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REA Scholarship Education : Using Pupil Views Templates to investigate the development of thinking across children at point of school entry in Scotland

Metacognition is an area of increasing relevance in education, with strong correlations reliably confirmed between metacognitive awareness and attainment; however, what this looks like in young children starting school is under researched. 
With the Scottish Parliament’s emphasis on early years education then a systematic exploration of the metacognitive awareness of children entering their first year at school and the variables that impact on this would be useful in informing the ways in which we induct children into learning and support their achievement. This would also have close links to the Scottish Attainment Challenge.
  • Number of scholarships 1
  • Value £14,510
  • Opens 20 January 2017
  • Deadline 3 April 2017
  • Help with Tuition fees, Living costs, Travel costs
  • Duration 3 years


Candidates are required to have an undergraduate honours degree with a classification of at least 2:1 in the following subject areas :
social science 
A Masters degree (or equivalent) will be strongly preferred along with a strong background and understanding of quantitative methods

Project Details

The aims of this proposed research are twofold. Firstly, to systematically collect data across the youngest age group in schools to explore developmental themes in declarative metacognition at point of school entry. This will not only contribute to the research field, but also provide empirical basis for the use of PVTs in schools for assessment and diagnostic purposes. Secondly, it will investigate PVTs as a research tool.

A research tool that can be used empirically and pedagogically to examine young children’s metacognitive development.The research design will use a strategic sample across 8 primary schools chosen for a range of socio-economic and geographical factors. In each school, all children in their first year of school (primary 1) will be asked to complete a PVT in their first month of school. This should make a sample of around 240 templates (presuming each school has one class of 30 children in P1). Variables such as gender, age, family circumstances, pre-school education and teacher assessments of attainment will also be gathered

Quantitative analysis will be beneficial to identify patterns and trends that are statistically significant. This would prompt further investigation or more in depth qualitative analysis

Further Information

Further information on the project can be obtained from Professor Kate Wall ( or Dr Lorna Arnott (

Contact us

Email :


FIRST SUPERVISOR : Professor Kate Wall

How to apply

Candidates must apply on-line via PEGASUS at and choose “PhD Education”.  
Candidates should include: 
• CV 
• Research proposal of no more than 1000 words, which includes a clear research question, and explanation of why it is highly original, and an outline of a timetable for tackling the project. 
• Covering letter describing in detail your interest in and suitability for undertaking this project 
• Degree transcripts (this may be an interim transcript if you are still studying) 
• Two academic references*
* These may be provided directly from your referees if they would prefer and should be sent to no later than the deadline of 20th March. Email subject should contain: applicant name + phrases “Reference” and “REA Application”