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Dr Ellen Bristow, BA, MA, PhD, FHEA

I am a language and literacy education specialist who conducts research and provides training for schools, universities and workplaces in Wales. 

I have a diverse range of interests which include vocabulary development; using etymology and morphology to develop English literacy skills; reading comprehension; literacy confidence; oracy; writing skills and awareness; language and society; policy, curriculum development; literacy access; widening participation; evaluative practice; and innovative pedagogies.

Please see the tabs above for more details on the workshops, courses and consultancy work I offer. 


In November 2023, I completed my PhD in Language and Communication at Cardiff University's Centre for Language and Communication Research. My work was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the project was titled: ‘Languages connect us’: Investigating the impact of explicit instruction in English derivational morphology and etymology on Welsh pupils’ word decoding and comprehension skills. I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a tutor and lecturer in linguistics, child speech and language therapy and academic writing at Cardiff and Cardiff Metropolitan Universities. I am currently working as a Research Assistant in the School of Education and Social Policy at Cardiff Metropolitan University. 

Previously, I worked as a literacy support teacher and an Education Research Policy Assistant for the Welsh Government. I conducted evidence reviews that informed the new National Strategy for Education Research and Enquiry in Wales, as well as the National Strategy for Educational Equity. From 2021-2023, I was a Fellow the education charity Cumberland Lodge. From 2020-2023, I volunteered as the Primary Schools Co-ordinator and Deputy Education Co-ordinator for the South Wales branch of the English-Speaking Union (ESU) charity.​

Workshops, training, research.

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I develop workshops to suit the needs of all learners. I work with learners of all ages (primary school to A Level) and can tailor workshops to fit into your current units of work. I can also focus on a particular literacy skill and have experience of developing workshops that address specific progression steps in the new Curriculum for Wales. I offer workshops in:​


  • Vocabulary development (specifically morphology & etymology)

  • Reading comprehension

  • Oracy skills and confidence

  • Writing skills development


I have run some very successful literacy education and academic writing information and training events for undergraduate and postgraduate students. These range from one-hour seminars to whole day events. I am always willing to create new materials to meet the specific needs of individual university departments/faculties.

Click here to find out more

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I offer a range of literacy-based professional development courses for teachers. I can deliver one-off bespoke sessions or a series of workshops that support teachers with developing research-informed practice and strategies for implementation and evaluation.


I have extensive knowledge of the Languages, Literacy and Communication and Humanities Areas of Learning and Experience in the new Curriculum for Wales, as well as the role of school development plans and personal professional development within teaching practice. 

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I provide a number of bespoke research services and professional writing courses, including:

  • Policy-based evidence reviews

  • Rapid research/evidence reports

  • Writing reports, handbooks and training materials for education charities and businesses

  • Understanding the research process

  • Professional writing skills development e.g., writing for the web, writing for diverse audiences, writing with clarity etc. 

  • Presentation skills training for professionals

Click here to find out more


"Ellen is really knowledgeable and fun! She taught me to just be confident, it’s okay to be afraid and nervous. No one is going to judge so express yourself, have fun and everyone else will have fun!"

Year 6 debate workshop pupil, Vale of Glamorgan


"I really enjoy mysteries, so being a word detective and uncovering who the criminal was really intrigued me. It was a great way to improve my vocabulary in a fun way. I enjoyed making up new words and Ellen taught me lots about how English works. It was fun to experiment with words and I want to do it all again!" 

Year 8 'Being a word detective' workshop pupil, Caerphilly


"Thank you again for a great training session on integrating morphology into our literacy curriculum. The information pack you went through with us on the research that has been conducted on children's morphological awareness is SO valuable. We can't wait to share what we've learnt with colleagues who work across the curriculum, not just in the English department. I also now feel much more confident with evaluating my practice and making changes to develop my approach." 

Secondary school English teacher, South Wales

"Ellen's professional learning course on how to integrate the explicit teaching of etymology into the classroom was fantastic. She is an inspirational course leader and I completely refound my love for teaching the English language. The resources she provided were fantastic and the depth and breadth of her knowledge, as well as her enthusiasm for her research areas, is infectious. Thank you for teaching me so much about a new topic and about how to conduct enquiries in my own classroom."

Year 6 primary school teacher,  South Wales

"Thanks once again for such an interesting and helpful session on how to write clearly for a variety of audiences. It's great to see how some small changes can make a big difference to how clearly we communicate with our audience. I feel much more confident writing articles than I did before." 

Communications Officer, South Wales

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"Dr Bristow helped us review our education charity's messaging to ensure that it aligned with current policy and practice in schools in Wales. Her work was of an excellent quality, her communication was clear and timely and she really helped us develop our communication strategies and outreach development plans." 

Education charity CEO


Thank you for your enquiry. Diolch i chi am eich ymholiad.

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