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School of Education

Dr George Koutsouris

Dr George Koutsouris

Director of Global Engagement / Senior Lecturer in Education


 +44 (0) 1392 724981

 North Cloisters NC120


North Cloisters, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


I am a Senior Lecturer in Education (Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Education), primarily teaching on the MA International Education and MA Special Educational Needs programmes. I have published widely about social inclusion, inclusive pedagogies, Lesson Study and early reading interventions.

In my research work, I critically explore inclusion in education in its many different forms and expressions. 

I have been awarded, together with Prof Brahm Norwich, the British Educational Research Journal (BERJ) Editors’ Choice Award 2019 for an article exploring the role of randomised controlled trials in education. I have been involved in several systematic literature reviews, exploring a wide range of educational issues (including gender and mental health); and have jointly authored three articles about inclusion in Higher Education teachingcurriculum and institutional policies.

More recently, I led the ESRC-funded evaluation (2021) of the intergenerational Silver Stories programme - the programme of a charity that sees older people listening to primary or secondary students read. Our evaluation suggests that Silver Stories can enhance wellbeing for both students and older people through a feeling that they can support each other, reduce loneliness, and improve students’ confidence in reading and other reading-related outcomes.

I was also involved in a British Academy-funded project (2019-2021) exploring student experiences in the intersection of disability and gender; and a pilot (2022) examining how socioemotional learning can be explicitly integrated into the secondary school curriculum using a Lesson Study approach. In 2021, I co-authored a British Educational Research Association-funded report on the structures and processes that have influenced research activities in the UK.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy – and I was a 2018-2019 Education Incubator Fellow with a project exploring the Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education. I also led the development of the MA International Education programme and both its main modules: Perspectives on International Education and Education for Diversity

From September 2022, I am responsible for the global engagement of the School of Education, and my responsibilities include international student recruitment and institutional partnerships. I am actively involved in the activities of the UK-China Humanities Alliance for Higher Education and particularly the organisation of the 2023 (hosted by Tsinghua University) and 2024 (hosted by the University of Exeter) HEYTA student conferences. 

I gained my PhD at Exeter in 2014. For my doctoral study, I explored a tension between young people’s preferences in everyday social interaction and the ethical dilemma of including all people. After gaining my PhD, I was employed in a number of small-scale research projects, including an ESRC-funded Lesson Study project.

Between 2015-2017, I was the research officer of the Nuffield Foundation-funded Integrated Group Reading (IGR) project, led by Prof Brahm Norwich, a randomised controlled trial that run over two years in 34 English primary schools.


  • University of Exeter, School of Education; PhD in Education
  • University of Exeter, School of Education; Master in Education, SEN (Distinction)
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Annual Seminary of Special Educational Needs
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Ptychion in History and Archaeology

Research group links

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Research interests

I am particularly interested in social inclusion/ participation and matters of inclusive pedagogy and provision; and have researched and published widely about social inclusion, inclusive pedagogies, Lesson Study and early reading interventions. More recently, I led the evaluation of the ESRC-funded intergenerational Silver Stories programme.

I have presented at international conferences (e.g., BERA, WALS, UKLA, ECER and SRHE); and have been invited to deliver seminars at universities in the UK, Spain and China. This includes a talk at the University of Oxford discussing approaches to inclusive pedagogies in Higher Education; a seminar on inclusion in Higher Education at Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain; and a talk on inclusive pedagogies in school education at Chongqing Normal University in China. 

I have peer reviewed articles for journals such as the British Educational Research Journal, Studies in Higher Education, Democracy and Education, Frontiers in Education, the International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies and others.

Research projects

  • 2024-2026: Disability Rights and In/Equalities in Higher Education - British Academy, Co-I  

    This project reflects an Indonesia/England problem-focused partnership to address the inclusion of students with disabilities in higher education. We will explore how sociocultural public discourses about disability and inclusion in both countries influence expectations and practice, foregrounding the lived experiences of students with disabilities in both countries. We bring together an interdisciplinary team spanning education, critical disability studies and media/communications to provide novel insights for practice, policy and research communities. 

  • 2022: Integrating socioemotional learning into secondary school curriculum, using Lesson Study, Co-I
  • 2021: Evaluating the Silver Stories programme: a pilot study, ESRC IAA Project, £17,972, P-I
  • 2021: Gender, mental health and students' secondary school experiences, TREE/Wellcome Trust, £13,860, Co-I
  • 2020: Understanding the structures and processes that influence research activities in the UK, BERA, £19,985, Co-I

The project report can be accessed at: 

  • 2019: Supporting Practices for Inclusive Schooling & Education for Youth (SPISEY), ERASMUS+, €500,000, Co-I (and P-I from September 2021)
  • 2019: The gendered schooling experiences of young women identified with SEND, British Academy, £7,897, Co-I

Research grants

  • 2021 ESRC IAA Project
    The project is the pilot trial of the Silver Stories programme that involves school age children reading to older people and is seen as a way of tackling both social isolation/ wellbeing issues and reading difficulties. Programme activities take place exclusively at a distance (on the phone) using a particular protocol and strict privacy and safeguarding procedures; and are thus highly relevant to the Covid period as well as cost-effective. Children are been referred to the programme by their teachers for reading or social and emotional difficulties, and whole schools can join the programme. In collaboration with the Silver Stories charity, we are conducting a 12-month pilot evaluation project to understand how the programme works and its potential outcomes for social wellbeing and literacy.
  • 2020 British Educational Research Association (BERA)
    Education Research in the UK: A literature review to understand the structures and processes that influence research activities in the UK
  • 2019 European Commission
    The main purpose of the SPISEY project is to contribute to the implementation of the European strategy about early school leaving, the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and the Pillar of Social Rights, especially focusing on school opportunities to a) offer high quality and inclusive education for all from early age, b) improve the transition process between lower and upper secondary / qualifying youth education, especially for those young students with learning difficulties and / or risk of social exclusion and c) improve employment prospects for young citizens with learning difficulties. Special attention will be given to youngsters in the transition between lower and upper secondary education / qualifying youth education, as many youngsters with learning difficulties and a higher risk of social exclusion drop out of school system at that moment in life.


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Journal articles

Dimitrellou E, Koutsouris G, Pearson A (2024). Has the explicit teaching of emotions a place in the secondary school curriculum? a small-scale PE-based study. Pastoral Care in Education, 1-22.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G, Nash T, Allan A (2024). Mental health and gender discourses in school: ‘Emotional’ girls and boys ‘at risk’. Educational Review Abstract.
Koutsouris G, Nash T, Norwich B (2023). Conducting school-based research during Covid: evaluating the Silver Stories programme. Cambridge Journal of Education, 53(3), 413-429.
Koutsouris G, Bremner N, Stentiford L (2023). Do we have to rethink inclusive pedagogies for secondary schools? a critical systematic review of the international literature. British Educational Research Journal, 50(1), 260-286. Abstract.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G, Allan A (2023). Girls, mental health and academic achievement: a qualitative systematic review. Educational Review, 75(6), 1224-1254. Abstract.
Godfrey E, Koutsouris G (2023). Is personality overlooked in educational psychology? Educational experiences of secondary-school students with introverted personality styles. Educational Psychology in Practice, 40(2), 159-184.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G, Allan A (2023). ‘They think it’s trendy to have a disability/mental-illness’: disability, capital and desire in elite education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 44(6), 1067-1086.
Koutsouris G, Stentiford L, Norwich B (2022). A critical exploration of inclusion policies of elite UK universities. British Educational Research Journal, 48(5), 878-895. Abstract.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G (2022). Critically considering the ‘inclusive curriculum’ in higher education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 43(8), 1250-1272.
Baumfield V, Bethel A, Boyle C, Katene W, Knowler H, Koutsouris G, Norwich B (2022). How lesson study is used in initial teacher education: an international review of literature. Teacher Development, 26(3), 356-372.
Koutsouris G, Stentiford L, Benham-Clarke S, Hall D (2021). Agonism in education: a systematic scoping review and discussion of its educational potential. Educational Review, 74(5), 1029-1054.
Koutsouris G, Norwich B, Bessudnov A (2021). Interpreting RCT, process evaluation and case study evidence in evaluating the Integrated Group Reading (IGR) programme: a teacher-led, classroom-based intervention for Year 2 and 3 pupils struggling to read. Educational Review, 73(3), 346-373. Abstract.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G, Boyle C, Jindal-Snape D, Salazar Rivera J, Benham-Clarke S (2021). The structures and processes governing education research in the UK from 1990–2020: a systematic scoping review. Review of Education, 9(3). Abstract.
Koutsouris G, Mountford-Zimdars A, Dingwall K (2021). The ‘ideal’ higher education student: understanding the hidden curriculum to enable institutional change. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 26(2), 131-147. Abstract.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G (2021). What are inclusive pedagogies in higher education? a systematic scoping review. Studies in Higher Education, 46(11), 2245-2261. Abstract.
Koutsouris G, Anglin-Jaffe H, Stentiford L (2020). HOW WELL DO WE UNDERSTAND SOCIAL INCLUSION IN EDUCATION?. British Journal of Educational Studies, 68(2), 179-196. Abstract.
Norwich B, Koutsouris G (2020). Putting RCTs in their place: implications from an RCT of the integrated group reading approach. International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 43(2), 113-126. Abstract.
Boyle C, Koutsouris G, Salla Mateu A, Anderson J (2020). The Matter of ‘Evidence’ in the Inclusive Education Debate. Abstract.
Koutsouris G, Norwich B, Stebbing J (2019). The significance of a process evaluation in interpreting the validity of an RCT evaluation of a complex teaching intervention: the case of Integrated Group Reading (IGR) as a targeted intervention for delayed Year 2 and 3 pupils. Cambridge Journal of Education, 49(1), 15-33. Abstract.
Stentiford L, Koutsouris G, Norwich B (2018). A systematic literature review of the organisational arrangements of primary school-based reading interventions for struggling readers. Journal of Research in Reading, 41, S197-S225. Abstract.
Koutsouris G, Norwich B (2018). What exactly do RCT findings tell us in education research?. British Educational Research Journal, 44(6), 939-959. Abstract.
Koutsouris G, Norwich B, Fujita T, Ralph T, Adlam A, Milton F (2017). Piloting a dispersed and inter-professional Lesson Study using technology to link team members at a distance. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 26(5), 587-599. Abstract.
Norwich B, Koutsouris G, Fujita T, Ralph T, Adlam A, Milton F (2016). Exploring knowledge bridging and translation in lesson study using an inter-professional team. International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, 5(3), 180-195. Abstract.
Koutsouris G (2014). Inclusion and homophily: an argument about participatory decision-making and democratic school management. British Journal of Educational Studies, 62(4), 413-430. Abstract.
Koutsouris G (2014). Young people’s preferences for social interaction in terms of homophily and social inclusion: a critical discussion about respect. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 29(4), 521-535. Abstract.


Norwich B, Koutsouris G (2019). An inclusive model of targeting literacy teaching for 7-8 year old children who are struggling to learn to read: the Integrated Group reading (IGR) approach. In Boyle C, Mavropoulou S, Anderson J, Paige A (Eds.) Inclusive Education: Global Issues and Controversies, Sense Publishers.
Norwich B, Koutsouris G (2017). Addressing Dilemmas and Tensions in Inclusive Education. In Noblit G (Ed) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education, Oxford University Press, 1-22. Abstract.


Boyle C, Stentiford L, Koutsouris G, Jindal-Snape D, Benham-Clarke S, Salazar Rivera J (2021). A systematic scoping review of the literature on the structures and processes that influence research activities in the UK. British Educational Research Association (BERA),
Norwich B, Koutsouris G, Bessudnov A (2018). An innovative classroom reading intervention for Year 2 and 3 pupils who are struggling to learn to read: Evaluating the Integrated Group Reading Programme.

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External Engagement and Impact

External Examiner Positions

External Examiner for National University of Ireland Galway, MEd Special and Inclusive Education (2021-2025)

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I teach on the MA International Education (EFPM912 module) and MA Special Educational Needs (SEN) programmes (EFPM919 module), and on the Reflecting on Educational Practices (EFPM918) module. 

I am the module leader of the Education for Diversity (EFPM375) module. 



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Basmaa Sulaiman H Alatawi
  • Asma Alfaleh
  • Bushra Alharbi
  • Basmah Mohammed D Alhomaidhi
  • Meshal Alhumaid
  • Zahra Alkhamis
  • Amal Alotaibi
  • Nouf Alsaadi
  • Nora Abdulmohsen S Alsahli
  • Mohammed Altumayhi
  • Arwa Abdullah M Bu Ali
  • Kim Collett
  • Victoria Farrelly
  • John Hill
  • Megan Howard
  • Kamila Janik
  • Wenyu Li
  • Eyyup Fatih Vasi
  • Hetian Wang


  • Lama Ali M Alawirdi
  • Turkie Algharbie
  • Amal Alnawaiser
  • Salim Bani Oraba
  • Jacob Fox
  • Eva Godfrey
  • Shu Liu
  • Zhimin Shen

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Office Hours:

Monday 3-5pm, during term time; please email me to arrange a meeting

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