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Research Profile

  • Jane Murray, PhD is currently based in the Centre for Education and Research in the Faculty of Education and Humanities where she teaches and supervises education students to Level 8 and researches and writes for publication in the field of education, specialising in early childhood education and social inclusion. Jane has extensive editorial experience, including her current role as Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Early Years Education, an established peer-reviewed journal published by Taylor and Francis. Based on empirical research findings, her book Building Knowledge in Early Childhood: Young Children Are Researchers was published by Routledge in 2017.

    Jane was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and since 2010, has led on the MA Education (Early Years) pathway. Prior to this role, she led on the BA (Hons) Early Years Education (QTS) degree (2006-2010). Before working in Higher Education, Jane was a qualified teacher and consultant for two decades, working in early childhood settings, primary schools and music education. She also holds the National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH).

    Jane is a member of the European Early Childhood Educational Research Association, for which she co-convenes two special interest groups (SIGs) to support research and publication in the field of early childhood education: the Early Career Researchers’ SIG and the Young Children’s Perspectives SIG. Jane sits on the UK Executive Committees of both the Organisation Mondiale pour l’Éducation Pré-Scolaire (OMEP) and TACTYC (Training, Advancement and Co-operation in Teaching Young Children), for which she is conference lead. She has also served on the National Children’s Bureau’s Policy Advisory Group in the UK.

    Jane is an Associate of the Northampton Centre for Learning Behaviour (NCFLB). Her research profile includes projects for UNICEF and the European Commission as well as contributions to the £30 million UK Teaching and Learning Research Program and local neighbourhood projects. Jane has worked with government education departments and ministries in Bhutan, Ethiopia, Georgia, Estonia and the UK.

  • Jane’s current teaching includes:

    Level 7:

    • EDUM079 Dissertation
    • EDUM100 Research Thesis
    • EDUM072 Contemporary Issues in the Early Years
    • EDUM101 Young Children’s Literature, Media and Culture

    Level 6:

    • EYS4104 Children’s Services Dissertation

    Jane’s current PhD students include:

    • Elaine Batchelor: The role of ‘talk’ between a primary school science coordinator and a student learning to teach science
    • Claire Dugan-Clements: Constructions of early childhood in inter-generational meeting places
    • Yahya MoalinZ: An Investigation into the role of education in conflict mitigation and peace and reconciliation in Somalia
    • Jessica Newcombe: Peer mentoring for young people with PMLD in a special school
    • Sumathi Ravindranath: An investigation into the ways methods taught during Montessori teacher training in Bangalore are applied by teachers in Montessori and mainstream schools
    • Tanya Richardson: Do factors in the learning environment affect characteristics of utterances made by young children?
    • Eleonora Teszenyi: Hungarian pedagogues’ perspectives of working with children in mixed-age groups and how this informs their practice: A case study
    • Helen Trory: Use of video footage to support communication between practitioners in early years’ settings and parents of children in the early years with SEND
    • Emma Whewell: Primary school PE subject specialists’ professional identities
    • Yu Zhao: Primary to secondary school transitions for young people with ASD
  • Jane’s research work includes:

    • 2016-2019: Team Member – European Commission Erasmus+ Project ‘Cyber Safe Generation: Digital education by design’ (CyGen). A 3-year, 4-country funded project led by the University of Northampton, UK (Professor Helen Lomax (PI), Dr Jane Murray and Dr Michelle Pyer).  The team is working with children and schools to co-design and co-produce educational resources to support primary school children’s safe digital participation (€266,652)
    • 2016-2019: Team Member – European Commission Erasmus+ Project ‘Below 10’ 2016-1-IT02-KA201-024125. A 3-year Erasmus+ funded project with nine organisations in six European countries, including the University of Northampton, UK (Dr Cristina Devecchi, Dr Jane Murray, Wendy Turner). Below 10 focuses on new pedagogical strategies to prevent early school leaving (€447,510)
    • 2016-2017: Team Member: UNICEF Project RFP2-1503: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices concerning Children with Disabilities in Bhutan. PI: Professor Richard Rose ($75,618)
    • 2016: PI – Evaluation of Geddington University with David Cousens for Geddington Primary School (pro bono publico)
    • 2016: PI – Parents’ Perspectives: How do 15 hours of free education and care for two-year-olds affect their family lives? A case study in an inner-city school, with Jemima Murray, Islington Borough Council, London, UK (pro bono publico)
    • 2016: Erasmus exchange visit to the Faculty of Child and Adult Education, University of Debrecen, Hungary, May 2016. This visit included discussion as the basis for further development of the comparative research project– Parents and Practitioners in Partnership (PAPIP) in early childhood – into a European bid to include three more country partners from Denmark, Belgium and Italy.
    • 2015-2017: PI – Ethics in Practitioner Research, with James Underwood, Emma Whewell and Dr Val Poultney (University of Derby)
    • 2015-2016: PI – Evaluation of the University of Northampton Changemaker Student Awards Project, with Dr David Preece for the University Centre for Employability and Engagement. (£11,000)
    • 2014-2015: Team Member (NCfLB): UNICEF Project RFPS-USA-2014-501798: Developing a Social and Emotional Learning support package for country offices and governments. PI: Christopher Gittins (circa £300,000)
    • 2014-2015: PI – Evaluation of the Bookstart Corner Programme with Dr Eunice Lumsden for Northamptonshire County Council. (£10,000)
    • 2014-current: Inspire Teaching School Alliance Development Board Member (Research and Development Partner), including ‘Schools Research Partnerships’ and implementation of ‘Being a Teacher Researcher’ and ‘Specialist Leaders: Educational Researchers’ research training for teachers (£5,113)
    • 2014: PI – Evaluation of Higher Education and Schools’ Engagement (HESE) Aspiration and Achievement Project Project with Dr. Cristina Devecchi and Dr. David Preece for the University Centre for Employability and Engagement. Output – report to commissioning body: Murray, J., Preece, D. and Devecchi, C. (2014) Evaluation of the UCEE Aspiration and Achievement Project 2014: Final Report. Unpublished. (£6,000)
    • 2014: Team member – Evaluation of Reading Ambassadors’ Programme with Dr. Cristina Devecchi (PI) for the University Centre for Employability and Engagement. Output – report to commissioning body: Devecchi, C. and Murray, J. (2014). Final Report of the Evaluation of Reading Ambassadors’ Programme. Unpublished. (£6,000).
    • 2014: PI – Evaluation of the Early Years Foundation Degree Taster Days 2014 for the School of Education, University of Northampton. Evaluation of the Early Years Foundation Degree Taster Days 2014: Final Report. Unpublished. (£3,000)
    • 2014: Erasmus exchange visit to the Faculty of Child and Adult Education, University of Debrecen, Hungary, May 2014. This visit resulted in a 3 country comparative research project – Parents and Practitioners in Partnership (PAPIP) in early childhood and a visit by University of Debrecen colleagues to the UK, to include seminar presentations that I arranged at the School of Education, University of Northampton.
    • 2013-2015: Brooke Weston Teaching School Alliance University Partner (Research and Development Partner), developing and implementing action research training for NQTs.
    • 2013-2014: UK Lead Partner – European Commission Education and Culture Lifelong Learning Programme Access to Lifelong Learning in Higher Education – ALLinHE. 517978-LLP-1-2011-1-NL-ERASMUS-E [Online] Available at: (€449,140).
    • 2013-2014: PI – Northampton Play Streets Evaluation with Dr Cristina Devecchi and Dr John Horton for the Northampton Leisure Trust, UK. Output – report to commissioning body: Murray, J., Horton, J. and Devecchi, C. (2014) Evaluation of the Northampton Play Streets Project. Final report. Unpublished.  (Pro bono publico).
    • 2013 – current: PI – A Comparative Critical Review of practitioner-parent co-operation in early childhood education and care provision in England, Hungary and Kazakhstan. This project is nearing completion and includes participating academics at University of Northampton, UK, University of Debrecen, Hungary and Abay Kazakh National Pedagogical University, Kazakhstan.
    • 2013: Provision of CPD focused on inclusion and Assessment for Learning for teachers’ summer school at the Tbilisi State University, Georgia, on behalf of the University of Stavanger for the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (£2638)
    • 2012-13: Team Member – systematic review of Inclusive Daily Childcare Services for Children with Disabilities in England, commissioned by Deutsches Jugendinstitut, München. Output – Report to commissioning body: Devecchi, C., Trory, H., Murray, J. and Evans, R. (2013) Inclusive Daily Childcare Services for Children with Disabilities in England: Review of conditions, standards and practices. Unpublished. (€2,500)
    • 2011: Training and coordination of University of Northampton Initial Teacher Education students as research assistants for project commissioned by TACTYC. Output: Moyles, J. and Worthington, M. (2011) The Early Years Foundation Stage through the daily experiences of children: TACTYC Occasional Paper 1. Available at (Pro bono publico).
    • 2007: Team member: Maplefields / Orchard School Evaluation with Prof. Richard Rose (PI). Output: Report to stakeholders, Maplefields School, UK. (Pro bono publico).
    • 2006-2012: The Young Children As Researchers (YCAR) Project. Output: Murray, J. (2012) An Exploration of Young Children’s Engagements in Research Behaviour. PhD Thesis. University of Northampton.
    • 2006-2007: Team member – Teaching and Learning Research Project (TLRP) UK, Educational Research and policy: epistemological perspectives strand.  PI: Professor David Bridges. Output (i.a.): Bridges, D., Conroy, J., Davis, R., Elliott, J., Enslin, P., Griffiths, M., McLeod, G., Foreman Peck, L., Lukes, D., Murray, J., Oancea, A., Pring, R., Saunders, L., Smeyers, P., Smith, R. and Watts, M. (2007) Educational Research and Policy: Epistemological perspectives. London: TLRP.
    • 2005-6: PI – Conversations with Gatekeepers: academic and school leadership perspectives on educational research. Output: Murray, J. (2006) Conversations with Gatekeepers. Paper presented at EECERA 16th Annual Conference, University of Iceland, Reykavik, Iceland. 30th August-2nd September 2006. (Pro bono publico).
    • 2004-5: Team member – Evaluation of Play Provision and Play Needs in the London Borough of Redbridge, for Redbridge Children’s Fund, London, UK. PI: Professor Hugh Matthews. Output – report to commissioning body:  Armstrong, S., Barker, J., Davey, R., Diosi, M., Horton, J., Kraftl, P., Lumsden, E., Marandet, E., Matthews, H., Murray, J., Pyer, M. and Smith, F. (2005) Evaluation of Play Provision and Play Needs in the London Borough of Redbridge: Final Report. Northampton: Centre for Children and Youth.
    • 2003-4: Team member – Whitehills Nursery Outdoor Learning Project / Output: Waller, T., Murray, J. and Waller, J. (2004) Outdoor Learning and Well-Being: Children’s spaces and children’s minds. Paper presented at EECERA 14th Annual Conference in Malta. 1-4 September 2004. (Pro bono publico).
  • For publications, projects, datasets, research interests and activities, view Jane Murray’s research profile on Pure, the University of Northampton’s Research Explorer.