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 parenting and education, and works with theories of emotion and relationality to understand behaviours, experiences, constructions, identities and embodiments. Rachel uses feminist epistemologies and creative research methods.

Teaching Summary

MA Education (University of Nottingham).

Supervisor for MA Education dissertations.

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

Research Summary

Rachel has been awarded a post-doctoral research fellowship from the ESRC, which will be held at the University of Nottingham between October 2023 and September 2024.

Recent Publications

Past Research

Rachel's doctoral research investigated mothers' constructions of primary school homework and their homework support role, using 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.

Recent research includes:

  • a DfE project, under Dr Kay Fuller and Dr Phil Taylor, evaluating a government-funded educational Opportunity Area, specifically its impact on literacy and numearacy outcomes in primary education.
  • a series of projects with Dr Yuwei Xu relating to gender-sensitive pedagogy, early childhood education, and reflective parenting.
  • an analysis of gender and gender-sensitivity in the early childhood education curriculum.
  • a collaborative project on gender in ECE between UoN and Universitas Pendidikan, Indonesia.
  • maternal cyber-agency in the homework debate, using a netnographic methodology.

School of Education

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

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