Professor Sue Ellis


Personal statement

Sue Ellis is interested in how to make literacy research, policy development and implementation more effective.  This involves understanding how the local policy environments of schools and local authorities shape, and are shaped by, national frameworks and local authority organisational systems, data use and staff expertise.  

She has a strong commitment to knowledge exchange and to research that directly supports improved literacy outcomes for pupils. The recurring themes in her work concern literacy and equity, policy implementation and teacher development.  She developed the Strathclyde Literacy Clinic as an innovative and cost-efficient way to help student teachers become diagnostic, responsive literacy teachers, able to address children’s socio-cultural and cognitive knowledge.  (

She is co-author of the influential Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on Closing The Attainment Gap In Scottish Education  ( and was the ‘Education Lead’ on the Renfrewshire Poverty Commission, chaired by Sir Harry Burns.  She is a frequent guest on TV and radio current affairs programmes such as Scotland 2015, Scotland Tonight, and You and Yours, commenting on education issues.

Professor Ellis is Co-Director of the Centre for Education and Social Policy, which brings together expertise from across the university and is part of Strathclyde’s International Public Policy Institute. The Centre focuses on three work-streams: Transformative Data; Tackling Social Disadvantage; Changing Welfare States. It promotes cutting-edge, innovative research, hosts high-level policy-focused seminars and conferences and publishes Policy-Briefs and Occasional Papers. (

 Before joining Strathclyde University, Professor Ellis worked in Primary Schools in West Sussex and in the east end of London. 



Prizes and awards

Wiley Research in Literacy Education
Article Prize awarded by the Board of the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders for the best academic paper: McCartney, E., Boyle, J., Ellis, S., Bannatyne, S., & Turnbull, M. (2011) Indirect language therapy for children with persistent language impairment in mainstream primary schools: outcomes from a cohort intervention. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 46 (1), 74-82.
2012: Top 10 downloaded paper awarded by the Board of Literacy for the paper: Martlew, J., Ellis, S. Stephen, C and Ellis, J (2010) Teacher and child talk in active learning and whole-class contexts: some implications for children from economically less advantaged home backgrounds. Literacy, 44 (1), 12-19. Wiley Blackwell.

more prizes and awards


Teacher noticing in language and literacy landscapes of practice
Ellis Sue, Rowe Adele, Carey Jenny, Smith Vivienne
Developing Habits of Noticing in Literacy and Language Classrooms (2019) (2019)
Ellis Susan, Simpson Alyson
Developing Habits of Noticing in Literacy and Language Classrooms (2019) (2019)
Recommendations for Scottish National Standardised Assessments
Ellis Sue
Report on the Renfrewshire Literacy Approach : August 2015 – July 2017
Ellis Susan, Anderson Jess, Rowe Adele
Literacy, language and wellbeing
Smith Vivienne, Ellis Susan
Wellbeing, Education and Contemporary Schooling (2017) (2017)
Generating data, generating knowledge : professional development in the Strathclyde literacy clinic
Ellis Susan, Thomson Jane, Carey Jenny
Improving Reading and Reading Engagement in the 21st Century (2017) (2017)

more publications


Sue Ellis teaches language and literacy on the B.Ed and PGDE courses and on the MEd at Strathclyde University.

Professional activities

Hilary Janks
Scottish Assessment Summit
Kaitiakitanga: Nurturing Literate Futures
Keynote/plenary speaker
Scottish Government (External organisation)
First Minister's Reading Challenge Advisory Group (Event)
Educating Sir Tom

more professional activities


Training for classroom assistants 2019
Ellis, Susan (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019
Diving Into Writing 2
Ellis, Susan (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 30-Jan-2019
Primary Language Coaching Programme
Ellis, Susan (Principal Investigator) Smith, Vivienne (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2019
Teacher Education for Equitable Outcomes
Ellis, Susan (Principal Investigator)
13-Jan-2018 - 24-Jan-2018
Training for Classroom assistants
Ellis, Susan (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018
Data based assessment/pathways to impact & Literacy Champions
Ellis, Susan (Principal Investigator) Greener, Ian (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018

more projects