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Personal profile


Jane Murray PhD is Professor of Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Education and Research at the University of Northampton. Jane researches, teaches, supervises, advises and has published widely in the field of education, with specialisms in early childhood pedagogy, social inclusion and participatory research. Jane is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). She has worked as a qualified early childhood and primary school teacher as well as a teacher educator in the UK and she holds the UK National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH). Jane has worked with government education departments and ministries in countries including Ethiopia, Bhutan, Georgia and the UK, as well as national and international organisations including UNICEF and The National Gallery in England. She leads on the Young Children Are Researchers (YCAR) Project and she is Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Early Years Education, a Taylor and Francis peer reviewed journal.

Research Interests

Formal, Informal and Non-formal Education

Jane's major research interest is Education in early childhood and beyond in its formal, informal and non-formal states. Her work as Principal or Co-Investigator in this area includes a diverse collection of funded projects ranging from international research addressing social and emotional learning (UNICEF, 2014-2015) and science outdoors for children aged 3-11 years (European Commission, 2018-2022) to local studies about early literacy (Northamptonshire County Council) and children’s outdoor play (Northampton Leisure Trust). Jane has published many peer-reviewed journal articles from her research addressing formal, informal and non-formal education. From the Young Children Are Researchers study, she authored Building Knowledge in Early Childhood Education: Young Children Are Researchers (Routledge, 2017). For another book that Jane edited - Early Childhood Pedagogies: Creating spaces for young children to flourish’ (Routledge, 2019) - she curated research from 40+ international authors. Additionally, as Editor-in-Chief for the peer-reviewed International Journal of Early Years Education, (2016-) Jane is influential globally in the production of new knowledge pertaining to formal, informal and non-formal early education.


Participatory Research in Education

Participatory Research in Education is another important strand of Jane’s work. Among other projects, as PI she collaborated with the National Gallery in England, children and teachers across a large school trust and university art students to research the integration of rich arts experiences in the primary curriculum for a project supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation (2018-2022). This research was awarded the BERA/Anna Craft Creativities in Education prize (2020). Jane also worked with colleagues across diverse European schools and higher education institutions including 2nd primary school of Kalamata, University Colleges Leuven-Limburg and VIA University College on the Cyber Safe Generation project (European Commission, 2016-2019), bringing together young people, teachers and academics to develop an evidence-based digital educational programme promoting young peoples’ online citizenship. On a smaller scale, Jane led a research collaboration with teachers and primary carers at a super-diverse inner-city school to investigate parents’ perspectives on ways free education and care for two-year-olds affected their family lives; by personal invitation of the Head of Research at the Department of Education (DfE), the research team presented the study findings to an audience of DfE policy advisors. Jane is often invited to work in participation with early years and school stakeholders at their request; past projects have featured topics including the social impact of early years provision, transitions in education and young children’s voices in their learning.


Social Inclusion

Much of the funded research that Jane works on addresses social inclusion. She co-edited two books from the ‘Access to Lifelong Learning in Higher EducationALLinHE’  project funded by the European Commission (2011-2014): ‘The Power of VPL and ‘Linkages of VPL’ (Inholland University AS & European Centre for Valuation of Prior Learning, 2014). Jane also undertook research with partners from nine organisations across six countries for the ‘Below 10’ project funded by the European Commission (2016-2019) which focused on new pedagogical strategies to prevent early school leaving. For the CHILD-UP project - also funded by the European Commission (2018—2022) - Jane collaborated with ten partners across seven European countries. CHILD-UP adopted a research approach that promoted children’s agency to investigate and foster understanding of migrant children’s social integration and active participation for successful inclusion. As part of her work for the CHILD-UP project, Jane was a contributing author for the book ‘Narratives and Agency of Children with Migrant Backgrounds within Schools’ (Routledge, 2023). Among other funded social inclusion research that Jane has worked on, topics including adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) (National Lottery Community Fund, 2019-2022), childcare services for children with disabilities in England (Deutsches Jugendinstitut, 2012-2013) and knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning children with disabilities in Bhutan (UNICEF, 2016-2017) have been addressed. Additionally, Jane draws on research to make frequent contributions to the discourse around social inclusion in her work as an editor and co-editor: The Routledge International Handbook of Young Children’s Rights (Routledge, 2019) is one example.

Other Responsibilities






Maitreyee Buragohain [Director of Studies, 2nd Supervisor]

The Impact of Dance on Sociability skills of CWCN (Children with Complex Needs): A step towards Inclusion

Gemma Boaden [Director of Studies]

Identifying the Physiology of Voice for Stage: Establishing a Unified Approach to Actor's Voice Training

Michelle Bugby [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

An Investigation of Early Childhood Practitioners' Mobile Technology Use in the Early Phase of Literacy Education

Claire Dugan-Clements [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

Perceptions of Age in Early Childhood Settings and their Communities: How do young children view people aged 55 and over? How do people aged 55 and over view young children?

Steph Flower [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

Teachers’ and school leaders’ autonomy and agency over curriculum and assessment in Multi-Academy Trusts in England

Colin Foster [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

A study of leadership and management expectations for the executive leaders of a children's trust

Alana Fount [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

How to support children with English as an Additional Language: A framework of strategies for primary school teachers

Brigette Gouda [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

Do dental nurses have a role in the early intervention of oral healthcare for infants and toddlers during mandated contacts by specialist community public health nurses?

Lee Livingston-Thomas [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

Enrichment, what's that all about, eh?

Charlotte Marshall [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

The value of choice in the FE classroom: an investigation into the relationship between autonomy, critical thinking and innovation.

Eucharia McCarthy [1st Supervisor]

A critical investigation into inclusion co-ordinators' (InCos') perspectives and experiences of implementing their role in pre-school settings in the mid-west of Ireland.

Sumathi Ravindranath [2nd Supervisor]

An investigation into the nature and extent to which methods taught during Montessori teacher training in Bangalore are applied by teachers in Montessori and mainstream schools

Rosie Robson [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

Children’s perspectives on play-based experiences in early childhood settings and their effects on their attitudes to school

Sally Sharp [1st Supervisor]

Mental health and wellbeing in higher education

Christopher Wilson [Director of Studies, 1st Supervisor]

A primary school’s role in enacting social mobility


Debbie Bailey PhD

An investigation into how headteachers of special schools in England for pupils with SEBD/SEMH maintained school effectiveness during an extended period of change 1998-2019.

Elaine Batchelor PhD

Primary Trainee Teachers’ Talk with Primary School Science Co-ordinators: Two Case Studies of Primary Trainees Learning to Teach Science

Wen Chen PhD

Students aged 3-6 years with special educational needs working in second language environments

Ayse Gursel PhD

The views of key stakeholders concerning leadership and professional development in schools in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Yahya Moalin PhD

Perspectives from the UK Somali Diaspora on the ways Peace Education may support the National Reconciliation Process in Somalia: An exploratory case study

Jess Newcombe PhD

Perspectives of Secondary School Students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties Regarding a Peer Mentoring Programme: A Participatory Inquiry

Tanya Richardson PhD

What constitutes a quality learning environment with regards to speech and language development for young children and how do factors in learning environment influence the characteristics of utterances made by young children?

Angela Scollan PhD

Children's Self-Determination as Pedagogy: Facilitation of children's narratives in London primary schools.

Helen Trory PhD

A Balancing Act: Perceptions of communication about young children with SEND in the early years. An IPA Study.

Emma Whewell PhD

Primary PE teachers' self-image and professional identity

Yu Zhao PhD

An Investigation of Experiences of Pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and School Provision during the Transition between Educational Phases in England


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, An Exploration of Young Children's Engagements in Research Behaviour

Award Date: 20 Mar 2013

Master, Professional Studies in Education

Award Date: 10 Jul 2002

Bachelor, Education

Award Date: 4 Jul 1983

External positions

TRUSTEE, Northampton Arts Collective, Northampton Arts Collective

2021 → …


2019 → …

TRUSTEE, Preston Hedge's Academy Trust, Northamptonshire UK

2018 → …

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, International Journal of Early Years Education

2016 → …

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, Early Child Development and Care Journal

2015 → …

CONVENOR, Young Children's Perspectives Special Interest Group, EECERA: European Early Childhood Education Research Association

2014 → …

TRUSTEE - Inspire Primary Teaching School Alliance, Inspire Primary Teaching School Alliance, Northamptonshire UK


Advisory Board Member, National Children's Bureau



  • LB1501 Primary Education
  • Education
  • Social justice
  • Pedagogy
  • Young Children as Researchers
  • Social inclusion
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Qualitative Research
  • Educational Research


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