Professor Valsa Koshy


Professor of Education; Director, Brunel Able Children's Education Centre

Room: Halsbury Building HB102
Brunel University London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 267164

About Valsa

I was born in Kerala, South India, where I attended school and took my first degree (Chemistry and Physics) and a Masters degree. I continued to study after arriving in the UK (see later sections). I came to England in 1969 and taught in primary schools for 11 years before being appointed to the advisory team for Mathematics in the Inner London Education Authority, supporting teachers to enhance the quality of mathematics teaching of children aged 4-11. I started my academic career in 1988 at the West London Institute of Higher Education (WHILE) as a tutor in Mathematics Education for Teacher Training courses and later, taking responsibility for the 20-day and 10-day mathematics in-service courses for teachers in 13 Local Authorities in London. I have been at Brunel University since 1996.

There are three interrelated strands to my work:

  • Mathematics education. I have been continually involved in supporting teachers with their Professional Development through training programmes and facilitating teachers to carry out Action Research in aspects of mathematics education taking into account the voice of learners through the use of mathematics journals and continuous communication – pedagogy, assessment and subject knowledge, in particular.
  • I am the co-founder and director of the Brunel Able Children’s Education (BACE) Centre which supports Talent Development. The centre’s work is based on a broadened conception of talents and gifts rather than on labelling children , it focuses on the uniqueness of a child’s special strengths and interests. The centre team aims to empower teachers with strategies for effective curriculum provision, so that they can provide enriching and enjoyable learning experiences of all pupils. A significant part of my research focuses on the recognition of and the fulfilment of talent of special groups of pupils, such as students with high potential in inner-city areas and very young children.
  • Designing effective models for curriculum adaptations and educational interventions using Action Research and Design Research methodologies to make research more accessible to practitioners.

I teach on initial training courses as well as Masters and Doctoral programmes. I supervise a number of doctoral students from the UK and overseas.

Career History

Education in the UK

1997 PhD University of Exeter, Faculty of Education. Implementing the National Curriculum in Mathematics: an investigation of teachers’ perceptions of changes.

1988 M.Phil. Kings College, University of London. Children’s strategies and errors in working with number.

1981 Advanced Diploma in Teaching Mathematics to Pre-school and Primary School Children.

Selected research projects (as Principal investigator )

(Total Research and development grants 2003-2011 = £1.5 million).

  • Enhancing Mathematics Teaching and Learning – 6 Action research projects with Local Authorities in England
  • Nurturing mathematical promise - involving 13 Local Authorities across England , funded by the DfES
  • Development of Giftedness and Talent at Key Stage 1, funded by the DfES
  • An Urban Scholars 4 year intervention programme involving 9 London LAs, funded by the Moody’s Foundation in New York, SHINE TRUST, BfSS and LAs
  • Development and evaluation of professional development programmes for teachers, funded by LAs
  • An Urban Mathematical Scholars intervention programme for KS3 students, funded by ARK Academies Trust
  • Using Design Research to construct a model for The Urban Scholars Programme, funded by the Centre for British Teachers Trust (CfBT)

Conferences and Keynote addresses

I have given 31 Keynote addresses during the past 5 years and regularly contribute to both research and professional conferences both in the UK and overseas.

Research Interests

Research Interests

My work covers both primary and secondary education.

My main research interests are:

  • All aspects of Mathematics Education.
  • Teachers’ responses to government policy.
  • Aspects of talent development of students in urban areas and the role of their parents in their education.
  • Effective classroom practices to address children’s special abilities and interests.
  • Education of mathematically promising pupils.
  • Assessment.
  • The role of Action Research in continuing professional development of teachers.
  • The use of Design Research for educational interventions.

Research Group

Pedagogy and Professional Practice (PPP)

Selected Publications

Journal Papers

(2014)  Koshy, V. , Portman Smith, C.  and Brown, J. , Parenting ‘gifted and talented’ children in urban areas: Parents' voices, Gifted Education International Online first Download publication

(2014)  Allen, G. , Rhind, D.  and Koshy, V. , Enablers and barriers for male students transferring life skills from the sports hall into the classroom, Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health

(2013)  Brady, M.  and Koshy, V. , Reflections on the implementation of the Gifted and Talented policy in England, 1999–2011, Gifted Education International forthcoming

(2013)  Koshy, V. , Brown, J. , Jones, D.  and Portman Smith, C. , Exploring the views of parents of high ability children living in relative poverty, EducationalResearch 55 (3)  : 304- 320

(2013)  Koshy, V.  and Pinheiro-Torres, C. , 'Are we being de-gifted, Miss?'' Primary school gifted and talented co-ordinators' responses to the Gifted and Talented Education Policy in England, British Educational Research Journal 39 (6)  : 953- 978 Download publication

(2013)  Casey, R.  and Koshy, V. , Gifted and talented education: The English policy highway at a crossroads?, Journal for the Education of the Gifted 36 (1)  : 44- 54 Download publication

(2012)  Koshy, V. , Pinheiro-Torres, C.  and Portman-Smith, C. , The landscape of gifted and talented education in England and Wales: How are teachers implementing policy?, Research Papers in Education 27 (2)  : 167- 186 Download publication

(2011)  Koshy, V.  and Pascal, C. , Nurturing the young shoots of talent: Using action research for exploration and theory building, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 19 (4)  : 433- 450 Download publication

(2011)  Casey, R. , Portman Smith, C.  and Koshy, V. , Opportunities and challenges of working with gifted and talented students in an urban context: A university-based intervention program, Gifted Child Today 34 (1)  : 35- 43 Download publication

(2010)  Koshy, V. , Pinheiro-Torres, C.  and Casey, R. , Teachers’ responses to the gifted and talented policy in the UK: A review of the landscape, Gifted Education International 27 (2)  : 206- 218

(2009)  Koshy, V. , Ernest, P.  and Casey, R. , Mathematically gifted and talented learners: Theory and practice, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology 40 (2)  : 213- 228 Download publication

(2008)  Koshy, V.  and Welham, C. , Nurturing young gifted and talented children: teachers generating knowledge, Perspectives in Education 26 (2)  : 67- 79

(2008)  Koshy, V. , Casey, R.  and Taylor, A. , The urban student and higher education in the UK, Gifted Education International 24 (1)  : 5- 19 Download publication

(2007)  Radnor, H. , Koshy, V.  and Taylor, A. , Gifts, talents and meritocracy, Journal of Education Policy 22 (3)  : 283- 299

(2006)  Koshy, V.  and Robinson, NM. , Too long neglected: Gifted young children, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 14 (2)  : 113- 126

(2005)  Koshy, V.  and Casey, R. , Actualising mathematical promise: Possible contributing factors, Gifted Education International 20 (3)  : 293- 305

Book Chapters

(2011)  Koshy, V. , Assessing mathematical learning. In: Koshy, V.  and Murray, J.  eds. Unlocking Mathematics Teaching. Routledge

(2011)  Koshy, V.  and Murray, J. , Introduction. In: Koshy, V.  and Murray, J.  eds. Unlocking Mathematics Teaching. Routledge

(2008)  Koshy, V. , Too long neglected: Giftedness in younger children. In: Balchin, T. , Hymer, B.  and Matthews, DJ.  eds. The Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education. London : Routledge

(2008)  Koshy, V. , Provision for mathematically gifted children. In: Educating High Ability Children: Differentiated Syneduction. Greece

(2005)  Casey, R.  and Koshy, V. , Submerged talent in inner cities: Inclusion by intervention. In: Smith, CMM.  ed. Including the gifted and talented: Making inclusion work for more gifted and able learners. London : Routledge 87- 101

(2001)  Casey, R.  and Koshy, V. , Submerged talent and world class recognition. In: Richardson, C.  ed. Assessing Gifted and Talented Children: Papers Presented at an International Seminar, London, February 2001. London : Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 105- 116


(2011)  Koshy, V.  and Murray, J. , Unlocking mathematics teaching. Routledge

(2010)  Koshy, E. , Koshy, V.  and Waterman, H. , Action research in healthcare. Sage Publications Ltd

(2009)  Koshy, V. , Action research for improving educational practice: A step-by-step guide. Sage Publications Ltd

(2008)  Koshy, V. , Action research for improving educational practice. Elephas

(2005)  Koshy, V. , Action research for improving practice: A practical guide. Sage Publications Ltd

Page last updated: Tuesday 25 November 2014