School of Education

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Image of Rachel Lehner-Mear

Rachel Lehner-Mear

Research Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr Rachel Lehner-Mear is a Research Fellow in the School of Education. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Educational Research Methods (both funded by the ESRC).

Rachel has taught on the MA Education and delivered invited talks at other institutions, including CSPACE (Birmingham City University). She has presented her work nationally and internationally, including at Gender and Education Association and the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.

Rachel is a member of the Global Childhoods Research Group at the University of Nottingham and the Centre for Research in Arts, Creativity and Literacy.

Prior to entering academia, Rachel had a 20-year career in teaching, in both primary and the further education sectors. During this time, she co-created and managed a parent involvement programme for primary school parents which developed their skills in supporting literacy and numeracy in the home. She has taught across the primary age range, and has also lectured and assessed on a range of programmes in the further education sector.

Expertise Summary

Rachel's expertise includes parental involvement / engagement in education, mothering, primary school practices, home-school relationships and the home-school boundary. She is particularly interested in how gender and class intersect with both parenting and education, and works with theories of emotion to understand behaviours, experiences, constructions, identities and embodiments. Rachel uses feminist epistemologies and creative research methods.

Teaching Summary

Rachel has taught on the MA Education at the University of Nottingham. She also supervises MA Education students' dissertations.

Rachel has significant teaching experience in further and higher education in an FE context, and also in primary schools.

Research Summary

Rachel is currently working on a series of projects with Dr Yuwei Xu. These relate to issues of gender, childhood, early childhood education, parenting and STEM.

Recent Publications

Past Research

Rachel's doctoral research investigated mothers' constructions of primary school homework and their homework support role. She used a matricentric feminist lens and theories of emotion and mothering. Her Gestalt-informed analysis approach explored how social, psycho-social and biographical influences shape mothers' constructions and embodiments in their educational supporter role. This PhD was conducted under the supervision of Dr Jane Medwell and Professor Pat Thomson, and was funded by the ESRC.

Rachel has previously worked on a DfE project, under Dr Kay Fuller and Dr Phil Taylor, relating to the analysis of government-funded educational Opportunity Areas, producing a synthesis evaluation of one particular educational Opportunity Area, including its impact on primary education.

Rachel has also researched parents' views of primary school homework and their cyber-agency in the homework debate on social networking sites, using a netnographic methodology.

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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