Kathy Sylva is an expert on early childhood education. She has carried out evaluations of the High Scope pre-school programme, focusing particularly on its 'plan, do, review' structure, and the Reading Recovery intervention programme. She has also investigated programmes to support parents as educators of their own children. A dominant theme throughout Kathy's research is the impact of education not only on ‘subject knowledge’ but on children’s problem-solving, social skills and disposition to learn. A related theme in her research is the impact of early intervention on combating social disadvantage and exclusion. As well as working as a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Oxford, Kathy serves on Government advisory committees, on issues including national assessment, evaluations of programmes such as Sure Start, curriculum for children aged 0-7, and the teaching of phonics.
Allen Thurston is a Professor in the School of Education at Queen’s University Belfast and Director of the Centre for Effective Education. He works in the areas of peer learning and interaction, science education, information and communications technology, and the socio-emotional issues surrounding blindness and visual impairment. He was recently awarded an Education Endowment Fund (EEF) to conduct a large-scale cluster randomized trial of peer tutoring in reading with North Tyneside Local Authority. He has held recent grant awards from EEF, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) including an ESRC Festival of Social Science Award, a grant from ESRC to work on peer tutoring in primary school mathematics, the National Science Foundation (USA), Nuffield and the European Union. He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and a member of the Cross-party Scottish Parliamentary Standing Committee on Visual Impairment. Allen gained a B.Sc. from the University of Wales in Marine Biology/Zoology with options in Chemistry and Oceanography. He then gained a Ph.D. from the University of Dundee where he used experimental research and computer simulations to model the Biological Oxygen Demand in the Tees Estuary on a Natural Environment Research Council studentship award. Whilst writing up his Ph.D. he worked as a Countryside Ranger before completing the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Primary) at the Northern College of Education. Subsequent to this he taught in primary schools in Dundee, Fife and Perth before joining the Northern College of Education as a lecturer in 1998. He joined the University of Dundee in 2001 and has subsequently held posts at University of Stirling, University of York and Durham University. He was on the visiting lecturing staff of the University of Maryland for seven years. He has worked extensively abroad presenting his research and as an invited guest speaker at conferences and has undertaken visiting lecturing roles in Germany and Spain.
Keith Topping is Professor of Educational and Social Research in the School of Education at the University of Dundee. His main research interest is peer learning, in many contexts and subject areas. Other interests include parents as educators, problematic behaviour & social competence, and computer assisted learning & assessment. He has over 350 publications, including 21 books and 172 peer reviewed journal papers. He has consulted with national government and large organisations in several countries and his work has been translated into 12 languages.