Overview of the research project

This group of researchers are all involved in educating teachers or educational psychologists at the School of Education and Social Work in the University of Dundee in Scotland. We interviewed sixty primary school Teachers and Head Teachers in depth, staring from the second week of lockdown until the end of the scholastic year (March-June 2020). The interviews aimed to gain an understanding of the impact of the experience of lockdown on teachers’ and Head Teachers’ identity. These educators were asked to comment about the impact of this experience on their ideas of teaching, learning and curriculum, and on their role as educators. Practical questions were also asked about teachers’ planning and implementation of teaching tasks, the structure of the day, their intentions of supporting pupils emotionally by providing structure, and their own concerns about their own digital fluency. We were, and still are, ‘curious’ about what they make of their experiences of work and the contribution of this to their thinking about what is valued in their work as a teacher or Head Teacher as they support children and families during the lockdown.

Following ethical approval from the University of Dundee, an invitation for voluntary participation in the project was put on social media – teachers and Head Teachers who responded were interviewed online. We clarified that we are after individual thoughts about this new way of teaching and learning and not after teachers’ and Head Teachers’ their opinion about the Local Authority response to the pandemic, nor of any Local Authority strategies towards preparation for school closure. It was also possible for educators to respond to an online questionnaire if this was deemed easier for them, given their individual circumstances. Sixty interviews were carried out. The data is being analysed and the following are outputs based on the data.



Ferguson, P., McKenzie, M., Mercieca, D., Mercieca, D.P. and Sutherland, L. (2021) Primary Head Teachers’ Construction and Re-negotiation of Care in COVID-19 Lockdown in Scotland. Frontiers in Education, 6:617869.



Brown, J., McLennan, C., Mercieca, D., Mercieca, D. P., Robertson, D. and Valentine, E. (2021) Technology as Thirdspace: Teachers in Scottish schools engaging with and being challenged by digital technology in first COVID-19 lockdown. Education Sciences, 11(3), 136. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030136



McLennan, C., Mercieca, D., & Mercieca, D. (2020). What can I do? Teachers, students and families in relationship during COVID-19 lockdown in Scotland. Malta Review of Educational Research14(2), 163-181.


Papers in progress

  • Teachers working in special schools in Scotland acting with practical wisdom: supporting children with additional needs in COVID-19 lockdown in Teachers and Teaching theory and practice. Mercieca, D., Mercieca, D.P., Ward, K.
  • Currently being written: papers focussing on teachers’ perceptions of families in lockdown; teachers’ engagement with ICT in lockdown; teachers’ understanding of children’s learning during lockdown; issues of social justice during lockdown from teachers’ perspectives; transitions during lockdown.



Malta Review of Educational Research: The Impact of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning. Online Research Symposium 3rd March 2021

What Can I do? Caring Relationships Among Teachers: Students and Families During COVID-19 Lockdown in Scotland 

Carrie McLennan, Daniela Mercieca & Duncan P. Mercieca


Institute for Social Sciences Research Pandemic Series COVID-19: One year on from lockdown. 2nd March 2021

Teaching and learning in lockdown in Scotland 

Daniela Mercieca & Duncan P. Mercieca 



Educational and Life Transitions/TCELT: Research Seminar 13th January 2021

Primary school teachers’ thinking about transitions during COVID-19 lockdown in Scotland 

Daniela Mercieca & Duncan P. Mercieca 


This presentation is based on a study carried out by a group of researchers at the School of Education and Social Work in the University of Dundee. The purpose of the study was to gain insight into the lived experiences of primary school educators in Scotland delivering the curriculum from home, and/or working in the hubs, and to explore the impact of such experiences on their identities as teachers and on their views of teaching, learning and curriculum, in response to the research question: What are educators’ experiences of teaching from home/in hub during the Covid-19 lockdown in Scotland?

This presentation focuses particularly on themes emerging from teachers’ responses when asked about the transitions which are part of life in a school year. Teachers referred to children in early years entering into formal schooling after the forthcoming summer, and to children in their last year of primary school and their preparation for high school. Reference was also made to children’s coping with the transitions caused by the pandemic and the school lockdown, particularly the experiences of children with additional support needs.

The presentation will also touch upon prospective plans that teachers and schools made to substitute formal celebrations of transitions to online ceremonies.

Research team


Principal Investigators

Daniela Mercieca

Dr. Daniela Mercieca is a practising educational psychologist in a Local Authority in Scotland and a lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Dundee. Her research interest is in critically problematising the assumptions that underpin educational practice with children and deconstructing situations in which decisions are made concerning children in schools. ORCID id: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6609-1302


Duncan Mercieca

Dr. Duncan P. Mercieca is a senior lecturer in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Dundee. His research draws upon French post-structuralist philosophers to think through educational issues, in particular those related to diversity and otherness; inclusion and disability and critiquing education research and its methods. ORCID id: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4071-9522




Gillian Bartle


Jonathan Brown


Tracey Colville


Helen Cunningham


Nikki Doig


Peter Ferguson


Gillian Horribine


Sarah Hulme


Claire Kerr


Megan McKenzie


Carrie McLennan


Amy Nolan


Derek Robertson


Lesley Sutherland


Eddie Valentine


Kumara Ward


Grainne Watters