Professor Alison Kington


Professor in Psychology of Education


Contact Details

tel: 01905 542025

PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS, FRSA


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Alison joined the Institute 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 Education, Culture and Society 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 at the National Foundation for Educational Research and Universities of Roehampton, Nottingham and UCL Institute of Education, gaining extensive experience of, and expertise in, designing and conducting mixed (and merged) methods research.

Building on her doctoral study, Alison’s work has continued to draw on influences from (social) psychology to understand how the presence of others affects our interactions, feelings and behaviours within educational contexts, providing a framework to explore how teachers/practitioners, pupils and parents identify and inter-relate within schools. Her current research, which is cross-disciplinary in its theoretical and methodological approaches, focuses on the nature and quality of educational relationships and identities; more specifically, the influence of teacher and pupil characteristics on social interactions and behaviours, which offers crucial insights into how these aspects of school/classroom life impact on the effectiveness and retention of teachers, and the quality of children’s school experiences.

Alison has led a range of research projects, developing a strong track record of securing external funding from Research Councils and Government agencies, including the Economic and Social Research Council, OECD, Department for Education, European Commission, and the Education Development Trust (formerly CfBT), generating research income of over £3.2m. Her 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 70 papers at international/national conferences and research seminars, including keynote addresses and symposia.

Alison is a Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol), Chartered Scientist (CSci), DfE/ONS Accredited Researcher, UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor, and a qualified primary school teacher. She has received various distinctions for her research including Fellowships from the Royal Statistical Society (FRSS), College of Teachers (FCollT) and Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).


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:

  • Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA; 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+)
  • 2022-23: The impact of the ‘Implicit Pupil-teacher Social Contract’ on trainee teachers’ sense of self-efficacy when developing positive pupil-teacher relationships
  • 2021- : There’s No Place I’d Rather Be! The Influence of motivation, relationships and self-efficacy on teachers’ decisions to remain in the profession
  • 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: The Role of Friendships in the Early Years for Siblings and Non-siblings
  • 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
  • 2016-19: The Role of School Staffrooms on Primary Teachers’ Wellbeing
  • 2015-21: International Comparative Analysis of Learning and Teaching (ICALT)
  • 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 24 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:

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

Alison currently has three self-funded studentships advertised (email for further details):

She would also 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

  • Deputy Chair of the University Professors’ Forum
  • Chair of the Education, Culture and Society Research Ethics Panel
  • Lead for Social Psychology of Education Research Group
  • 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, Research Integrity and Governance Committee, and RKE Strategy Group. 

External roles

Funding bodies and committees

  • Assessor: ESRC Grant Assessment Panel (B)
  • Assessor: 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
  • Elected member: Psychology of Education Section Committee (British Psychological Society)

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

Societies and associations

  • Fellow: Royal Statistical Society (FRSS)
  • Fellow: Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Associate Fellow: British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)
  • Historical Fellow: College of Teachers (FCollT)
  • International Affiliate: American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Member: International Association of Relationships Research (IARR)
  • Member: British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Member: American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • Member: Society for Educational Studies (SES)
  • 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.

Forthcoming/in press

  • Kington, A. & Looker, B. (Eds) Education Science: The Nature, Quality and Dynamics of Teacher-pupil Relationships.
  • Looker, B., Kington, A. & Vickers, J. Close and conflictual: How pupil-teacher relationships can contribute to the alienation of pupils from secondary school. Education Science.
  • Spicksley, K. & Kington, A. Uniting teachers and resisting policy discourse through Critical Language Study: a role for initial teacher education? British Journal of Educational Studies.


  • Blackmore, K., Kington, A., Looker. & Weaver, T. (2023). Mapping primary teachers’ peer relationships across a career. Symposium presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference. BERA, Aston: September 2023.
  • Looker, B. & Kington, A. (2023). The Self-efficacy of Non-specialist physics teachers. Final report. London: Ogden Trust
  • Looker, B., Kington, A., Hibbert-Mayne, K., Blackmore, K. & Buckler, S. (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. (2023). Editorial: An Introduction to the Special Topic on Effective Teaching: Measurements, Antecedents, Correlates, Characteristics, and Links with Outcomes. Frontiers in Education.8:1170854.
  • Maulana, R., Kington, A., Ko, J., Feng, X., Helms-Lorenz, M., Looker, B., Blackmore, K. & Hibbert-Mayne (2023). Observing Effective Teaching Behavior in the Netherlands, England, and the United States using the ICALT observation instrument. Frontiers in Education.8:1068938.
  • Maulana, R. et al (including A. Kington, B. Looker, K. Hibbert-Mayne & K. Blackmore) (2023). Students’ perceived psychosocial learning environments across countries. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Conference. AERA, Chicago, April 2023.
  • Maulana, R. et al (including A. Kington, B. Looker, K. Hibbert-Mayne & K. Blackmore) (2023). Students’ perceived psychosocial learning environments across countries. Paper presented at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement. ICSEI, Chile, January 2023.
  • Spicksley & Kington, A. (2023). Written evidence submitted to the Education Select Committee on Teacher Recruitment, Training and Retention (TTR0088).


  • 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.