Photo of Julia Sutherland

Julia Sutherland
Senior Lecturer in Education (Education)
T: +44 (0)1273 877957


Julia is a member and former co-director of the Centre for Teaching & Learning. Her research interests focus on sociocultural theories of learning, literacy and English education, specifically: reading, comprehension, dialogic talk, classroom discourse, teacher education and participatory forms of practitioner research.

Funded Research

2014-2016 Sussex Research Development Fund: Developing Secondary Students’ Reading Comprehension in Sussex and Brighton & Hove (PI), co-applicants Dr Jo Westbrook and Professor Jane Oakhill – an interdisciplinary project.

2011-2014 Evaluator of ‘Speak Out!’ funded by Paul Hamlyn. This longitudinal project was conducted in a school in an area of socioeconomic disadvantage and aimed to develop the oracy of all students, particularly those in receipt of the Pupil Premium, thereby enhancing their educational attainment and life opportunities.

Other recent research and impact activities

The following impact events have taken place to promote research findings from the Sussex RDF project on ‘Developing reading comprehension for weaker readers’ (2016)

  1. Sutherland, J. (2016) English Consultative Group, OCR, A faster, ‘back-to-back’ read: developing reading comprehension for weaker readers, Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examination Board, Cambridge, November 8, 2016
  2. 2.      Sutherland, J. and Westbrook, J. (2016) Reading for Fun Changes Lives, Jubilee Library, Saturday 16 July, 2016
  3. Sutherland, J. and Westbrook, J. (2016) ‘A Faster Read: developing reading comprehension of adolescent weaker readers’ CPD for Sussex teachers, Bramber House, University of Sussex, July 12, 2016
  4. 4.      Sutherland, J. and Westbrook, J. (2016) Ensuring the poor get richer: theorising the comprehension process for teachers and their adolescent readers,UKLA, Bristol University, 8-10 July, 2016
  5. Sutherland, J. (2015) A Fast Read: Developing Weaker Readers’ Comprehension, ITE Conference, University of Sussex, June 27, 2016
  6. Sutherland, J. and Westbrook, J. (2016) Fast and Furious, Adolescents Comprehending Challenging Texts, Centre for Teaching and Learning Research, University of Sussex, 25 April, 2016
  7. Sutherland, J. and Westbrook, J. (2016) Developing Students’ Reading, by Enriching Practitioners’ Knowledge and Practice, Joint Practice Development Day, Brighton and Hove, February 1, 2016
  8. Sutherland, J. (2015) The Reading Comprehension Project, University of Sussex, Subject Leaders’ Conference, Brighton and Hove, 16 October 2015

2006-2010: A series of longitudinal, qualitative research projects on guided reading and exploratory peer talk, some of which were funded by the formerTeacher Training Agency, contributed to the development of policy and training materials for secondary English teachers on the development of talk. These were produced by the Secondary National Strategy and distributed to all schools (English Subject Leaders' Development Materials: Spring, 2007). Many of the above research projects have been participatory, engaging teachers, trainee teachers and school mentors as research partners. Teacher/researchers in schools are currently still engaged with independently developing these projects on reading and dialogic talk, further embedding findings from the original research, as part of the extensive community of English practitioner/researchers in Brighton, Hove and Sussex.