Research Centre for Learning and Teaching

Staff Profile

Professor Jill Clark

Professor of Participatory Research Methods and Executive Director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching


Areas of Expertise

Qualitative research methods; participatory and co-produced research techniques; visual methods; young people; social justice; innovative research methods; educational research, community-based research. 


I am the Executive Director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT).

My current position of Professor within the School and CfLaT is a unique post in the University which is essentially dominated by activities which are research-focused rather than teaching-focused, with a strong emphasis on Research Management and Leadership, and research development and support.

Profile Links:

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Research Gate



I joined the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences in November 1996, having worked within the Newcastle Centre for Family Studies during the previous four years. Although now working in the field of educational research, I have a strong background in Social Sciences research. I studied Behavioural Sciences (majoring in psychology) at Huddersfield Polytechnic and then completed my postgraduate degree in Criminology at Cambridge University.

I now work as a Professor across ECLS, and I am the Executive Director of the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching. My role involves collaboration with many members of the School, Education section and Centre who are active in various aspects of education research. Within this role, there is considerable emphasis on research development, capacity building and strategy.

Roles and Responsibilities

My role is pivotal in building research capacity in the Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT) and ECLS. I have been successful in setting up several structures to support colleagues and build and maintain capacity: the ECLS Bid Writing Group brings colleagues together and I provide academic leadership and strategic advice in the development and submission of research and consultancy proposals.


PhD; BSc (Hons) Behavioural Sciences; Mphil Criminology (Cantab)

Previous Positions

  • Principal Research Associate 2016-2020, School of Education, Languages and Communication Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Senior Research Associate 1998-2016, School of Education, Languages and Communication Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Research Associate, 1996-1998, Department of Education, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Research Associate, 1992-1996, Newcastle Centre for Family Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.


Membership and active participation in University management committees, including:

School level:

  • ECLS Research Committee (2002 – present day);
  • ECLS EDI Committee (2020 onwards(
  • ECLS Ethics panel (2009 - 2020);
  • REF Unit of Assessment 23 (Education) Co-ordinator (2018 - present day;
  • Chair of CfLaT Guidance Group (2005 – present day);
  • Chair of the ECLS Bid Writing Group (2005 - present day),

Active Faculty activities include:

  • FRISG (2009 - present day);
  • Library Committee (2009 - 2016);
  • Joint chair of the HASS RA Forum (2005 – 2011)
  • Mentor to 3 members of research staff (across two faculties).

Active University level activities:

  • Researcher Development Co-ordination Group (2010 - 2016)
  • Research Staff Working Party (2008 - 2015);
  • URC Directors (2009 - present day);
  • Associate member of the Centre for Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Enterprise (KITE).

National bodies:

  • N8 representative for Newcastle University for the theme: Policing Research Partnership
  • ESRC College of Reviewers member (2010 onwards)
  • AHRC College of Peer Reviewers member (April 2012-December 2015) 
  • Invited member of the BERA National Working Party on Research Staff Issues (RSI) (2007- present day)
  • Member of BERA – the British Educational Research Association.

Informal Interests

Running. I have completed ten marathons so far very slowly but surely 


Research Interests

I am currently working as the strand leader and PI (Co-production) on a large HEFCE funded Catalyst project as part of the N8 Policing Research Partnership. The Innovation and the Application of Knowledge for More Effective Policing project will facilitate people and knowledge exchange; develop a data analytics capacity and secure data repository service; provide opportunities for public engagement that inform the direction of research; and support research co-production in areas where the gaps in knowledge are most prominent and where research benefits are of greatest value to policing.

I have recently worked as the Co-ordinator of an FP7 award - the FaSMEd project. Working with partners across eight countries, we explored how technology can be used by teachers to help raise attainment levels among the lowest achieving students. The 1.9m Euro project focused on nine to 13-year-olds, as this is when progress in mathematics and science tends to tail off. One of the outcomes of the project is a toolkit for teachers of activities, resources and teaching tips.  Other partners include Nottingham University in the UK and universities in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Holland and South Africa.

I was a member (and Co-I) of a large multi-disciplinary team which worked on the AHRC funded Co-Curate North East project which is looking at digital archives of rural and urban communities and the co-curation of artefacts.

I was also a Co-I on a multi-disciplinary team on a JRF funded project - an evaluation of the 'Thinking Differently' programme. In June 2012 the ‘Thinking Differently – Young People and Alcohol’ partnership was launched in order to trial innovative, preventative interventions designed to reduce alcohol related harm in Scotland. These recognise the role of parents, peers, mentors and the community in young people’s decision-making about alcohol consumption. The evaluation of the 3 ‘Thinking Differently’ funded interventions that we undertook involved a collaborative, mixed methods, and theory of change approach over three years.

My personal research interests focus very much on those issues and factors which could be called 'out of school' but which inevitably may affect the performance, attitudes, behaviour and learning of young people in school. I am also interested in learning which takes place in a variety of contexts, such as prisons and in the community. I have had work published on a study of the re-education of young offenders, which explored the relationship between education, the arts and the criminal justice system.

I completed work in the area of transition from school to University, and in particular the first year experience. The first project - 'Bridging the Gap' - explored the secondary and higher education environment and what student expectations are, how school students learn and what they learn. The second project (with pre-University students in three schools) is explored transition in relation to the context of what it means to be an ‘independent learner’ in both schools and Universities. Finally, I also worked on a project which was a University-wide survey of all first year students to explore their initial experiences of University life. The survey focused on pedagogical issues and learning experiences in addition to the pastoral and social aspects which all impact on adjustment and ‘settling in’ to University life.

I have worked on a variety of research projects, some of which focused on disaffected and disadvantaged young women and included an evaluation of a local truancy programme. I have worked on projects which focused on housing and schooling and social inclusion and educational policy. I also led a team which focused on provision for particular marginalised groups, informed by a review of the literature in this field for DETR's 2000/1 Beacon Councils scheme.

I was successful in gaining funds from the Beacon Trust Programme – a scheme which supported genuine engagement activities between the University and community members. I received £10,258 from the Beacon North East Fund. Working with Sugata Mitra and David Leat, the project explored the potential of the Retired Skype Mediators – developed by Sugata. ‘Skype grannies’ are mainly retired people (nearly all women) from the UK and beyond who work with the school students in supervised mediating sessions. They are volunteers and they offer to revolutionise the concept of education, especially in ‘remote’ and disadvantaged areas (both geographically and culturally) which exist in all countries. Our research worked with them to develop ideas and plans for how best to support their continued and developing commitment to online mediation.

In the past I have led an evaluation of a community education project in inner-city Newcastle, and have been involved in several research projects examining the impact of various community (mostly SRB) initiatives in the Sunderland area.

Methodological Expertise

I have a particular strength and expertise the design, application, analysis and writing in qualitative and visual methodologies, including in-depth interviewing, focus group discussions and participant observation. I have also been working with visual methodologies - such things as diamond ranking and the use of photographs and images - as visual prompts in research. I have a strong commitment to participatory research with children and young people.


Future Research

I am keen to develop further research in the area of prison education and learning. I am also keen to develop the methodology of participatory research, with the emphasis on full involvement of children and young people, alongside the use of visual methods and tools.


Esteem Indicators


Invited reviewer:

  • Drugs and Alcohol Today
  • International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
  • Contemporary Social Science
  • Educational and Child Psychology
  • Evidence and Policy
  • British Educational Research Journal
  • The International Journal of Research & Method in Education
  • ESRC Bids
  • AHRC Bids.


Conference presentations (recent):

Clark, J., Laing, K., Woolner, P., Thomas, U. and Tiplady, L. (2019) Using Co-production In Research: Challenges And Opportunities, ECER 2019, 3-6 September, Hamburg.

Clark, J. & Laing, K, (2018) Residential as research method: research co-creation with young women, BERA 2018, 11-13 Sept, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.  

Clark, J., Sneddon, D. And Tiplady, L. (2018) Collaboration co-production and professional learning communities: working with teachers on an EU development research project, BERA 2018, 11-13 Sept, Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.  

Clark, J. & Laing, K, (2018) Residential as research method: research co-creation with young women, CfLaT Research Showcase, 27th September, Newcastle University.

Tiplady, L., Thomas, U. and Clark, J. (2017) Workshop: Making learning visible: Formative Assessment facilitated through technologies, Great north Maths Hub Annual Conference, 28th June 2017, Gosforth Park Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Clark, J. and Laing, K. (2016) Making connections: Theory and practice of using visual methods to aid participation in research, Youth Matters: Moving from the margins, Newcastle University, 8-9th June 2016.

Laing, K. and Clark, J. (2016) Capacity building in research skills and methods: Involving young people as agents of change, British Educational Research Association Conference, Leeds University, 13th – 15th September 2016.

Clark, J. and Laing, K. (2016) Working with young people around crime and anti-social behaviour: exploring the capacity for change in their communities, North East Crime Research Network Conference, Northumbria University, 7th April 2016.

Clark, J., Laing, K., Todd, L., Woolner, P., Thomas, U. and Tiplady, L. (2015) Using a Theory of Change to Evaluate Complex Initiatives: Theory and practice, Innovation session at the BERA Conference, Belfast, UK, 15-17 September 2015.

Leat, D., Clark, J., Tiplady, L., Thomas, U., Lloyd, K., and Hudson, M. (2015) Students Presenting Their Work To External Audiences – Breaking Down School Walls Or A Distraction To School Standards? Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 September 2015.

Leat, D., Thomas, U., Lloyd, K., Tiplady, L. and Clark, J. (2015) ‘Co-Curate: Educational Accountability as a Brake on Co-Production’. Paper Presented at the AHRC Connected Communities Conference, UEA, June 2015.

Tiplady, L., Clark, J., Leat, D. and Thomas, U. (2015) Becoming Reciprocal In Co-Production. Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 September 2015.

Tiplady, L., Clark, J. and Wright, D. (2015) Formative Assessment in Mathematics using technologies (the FaSMEd Project); Learning from, and with, teachers, CfLaT/SOLEs Showcase, Thinking Differently about Education, Newcastle University, 1st October 2015.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2015) FaSMEd contributor to the workshop Assessment in Science and Mathematics, February 14th, University College Dublin.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2015) Raising achievement through formative assessment in science and mathematics education (FaSMEd), British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics, Durham University, UK, 6th June 2015.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2015) Raising achievement through formative assessment in science and mathematics education (FaSMEd), International Conference on Technology in Mathematics Teaching, 24-27 June, 2015 - Faro, Portugal.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2015) Raising achievement through formative assessment in science and mathematics education (FaSMEd), European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference, August 31st-September 4th, Helsinki, Finland.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2015) England: Formative Assessment in Mathematics, paper in the Symposium session: Formative Assessment In Science And Mathematics Education (FaSMEd), ECER Conference, Budapest, Hungary, 8-11 September 2015.

Clark, J., Laing, K., Tiplady, L. and Woolner P. (2014) Making Connections: Theory and Practice of Using Visual Methods to Aid Participation in Research, Visual In-Sights: Theory, Method, Practice International Conference, June 26-27, Newcastle, UK.

Clark, J. and Woolner, P. (2014) Mediating encounters - the use of visual images in participatory research, paper in the symposium 'Mediating encounters: Theory and practice of using visual methods to aid participation in educational research', BERA conference, London, UK, September 23rd-25th, 2014.

Laing, K., Clark, J., Tiplady, L., Todd, L. and Woolner, P. (2014) Using a Theory of Change to Evaluate Complex Initiatives: Theory and practice, ECER, 2 – 5 September, Porto, Portugal.

Tiplady, L., Woolner, P., Clark, J. and Laing, K. (2014) Theory and Practice of Using Visual Methods to Aid Participation in Educational Research, paper in the symposium 'Mediating encounters: Theory and practice of using visual methods to aid participation in educational research', BERA conference, London, UK, September 23rd-25th, 2014.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2014) FaSMEd Poster presentation at the Association of Mathematics Education Tutors (University lecturers) Conference, 2nd September, Birmingham, UK

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2014) FaSMEd Poster presentation at the AIMS Trust, 29th September 2014, Centre for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Wright, D., Clark, J. and Tiplady, L. (2014) FaSMEd Poster presentation at the 2nd Scientix conference, 25th October 2014, Brussels, Belgium.



  1. Creative Fuse North East: Creative Fuse North East Evaluation, £8,949.
  2. Bid Preparation fund: Bid preparation for a research project on the Mantle of the Expert (MoE), £4,372.
  3. ESRC IAA Award: Making Learning Visible: impacting on mathematics teachers’ practice of formative assessment using technologies, £7,297.
  4. Big Lottery Blackpool: Theory of Change and Evaluation Framework Development, £15,000
  5. HEFCE Catalyst project: Innovation and the Application of Knowledge for More Effective Policing, £846K (of £7.2 million awarded)
  6. FP7 FASMED project: Formative Assessment in Science and Mathematics Education, 1.9 Million Euros
  7. AHRC Connected Communities Scoping Review: The involvement of children and young people in research within the criminal justice area, £24,814.
  8. Breaking the cycle of offending: The Engage Project, £5,000. 
  9. Exploring transition activities in Gateshead Schools from Gateshead Council, £17,542.
  10. Developing the Potential of Retired Skype Mediators ("Sykpe Grannies"), £10,258.
  11. Evaluation of the wellbeing project from The Learning Challenge Foundation Limited, £8,416.
  12. Evaluation of Subsidy Pathfinders, from British Marketing Research Bureau Ltd, £94,163.65.
  13. FCP Final Evaluation, from Gateshead Council, £7,613.
  14. Evaluation of the Activating Children's Thinking Skills Project (ACTS) from the Scottish Executive, £15,433.
  15. A local evaluation of sure start, from Gateshead Sure Start Partnership, £39,000.
  16. An evaluation of the Pennywell Community and Health Project from Sunderland City Council, £3,000.
  17. Thinking skill taxonomies for post 16 learners and offenders from Learning & Skills Development Agency, £99,128.
  18. An Evaluation of the Quality Time Project, from Sunderland Proving Partnership Works Programme, £4,000.
  19. An evaluation of the literacy transition project, from City of Sunderland Education & Community Services, £5,000.
  20. Evaluation of EDP Priority: Key Stage 2/3 Transition from Hartlepool LEA, £24,429.
  21. Pedagogical Analysis of a Level Syllabi-report phase from LECG Ltd, £4,200.
  22. Research into the Theme: Increasing the Attainment of Under-Achieving Groupd. Round 2 - End of Research Theme Report from Improvement & Development Agency, £9,200.
  23. Evaluation of Threshold Assessment Procedures - Support for the Questionnaire Phase form Cambridge Education Associates Ltd, £2,760.
  24. Research into the theme: 'Transition between Key Stages in Schools' from DETR, £15,625.
  25. An investigation of the relationship between young children's understanding of the concept of place value and their competence from Nuffield Foundation, £13,502.


Postgraduate Supervision

I am currently supervising the following students:

1. Boguslaw Ostrowski - EdD (PT) - A case study of the development of an English language course for international students in a UK university incorporating technology enhanced learning through examining the nature of collaboration among classroom teachers and online tutors. (40% with Scott Windeatt).

2. Lee Robinson  - EdD (PT) - What are the motivations and aspirations of Level 1 learners within UK Further Education? (60% with Karen Laing)

3. Abdullah Ben Awadh  - PhD (FT) - Digital and 3D approaches for enhancing human anatomy education (25% with Iain Keenan).

4. Tom Cosh - EdD (PT) - Does a prime focus on managing student attendance increase the effectiveness of student retention efforts in tertiary education systems? (30% with Caroline Walker-Gleaves).

5. Mohammed Buobaid - EdD (FT) - An exploration of educational professionals' perceptions and experiences of the effectiveness of early school-based diagnosis of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Saudi Arabia.  (60% with Wilma Barrow).

6. Badryah Almutairi - PhD (FT) - Improving students' achievements and motivation in Saudi Primary schools using Mantle of the Expert. (40% with Hanneke Jones)

7. Oonagh McGhee - EdD (PT) - An Evaluation of Cohort Learning in Centres for Doctoral Training – A Comparative Analysis of the UK Landscape. (45% with Pam Woolner)

8. Chris Smith - EdD (PT) - A case study in Clinical Legal Education: Enhancing the reliability of non-standardised assessment in a live client setting. (60% with Sam Shields and Jenny Johnstone

I have supervised successfully to completion the following students:

1. Eric Fletcher - EdD Education (FT) - Exploring the sail training voyage as a cultural community (70% with Peter Sercombe).

2. Caroline Gibby - EdD Education (FT) - How does Higher Education construct the role of law teacher? (40% supervision with Simon Gibbs).

3. Nadia  Aljenahi - PhD ECLS (FT) - Investigates the mechanism of Teacher Evaluation (TE) in Kuwaiti primary schools as a major educational tool for improvement and change. (20% supervision with Sue Robson).

4. Muqaddas Butt - PhD ECLS (FT) - Curriculum change and Professional Development of Secondary School English Teachers in Punjab (Pakistan): Challenges and Opportunities.  (50% supervision with Sue Robson).

5. Tania Watson - IPhD Education (FT) -  Disability and challenging behaviours in schools: the necessity for a culpability model of disability. (45% supervision with Pam Woolner).

6. Gillian Mabbitt - EdD (PT) - An investigation of partnership working in the implementation and delivery of the 14-19 diploma. (50% with Liz Todd).

7. Anna Reid - EdD (FT) - Teachers Developing Understanding of Enquiry-Based Learning. (50% with David Leat)

8. Karen Lowing - EdD (PT) -  The place of Scots language in the Scottish classroom (25% with Peter Sercombe).