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Dr Sue Sing
  • Research Fellow
  • IOE - Learning & Leadership
  • UCL Institute of Education
UCL Subsidiary Supervisor

I have a background in Linguistics, with specialist interests in educational- and socio-linguistic issues. Following completion of a first degree in Linguistics and Modern English Language (Lancaster University), I went on to study for an MA in Language Studies (also, Lancaster University), an MRes in Education and Society and a PhD in Education (both at Manchester Metropolitan University). I have held postdoctoral positions at Manchester Metropolitan University, The Open University and University of Exeter, working on a number of qualitative and mixed-method projects funded by organisations including the ESRC, DfES, DCSF, Becta, DfES Innovation Unit, The Edge Foundation, DfE and the Greater London Authority. In addition, I have gained teaching experience through my roles as a B.Ed tutor at Manchester Metropolitan University, as a consultant at Middlesex University, and as a Lecturer in English, Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy on the MTeach Primary programme (Australia’s equivalent to the PGCE) at the University of Western Sydney. Most recently, before joining UCL Institute of Education, I was the Research Project Manager for a high-performing, state sixth form college where I led two London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF) studies involving a cross-sector action research collaboration with some of the country’s leading independent schools. The richness of learning generated from these projects, at an institutional-, teacher- and student-level, prompted my subsequent appointment as the institution's inaugural Research Lead where my role involved working closely with the senior management team to develop and embed a research-engaged and evidence-informed culture across the three-site institution.

Research Summary

My research interests converge around a core commitment to designing research methods that seek to promote young people’s voices so that their perspectives can be heard.

The following are my principal research areas and I have written about these in research reports, peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters: 
primary children’s literacy learning – in particular, their sense-making approaches during the composition process
the impact and experience of primary languages education
learners’ attitudes and motivations towards their learning and how these relate to curriculum choices and future career aspirations
institutional practices and effective teaching and learning strategies for supporting high ability students
collaborative action research
qualitative research methodologies

I am passionate about supporting schools and colleges to undertake action research and engage with research evidence and to use these professional learning experiences to inform their thinking, understanding and practice. In my previous position as a Research Lead, I was responsible for a range of research-focused initiatives and supported staff to become involved in such opportunities; these experiences were invaluable for learning about key drivers, but also challenges, to developing and sustaining a research culture in school settings. My commitment to supporting practitioner communities continues via a number of channels: through my work with the Chartered College of Teaching as a member of the editorial board for their journal, Impact, and as a peer reviewer, and as co-convener of the Research in Schools Learning Community (RiSLC). In May 2017, together with three colleagues, we founded this professional practitioner network for individuals with responsibilities for leading and supporting research in schools and colleges. The group was launched to provide a community of support for like-willed practitioners to learn from, and with, one another through discussion, debate, by troubleshooting issues and through opportunities to collaborate.

Academic Background
2007   Doctor of Philosophy Manchester Metropolitan University
2002   Master of Research Manchester Metropolitan University
1999   Master of Arts University of Lancaster
1997   Bachelor of Arts (Honours) University of Lancaster
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