interdisziplinare Zeitforschung. Springer VS, 287-310. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-658-31252-7_13
Nurse, L, & O’Neill, M (two editions: 2018, the second edition -2019). Biographical Research in the UK: profiles and perspectives in: Lutz, H., Schiebel, M. and E. Tuider (editors) Handbuch Biographieforschung. Springer VS.
Nurse, L., (2013). Biographical approach in the Study of Identities of Ethnic Minorities in Eastern Europe in: Mrozowicki, A. and Turk, J.D. (editors) Realist Biography and European policy: An Innovative Approach to European Policy Studies. Leuven: Leuven University Press, Belgium.
Nurse, L.& E.Sik (2011) Identity and music. Identity of place and cultural identities of generations in: Axford, B. and Huggins, R. ( editors) Cultures and/of globalisation, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, p. 171-201
Nurse, L. and Melhuish, E. (2021). Comparative perspectives on educational inequalities in Europe: an overview of the old and emergent inequalities from a bottom-up perspective in: Contemporary Social Science, Volume 16, 2021 – Issue 4, 417-431. https://doi.org/10.1080/21582041.2021.1948095
Nurse, L. (2016). Identities and a sense of belonging: young Lithuanians and Latvians from ethnic minorities. INTER., Vol., No 12, pp 21-33. http://jour.isras.ru/index.php/inter/article/view/4009
Nurse, L., Gibson, A., and Surányi, R. (2016). Media Consumption and Self-Identification: Hungarian and Slovak case study, in: Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Volume 23, Number 6, pp. 705-724.
Nurse, L., Sik, E. (2012). Zene és identitás, in: Pro Minoritate, 2012 tél., Budapest, pp. 3-39 (In Hungarian)
Nurse, L (2012). A zene szerepe a magyarországi szlovákok etnikai identitásában in: Pro Minoritate, 2012 tél., Budapest, pp.40-57 (In Hungarian)
Nurse, L. (2011). Music in the identities of Ethnic Slovaks in Hungary. In: Slovak Journal of Political Sciences, Volume 11,No3, pp. 249-266, Trnava: The Institute of Social Sciences, University of SS Cyril and Methodius.
Broekhuizen, M., Wolf, K., Francot, R., Moser, T., Pastori, G., Nurse, L., Melhuish, E. & P. Leseman (2019) (Editors). Resources, experiences, and support needs of families in disadvantaged communities.
Nurse, L.&Melhuish, E.(2018). Parent in-depth interview study. Technical report. https://www.isotis.org/en/publications/parent-in-depth-interview-study-technical-report
United Nations World Youth Report, 2003. Consultant.
Breen, P. J., Shionnemann, M-E., L. Nurse,L., Azzopardi,A., Lagree, J-C.& P. Lauritzen (2003) Youth Policy in Lithuania. Report by an international group of experts appointed by the Council of Europe. Council of Europe Publishing
Helsingius, U., du Bois-Reymond, M., Nurse, L., Chan, V., Machado Pais, J. & D. Trestieni Ion. (2001) Youth Policy in Romania. Report by an international groups of Experts appointed by the Council of Europe. Council of Europe Publishing.
2021 In ‘Anticipation Of The Future’ : Biographical Research In Piecing Together Fragmented Lives (with Prof. Maggie O’Neill). ESA 15th Conference 2021 (online) ‘Sociological Knowledges for Alternative Futures’, 31August -3 September, Barcelona
Biographical Evidence of Social and Educational Inequalities: Challenges and Opportunities of comparative qualitative biographical studies. The Sociological Association of Ireland 2021 Annual Conference (online) ‘ATOMISED SOLIDARITIES: TOGETHER / APART’, 7 May 2021
2021 Remaking Biographical Futures: Reflections on Risk, Technology and Ethics in an Era of Social Distancing (with Lisa Moran and Maggie O’Neill). British Sociological Association 70th Anniversary Virtual Conference ‘Remaking the Future’. 15 April 2021.Remaking the Future. 70th Anniversary Virtual Conference 12-15 April 2021. https://britsoc.co.uk/events/key-bsa-events/bsa-annual-conference-2021-remaking-the-futur
Biographical Research in the Period of Lockdowns: Fragmentation, Vulnerability and Distancing (with Dr Lisa Moran) at IV International Sociological Association Forum of Sociology (online). RC38: Doing Biographical Research Under Conditions of Pandemics: Methodological Challenges and Methodical Innovations, 26 February 2021
Hearing and feeling the music within your steps and around: musical walks and biographical experience of the lockdown. (With Dr Chika Robertson, Music Mind Spirit Trust, UK) at the ESA RN03 and SAI BNLR group mid-term interactive online event: “Biographical work in a time of social distancing: interview(s), analysis, interpretation”, 25-26 September 2020
Mothers’ identities – overcoming life challenges for the sake of their children at the symposium: Identities and discrimination: overcoming stigmatization of being disadvantaged in fragmented European societies at the Equality and Inclusion Conference, Utrecht, The Netherlands, 29 November 2019.
Biographical Approach to Studies of Parenting Culture: Mothers’ Experiences Relating to Children’s Upbringing” at joint session of the ESA RN04 Sociology of childhood and RN13 Sociology of family and intimate life “JS_RN04_RN13_04: Doing research with children and parents” , 14th ESA Conference, Manchester, 21 August 2019
The mothers’ story of inequality and otherness in contemporary Europe: bringing up children in low income, immigrant and ethnic minority families” moderator of panel discussion and presenter at the ESA RN03 Mid-term conference, University of Łodz, 18 September 2018
Biographical methods and complex realities of modern societies, ESA RN03, 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association” (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities, Athens, Greece, 29 August-1 September, 2017.
Biographies On-line: Interaction Between Biographical and Imaginary in Video Essays, joint session of the RC38 “Biography and Society” and WG03: Visual Biographies in Media Communication at the Third ISA Forum in Vienna, Austria, 10-14 July 2016 “The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World.”
Video-recorded Essays: Interaction between the Imaginary and the Biographical, ESA RN03 S04 session ‘Online/Virtual Biographies’, 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Prague, and 25-28 August 2015.
Cultural Identities, Memories and Music: Connectedness and Insularity, co-presenter at the Scholarships of culture panel (with Prof. Barrie Axford) at the Transatlantic Dialogue: Connecting through culture- A Vision for global citizenship, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg 4-6 June 2014
Cultural Diversity and Insecurity, panel: Identity, Mobility and Human Security at the international conference: Human Security @20: Past Experiences and Future Prospects, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, 26 June 2014
Ethnic Minority Cultures, National and European Identities, ESA RN07 “Sociology of Culture” session at the 3rd International conference “Power, Culture and Economy”, Tampere, Finland, 25-27 August 2014
Revelations of Identities: How Much is too Much? ESA RN03 Biographical perspectives on European societies, mid-term conference: “The Intersection of emotion and ethics when doing research about the “Other”, University of Łodz, 14-15 September, 2012
Cultural Identities and Music: a special component of the ENRI-EAST project
(in association with Dr Chika Robertson), ENRI-EAST Open Conference at the European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, 23 September 2012
ENRI-BIO: Interplay of biographies of places and people
Special session: Approaches to “Bottom up” Research in a policy environment.
ESA 10th Conference: “Social Relations in Turbulent Times”, Geneva, 10 September 2011. Co-organiser of the Special session with Prof. R. Miller (Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK)
Faith and religion in the formation of identities of the ethnic minorities in Eastern European countries,
ESA 10th Conference: “Social Relations in Turbulent Times”, Geneva, 10 September 2011
‘Reconstruction of families’ cultural identities through musical memories’, International Congress of the ISA, RC 38 ‘Biographical Research’, Gothenburg, Sweden, August 2010
Journal Special Issues:
Guest co-editor with Prof. Edward Melhuish of the Special Issue: Comparative Perspectives on Educational Inequalities in Europe of the Contemporary Social Science, Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences (2021) Volume 16, Issue 4 (2021), 417-522.
Nurse, L. (2017) Collective Memories in War, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 4:3, 370-373, DOI: 10.1080/23254823.2017.1331962
H.-P. Blossfeld (ed) The New Role of Women: Family Formation in Modern Societies. Oxford: Westview Press, 1995 In: Intercultural reconstruction. European Yearbook on Youth policy and Research, Vol.2/1999, pp. 345-349.