Ashley Brett

Dr Ashley Brett BSc, MA, PGCE, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Primary Education

Ashley Brett is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Greenwich. He has worked within the Primary and Early Years Foundation Stage education sector for 25 years, as a primary school teacher, an education consultant for a local authority and as a deputy head teacher.

Ashley has led a variety of curriculum areas, including the arts, humanities, religious education and mathematics. As a primary school teacher, he became inspired about promoting learning as intrinsically healthy, leading him to complete a Masters in Health Education and Health Promotion.

His creative approach to the teaching of education became a valuable resource as Education Consultant within the Education Advisory Service of Essex County Council, directing the government's educational initiatives in strategic programmes, policies and plans, producing authority resources and facilitating school improvements in efficiency and standards. He delivered authority-wide training and bespoke support packages, including tailored Continued Professional Development (CPD) in schools. Beyond his core focus in mathematics, he delivered training across other initiatives, including curriculum development, and was a facilitator for a learning network exploring thinking skills.

Ashley was awarded the Local Consultant in Improvement from the DfE, and subsequently appointed as a mentor to support colleagues within Essex undertaking this accreditation. This experience as a consultant initiated his doctoral research on how school leaders might facilitate school improvement. He served as a Lead Assessment Practitioner, involved with quality assuring practice for the authority, and was involved in the initial phases of the council's transformation towards a refined corporate brand.

As deputy head, Ashley supported a strategic drive and creative vision, mentoring colleagues to achieve key goals and override obstacles, as well as establishing systems of pastoral and professional support for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), staff and students.

Prior to undertaking a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and entering the teaching profession, Ashley completed a Foundation Course in Art and Design and was accepted for a theatre design degree at a top London art school. However, he chose to read psychology at the Victoria University of Manchester.

Posts previously held:

  • 2011–2015, Deputy Head; Class Teacher, Wohl Ilford Jewish Primary School, Redbridge
    Provided shared leadership vision with the head teacher, establishing performance targets, monitoring standards and presenting key information to stakeholders. A line manager of staff, CPD Lead, School Council Lead and Child Protection Lead
  • 2005-11, Education Consultant, School Improvement Advisory Service, Essex County Council
    Facilitated school improvement through delivery of CPD educational programmes, coaching senior leadership teams to implement strategic initiatives and raise standards in core subjects. Contributed to improving authority's educational outcomes for an additional 1500 students to attain national standards of achievement
  • 2001-05, Departmental Lead for Mathematics; Senior Phase Leader; Class Teacher, Ray Lodge Primary School, Redbridge
    Improved educational outcomes for an additional 19% of pupils to attain national standards of achievement in 2005 compared with 2001. He delivered CPD to improve colleagues' practice and was mentor for NQTs (Newly Qualified Teachers)
  • 1999-2000, Departmental Lead for Humanities, S.M.S.C., P.S.H.E. and Citizenship; Class Teacher, Earlham Primary School, Haringey
    Initiated strategic policy by designing, planning and providing support materials to facilitate the improvement of standards. Increased colleagues' confidence by steering the implementation of governmental initiatives appropriately and mentoring students
  • 1994-99, Departmental Lead for Arts & Design Technology; Class Teacher, Springwell Junior School, Hounslow
    Produced policies and guidelines to govern the improvement of departmental standards, raising confidence in staff by demonstrating good practice. Additional responsibility as School Council Lead, Community Links Lead and Fundraising Lead

Responsibilities within the university

  • Lecturer of Mathematics and Professional Studies on the PGCE and BA routes into education; lecturer in Personalised Learning on the 2 Year Accelerated Degree in Primary Education
  • Lead Year 2 mathematics BA QTS
  • Link tutor for students on placement and supervising undergraduate research projects
  • Supervision of doctoral students
  • Support Professionals as Researchers (Action Research projects – school-based for teachers improving their practice and completing Masters' assignments)
  • Lead for action research component for SCITT programme in Essex and Cambridge and link tutor for Essex.


  • External Examiner for St Marys' University B.A. Primary Education
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research / Scholarly interests

Ashley's doctoral research was focused on how primary school leaders might support their teachers to be learners as part of school improvement. Links were made to transformative learning theory. This study has relevance for leadership teams and current or aspiring teacher practitioners.

Key funded projects

  • Professionals as Researchers - support teacher research projects within local action research hubs in schools.

Recent publications


Lambirth, A. , Cabral, A., McDonald, R., Philpott, C. , Brett, A. , Magaji, A. (2019), Teacher-led professional development through a model of action research, collaboration and facilitation. Taylor & Francis. In: , , , . Taylor & Francis, Professional Development in Education, 47 (5) . pp. 815-833 ISSN: 1941-5257 (Print), 1941-5265 (Online) (doi:

Book section

Brett, Ashley and , (2021), Painting a canvas of creativity. Routledge. In: , , In: Roger McDonald, Poppy Gibson (eds.), Inspiring Primary Learners: Insights and Inspiration Across the Curriculum. Routledge, London (1st) . pp. 102-120 . ISBN: 9780367110659 (doi:

Conference item

Magaji, A. , Cabral, A., Lambirth, A., McDonald, R. , Brett, A. , Philpott, C. (2021), Working together with teachers and senior leaders in a teacher-led professional development through a model of action research, collaboration, and facilitation. University of Greenwich. In: SHIFT 2021, Radically reimagining Higher Education for a new era: working together for a just and sustainable future, 13 January 2021, Online , Radically reimagining Higher Education for a new era: working together for a just and sustainable future. University of Greenwich, (doi:

Trinder, Jill , Brett, Ashley, Ross, Heather (2016), A mastery approach in a primary setting: May 2016 Link Tutor Development Event. In: Teaching for Maths Mastery Partnership CPD Event, 10th May, 2016, University of Greenwich , . , (doi: ).

Edited book

Gibson, Poppy , Morgan, Robert, Brett, Ashley (2024), Primary teacher solutions: ready pedagogy and inspirational ideas. Routledge - Taylor & Francis. In: , , , . Routledge - Taylor & Francis, Abingdon; New York (1st) . ISBN: 9781032110288; 9781032110271; 9781003218098 (doi: