Dr Kirsty Wilson

Dr Kirsty Wilson

School of Education
Lecturer in Primary and Early Years Mathematics Education

Contact details

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

Kirsty works part time, and leads the PGDipEd Primary Mathematics Specialist course.  Since joining the university in 2006, Kirsty has established and taught the General Primary and Early Years mathematics courses and the Primary Mathematics Specialist course. Prior to this, 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.  Within the broad area of mathematics education Kirsty is particularly interested in pedagogy and algebraic thinking.  Her PhD thesis 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. 

Feedback and office hours

Kirsty works part time, 0.5FTE, and mainly works in the mornings.


  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • PhD in Mathematics Education (ESRC funded) – University of Warwick
  • MA (Distinction) in Educational Studies: Mathematics Education (ESRC funded) – University of Warwick
  • BEd (Hons) (First Class) in Primary Education and Mathematics – University of Cambridge


Kirsty’s main responsibility is leading and teaching the PGDipEd Primary Mathematics Specialist course.  She is link tutor to Primary Mathematics Specialist trainees during their school experience.  She also supervises PhD, EdD and MA Teaching Studies students.

Postgraduate supervision

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


Kirsty's research interests are in mathematics education, particularly

  • Early algebraic thinking and early understanding of number
  • 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
  • Pedagogy, including the 'mastery' approach

Other activities

Kirsty is External Examiner for the Early Primary and Primary PGCE at the University of Cambridge. She was formerly an External Examiner at Brunel University and Secretary of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics.  She reviews for various journals education, including Research in Mathematics Education, Mathematical Thinking and Learning, and British Educational Research Journal.


Selected publications

Rowland, T., Ineson, G., Alderton, J., Donaldson, G., Voutsina, C. and Wilson, K. (2018) Primary pre-service teachers: reasoning and generalisation.  In. Golding, J., Bretscher, N., Crisan, C., Geraniou, E., Hodgen J. and C. Morgan (Eds). Research Proceedings of the 9th British Congress on Mathematics Education (3-6 April 2018, University of Warwick, UK). Online at www.bsrlm.org.uk/bcme-9/  

Alderton, J., Donaldson, G., Ineson, S., Rowland, T., Voutsina, C. and Wilson, K. (2017) Pre-service primary teachers' approaches to mathematical generalisation. In F. Curtis (Ed.) Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics, 37 (3). Available at: http://www.bsrlm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/BSRLM-CP-37-3-01.pdf

Delbauve, M., Hall, N., Hall, S., Stolberg, T. and Wilson, K. (2017) Collaborative Conversations: Developing a new way to view and approach peer-observation. Education in Practice, 3 (1): 19-21.

Wilson, K. (2009) Alignment between teachers' practices and pupils' attention in a spreadsheet environment. In M. Tzekaki, M. Kaldrimidou and H. Sakonidis (Eds.) Proceedings of the thirty-third conference of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 5, 353-360. Thessaloniki: PME.

Wilson, K. and Ainley, J. (2007) Teachers’ practices with spreadsheets and the development of algebraic activity.  Proceedings of the Fifth conference of the European Society for Research in Mathematics Education.  Larnaca, Cyprus.

Wilson, K. (2007) Naming a column on a spreadsheet. Research in Mathematics Education , 8: 117-132. DOI: 10.1080/14794800008520162

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. 

Ainley, J., Bills, L. and Wilson, K. (2005) Algebra for a purpose: using spreadsheets at KS2/3. Derby: Association of Teachers of Mathematics. 

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. DOI:10.1007/s10758-005-8420-9

Bills, L., Wilson, K. and Ainley, J. (2005) Making links between arithmetic and algebraic thinking. Research in Mathematics Education, 7: 67-81. DOI: 10.1080/14794800008520146


View all publications in research portal