12 students started their PhD research journey at the University of Reading’s Institute of Education this term. We would like to extend a very warm welcome to the newest members of our IoE research community, and we hope everyone will help them feel settled over the next few weeks and months. You can learn more about them below.


Arwa Alkhamis

Arwa’s proposed research will explore how cultural background influences parental involvement in early childhood learning. Her supervisor is Professor Carol Fuller.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Arwa said:I believe studying for a PhD program in the United Kingdom will allow me to explore new environments and opportunities. What sets the University of Reading apart is the program’s flexibility and ability to prepare and accredit students for both the local and international world. Therefore, the program will give me the confidence to chase my goals and achieve knowledge and experience in education and the right mindset to understand and engage in real-life activities.”

Arwa completed her Bachelor’s degree in Education from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, her Master’s degree at the University of Dayton (USA), and later got a job as a Lecturer at King Saud University.


Deborah Buttery

Deborah’s proposed research centres on the use of literature in the primary languages classroom. She will work collaboratively with schools to explore how different approaches, including the use of literature, affect the proficiency and attitudes of Year 5 children towards learning French. Deborah has been awarded funding by the SeNSS ESRC studentship to pursue her part-time PhD research. Her supervisors are Professor Suzanne Graham, Professor Naomi Flynn and Dr. Anthony Zhang.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Deborah said: “I was impressed by the IoE’s internationally-recognised reputation in educational research, especially with regards to language teaching. I am delighted to be able to pursue my PhD part-time, balancing academic research with teaching in a school I love.”

Deborah completed her BA in French and Linguistics at Balliol College, Oxford University. She then took her PGCE at the University of Cumbria as part of the Fast Track teacher scheme and went on to teach secondary languages in London. After starting a family, Deborah moved to teaching primary languages part-time and completed an MA in Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths University of London. 


Hiu Ching Chan

Ching’s proposed research aims to explore the career self-efficacy in students with mild intellectual disabilities in Hong Kong, and the perceptions of parents and teachers in supporting students’ career and life planning. Her supervisors are Professor Cathy Tissot and Dr. Jo Anna Reed Johnson.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Ching said: “I chose to pursue my PhD study at the University of Reading because I can work with dedicated supervisors and students who are passionate about education research and special and inclusive education.”

Ching did her undergraduate degree in Education at the University of Hong Kong, and her Master’s degree in Education, Globalization and International Development at the University of Cambridge.


Meggie Copsey-Blake

Meggie’s proposed research focuses on how variations of English are used and perceived in education contexts, and how ideologies about language in education policy can affect young people and their sense of identity. Her supervisors are Dr. Billy Wong and Professor Richard Harris.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Meggie said: “I have chosen to do my PhD at the University of Reading because of its supportive community and the expertise of my supervisors.”

Meggie completed BA in English Language & Applied Linguistics (2016-19) and later a Master’s degree in Education (2019-20) – both at the University of Reading. She is a research assistant at King’s College London, and was also a graduate teaching assistant there before starting her PhD. She is very happy to win the Reading regional bursary to do her PhD at Reading, and continue working with her supervisors.


Ailsa Fidler

Ailsa’s proposed research will consider teacher agency in curriculum-making relating to the diverse past in primary history. Her supervisors are Professor Richard Harris and Dr. Catherine Foley.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Ailsa said: “I chose Reading because of my supervisor’s expertise and the fact that our research interests align. It is also welcoming and supportive of part-time distance students.”

Ailsa earned her BA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of Liverpool (1988), a Primary Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), and a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. More recently, she completed her MA in Education with a specific focus on History from the University of London’s University College London (UCL). She is a member of the primary committee of the Historical Association, and has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship for her work with them. Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer in Primary Initial Teacher Education at Liverpool John Moores University.


Clive Kingshott

Clive’s proposed research focuses on ethnic minority family attitudes towards children losing heritage language ability through first language education in southwest China. His supervisor is Professor Carol Fuller.

On why he decided to pursue his PhD research at the IoE, Clive said:After much research on PhD’s by distance, the University of Reading was the best fit for my full-time work commitments and changeable location.”

Clive has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Applied Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Human Behavioural Studies – both gained at Plymouth University. He then studied Adult Education and Globalization with Linköping University (Sweden), gaining a Master’s degree in 2022. He also gained a Master’s-level DPGCE with Leeds Beckett university in 2022. He is currently a teacher of English in China.


Ikhyun Kwon

Ikhyun’s proposed research is on how immigrants and poverty are taught and which values are delivered in British history education. His supervisors are Professor Richard Harris and Dr. Rachel Roberts.

On why he decided to pursue his PhD research at the IoE, Ikhyun said: I decided to pursue my PhD research at the University of Reading for its reputation and my supervisors’ expertise in the field and my research interests.”

Ikhyun completed his undergraduate and Master’s degree in History at Kyung Hee University in South Korea. In addition, he worked at Kyung Hee University archive as an archivist before pursuing his PhD research.


Rose Mina Munjee

Rose Mina’s proposed research focuses on mindfulness and compassion-based approaches for race-based trauma and oppression. Her supervisors are Dr. Geoff Taggart and Dr. Billy Wong.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Rose Mina said: “The University of Reading’s excellent IoE and initiatives to increase representation, encourage cultural sensitivity, and foster greater equity and belonging for marginalized populations.”

Rose Mina completed her Honors Bachelor of Mathematics in Actuarial Science at the University of Waterloo Graduate, and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.


Caroline Sadler

Caroline’s proposed research is a case study into the link between well-being and the academic success of disadvantaged EYFS Reception and Year 1 children receiving 1:1 and group reading catch-up interventions with a particular focus upon Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) children. Her supervisors are Professor Holly Joseph and Dr. Daisy Powell.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Caroline said: Having been a graduate of the University of Reading and knowing about the high-quality research that is published by the Institute of Education, I knew that I would be supported to produce influential and impactful research to support children’s learning, hence my application.”

Caroline graduated from the University of Reading having studied for an education degree with a specialism in Geography. She then started her teaching career in London and pursued her interest in research by studying for a MA at the University of London’s University College London (UCL). She was given opportunities to develop her leadership skills and became a Headteacher of a junior school with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) provision and then moved on to become a Headteacher of a large primary school with a Hearing-Impaired Provision too. Most of her leadership experience was in deprived areas of the southeast of England, hence her interest in the progress that disadvantaged pupils make.


Myrthe van Vliet

Myrthe’s proposed research is on understanding the impact that an inclusive educational setting can have in an international school where the local language is not English. She will be researching how international schools can support children with disabilities who also belong to the expatriate community. Myrthe has been awarded funding by Stichting Kolom (based in Amsterdam) to pursue her PhD research. Her supervisors are Professor Cathy Tissot and Dr. Jo Anna Reed.

On why she decided to pursue her PhD research at the IoE, Myrthe said: I have chosen to study at the University of Reading because of the excellent reputation that my supervisors hold in the field of inclusion. I was also inspired by the other research happening at the University of Reading.”

Myrthe has a BSc in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of Bristol and an MA in International Education from the University of Leicester. She qualified as a teacher in 2015, and has worked as primary school teacher and SENCO since gaining her PgDip in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.



Other new PhD students include: Louise Carrington-Dye and Araya Lin.