Burke, Lynsey


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Lynsey studied Music (BMus Hons) at the University of Edinburgh in her undergraduate degree and the following year completed her PGCE in primary teaching (with distinction) at the University of Strathclyde (2000).  Her first post was as a music specialist in Dumfries and Galloway. Lynsey moved into primary teaching full time in a school in Falkirk Council and immediately began studying for a part-time MSc in Research (by education) at the University of Edinburgh.  Following on from this, Lynsey began studying for her PhD part-time in September 2004 at University of Edinburgh.  During this time, she was fortunate to learn from and collaborate internationally with Emeritus Prof. Barry K. Beyer.  She completed her PhD in 27 months, having worked as a full-time teacher throughout. Lynsey then went on to achieve another Masters level award to become a Fully Chartered Teacher in 2010. She then completed a Post Graduate in Middle Leadership and Management in 2017.

Throughout this time, Lynsey has held various posts in teaching and leadership.  She has taught in a range of primary schools in Central Scotland and is experienced at teaching all stages from nursery – P7.  She held a two year secondment from one Local Authority where she was tasked with developing a skills pedagogy across all primary and secondary schools.  In 2007, she was recognised for her 'Innovative and Excellent' teaching by her Local Authority and was presented with an award at a Ministerial reception. She also previously worked at Stirling University (initially as a seconded Teacher Fellow but then as a lecturer) where she led the Early Years Specialism strand of the concurrent primary teaching degree.  During her time there, she was nominated for two years running for her 'Excellence in Teaching' by the students.

In terms of leadership experience, prior to joining the University of Dundee, Lynsey had been a Depute Headteacher for many years and Acting Headteacher on two separate occasions.  As part of her role as DHT, she led the early years department through two Sector Leading and Excellent inspections. More recently, she was employed as a consultant in two Local Authorities to develop a play pedagogy across the Early level of CfE and into First Level, and worked with Early Learning and Childcare settings to embed cultures of self-evaluation.

Outside of work, Lynsey loves spending time with her family and her puppy, and doing activities with her daughters like paddle boarding and taekwondo.  Lynsey is a 3rd Dan Blackbelt, a former British Champion in Taekwondo and was a member of Team GB up until 2021.


Lynsey works across a range of programmes. She teaches on the MA and PGDE Initial Teacher Education programmes, the MEd and also on the BA in Childhood Practice. She is module leader for two BACP modules, 'Children and Society' and 'Leading Quality Childhood Practice'.  She also supervises dissertations for the MEd and the Doctoral routes. 


In 2007, Lynsey completed a PhD examining the impact pupil and teacher concepts of intelligence have on the development of thinking skills.  From this PhD she published 5 papers, one of which reported the impact of a large-scale intervention with Primary 7 pupils in Scotland. Along with her supervisor, Prof. Jo Williams from Edinburgh University, Lynsey published the thinking skills assessments she created to measure change in children’s cognition. 

Other areas of interest include the identification of developmental changes in children’s concepts, participatory research methods with young children, developmentally appropriate ways to amplify children's voices in the early years, pedagogical leadership, children and practitioners’ concepts of play, and developing a culture of self-evaluation in Early Learning and Childcare settings.


The Playful Researchers

The Playful Researchers have been formed within UoD to draw together and capitalise upon staff expertise within early childhood and play pedagogies. In addition to conducting broader research into concepts of play, the main focus of this group will be in developing innovative, creative and playful research methods to elicit children’s voices. This research group therefore seeks to align participatory research methods with developmentally appropriate practice in the early years.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PGCert THE, Post Graduate Certificate in Middle Leadership and Management, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 15 Dec 2017

Master of Teaching and Learning, Fully Chartered Teacher Award

Award Date: 15 Dec 2009

Doctor of Philosophy, Developing Young Thinkers: Discovering Baseline Understandings of Effective Thinking among Children and Teachers and Intervening to Enhance Thinking Skills, University of Edinburgh

15 Sept 20044 May 2007

Award Date: 16 Nov 2007

Master of Science, Critical Thinking: An exploration of ways to foster children's ability to become effective thinkers and learners, University of Edinburgh

15 Sept 200115 Jun 2003

Award Date: 15 Dec 2003

PGCert THE, PGCE: Primary Education, University of Strathclyde

Award Date: 15 Jul 2000

Bachelor of Music, BMus (Hons), University of Edinburgh

Award Date: 15 Jun 1999


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