Dr. Liz Chamberlain (BEd, Brighton; MA, Sussex; EdD, Open) is a Senior Lecturer in Education at The Open University in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. She is Academic Director for the Leave No Girl Behind project, Strengthening Adolescent Girls' Education (SAGE), in partnership with the NGO, Plan International, working with 22,000 girls in Zimbabwe. She is co-Director of the OU's Children's Research Centre.
Liz has worked in Higher Education for over a decade, supporting both initial teaching students and practising teachers in addition to leading the PGCE (PT) course for a number of years. Liz’s specialism is Primary English, and for four years she was the Strategic Consultant on the DfE-funded Everybody Writes project, working closely with both the Book Trust and the National Literacy Trust. Liz is currently on the Executive Committee of UKFIET.
Prior to working in HE, Liz was a practising teacher and taught in a number of primary schools in London, Devon, Southampton, and in Malaysia. She held a variety of positions including English Subject Leader, Leading Literacy Teacher, and Assistant Headteacher.
Liz’s internationally recognized research focuses on capturing what it means for children to be writers. In particular, Liz’s main expertise is as a literacy case study researcher with a focus on developing writers’ experiences of writing both in and out-of-school. In exploring children’s private worlds of out of school text creation, Liz seeks to evidence the full range of writing skills and practices children choose to select or reject from their backpacks of practice when asked to engage with school writing tasks. Her recent publications, including Inspiring Writing in Primary Schools, articulates for teachers how to bridge the gap between the broader theoretical positioning of writing with the often narrow demands of the English curriculum. Her work within the OU's innovative Children's Research Centre, as its co-Director, highlights the potential of primary-aged children as competent researchers of their own lives. She led on the first phase of the Brighton Rocks project; the outcomes of which saw children from a school in a low socio-economic area of Brighton sharing findings of their own research topics to PGCE students at the University of Brighton. The success of the project was two-fold, as it equipped the young pupils with the appropriate research skills whilst alerting teaching students to the potential of children in their own classes.
Liz brings together her substantial experience of primary education through her successful management for 3 years as Programme Leader for the Education Studies (Primary) qualifications. She led a team of 7 academics on the new Comparative Studies in Primary Education module (E309), which launched in October 2018, and is underpinned by the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 Quality Education for All. The innovations within the module were recognised by the university in 2019 when it won an Open University Teaching Excellence Award. She is passionate about ensuring that voices from across the primary education community are heard and that the module represents the very best primary practice at a local, national and global level.
Liz is regularly invited to lead INSET and work alongside teachers on whole school writing projects. She leads workshops at local and national events.
Liz has acted as a steering group member for literacy organisations including Book Trust and the National Literacy Trust.
She contributed to the NLT's annual survey: Young people's writing: Attitudes, behaviour and the role of technology. (2009) London, NLT & Booktrust.
She is currently on the Executive Committee of UKFIET. Liz is a long-time consultant for the National Literacy Trust, sharing her expertise in writing to support high profile projects including the recently relaunched Everybody Writes project. Liz was also a book judge for the Book Trust's annual Read for My School project and a steering group member for The Write Book project. In 2016, Liz established a Primary Advisory Group that brings together stakeholders with an interest in primary education in order to advise and contribute to qualification design and development, and includes: the Eden Project; the National Literacy Trust; University of Winchester; University of Greenwich; the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust; the Natural History Museum; St Mary’s University College, Belfast; and, Voluntary Services Overseas.
Liz volunteers for charities including CARE International and Link Ethiopia, regularly contributing educational consultant advice on support materials for teachers.