Ms Rebecca Smith


I am the Professional Lead for postgraduate courses (non-Initial Teacher Education (ITE)) including the Master of Research (MRes) (Education) in the Department of Education at Kingston University (KU).  I teach across a number of undergraduate and postgraduate education courses including those that lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and/or offer awards at Masters level.  I am responsible for the planning and delivery of the Primary Languages teaching sessions on the QTS courses, working with students who have a wide range of languages knowledge.  I teach and lead on the PGCE Top Up (PGTU) and the MRes courses and am also the personal tutor for these students.  The PGTU is a part-time course that offers the Level 7 PGCE award to practising teachers who already have QTS.

I was the Partnership Lead for ITE, working with schools and settings and focussing on the development and enhancement of course reputation and profile, and communication with our partners, local communities and other stakeholders.

I first joined KU in 2016, and have held roles as Deputy Director, Secondary Phase PGCE Programme Leader, Teacher Apprenticeship Specialist and School Direct Lead. 

Before joining KU, I worked on the Teach First Programme at UCL, Institute of Education and at London Metropolitan University where I was the Modern Languages PGCE Course Leader and the coordinator for Secondary Partnership.

I achieved Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in January 2016.

Before working in teacher education, I worked as a modern languages teacher for fifteen years in a large comprehensive school in London.  I also held additional school responsibilities including the whole school role of School Co-ordinator for the Gifted and Talented Programme and the Head of the Modern Languages Faculty.

I have also worked as French teacher in a London primary school, teaching pupils in Key Stage Two.

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in Education


  • MA in Education - Middlesex University
  • Post Graduate Certificate Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • PGCE Languages (Secondary) - UCL Institute of Education London
  • BA Hons French - University of Sheffield

Teaching and learning

I teach Primary Languages (PL) on the BA Primary and PGCE Primary courses and have developed a teaching approach that uses innovative and flexible teaching strategies and content, considering students' wide range of language knowledge.  I encourage students to work with/teach language(s) they learned at school and/or acquired heritage language(s).  This approach brings breadth to the teaching sessions while linking the learning to school practice.  We explore a range of strategies and activities from simple conversations to storytelling in a language other than English, developing the teaching of skills and language content that allows students to access learning at a level and in a language that reflects their knowledge and understanding.  I also ensure that sessions provide challenge and increase students' confidence in their language-teaching ability. 

My PL knowledge remains relevant and up-to-date; I consult with school-based PL experts and engage with the Association of Language Learning (ALL) and its Primary Hub seminars.

In addition to teaching on ITE courses, I lead the PGCE Top Up (PGTU).  I developed this in response to those teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but not the PGCE academic award.  The course therefore responds to a developing demand from teachers wanting to enhance their career development and/or advance their studies; for example, PGTU alumni can enrol directly onto the Master of Research (Education) (MRes) course.  I developed the course to reflect the content of the full-time PGCE, whilst similarly aware of the importance of reflecting its specific demographic of practising teachers, of whom many are experienced professionals. 

I am the MRes course lead and teach on two MRes modules.  Our MRes students are educators from a range of professional contexts including health, social care and education and the course encourages them to learn collaboratively and interprofessionally.  A particular feature of the programme is the development of the educator's knowledge of (inter-)professionalism and exploration of how policy and practice can be viewed from different perspectives.

I currently lead and manage the development and validation of a new PG offer including a Masters level award which aims to maximise opportunities for students' participation and engagement with PG study.  This new offer is ambitious in its aims to meet our students' needs and enhance their learning experiences and employability through its provision of an innovative model of study at Masters level. The development has been guided by design thinking principles including consultation with employers to embed the skills they will be seeking in future employees.  I am therefore aware of the changing needs of the workforce and the importance of ensuring our offer can fully meet and be responsive to the sector's demands and needs. The course will be part of the next generation of PG programmes, reflecting the future skills agenda, enhancing students' life chances, and clearly demonstrating the impact of employer engagement.  The latter's contribution has focused on a consideration of the skills, knowledge and understanding that the current and next generation of teachers, leaders and practitioners will need to develop and inform career choices.

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


Conference contributions (non-published)

May 2023 - Children, Identity and Citizenship in Europe Association (CiCEA) Conference, Madrid. Engaging educational communities through design thinking: a model for curriculum innovation (presentation) (co-authored)

June 2019 - Leverhulme Trust International Network, Budapest. The role of the secondary teacher educator in a teacher development 3.0 paradigm (presentation) (co-authored)

June 2013 - Children, Identity and Citizenship in Europe (CiCE) Conference, Lisbon. Language as resource rather than barrier - working with student teachers to explore multi-lingual creativity in super-diverse populations (presentation) (co-authored)

July 2011 - International Centre for Education and Democratic Citizenship, London. Language, Citizenship and Human Rights - curricular collaboration in the 'brave new world' of curriculum reform in England (presentation) (co-authored)

June 2010 - CiCE Conference, Barcelona.  Language, Culture and Identity - Using rights as a theme for cross-curricular collaboration between Citizenship and Modern Languages student teachers (presentation and paper) (co-authored).

Professional practice, knowledge exchange and impact

I have been an educator in schools and universities for more than 30 years and am proud of the professional experience and knowledge I have gained from this.  At the heart of my practice is my commitment to work with students and develop teaching and learning that enhances their professional knowledge and practice.

I have worked with a range of organisations including government bodies to develop and enhance my professional practice, raise the KU's profile and support the partner schools, employers and students with whom I work.

I am an active member of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) CPD forum.  This led to my involvement in writing a position paper seeking to draw attention to the strengths, weaknesses, and unanticipated consequences of recent DfE-led teacher training policies.  It was shared with all UCET members and with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Teaching Profession in January 2023. 

I am a committee member of the Fabian Education Policy Group (FEPG), a nationwide, political think-tank that develops and promotes political ideas and public policy.  This allows me to promote the University as a key player in the education sector.  I collaborated on a briefing paper ‘Labour's Preparation for Government and First Hundred Days' that was shared with the Shadow Secretary for Education. 

As part of my continuing drive to develop opportunities for KU education students and to raise the University profile, I am a member of the Trailblazer Teacher Apprenticeship group.  Through this, I have been involved in discussions and policy development about the Postgraduate Teacher Apprenticeship.

I was a member of the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) leadership team for the University's Department of Education and formulated our successful partnership response to the DoE's application to the government Department for Education's (DfE) Initial Teacher Training Market Review (ITTMR). 

Qualifications and expertise

  • 2022-present External Examiner, Secondary PGCE Modern Languages and English – University of the West of England (UWE)
  • 2018-2022 External Examiner, PG Certificate in Teaching – Middlesex University
  • 2014-2018 Chief External Examiner, Secondary PGCE – Goldsmith's, University of London
  • 2008-2012 External Examiner / Lead Examiner, Secondary PGCE Modern Languages – University of Sheffield.

Professional and scholarly affiliations

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016)
  • Association for Language Learning (ALL)
  • Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) CPD forum
  • The Fabian Society - Education Policy Group (committee member)