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Dr Liz Chamberlain

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Education (Primary)
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Education
  • liz.chamberlain

Professional biography

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 a Trustee of the United Kingdom Literacy Association and Pop Up Projects.  

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.  

Research interests

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.  

Teaching interests

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.  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.

Impact and engagement

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. 

External collaborations

She is currently a Board Member for Pop-Up Projects. 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.  


Pedagogy for reading for pleasure in low socio-economic primary schools: beyond ‘pedagogy of poverty’? (2018-05)
Hempel-Jorgensen, Amelia; Cremin, Teresa; Harris, Diane and Chamberlain, Liz
Literacy, 52(2) (pp. 86-94)
Places, spaces and local customs: honouring the private worlds of out-of-school text creation (2018)
Chamberlain, Liz
Literacy ((Early Access))
Chatterbooks: creating a culture of reading for pleasure (2016-09-16)
Chamberlain, Liz
English 4 - 11
Choosing The Write Book (2016-04)
Chamberlain, Liz
Primary First (pp. 5-10)
[Book Review] Elborn, S. (2015) Handbook of Teaching Early Reading: more than phonics Leicester: UKLA. ISBN: 13:978–1–897638–98–9 (2016-04)
Chamberlain, Liz
Literacy, 50(2) (p 110)
Inspiring Writing in Primary Schools (2017-04-15)
Chamberlain, Liz
ISBN : 9781925132359 | Publisher : Primary English Teaching Association Australia | Published : Sydney, Australia
Teaching Writing Effectively: Reviewing Practice (2nd edition) (2016-12-01)
Bearne, Eve; Chamberlain, Liz; Cremin, Teresa and Mottram, Marilyn
Ideas in practice
ISBN : 9781910543764 | Publisher : UKLA | Published : Leicester
Jumpstart! Apps: Creative learning, ideas and activities for ages 7-11 (2016-08)
Kurcikova, Natalia; Audain, Jon and Chamberlain, Liz
ISBN : 978-1138940161 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Inspiring Writing in Primary Schools (2016-06-11)
Chamberlain, Liz
ISBN : 978-1473916104 | Publisher : Sage Publications | Published : Exeter
Teaching Writing Effectively: Reviewing Practice (2011)
Bearne, Eve; Chamberlain, Liz; Cremin, Teresa and Mottram, Marilyn
ISBN : 9781897638583 | Publisher : UKLA | Published : Leicester
Investigating the aims, values and purposes of primary education: The case of the Cambridge Primary Review (2018-03-14)
Chamberlain, Liz and McDonald, Roger
In: Cremin, Teresa and Burnett, Cathy eds. Learning to Teach in the Primary School (pp. 231-245)
ISBN : 9781315453729 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
The Power of Story (2017-07-16)
Chamberlain, Liz and Harrett, Jacqueline
In: Moyles, Janet; Georgeson, Jan and Payler, Jane eds. Beginning Teaching, Beginning Learning in Early Years and Primary Education (5th edition) (pp. 180-190)
ISBN : 978-0-33-522696-2 | Publisher : Open University Press | Published : London
Creativity and literacy (2014-12)
Chamberlain, Liz
In: Wilson, Anthony ed. Creativity in Primary Education (3rd ed). Achieving QTS (pp. 85-96)
ISBN : 9781446280645 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
The Power of Story (2011-08-01)
Chamberlain, Liz and Harrett, Jacqueline
In: Moyles, Janet; Georgeson, Jan and Payler, Jane eds. Beginning Learning, Beginning Teaching: In Early Years and Primary Education (4th ed) (pp. 191-200)
ISBN : 978-0-33-522131-8 | Publisher : Open University Press | Published : Maidenhead
Writing (2011)
Chamberlain, Liz
In: Cox, Robyn ed. Primary English Teaching: An Introduction to Language, Literacy and Learning (pp. 37-50)
ISBN : 9781446210109 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Learning and Teaching Around the World: Comparative and International Studies in Primary Education (2018-06)
Safford, Kimberly and Chamberlain, Liz eds.
ISBN : 978-1-138-48521-1 | Publisher : Routledge and the Open University | Published : Oxford
Passageways of practice: punching through domain boundaries (2016-12)
Chamberlain, Liz
In : LRA Conference: Mobilising Literacy Research for Social Transformation (30 Nov - 3 Dec 2016, Nashville, Tennessee)
Passageways of practice: punching through domain boundaries (2016-07-09)
Chamberlain, Liz
In : UKLA 52nd International Conference: Literacy, Equality and Diversity: Bringing voices together (8-10 Jul 2016, Bristol, UK)
Exploring teachers' subject knowledge for teaching English. (2014-07-07)
Chamberlain, Liz; Flynn, Naomi and Daniel, Alastair
In : UKLA International Conference. 50 Years of Literacy: Continuity and Change (4-6 Jul 2014, Brighton)
Where are we now in our approaches to the teaching of writing? (2010)
Chamberlain, Liz
In : UKLA 46th International Conference. The Changing Face of Literacy: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (9-11 Jul 2010, Winchester)
Understanding boys (dis)engagement with reading for pleasure: Project findings (2017)
Hempel-Jorgensen, Amelia; Cremin, Teresa; Harris, Diane and Chamberlain, Liz
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
A review of Link Ethiopia's sponsorship programme: learning from small stories (2016-08-15)
Chamberlain, Liz
Link Ethiopia


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