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Professor Lynn Newton

Professor, Head of School

Professor, Head of School in the School of Education+44 (0) 191 33 48422


After completing a degree in Education at Durham University in 1975, Professor Newton began working as a primary teacher in the North East of England. She completed her MA in Education at Durham University in 1981. Following a fellowship in science education, she worked for Durham Local Education Authority as an Advisory Teacher for Science. In 1987, she moved to the University of Newcastle as first a Lecturer in Primary Science and Design and Technology, and then a Senior Lecturer and Director of Primary Initial Teacher Training. During that time she became a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of School and also completed her PhD on the topic of Teachers’ Questioning for Understanding in Primary Science: An Approach through Mental Model Theory. She stayed at Newcastle for ten years before moving to Durham in 1997, initially as Course Leader of for the new specialist degree in science education for primary teachers based at the University’s Stockton Campus. Later she became Programme Director for the Primary PGCE in Durham, then Divisional Director of Initial Teacher Training and from 2005-2010, Head of the School of Education. After research leave in 2010/11 she returned to the role of Divisional Director for ITE. She is currently Head of the School of Education. She has taught on a range of science and education modules across the School of Education on undergraduate and higher degree programmes, and supervised dissertation and theses students researching a range of topics. She became Professor of Primary Education in 2003.

Professor Newton’s research interests range from effective communication in science and strategies that support teaching for understanding in science to exploring understanding, enagagement and creativity across the curriculum. She has researched teaching for understanding across the primary curriculum and the use of analogical reasoning to support the construction of understanding, and most recently teaching for creativity and productive thought. This is the focus of her book, Creativity for a new Curriculum: 5-11 (Routledge, 2012). She has written, edited or co-authored over a dozen books on science teaching, primary teaching and professional studies in the primary school. She has also written over one hundred academic and professional papers on these areas. Her research monograph, From Creative Thinking to Productive Thought (ICIE: Paris, 2013) presented a model for incorporating creative thinking into a wider framework of productive thought. Her keynote presentation at the ICIE conference in Krakow (2015) resulted in her latest monograph, Questioning: A Window on Productive Thinking. She is currently a member of the University's Durham Commission, reporting on creativity.

Completed Supervisions (since 2008)

The provision of nursery education in England and Wales to 1967 with special reference to North-East England

How do teachers' beliefs affect the implementation of inquiry-based learning in the PGS Curriculum? A case study of two primary schools in Hong Kong.

Can Information in Children’s Drawings Inform Teachers’ Practices? A Study of Singaporean Pre-school Teachers’ “Reading” of 5-6 year olds’ Drawings.

An examination of how the theory-practice relationship of pedagogy courses is conceived and perceived by the participants, and how management of education systems and faculties can enhance the quality of teacher education in Turkey

The Selection of Potential Undergraduate Students who Lack Traditional Qualifications: is a toolkit possible?

A case study on exploring the motivation and engagement of the
less academically inclined students in a Specialised School in Singapore

Engaging Children in Question Asking for Problem Finding to Encourage Creative Thinking in Primary School Science Teaching


Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Lynn would welcome applications from prospective doctorate students on:
* primary and middle school science education;
* effective communication in science/ primary schools;
* teachers' questioning and explaining in science/ primary schools;
* teaching for understanding;
* creativity and productive thinking; and’
* concepts of engagement.

Research interests

  • Creativity and Productive Thought
  • Engagement in Primary/ Middle School Curricula
  • Primary/ Middle School Science Education
  • Questioning and Communicating for Effective Teaching and Learning

Esteem Indicators

  • 2016: Visiting Professor: Appointed Visiting professor at Northumbria University – 3 year appointment (2016-2019):
  • 2013: Best Research Paper: Paper lodged in the San Francisco University Library of the Best Research Papers in each field in the last decade:

    Newton, L.D. & Newton, D.P. (2009) What teacher see as creative incidents in elementary science lessons, International Journal of Science Education, 32(15), 1989-2005. ISSN 0950-0693 & 1464-5289. DOI: 1080/09500690903233249

  • 2013: International Editorial Review Board: Professor Newton is one the International Editorial Review Board of the new journal 'International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity'
  • 2011: Visiting Professor: Appointed Visiting Professor at Nottingham Trent University - 3 year appointment (2011-2014)
  • 2009: Best Practice Case Study: Newton, L.D. & Newton, D.P. (2009) a problem-based learning approach to developing lesson planning skills in primary science, Teacher Development Agency Best Practice Case Studies. 
  • 2009: International Editorial Review Board: Professor Lynn Newton is a member of the Gifted and Talented International Editorial Review Board (2009-2013)


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Edited book

Journal Article



Supervision students