Institutional Research Information Service
UCL Logo
Please report any queries concerning the funding data grouped in the sections named "Externally Awarded" or "Internally Disbursed" (shown on the profile page) to your Research Finance Administrator. Your can find your Research Finance Administrator at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/research/rs-contacts.php by entering your department
Please report any queries concerning the student data shown on the profile page to:

Email: portico-services@ucl.ac.uk

Help Desk: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ras/portico/helpdesk
 More search options
Dr Sally Riordan
20 Bedford Way
Dr Sally Riordan profile picture
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment
  • UCL Institute of Education

In my first years as an education researcher, I worked at the Education Observatory at the University of Wolverhampton. Between 2019 and 2021, I was the principal investigator of ‘Against the Odds’, a mixed-methods study into the progress of secondary students facing socio-economic disadvantages, funded by the Social Mobility Commission. I continue to provide policy advice to the Commission regarding educational inequalities. This work has included conducting rapid evidence assessments regarding the use of technology in schools, the impact of Sure Start, and the use of teacher assessment instead of examinations. In 2020, I co-led an ethnographic project for Birmingham City Council exploring the experiences of citizens as they engaged with the council’s services, including the city’s services for children with special educational needs. 

I trained as a physics teacher and taught science at secondary schools in Cambridgeshire. I continue to work directly with schools as a tutor and to work as a teacher educator through local authorities. I also work supporting teachers' action research projects. I am currently doing this across 10 schools in a multi-academy chain in Cambridge as part of ‘Creativity Collaboratives’, a national project exploring teaching for creativity funded by Arts Council England.

Prior to teaching, I worked as a historian and philosopher of science and published on the history and philosophy of measurement. I hold a master’s degree in mathematics from Cambridge University and a PhD in philosophy from Stanford University.

Research Summary

I am interested in how our education affects us throughout our lives, how we can measure what matters, how education progresses, and how we can implement research evidence in policy and practice effectively. I have strong interests in educational inequalities, science education, and educational research methods.

I am currently working on a rapid evidence review regarding the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers in low-income areas (funded by the Education Endowment Foundation), as well as an impact evaluation of an anti-bullying programme (funded by the Youth Endowment Foundation). My work explores ‘evidence ecosystems’ (all the processes by which research evidence gets disseminated, translated, and implemented into practice). I trace the evidence that has brought about changes to classroom practices and to teachers’ orientations to their work. I have investigated the meaning and use of the idea of ‘quality first teaching’ and I am currently exploring how theories of cultural capital are being implemented in schools. I am also assessing the impact of meta-analysis on policy-making in the UK and trialling modifications to the calculations of effect sizes in meta-analytical techniques.

The common theme beneath all my work is the impact of research evidence on educational policy and practice, and ultimately its role in educational progress.

Teaching Summary

I am the programme leader for quantitative methods at the Centre for Doctoral Education. I also work as a tutor on our MA Education course. I have previously taught post-graduate modules in educational research methods and undergraduate courses in writing techniques. 

I teach doctoral students as a second supervisor. If you have found a potential main supervisor at the IOE and share my research interests then I welcome enquiries to consider joining your supervision team.

Some IRIS profile information is sourced from HR data as explained in our FAQ. Please report any queries concerning HR data shown on this page to hr-services@ucl.ac.uk.
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT Tel:+44 (0)20 7679 2000

© UCL 1999–2011

Search by