Rebecca Matthews


Senior Lecturer in Education

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Rebecca Matthews


Rebecca is currently on a career break.

Rebecca Matthews teaches Early Years education and Child Development on the undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Studies, and English and Child Development in Primary ITE. Currently, she is Module Lead for ‘Early Childhood Studies Placement’. which has a focus on effective Early Years practice. Rebecca supports Early Childhood Studies undergraduate students whilst on placement across a range of Oxfordshire’s Early Years settings, with a focus on developing theory-driven practice. Rebecca is also Module Lead for ‘English in the Earlier Years’ as part of the BA in Primary Education. This module focuses on early literacy, particularly the teaching of early reading and Systematic Synthetic Phonics. A key part of her role in Primary English is preparing student teachers for early literacy practice; including an early literacy focus placement. Since joining Oxford Brookes, Rebecca has been nominated for Best Module and Most Inspirational Lecturer in the Oxford Brookes Students’ Union Awards (2015).

Prior to joining Oxford Brookes, Rebecca was a lecturer as part of St. Mary’s University’s Outstanding ITE provision. In her role as lecturer, Rebecca taught across Primary English and Professional Studies modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Rebecca was Module Lead for a Primary English Specialism module and Professional Studies modules with a focus on inclusive practice, assessment and feedback. Whilst at St. Mary’s, Rebecca was heavily involved with literacy curriculum development; developing both an Early Literacy Placement and Early Literacy Subject Knowledge Portfolio. Rebecca also held the role of Partnership Co-ordinator for which she developed school-university partnerships, School Expectation Audits and online evaluations for students and teacher-mentors. In her role as a Link Tutor, Rebecca coached student teachers during a range of primary placements and acted as a Lead Link Tutor for external examiner assessments and training.

Whilst at St. Mary’s, Rebecca was awarded the Henry Walpole Teaching & Learning Award for her research project: Online Writing Project (2012). This research adopted an innovative approach to improving pupils’ writing and student teachers’ assessment of writing through the use of class blogs. She also undertook a research project entitled Moving Beyond a 2:1 in your Academic Writing, which focused on improving academic standards. Rebecca also developed, and led, staff development training.

Prior to entering HE, Rebecca was class teacher and subject leader in primary and junior schools in both London and Essex. She has experience of supporting children with special educational needs and disabilites; including teaching children with hearing impairments, selective mutism, Autism and ADHD. Rebecca also has experience teaching children with English as an Additional Language. Whilst teaching, Rebecca took a keen interest in developing a range of areas of professional practice; particularly focusing on the role of parents in assessment; the key role of talk in improving writing; and embedding speaking & listening opportunities through a creative curriculum, for which Rebecca was a local cluster leader.

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

  • U71111: English in the Earlier Years (Module Lead)
  • U70125: Early Childhood Studies Placement (Module Lead)
  • U70729: Psychology & Education
  • U70126: Child Development 1: The Developing Child
  • U70183: Child Development 2: Researching Child Development
  • U70199: Dissertation (supervision)
  • U71115: Child Development and Learning
  • U70714: Introduction to Child Development


Rebecca is currently on a two-year Career Break while studying for a PhD in Psychology. Rebecca has been awarded a South East Network of Social Sciences (SeNSS) PhD Studentship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). She is currently studying at the University of Reading within the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, supervised by Professor Helen Dodd. Rebecca's PhD research focuses on anxiety and the role of risk-taking in young children's play. Rebecca is exploring the role of parenting styles and parental anxiety in parental perceptions of risk. Rebecca has a particular interest in early child development; attachment, self-regulation; play; mental health. 

Research interests:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Mental health
  • Attachment
  • Parenting styles & the sociology of parenting
  • Early literacy & the role of the Home Learning Environment
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Academic literacy (HE).

Research group membership

  • Oxford Brookes Early Years Research Group

Research grants and awards

  • In 2012 Rebecca won a St Henry Walpole Teaching and Learning Prize for her innovative research project which explored the impact of class blogs upon children's writing motivation and confidence and student teachers' assessment of writing. 
  • Rebecca's PhD studies are fully-funded by the ESRC through the SeNSS DTP.


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Rebecca is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Further details

Areas of expertise

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Early literacy
  • Teaching, learning & assessment
  • Academic literacy.

Other experience

  • Rebecca holds a First Class Honours degree in Psychology (BSc) from the University of Warwick.
  • Rebecca holds a PGCE (Distinction) from the Thames Primary Consortium.
  • Rebecca holds a PGCHE (Distinction) from St. Mary's University, London.

Further information

Rebecca is also a trustee for an Oxfordshire family centre and trained for this role by participating in the Young Trustees Programme run by Oxford Hub.