Professor Alison Kington


Professor in Psychology of Education


Contact Details

tel: 01905 542025

PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS, FRSA


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Alison joined the School of Education at the University of Worcester in 2012 and became Professor in Psychology of Education in 2014. She is Lead for the Social Psychology of Education Research Group and Chair of the Arts, Humanities and Education Research Ethics Panel.

Alison completed her PhD at the University of Bristol in 2001, which explored teacher-pupil relationships in Key Stage 2, focusing specifically on individual pupil differences and experiences, and teacher perceptions of relationship development. Since then, she has worked in a number of research roles including Senior Research Officer at the National Foundation for Educational Research and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, and has gained extensive experience of, and expertise in, designing and conducting mixed methods research in education and social psychology.

Her research, which is cross-disciplinary in its theoretical and methodological approaches, focuses on the nature, quality and dynamics of educational relationships and identities, and Alison has a particular interest in the influence of teacher and pupil characteristics on social interactions within the classroom. She has led a range of research projects funded by Research Councils and Government agencies, developing a strong track record of securing external research funding from nationally and internationally recognised funding bodies, including the Economic and Social Research Council, OECD, Department for Education, European Commission, and Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT), generating research income of over £3m.

Alison’s sustained profile of research and collaboration both nationally and internationally has resulted in a strong track record of publications. She is lead editor of the volume, Developing Social and Learning Relationships in Primary Schools (2020, Bloomsbury Research Monograph Series), lead author of Effective Classroom Practice (2014, McGraw-Hill), co-author of Teachers Matter (2007, OUP), and co-editor of Paradigms of Educational Practice (2012) and The Role of Theory and Research in Educational Practice (2008). She has also published papers, chapters and reports relating to her substantive and methodological interests, and has presented more than 60 papers at international/national conferences and research seminars, including keynote addresses and symposia.

Alison is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), DfE/ONS Accredited Researcher and a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor. She is also a qualified primary school teacher.



Academic qualifications:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2014)
  • PhD Education and Social Psychology (University of Bristol, 2001)
  • BEd (Hons) Primary Education and English (University of the West of England, 1994)

 Professional qualifications:

  • Postgraduate Certificate: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (2014)
  • Certificate: Associate Teachers Programme (2010)
  • Certificate: Teaching and Learning (2008)
  • Certificate: Research Management (2005)




Below is a summary of Alison's consultancy, funded research and project experience:


  • 2023: International Comparative Analysis of Teaching & Learning (ICALT): extension (Erasmus+)
  • 2021-22: The Self-efficacy of Non-specialist Physics Teachers (Ogden Trust)
  • 2020-21: The Impact of Home-schooling during Lockdown on Parent-child Relationships
  • 2020-21: Teachers’ experiences of teaching remotely: Professional life without physical peer interaction and support
  • 2019-22: Teacher Resilience in Singapore (NiE/SDfE)
  • 2018-20: Early Career Teacher Development Programme: An evaluation (UW)
  • 2017-19: The Influence of Teacher-pupil Relationships on the Professional Identities of Early Career Teachers
  • 2017-20: The Role of Friendships in the transition from Pre-school to Reception for Siblings and Non-siblings
  • 2016-19: The Role of School Staffrooms on Primary Teachers’ Wellbeing
  • 2015-21: International Comparison of Learning and Teaching (ICALT-3)
  • 2014-18: Tales from the Watershed: Developing Identities of Mid-career Primary School Teachers
  • 2016-17: Developing Effective Leadership in Schools (Stoke Local Authority)
  • 2014-15: The Impact of Multi-agency Working on Families with Severe and Multiple Disadvantage (Lankelly Chase)
  • 2014: Developing a Research-led Culture in Post-92 Education Departments (HEA)
  • 2013: Identifying and Elaborating the Competencies required for Effective Classroom Practice (HEA)
  • 2012-14: Inspirational and Effective Teachers (CfBT)
  • 2011-12: Evaluation of the Making Headway Pilot Project (SkillForce Development)
  • 2010-11: Pedagogic Quality and Inequality in University First Degrees (ESRC)
  • 2009-11: Includ-ED (European Commission)
  • 2009-10: Impact of the Two-Year Old's Pilot (Nottingham City Council)
  • 2009-10: Evaluation of Mathematics Pathways (QCA)
  • 2009: Analysis of PRES, PTES and CROS surveys (University of Nottingham)
  • 2007-08: Defining Classroom Relationships: developing the repertory grid technique
  • 2006-08: Effective Classroom Practice: A Mixed Method Study of Influences and Outcomes (ESRC)
  • 2005-08: Impact of School Leadership on Pupil Outcomes (DfES)
  • 2005-06: Variations in Teachers' Work, Lives and Effectiveness: an extension (DfES)
  • 2003-05: Variations in Teachers' Work, Lives and Effectiveness (VITAE) (DfES)
  • 2002: Evaluation of the Laptops for Teachers Initiative (DfES)
  • 2002: Evaluation of the Excellence in Cities EMAG Programme (DfES)
  • 2002: Evaluation of the Leading Small Schools Pilot Programme (NCSL)
  • 2001-02: Evaluation of the Computers for Teachers Scheme (DfES)
  • 2000-02: The Use of Computers in Learning Environments an international project (OECD)
  • 2000-02: Classroom Practices using ICT in England: The 2nd Information Technology in Education Study (SITES) (IEA)
  • 1998: Children's Friendships and Learning in School (Froebel Educational Trust)


Alison is a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor. She has supervised 23 students from a range of international and national contexts to successful completion of their studies and is currently working with students in the following research areas:

  • Support opportunities of PVI leaders in the early years sector
  • Role of the school nurse in pupil wellbeing
  • Residential outdoor learning and children’s peer relationships
  • Teachers’ perceptions of post-pandemic child trauma
  • Impact of home-schooling during lockdown on children’s friendships
  • Career development of unqualified early career teachers
  • Influence of peer relationships and collective identity on teacher well-being
  • Teachers’ experiences of secondary traumatic stress
  • Teacher-pupil discourse in multilingual primary classrooms

She would welcome enquiries regarding further study in the following areas:

  • educational identities of teachers and pupils
  • teacher careers and retention
  • teacher/collective self-efficacy
  • classroom behaviours and interaction
  • teacher-pupil relationships
  • peer relationships in the classroom/friendships
  • children's socio-cognitive development

University responsibilities

  • Convenor of Social Psychology of Education Research Group
  • Chair of College of Arts, Humanities and Education Research Ethics Panel
  • Deputy course leader for the MPhil/PhD Programme
  • Member of various committees, including Research Degrees Board, Research School Leadership, Teaching and Quality Committee, Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee, and RKE Strategy Group. 

External roles

Grant and funding bodies

  • Member: ESRC Grant Assessment Panel (B)
  • Member: BERA College of Reviewers
  • External assessor: Irish Research Council’s Post-doctoral Fellowships and Postgraduate Scholarships
  • External assessor: Dutch Council for Fundamental Scientific Education Research (NRO/PROO)
  • Reviewer: Hong Kong Research Grant Council’s General Research Fund (GRF) and Early Career Scheme (ECS).
  • Reviewer: ESRC Peer Review College

Editorial boards and reviewing

  • Associate Editor: Frontiers in Psychology (Educational Psychology section)
  • Editorial Board: Review of Education and Frontiers in Education
  • Reviewer for various educational and psychological international, peer-reviewed journals

Membership of committees, societies and associations

  • Associate Fellow (AFBPSs): British Psychological Society
  • Elected member: Psychology of Education Section Committee (British Psychological Society)
  • Fellow: Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Member: Chartered College of Teaching
  • Member: British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Member: American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Member: Society for Educational Studies
  • Member: International Mixed Methods Research Association
  • Member: National EdD Network


Below is a selection of Alison’s most recent publications and outputs. For a full list, please see WRaP.


  • Kington, A. & Looker, B. (Eds) (forthcoming, 2023). Education Science - Special issue: The Nature, Quality and Dynamics of Teacher-pupil Relationships.
  • Looker, B., Kington, A., Hibbert-Mayne, K., Blackmore, K. & Buckler, S. (in press, 2023). The Illusion of Perspective: Examining the dynamic between teacher effectiveness and self-efficacy. In: Maulana et al (Eds), Effective Teaching around the World: Theoretical, empirical, methodological and practical insights. The Netherlands: Springer.
  • Maulana, R., Kington, A. & Ko, J. (in press, 2023). Editorial. Special issue: Effective teaching: Measurements, Antecedents, Correlates, Characteristics, and Links with Outcomes. Frontiers in Education.
  • Maulana, R., Kington, A., Ko, J., Feng, X., Helms-Lorenz, M., Looker, B., Hibbert-Mayne, K. & Blackmore, K. (in press, 2023). Observing Effective Teaching Behavior in the Netherlands, England, and the United States using the ICALT observation instrument. Frontiers in Education.


  • Hatley, J. & Kington, A. (2022). The influence of support for early career teachers on their decision to remain in the profession. IMPACT, 15,
  • Maulana et al. (2022). Observing teaching behaviour using the ICALT measure across countries: Is there measurement invariance? Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Conference. AERA, San Diego: April 2022.
  • Maulana et al. (2022). Differentiated Instruction in Secondary Education Across Countries: Measurement Invariance and Comparison. Paper presented at the International Congress on School Effectiveness and Improvement Annual Conference. ICSEI, Online: January 2022.
  • Spicksley, K. & Kington, A. (2022). Silver linings? Teachers’ Reappraisals of Children’s Education in England during the First Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown. In: R. Turok-Squire (Ed), COVID-19 and Education in the Global North: Storytelling as Alternative Pedagogies. London: Palgrave.
  • Spicksley, K. & Kington, A. (2022). Dividing Teachers: Teacher Generations in Policy and Practice. SES Annual Colloquium. SES, Oxford: September 2022.
  • Weaver, T., Lindorff, A. & Kington, A. (2022). The Influence of Home-schooling on Parent-child relationships during Lockdown. Symposium paper to be presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference. BERA, Liverpool: September 2022.


  • Kington, A. & Spicksley, K. (2021). Remote teaching during lockdown. Symposium paper presented at the BERA Annual Conference. BERA: September 13th, 2021, Online.
  • Looker, B., Vickers, J. & Kington, A. (2021). The Case for a Critical Realist Grounded Theory Research Design. In: I. Psaroudakis, T. Muller and A. Salvini (Eds) Dealing with Grounded Theory. Discussing, Learning, and Practice. Pisa: Pisa University Press.
  • Spicksley K., Kington, A. & Watkins, M. (2021). “We Will Appreciate Each Other More After This”: Teachers’ Construction of Collective and Personal Identities During Lockdown. Psychol. 12: 703404.
  • Watkins, M., Kington, A. & Spicksley, K. (2021). “If there is a ‘firebreak’ lockdown this Autumn, teacher wellbeing and commitment can be supported by strong peer relationships and nurturing a sense of ‘we-ness’”. BERA Blog, September 2021.