Southampton Education School

Research Group: Mathematics and Science Education (MaSE) Research Centre

The Mathematics and Science Education Research Centre (MaSE) focuses on how people, communities and cultures acquire and use knowledge in mathematics and science. For our most up-to-date events and activities, visit our blog:

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

We work with learners, teachers, schools, and regional, national and international organisations, to study and develop ways of advancing learning and teaching. Our work aims to develop theories and methods that contribute to equity for all learners and inform new visions for student achievement and for the professional development of mathematics and science educators. We especially seek to inform the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) agenda, at a UK national level and internationally.

Our research focuses on:

  • Conceptual development in mathematics and science 
  • Education for biodiversity, sustainability and citizenship 
  • Embedding ICT in teaching and learning 
  • Health education 
  • Professional learning of mathematics and science teachers 
  • Teaching and learning mathematical and scientific reasoning 
  • Visual and spatial thinking in mathematics and science
Centre members

Centre members

Members of the Centre have extensive experience as researchers, teacher-educators, and teachers in a variety of contexts. We are pro-active in seeking and maintaining strong links with the professional community and with policy-makers. We are a stakeholder in the DCSF National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM), an associate of the DCSF Further Mathematics Support Programme (with our role being for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight), and we host the DCSF Science Learning Centre for the south-east of England.

The Centre is home to two Special Interest Groups: the Research in Mathematics Education SIG and the Research in Science Education SIG.

Funded research projects in the Centre include studies funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), the DCSF, the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), and the Wellcome Trust. We have a very successful track-record in supporting individual research students in winning research studentships and post-doctoral fellowships from the ESRC.

Centre activities include seminars from internal and external speakers, as well as interactive workshops.

Our research students work on a variety of projects in mathematics and science education.

Contact: Prof Lianghuo Fan

International links

  • We have been partners in projects involving universities in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Sweden.

  • Beyond Europe, we have strengthening links with universities in China, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, in Australia and New Zealand, and in Canada, Brazil and the USA.


Selected publications associated with this group from the University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints):


Souza, Ana, Downey, Christopher and Byrne, Jenny (2013) “Making Pies“ – a way of exploring children’s views on curriculum innovation. Children and Society, 27, (5), 385-396. (doi:10.1111/j.1099-0860.2011.00418.x).
Byrne, Jenny, Downey, Christopher and Souza, Ana (2013) Teaching and learning in a competence-based curriculum: the case of four secondary schools in England. Curriculum Journal, 24, (3), 351-368. (doi:10.1080/09585176.2012.731008).
Byrne, Jenny, Downey, Christopher and Souza, Ana (2013) Planning a competence-based curriculum: the case of four secondary schools in England. Curriculum Journal, 24, (3), 335-350. (doi:10.1080/09585176.2012.731007).
Downey, Christopher, Byrne, Jenny and Souza, Ana (2013) Researching the competence-based curriculum: preface to a case study of four urban secondary schools. Curriculum Journal, 24, (3), 321-334. (doi:10.1080/09585176.2012.731012).
Byrne, Jenny, Speller , Viv, Dewhirst , Sue, Roderick, Paul, Almond, Palo, Grace, Marcus and Memon, Anjum (2012) Health promotion in pre-service teacher education: effects of a pilot inter-professional curriculum change. Health Education, 112, (6), 525-542. (doi:10.1108/09654281211275872).
Byrne, Jenny, Brown, Hazel and Challen, Doreen (2010) Peer development as an alternative to peer observation: a tool to enhance professional development. International Journal for Academic Development, 15, (3), 215-228.
Byrne, Jenny, Grace, Marcus and Hanley, Pam (2010) Children’s anthropomorphic and anthropocentric ideas about micro-organisms. Journal of Biological Education, 44, (1), 37-43. (doi:10.1080/00219266.2009.9656190).


Members of staff associated with this group:

Research projects

Research projects associated with this group:

Effectiveness of using interactive whiteboards in promoting mathematical thinking - Dormant

External evaluation of the Physics Action Research programme

Towards evidence-based practice in science education ESRC TLRP network - Dormant

Evaluation of the effectiveness of play provision in Sure Start Central - Dormant

Developing mathematics through contexts (DMtC) project - Dormant

Cross-national study of the generation of geometrical knowledge in lower secondary school mathematics - Dormant


Role of friendship groups as mediators of effective mathematics learning in secondary schools - Dormant

Teachers' views on teaching Darwin-related science topics - Dormant

Teaching controversial environmental issues - Dormant

Approaches to teaching Darwin-related topics - Dormant

Nature of the conceptual understanding of single-digit addition - Dormant

Primary trainee teachers' knowledge of geometrical concepts and their classroom performance - Dormant

Children moving beyond initial success in problem solving - Dormant

Stakeholders’ views on STEM-related work experience for school pupils

Evaluation of RSC Chemistry at Work programme - Dormant

Knowledge domains and teacher effectiveness in mathematics - Dormant

Making informed decisions about sustainability (MIDAS) - Dormant

Evaluation of the National Action Research in Physics Programme

Audience Segmentation Analysis: Motivation and Barriers to STEM employment

Cross-phase sustainable development education - Dormant

CalGeo: teaching calculus using dynamic geometric tools - Dormant

21st Century Science: evaluation of teaching for scientific enquiry - Dormant


Postgraduate opportunities

The MaSE research centre offers an MSc in Mathematics and Science Education programme

MSc Education Mathematics and Science

Postgraduate opportunities related to Maths and Science Education also include the MPhil/PhD programme offered by the Southampton Education School which can be undertaken under the supervision of our centre’s members. If you are interested in undertaking postgraduate studies in Mathematics or Science Education please contact Prof Lianghuo Fan