Prof. Margaret Clark

Emeritus Professor Margaret M. Clark
Visiting Professor in Early Years Education


While a primary school teacher in Scotland, Margaret Clark as a part-time student, gained a first class honours degree in Education and Psychology. For her doctorate she undertook research into left-handedness, and her booklet for parents based on her thesis remained in print for many years. Her published work on reading, including Young Fluent Readers led to the award of a DLitt. That internationally known study challenged a number of assumptions predicting failure in children from less advantaged homes.

She had a varied career, on the staff at the University of Glasgow; as Research Officer at the National Foundation for Educational Research; at Newcastle General Hospital as a clinical psychologist, working with disturbed children; as a lecturer at Jordanhill College of Education; at the University of Strathclyde, where she was invited to develop a new training course for educational psychologists.

In 1979 she was appointed Head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Professor of Education at the University of Birmingham. On her early retirement she was made an Emeritus Professor of Education.

Margaret Clark's Learning to be Literate: insights from research for policy and practice (2014) was the winner of the UKLA Academic Book Award 2015.

Research interests

Margaret Clark’s main research interests are: Left-handedness, Literacy and Early Years Education

She has had numerous research grants from the Scottish Education Department and the Department for Education and Science and was personally commissioned to undertake an evaluation of research of relevance to the education of children under five. She has supervised and been external examiner to a number of PhD students on topics related to literacy and early years education.

Membership of Professional Organisations and awards

  • Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • Awarded a Fellowship of the Scottish Council for Research in Education in 1988 for her distinguished contribution to Educational Research
  • Awarded an OBE in the 2007 New Year Honours List for services to Early Years Education
  • Is a former President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association
  • Member of The Society of Authors


Clark, Margaret M (1988) Children Under Five, educational research and evidence. London: Gordon and Breach

Clark, Margaret M (1994) Young Literacy Learners: how we can help them. Leamington Spa: Scholastic

Clark, Margaret M (2005) Understanding Research in Early Education: the relevance for the future of lessons from the past (second edition) Abingdon: Routledge

Clark, Margaret M (2014) Learning to be Literate: Insights from research for policy and practice Birmingham: Glendale Education; revised edition Abingdon: Routledge 2016

Edited books (with chapters by the editors)

Clark, Margaret M, with Munn, Pamela (1997) Education in Scotland: policy and practice from pre-school to secondary. London: Routledge

Clark, Margaret M, with Waller, Tim (2007) Early Childhood Education and Care: policy and practice. London: Sage

Clark, Margaret M, with Tucker, Stanley (2010) Early Childhoods in a Changing World. Stoke on Trent: Trentham

Articles in refereed journals

`Learning to be Literate: insights from research for policy and practice` Improving Schools 19(2). In press 2016

Other forms of Research and Scholarship

2010 Convened a symposium on Early Childhoods in a Changing World for OMEP World Congress in Sweden

2016 Joint convenor of a research seminar at Newman University entitled 'Baseline Assessment: what research is telling us'. The summary papers are available on /24feb/4560.

Research Supervision

First supervisor for Dalvir Gill ‘Can the subaltern speak: Exploring the post-colonial study of early childhood education and care system’ (PhD thesis, University of Leicester).

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