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The University of Southampton
Southampton Education School
(023) 8059 3707

Professor Chris Downey PhD, BSc, MA, MSc, PGCE, PGCTLHE

Associate Professor

Professor Chris Downey's photo

Professor Chris Downey is Senior Lecturer within Southampton Education School at the University of Southampton.

Chris is a Senior Lecturer in Education and member of the Leadership, School Improvement and Effectiveness Research Centre (LSIE). His research interests are currently focused in the allied fields of educational improvement and effectiveness, especially in how effectiveness data can be utilised to both inform and evaluate educational improvement from Early Years through to Higher Education.

Chris is member of the International Congress for School Improvement and Effectiveness (ICSEI) and currently serves as on the ICSEI Board. He is also a member of two ICSEI Networks: 

After graduating with Honours in Chemistry from the University of London Chris worked for ICI Agrochemicals as a Metabolism Chemist before training as a secondary science teacher at the University of Southampton. Chris developed a passion for education through twelve years teaching science at secondary schools in Hampshire and Poole. During this time he gained experience of school leadership as a Head of Department and as an Assistant Headteacher. From 2004 he worked with a team involved in setting up a consortium of schools to offer School-centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) and was responsible for the design and teaching of the partnership's Secondary Science PGCE course.

In 2006 Chris took up a two-year post as Researcher in Residence with a Local Authority School Improvement Service as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project set up in collaboration with the Southampton Education School here at the University of Southampton. The project was focused on the use of data in the context of Every Child Matters.

Research interests

  • Educational effectiveness and improvement
  • The development and use of value-added progress measures in education
  • Teachers' use of and attitudes toward data in their professional practice
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of educational interventions
  • Post-16 progression and participation in education and training

Postgraduate Research

MPhil/PhD: Investigating non-participation and disengagement from post-16 education and training

Supervisor: Professor Anthony Kelly

Funding: School of Education

Research group

Leadership, Effective Education & Policy

Affiliate research group

Quantitative Methodologies Special Interest Group

Research project(s)

Data dictatorship and data democracy: understanding professional attitudes to the use of performance data in schools - Dormant

Understanding non-participation in education and training in one local authority - Dormant

Use of performance data for school improvement - Dormant

Implementing competency-based curricula at KS3: a case-study of practice in four schools

Evaluating the Poole Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) Project

Improving the capacity of School Effectiveness data to inform school improvement and student learning and aspirations

School improvement in challenging contexts: insights from ten new headteachers.


Board Member of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI)

British Educational Research Association (BERA)

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Book Chapter



Institutional Management and Leadership for professional development MA (Ed)

Dissertation through Flexible Study MA (Ed)

Secondary PGCE

Professor Chris Downey
Southampton Education School University of Southampton Building 32 Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

Room Number : 32/2001

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