Lesley Saunders

poet and educationalist

photo: Dwain Comissiong


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educational research

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Educational research

I have worked all my life in education, as teacher, researcher, policy adviser and independent consultant. I am an experienced evaluator, writer and presenter. I have an international profile in educational research and evaluation; I currently hold Visiting Professorships at the Institute of Education, London, and Newman University, Birmingham; and a Fellowship at Oxford University Department of Education.  Download my summary CV here: CV14-15(short)(LSaunders).pdf

In my role as Visiting Professor at Newman University, Birmingham, I am helping to organise a conference called ‘Troubling Research: Liminal Spaces, Methodological Challenges, Innovative Approaches’ scheduled for 7th and 8th July 2016. Abstracts should be submitted by 1 March. Details can be downloaded here: Troubling_Research.pdf


  • Visiting Professor, London Centre for Leadership and Learning, Institute of Education, London
  • Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Education, University of Oxford
  • Visiting Professor, Newman University, Birmingham
  • Honorary Fellow, College of Teachers

recent posts

  • Senior Policy Adviser for Research, General Teaching Council for England (GTC), 2000 – 2008
  • Principal Research Officer, National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and Head of the NFER’s School Improvement Research Centre, 1987 – 2000

research expertise and interests

  • evaluations of national and local educational initiatives and funded programmes - for example, over the last few years I have been commissioned to undertake evaluations of the inclusive education projects managed by Save the Children in Kosovo.  It is a real privilege to visit the schools and talk to the children, their teachers and parents, education officials and members of the community, and to see how the country is trying to create a better and more peaceful future through the education of its youngest citizens - contact me for more details
  • support for early career researchers - including a suite of resources on Commissioning and Consuming Research, available on the British Educational Research Association website
  • teachers’ professionalism; professional learning and development; the deeper conceptualisation of teaching as a research-informed profession with a particular focus on pedagogy
  • research-informed policy-making in education
  • the collection, interpretation and use of different kinds of data for school self-evaluation and school development; in particular, constructing and understanding statistical ‘value added’ measures of performance
  • national programme evaluations, using a variety of approaches; international perspectives on ‘school improvement’ and ‘teacher effectiveness’, including work for British Council and a placement at the World Bank
  • uses of creativity and the imagination in research and in teaching

Please contact me at if you would like to explore possible commissions or collaborations

key roles

  • Founder of the special interest group on educational research and education policy-making, British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Founder member of the National Educational Research Forum (NERF)
  • School governor, 1989 – 1999
  • Member of the Education sub-panel for the UK Research Assessment Exercise 2008


Over fifty sole-authored papers, book chapters and reports written for a wide variety of audiences and clients (plus a similar number of co-authored papers), for example:

  • Developing and Sustaining Models of Inclusive Education in Kindergartens and Primary Schools in Kosovo/a. Independent Evaluation Report (2009). Unpublished report (available on request)
  • Educational Research and Policy-Making: Exploring the Border Country Between Research and Policy (editor). London:  Routledge. (2007)
  • ‘Teachers’ engagement in and with research: supporting integrity and creativity in teaching’, Forum, 48, 2, 131–44. (2006)
  • ‘Grounding the Democratic Imagination:  Developing the Relationship between Research and Policy in Education’. (Professorial Lecture 2004)
  • ‘On flying, writing poetry and doing educational research.’ British Educational Research Journal, 29, 2, 175–187. (2003)
  • Value Added Measurement of School Effectiveness: a Critical Review.  Slough: NFER. (1999)
  • ‘Who or what is school “self”-evaluation for?’ School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 10, 4, 414-29. (1999)


MA in classics (University of Cambridge)

Postgraduate certificate of education (University of Oxford), with Distinction

DPhil (University of Oxford)