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Principal Investigator and Senior Researcher, University of Oxford

Sandra is a senior researcher and Principal Investigator at the University of Oxford. Her main research interests are the quality of early years education and care, and the relationships between quality and children’s development.

Sandra’s research is strongly policy-focused, and she has led a number of large-scale government evaluations of early childhood initiatives. Her research has had significant policy impact, and she is a regular adviser to government. She also provides advice and support to a number of national and international research teams, and is a National Education Trust ‘Leading Thinker’.

Outside her work at the University, Sandra is a co-Director of A+ Education Ltd, which supports local authorities and early years practitioners in improving quality using the Environment Rating Scales (ECERS, ITERS and others). A+ Education Ltd works with over 50 local authorities and many individual early years settings and schools. Sandra also regularly presents and advises nationally on the Environment Rating Scales, and is co-convener of the local authority ‘ECERS’ Quality Improvement Network.

Sandra studied psychology at the University of Nottingham and holds a PGCE in Primary Education. She spent the early part of her career as a primary school teacher and has been part of the 'Families, Effective Learning and Literacy' research group at the Department of Education (University of Oxford) since 2002.


  • –present
    Principal Investigator, Families, Effective Learning and Literacy , University of Oxford