Dr Elizabeth Malone

Elizabeth is the Head of Primary Programmes within the School of Education, and her own career in teaching brought her to work at the university.

After studying French at university, in Newcastle and Avignon, she travelled to Taiwan to pursue teaching. Returning home to England three years later, with two street dogs in tow (one with four legs and one with three), her canine friends would go on to feature in her classroom tales as a primary teacher.

Elizabeth specialised in primary foreign languages, French and Mandarin, and was invited to present her teaching innovations and language pedagogy at several national conferences. This experience ignited a passion for research and a desire to share her practice further.

Now at LJMU, she works in Initial Teacher Education (ITE), where no two days are ever the same. And while her day-to-day role is always different, the one stable factor are her amazing colleagues and students, without whom nothing would be possible. She is fortunate to work with a team of incredibly dedicated, knowledgeable and funny individuals who are not shy in providing constructive challenge.

By 2012 Elizabeth realised she was scared to start doing two things: PhD study and entering a triathlon. She finally realised if she didn’t try, she wouldn’t know and enough was enough. So, Elizabeth started her PhD ‘Foreign Languages in Primary Education in England: An Ethnographic Case Study of Three School Context' as well as triathlon training. In 2014 she became the World Champion Female Bog-Snorkelling Athlete at the World Alternative Games, which sounds impressive until you know there were only two women in the race. However, perhaps this is an indication of the race itself! And in 2016, two weeks before giving birth to her first child, she submitted her PhD. During these four years she continued to take on more responsibility within the School of Education, leading the PGCE/PGDE 5-11 route programme, which grew by over 500% in five years.

Elizabeth went on to have four children in five years, and considers herself forever indebted to the compassionate, caring medical professionals who looked after her and her children in some quite difficult and challenging circumstances. As such she has since written a chapter for new mothers wanting to breastfeed nasogastric tube babies and solo produced a video resource for midwives centring on the co-construction of care, this video is used each year for the new intake of midwives. And her first book Your Booksmart, School-savvy, Stress-busting Primary Teacher Training Companion (Sage, 2020) is dedicated to Ward 1C in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Elizabeth is passionate about working with her colleagues to enable student teachers not just to survive, but to thrive while on placement and with their academic work. She achieves these outcomes by being a compassionate curriculum creator. Wellbeing is not just an afterthought bolt-on but an integrated and planned approach to working with staff and students. She takes her work seriously, but not herself.

Elizabeth is currently the Head of Primary Programmes and holds a number of national and local roles including being a National Executive Board Member of the Association for the Study of Primary Education, a Deputy Editor for Education 3-13 journal and a School Governor of two local primary schools.

“Elizabeth is a great role model and a great example of a strong, intelligent and compassionate woman.”

– one of Elizabeth’s students

In 2023 Elizabeth won a JMSU Student Experience Award, after being nominated in the Outstanding Teacher for the Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies. In her nomination, her students praised her for her support, empathy, and enthusiasm in all that she does.

One student said: “Always motivating us by reminding us how far we have come. She was a great support when I was going through struggles at home, she was kind and empathetic, but also encouraged me to not let anything deter me from the course. Giving me clear information and guidance on what to do next. Elizabeth is a great role model and a great example of a strong, intelligent and compassionate woman.”

Another student said: “Elizabeth is the lynchpin of our course at LJMU, their enthusiasm, expertise and commitment are truly what makes the course outstanding. Their lectures are some of the most engaging lectures I have ever attended, and the advice and knowledge they have helped impart will stick with me throughout my teaching career. Being at the helm of any course is, I can guess, undoubtedly stressful, and can often involve making decisions and giving answers that are not agreeable to some. However, it is clear that every decision Elizabeth makes has the interests of ourselves and, by extension, students, at the heart. She always manages to balance holding us to extremely high standards, whilst also managing to bring lots of humour and light-heartedness to help keep us sane! She is engaging, creative and extremely knowledgeable, and it has been an honour to have them as the course lead.”

The highlight for Elizabeth for working at LJMU is the people: both the students and the staff. “They are the university’s best resource. I’ve been part of three Ofsted inspections at LJMU and these represent both the worst (utterly draining and so high stakes) but also the best of working with others because it is in those moments you can see all staff, students, schools and partners all pulling in the same direction, you know they’ve got your back because they respect the job that you are doing.”