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Helen Thouless

Senior Lecturer - Primary Mathematics

Helen Thouless

About Research



Helen teaches primary mathematics for the PGCE programme and the BA primary education with QTS.

Helen received her Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington in 2001 and taught for over 10 years in urban state schools in London and Seattle. While teaching she held a variety of roles, including being a Mathematics Specialist, an Inclusion teacher and a Special Education teacher. From 2005-2006 she also taught science and English at a charity-funded school in Arusha, Tanzania.

Other education-related jobs that she has held include lecturer in mathematics education at UCL Institute of Education, visiting lecturer in mathematics education at the University of Roehampton, lecturer in mathematics education at the University of Washington, a research assistant on a mathematics school improvement project at the University of Washington, and a Health Education Volunteer for the United States Peace Corps in Mamou, Republic of Guinea.

She was the Membership Coordinator for the British Society for Research in Learning Mathematics from 2017-2021 and organises a working group for Special Education and Maths at this conference.

She is a doctoral supervisor for:

Helen Williams, EdD, UCL (lead supervisor: Dr. Van Herwegen): Effective teaching strategies for pupils with speech, language and communication needs in mainstream mathematics classrooms.

Benjamin Mensah, EdD, UCL (lead supervisor: Dr. Golding): Pupils with autism learning geometry.


Research profile

Helen's research interests include teaching mathematics to pupils with special educational needs and young children's understanding of pattern.

She completed her PhD in Learning Sciences at the University of Washington in 2014. Her dissertation examined the whole number place value understanding of children with dyslexia. Her PhD dissertation can be found at

She is currently working on the project 'The Power of Pattern'. This project is designed to develop the pattern recognition skills of children in the early years through ongoing professional development for their teachers that emphasises developing mathematical skills through play-based activities. The following book was published based on this research: Borthwick, A., Gifford, S., & Thouless, H. (2021). The Power of Pattern: Patterning in the Early Years, Association of Teachers of Mathematics.

Yan Ping Xin, Ron Tzur and Helen have been editing 'Enabling Mathematics Learning of Struggling

Students' and expect this book to be published later this year.

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