Dr Andrea Mallaburn

Andrea is part of LJMU’s dedicated School of Education team who support and train our teachers of the future. She was born in Mossley Hill in a Salvation Army Home, just steps away from the I.M. Marsh Campus where the university’s predecessor institutions first developed teacher training. At 7 weeks old she moved to Bootle, north of the city.

“My mother's courage to keep me and not have me adopted in 1968 while being an unmarried mother, permeates my core ethos for social justice.”

Andrea grew up valuing education as her mother kept saying it was a way forward.

“From the age of 3, she sat me down with a button tin and taught me how to do fractions.”

While Andrea's affinity for numbers persisted, her main interest has always been chemistry. Her chemical curiosity was sparked by Mr Barr, her eccentric chemistry teacher whose influence led her to pursue a teaching career after completing her PhD in chemistry.

With 15 years dedicated to teaching chemistry, including serving as the Head of the Department for Science in two schools, Andrea's commitment extended to leading learning and teaching across schools as part of her senior leadership position.

“Within all my various roles, developing teachers was a keen interest of mine, and I had mentored student teachers since I started as a qualified teacher in September 1995.”

Returning to Liverpool from London in 2002, Andrea joined LJMU, mentoring student science teachers, providing guest lectures for the secondary education programme, undertaking moderation visits for student science teachers and hosting student teachers at her school.

In 2010, she joined LJMU’s Initial Teacher Education (ITE) team, leading the subject knowledge enhancement course for chemistry and physics. She led these programmes and taught the primary and secondary undergraduate and postgraduate courses for all three sciences, leading to a permanent role at the university by 2012.

In 2014, she applied for and secured the role of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Partnership Lead, initially for 12 months, securing and quality assuring teacher education placements and mentors across both the primary and secondary programmes, in collaboration with the Head of ITE, work based learning team and programme leaders. Her impactful contributions led to the permanent establishment of this role.

The LJMU partnership works with over 300 schools across the Liverpool City Region and beyond. The school-based training element of the programme accounts for two-thirds of the programme's allocated time, whilst the remaining time is spent studying for the academic modules.

“I have a few roles within the School of Education and beyond. My substantive roles are as the ITT Partnership Lead for ITE and as a Reader in Science Education. I work as Director of Study, or Second Supervisor, for 15 doctoral students (six PhD and nine EdD) who are fantastic ambassadors for LJMU, and I love working with them all and seeing them grow into amazing researchers.”

In recent Ofsted reports, the partnership was commended for developing teachers who are “well-qualified, committed and socially engaged” (2019) and “they learn how to make a positive difference to the education life chances of pupils” (2023). Colleagues like Andrea strive for the best and dedicate their efforts to providing excellent teacher training to all student teachers.

“What resonates with me about LJMU is all the people who work here, the students we have the honour of working with and the community we serve. Being part of the broader ITE team that develops great teachers for the local area and beyond is a key highlight for me.”

– Andrea Mallaburn

“We actively listen to our students, provide a timely response to their questions or concerns and provide a holistic 'wrap-around' experience for them. We act as catalysts for social inclusion and change through our work with student teachers, schools, and research. Many of our student teachers remain within the Liverpool City Region and thus enact our key principles with many pupils across their teaching career.”

Andrea’s role at LJMU also allows her to collaborate with colleagues from the Faculty of Science. She is one of the lead members of the Absolute Chemistry Research Group (ACRG), a cross-faculty research group bringing together experts from across the university.

“Professor Linda Seton and Menna Goodwin are based in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, whilst Dr Victoria Brennan, Dr Rory McDonald and I are based in the School of Education.”

The work of the group has supported over 4,000 young people from the Liverpool City Region to participate in creative and engaging science learning experiences. Primary and secondary school-aged learners from often underprivileged backgrounds have benefited from immersive practical science experiments at school and university. Events have included science celebration days and festivals, STEM clubs, teacher development opportunities and parental engagement with science.

With her background in science and a passion for driving forwards social justice, being a lead member of the ACRG is a real honour for Andrea.

“Social justice is close to my own heart, and I couldn't be prouder of how much we do for ‘pupils like me’ as part of our programme, fostering chemical curiosity and raising aspirations - we believe that inspiration leads to aspiration, and this permeates through all we do.”

In 2023, Andrea was recognised in our annual Teaching and Learning Excellence Awards, receiving an award for Academic Leadership.

“I never expected to be nominated for an award, never mind win one; I just try to do my role(s) to the best of my ability. To be nominated for any award means that colleagues and students appreciate what you do.”

Andrea feels very grateful to win a university-wide award for academic leadership however, she believes it is thanks to her amazing colleagues and feels the award is as much theirs as hers.

“I want to thank them all for the support they have personally given me over the years.”