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Ms Kimberly Safford

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Education, and you can see my publications in Open Research Online:

I work part-time at the OU and undertake research, consultancies and evaluations in my areas of interest and expertise. At the moment, I work with Hackney Learning Trust to evaluate their Daily Supported Reading and Destination Reader literacy progammes, and with the Cheltenham Literature Festival to evaluate its 'Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils' project. I enjoy writing book reviews and comment pieces for academic journals and professional publications. 

At the OU I am a member of the Primary Education Studies team. I co-authored the course 'Comparative and international studies in primary education' and co-edited the course reader published by Routledge, 'Learning and Teaching Around the World: Comparative and International Studies in Primary Education'. I also supervise UK and international post graduate students.

My research in the UK has investigated the impact on primary school teachers of the grammar element of the statutory test in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG).  UKLA funded this study and the report is on their website

Since 2013 I have worked with the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and Plan International in Sierra Leone on the Learning Assistant programme, which promotes a school-based pathway into teaching for women in rural communities.  

I contribute to the OU's International Development and Teacher Education programmes in Africa and India, authoring collaboratively with academics and teachers:

  • Sierra Leone Girls Education Challenge
  • India Teacher Education through School-based Support (TESS India)
  • Malawi Keeping Girls in School / Access to Teaching Scholarships
  • Pan Africa Teaching Early Grade Reading
  • Ghana Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL)

You can read about these programmes here:

Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA)

Sierra Leone Girls Education Challange

TESS India

I have also worked with colleagues on a British Council / EDT funded research project exploring the challenges and opportunities of English as the language of school instruction in Ghana and India. 

Before coming to the OU, I was Senior Lecturer in Primary English Education at Roehampton University. I was the research officer for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) in London, and carried out research with Creative Partnerships,  Wandsworth Ethnic Minority Achievement Service, King's College London Widening Participation programme, and National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC).  I was a primary school teacher in Lambeth and Wandsworth.

In a previous career, I worked for 20 years as a radio and television journalist in San Francisco, New York and London. 

Research interests

Teacher education, multilingual learners, English language.  



Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
CREET: Educational Studies Research ClusterClusterFaculty of Education and Language Studies


Externally funded projects

Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead11 Oct 201830 Sep 2019Cheltenham Literature festival

This is the third year of an ongoing evaluation of a teacher professional development programme launched and sponsored by Cheltenham Festivals. The project supports groups of primary school teachers to use high quality children’s literature in their teaching and for their own enjoyment.