Michelle Cottle
  • LA013, Lower Lawrence Building, Froebel College


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Before her role as Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies within the School of Education at the University of Roehampton, Michelle worked as a primary teacher.  She taught in international schools for ten years before completing a Master’s Degree and joining Roehampton, initially as a research officer working on ESRC-funded projects.  

Research interests

Michelle’s research is located within the field of educational sociology, focusing on policy and practice in early childhood settings and primary schools.  She is keen to explore the ways that theory can be used to challenge and counter inequity and performativity within educational institutions.  Her research interests include:

  • Education policy, particularly curriculum and assessment 
  • Neoliberalism and performativity
  • Creativity in policy and practice
  • Quality in early childhood 
  • Creative learning and creative teaching
  • The wellbeing of children and professionals
  • Professional identity and professional development
  • Early childhood workforce issues
  • Leadership
  • Participatory research involving young children
  • Bourdieusian and ethnographic methodologies
  • Visual methods


Michelle has taught on the BA and MA Early Childhood Studies programmes and the BA Primary Education. Her teaching focuses upon:

  • Professionalism and advocacy
  • Early childhood and education policy, curriculum and assessment
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Parent partnership
  • Placement and professional practice 
  • Research methods
  • BA and MA dissertation supervision
  • Education doctorate thesis supervision

Professional affiliations

  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • British Education Research Association

Research projects

  • Co-investigator on Froebel Trust Funded project:  'Reception teachers' and heads of school perspectives and experiences of an observation-led baseline assessment that focuses on child-initiated activity'.  £20,000. Project Director:  Mathias Urban.  Co-investigators:  Sigrid Brogaard Clausen, Dr. Sally Howe, Dr. Sofia Guimaraes and Michelle Cottle 
  • Research Officer on ESRC-funded project: 'Understanding Quality and Success in Early Years Settings: Practitioners' Perspectives' (ESRC RES-061-23-0012). £196,539.36. Project director: Dr. Elise Alexander.  
  • Research Officer on an ESRC-funded project 'British Chinese Pupils' Identities, Achievement and Complementary Schooling' (ESRC RES 000 23 1513) Project Director: Professor Becky Francis. 
  • Research Officer on a Froebel Trust funded project 'The Nature of Young Children's Talk in Music Making' Project Director: Dr. Angela Major

Education/Academic qualification

Education, PhD, Enacting ‘creativity’ in a neoliberal policy context: a case study of English primary school teachers’ experiences, University of Roehampton

Award Date: 11 Dec 2019

Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment, MA, University College London, Institute of Education

Award Date: 1 Jul 2006

English and History of Ideas, BA (Hons), Cardiff University

Award Date: 1 Jul 1994

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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