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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School
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Professor Kiki Messiou BEd, MEd, MSc, PhD

Professor of Education, Deputy Head of School, Director of Research

Professor Kiki Messiou's photo

Kiki Messiou is Professor within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.  She is currently the Director of Research in Southampton Education School (Deputy Head of School).

Kiki joined the University of Southampton in October 2012. Her research interests are in the area of inclusive education and, in particular, in exploring children’s and young people’s voices to understand notions of marginalisation and develop inclusive practices in schools. She is particularly interested in research with children and young people and methodological issues related to this issue. These themes are the focus of her publications. This is summed up in the following statement in her book, ‘Confronting marginalisation in education: A framework for promoting inclusion’.

Listening to children in relation to inclusion in schools is a manifestation of being inclusive.

Kiki is a regular contributor to international conferences, such as AERA, BERA and ECER and has given invited keynote presentations in various countries such as Austria, Cyprus, England, Italy, South Africa and Spain. In 2019 she received the BERA Conference SIG (Inclusive Education) Best Paper Award.  In the same year, she was invited to Stanford University to talk about her research and to explore possibilities for collaborative work with schools in Palo Alto and Southampton.

She led a three-year (2017-2020) European Union funded study "Reaching the ‘hard to reach’: Inclusive responses to diversity through child-teacher dialogue". The study involved five countries (Austria, Denmark, England, Spain, Portugal), with partners from universities and primary schools in each country. It focused on developing effective strategies for including all children in lessons, particularly those who might be seen as 'hard to reach'. This built on her earlier collaborative teacher development and research project funded by the European Union Executive Agency (2011-2014) entitled "Responding to diversity by engaging with students' voices: a strategy for teacher development" and involved researchers and practitioners from three countries: Portugal, Spain and the UK. Furthermore, Kiki collaborated with colleagues from Italy (co-ordinators), Spain, Cyprus and Poland, for the INTO (‘Intercultural Mentoring tools to support migrant integration at school’) project funded by the European Union. This project involved schools from Hampshire and Southampton and focused on the role of secondary school students in becoming mentors to support migrant students during a difficult time of their school life. 

Kiki started her career as a primary school teacher in Cyprus and completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester. She has extensive experience of working in schools as a teacher and as a researcher. After completing her PhD, she returned back to Cyprus where she worked as a mainstream class teacher and as a part time lecturer at the University of Nicosia, teaching Special/Inclusive Education. In 2007 she joined the University of Hull where she was programme director for the Masters in Inclusive Education and the BA in Education, Social Inclusion and Special Needs programme. She also established and led the Inclusion Research Group in the Hull Faculty of Education. In Southampton, she led the BSc Education/BSc Education and Psychology programmes.

Research interests

  • Inclusive education
  • Marginalisation in schools
  • Research with children and young people
  • Students’ voices
  • Developing learning and teaching in schools 

Intercultural mentoring

Supporting migrant children in schools

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Kiki Messiou

Engaging with student's voices in schools: potential and challenges

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Research group

Centre for Research in Inclusion

Research project(s)

INTO: Intercultural mentoring tools to support migrant integration at school

Reaching the hard to reach: inclusive responses to diversity through child-teacher dialogue

Responding to diversity by engaging with students’ voices: A strategy for teacher development

Key roles:

  • Director of Research (2019 – current)
  • Impact Champion for Southampton Education School (2016 – 2019)
  • External examiner Masters - Open University
  • Peer reviewer in various academic journals


  • Fellow of RSA (Royal Society of Arts)
  • Fellow of HEA (Higher Education Academy)
  • Member of BERA (British Educational Research Association)
  • Member of AERA (American Educational Research Association)
  • UNESCO – Inclusive Policy Lab (Expert)
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Book Chapters


PhD students:

  • Andie Allman – Teachers’ perceptions of the inclusivity of classical subjects (PhD)
  • Simon Dear – What can we learn from two case study schools about the aspirations of primary school children on the Isle of Wight and how do these aspirations relate to family, school and community contexts? (PhD)
  • Lily Salleh - Teachers’ views about school-based professional development for promoting inclusive education in Malaysia’s primary schools (PhD)
  • Jatinder Kang - The meaning of being successful:
  • Perceptions amongst a selected group of British Indian first-degree students (PhD)
  • Li Hao - Introducing Music Therapy Techniques into Early Years Special Needs Education for Young Children with Autism in China (PhD)
  • Harriet Hummerstone - How to “talk monkey” like a “gorilla”: facilitating communication between students on the autism spectrum and staff in secondary mainstream schools (PhD)
  • Rosa Drown –Perceptions and Practices that Affect the Realisation of the Romanian Government’s Policy to Achieve ‘Equal Access to Quality Education for Roma Children’: A Study of a Transylvanian Rural Community (PhD)
  • Tricia Shaw – Engaging with children’s voices: Illuminating perceived notions of inclusion in pedagogical activities in the reception class (PhD)
  • Emma Barnes – An exploration into the role of pastoral support staff in schools (EdD)
  • Mashael Alariefy - Exploring the Impact of having a Child with a Disability in Saudi Arabia: Implications for Family Support Services (PhD, University of Hull)
  • Rebecca Adderley – An exploration of the impact of pupil grouping on peer relationships in three primary schools: implications for inclusion (PhD, University of Hull)
  • Mantalena Sotiriadou - Exploring teachers’ responses towards the inclusion of students from diverse cultural backgrounds: The emergence of a "grey" area (PhD, University of Hull)
  • Elina Gerosimou - Understanding primary teachers’ professional development needs for fostering inclusion in Cyprus (PhD, University of Hull)
Professor Kiki Messiou
Southampton Education School University of Southampton Building 32 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 32/2003

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