Marie Helks

Dr Marie Helks BEd (Hons), MEd, EdD

Head of Area for Primary Postgraduate provision; Staff group lead


I am a Principal Lecturer at Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, where I am the Head of Area for Primary Postgraduate provision and a member of the SIoE Leadership Team. My research interests relate primarily to the teaching and learning of grammar in the classroom, and the links between this and the fields of linguistics and cognitive psychology. I also have interests in curriculum development.


My role as Head of Area for Primary Postgraduate provision involves the leadership and management of a range of Primary Postgraduate courses, working alongside the wider staff team within Teacher Education (College of Social Sciences and Arts). Within this team, I strive to provide excellence in school-led, research-informed teacher education, working collaboratively with a range of outstanding school partners.
Before joining Sheffield Hallam University in 2012, I taught in a number of primary schools and universities. I was appointed here as part of the Early Years and Primary English team, working with undergraduate and postgraduate teacher trainees across a range of courses (3-7 years and 5-11 years). Between 2013 and 2020, I worked as the Course Leader for the School Direct PGCE route. I was appointed as the Head of Area for Primary Postgraduate in September 2015 and, although I am still heavily involved in School Direct provision, my role now is more of a strategic one.
I completed my Doctorate in Education (EdD) degree in April 2019, focusing on the teaching and learning of grammar in the primary classroom. My thesis explored the development of pupils’ conceptual understanding of grammatical terminology and the implications for teaching and learning. I have presented this work at national, regional and local conferences.




Department of Teacher Education

College of Social Sciences and Arts


Within Teacher Education, my specialist area of interest is Primary English education. I have been involved in the leadership of English throughout most of my professional career, both in schools as the curriculum subject lead and in other universities. I am interested in all areas of the English curriculum, but particularly in the teaching and learning of grammar.
Alongside my undergraduate and postgraduate English teaching, I am a PGCE Academic Adviser and, as such, I teach on the associated Masters level modules.

Courses taught:

Primary PGCE QTS - Primary English; M level curriculum modules
BA Primary QTS - Primary English

Modules taught:

Reflecting on Approaches to Teaching (Level 7)
Exploring a Specialism through Collaborative Development (Level 7)
Professional Practice and Curriculum Studies: English (Level 6)
Enhancing the Digital Literacy Curriculum (Level 6)


Other activities

I am a member of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) and of the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE).

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