Dr Kirsty Wilson

Lecturer (Primary and Early Years Mathematics Education)

School of Education

Dr Kirsty Wilson

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


Please note that Kirsty Wilson is currently on maternity leave

Kirsty leads the primary and early years mathematics provision at the University of Birmingham.  Prior to joining the university in 2006, she was Research Officer on the ESRC funded project ‘Purposeful Algebraic Activity’ at the University of Warwick, where she also contributed to initial teacher education courses.  Before working in higher education, Kirsty was a primary school teacher, with responsibility for leading mathematics and coordinating provision for ‘gifted and talented’ pupils.

Within the broad area of mathematics education Kirsty is particularly interested in pedagogy and algebraic thinking.  Her PhD thesis, ‘Spreadsheets, teachers’ practices and pupils’ evolving meanings for algebra,’ explored the ways in which technology and teachers’ practices shape pupils’ thinking.  She is also interested in primary mathematics teacher education, and the ways in which mathematics subject knowledge and experience contribute to what teachers attend to when teaching mathematics.  Kirsty regularly contributes to national and international conferences, and is a reviewer for various academic journals. 


  • PhD (Warwick)
  • MA (Warwick)
  • BEd (Hons) (Cambridge)


PGDipEd (Advanced PGCE)

  • Leading and teaching the mathematics courses (General Primary and Early Years)
  • Supervising trainee teachers during school experience

Developing new PGDipEd (SSPIP) Mathematics, a Primary Mathematics Specialist Teacher Training course (see www.birmingham.ac.uk/ite-primary-mathematics)  

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision of MEd Teaching Studies students, EdD and PhD students.


Kirsty's research interests are in mathematics education, particularly

  • Early algebraic thinking
  • Pedagogy, including the use of technology
  • The relationship between teachers’ practices and pupils’ evolving meanings
  • What teachers attend to, and the role of subject knowledge and experience
  • Primary teacher education, including mathematics specialist teacher education

Other activities

Kirsty is the local contact for the Midlands Mathematics Education Seminars.  She has been an External Examiner at Brunel University and Secretary of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics.


Wilson, K. (2007) Naming a column on a spreadsheet. Research in Mathematics Education , 8: 117-132. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a792323118~db=all~order=page

Bills, L., Ainley, J. and Wilson, K. (2006) Modes of algebraic communication - moving from spreadsheets to standard notation. For the Learning of Mathematics, 26 (1): 36-41. http://www.education2.bham.ac.uk/documents/staff/Wilson_bills.pdf

Ainley, J., Bills, L. and Wilson, K. (2005) Algebra for a purpose: using spreadsheets at KS2/3. Derby: Association of Teachers of Mathematics. http://atm.org.uk/buyonline/products/dis018.html

Ainley, J., Bills, L. and Wilson, K. (2005) Designing spreadsheet-based tasks for purposeful algebra. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning, 10 (3): 191-215. http://www.springerlink.com/content/pun02tv7272754vw/

Bills, L., Wilson, K. and Ainley, J. (2005) Making links between arithmetic and algebraic thinking. Research in Mathematics Education, 7: 67-81. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a792322766~db=all~order=page

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