Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Contact Details

Dr. Rachel Mathieson


I have spent my working life in education, in both teaching and research. I have an MSc in Educational Research Methods, a DPhil in Education, and a PhD in Music.

I have taught in a variety of contexts: my first teaching job was in Reception/Year 1, and until recently I was Director of Music in a sixth form college, teaching A-level Music and running extra-curricular activities. I continue to teach, and think it is important to maintain a realistic perspective on how teachers and students experience teaching and learning within the classroom.

My role within CSSME is as a mainly qualitative researcher on the Core Maths project, working with case study schools across England.

Research Interests

My DPhil investigated how Year 1 teachers responded to the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy (1998-9). I was interested in how and why actors in a particular situation accommodate or reject requirements imposed by others, and how they respond to change.

In my PhD in Music, I explored university Music students’ thinking about performance. Preparation for formal assessment again revealed issues relating to accommodating and managing the expectations of those in positions of authority and/or power.

These studies highlight the importance of the self, of enjoyment, and of being treated with respect for one’s knowledge and experience within one’s chosen area. Both studies used ethnographic methodology, and in both cases I was fortunate to spend a whole academic year in the field collecting interview and observational data.

Although not a mathematician, I am excited about the Core Maths project, which is focused on a new qualification that I wish I had had the chance to study at school, and which could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of students and have an important influence on post-16 education.

PhD Supervision

Ethnographic projects

Music education

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