A leading researcher from Edge Hill University has been elected chair of the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) Education Section.

Dr Dave Putwain, Reader in Psychology, will take the helm for a 12-month term to help promote psychology in education and the interests of psychologists engaged in schools, further and higher education, child guidance and the wider community.

Talking about his new role, Dr Putwain said: “It is a great honour to be acknowledged by my peers and fellow professionals in this way. The section has a strong historical presence and I’ve always admired the work the group does. I feel that I will bring energy and fresh ideas to the table.”

A teacher for nine years before entering academia, Dr Putwain has always been interested in the psychology of teaching and what makes children achieve.

He has carried out extensive research into the effects on students of exam pressure from parents and teachers. His main interests focus on the psychological factors that influence learning and achievement, particularly theories of motivation, self-competence beliefs, fear of failure and the classroom environment.

“I’m very passionate about my work,” said Dr Putwain, “which is why I’ve been a member of the Psychology of Education section with the BPS for about 18 years. I’m looking forward to ensuring that it remains an excellent forum to exchange ideas and promote research into the psychology of education.

“I really want to use my year in office to encourage further collaboration between academics, teachers and educational psychologists. For example a lot of teachers don’t realise the importance of research, which is something I’d like to address. Also, I think some academics lose touch at grassroots level so I’d like to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Ideally, I’d like to build stronger relationships between the different groups as I believe there are real benefits from talking to each other and understanding each other’s needs.

“I’m sure the next year will involve lively discussion of contemporary issues and stimulate research into matters related to the psychological aspects of education.”

Dave Putwain is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Chartered Psychology. He taught in various schools and colleges from 1994 to 2003 before studying for a Doctorate at the University of Manchester from 2003 to 2006. He took up his position at Edge Hill University in 2006 and established a research group and undergraduate programme in Educational Psychology in 2009.

The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK.