Dr Andy Hancock

Honorary Fellow


Andy started teaching in multilingual primary schools in London before working for two years in a State Secondary school in Karoi, Zimbabwe where he worked on a post-colonial curriculum. In 1990 he moved to Scotland to become a peripatetic support teacher to bilingual and traveller pupils in Central Region, and for a short period was seconded to the Youth Strategy Project investigating racist incidents and developing anti-racist support materials for schools.  Prior to coming to the University of Edinburgh, Andy was Manager of the Bilingual Support Service in North Lanarkshire and Chair of the national Scottish Coordinating Council for English as an Additional Language (SCCEAL). Andy has researched and published extensively on a range of issues including complementary schools, language policy in Scotland, linguistic landscapes and aspiring teachers’ understandings of linguistically diverse classrooms. In 2014 he co-edited a volume with Xiao Lan Curdt Christiansen, Learning Chinese in Diasporic Communities (John Benjamins). This book stems from an interest that relates to his PhD study exploring children’s biliteracy practices in multilingual settings in Scotland.



  • 1979 BA (Hons) Economic History/Geography. Leeds University
  • 1982 Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Primary). Didsbury College of Education, Manchester.    
  • 1991 RSA Diploma in Teaching English Across the Curriculum in Multilingual Schools. Moray House College, Heriot-Watt University
  • 2001 MSc Advanced Professional Studies. University of Edinburgh
  • 2010 PhD. University of Edinburgh

Responsibilities & affiliations

1998 - 2001. Chair, Scottish Coordinating Council for English as an additional language (SCCEAL)

2001- present. Member of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES)

2006 - present. Erasmus + Staff Mobility Programme /Visiting Lecturer at Centre d'Apprentissages et de Ressources pour une Education aux Langues (CAREL), University of Strasbourg.

2012 - present. Patron of Scottish Association for Teachers of English as an Additional Language (SATEAL)

April/May 2012. Visiting Professeure, University of Strasbourg.

2013 - present. Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Education, Nanyang University, Singapore.

2011- 2018. Scottish Teacher Education Committee (STEC) Inclusion Group. Development of revised Framework for Inclusion.

2016 - present. Member of Editorial Board for International Journal Language and Education. I also act as a reviewer for the following academic journals: Language Awareness; Language, Culture & Curriculum; Pedagogy, Culture & Society; Scottish Education Review.

2012 - 2016. Co-Deputy Head of Institute, Education, Teaching & Leadership

2016 - 2020. Head of the Graduate School of Education & Sport / Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Appointments as External Examiner

2004 - 2009. University of East London Overseas Campus, Singapore. MA Early Childhood Studies

2007 - 2013. University of East London. MA Early Childhood Studies

2013 - 2017. University of Strathclyde. MEd Inclusive Education

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Hao Zhang: Language Policy in two Scottish Mandarin Primary Classrooms.

Sakie Chiba-Mooney: Stakeholders’s views on a Japanese Complementary School in Scotland. (Co-supervision with LLC)

Yurou Wei: Storytelling used in English writing skills with children in Chinese primary schools.

Past PhD students supervised

Agnieszka Fraser: The influence of social factors on the acquisition of L2 and L1 by young migrant Polish children in Scotland.

Jagdeep Gill: Perceptions of high school students on the language used as a medium of instruction in school and their identity formation in the context of Punjab, India.


Research summary

Andy's research interests stem from his background working as a teacher in multilingual schools - engagement with language minority parents; investigating Chinese children learning to read diverse scripts in Chinese complementary schools and mainstream schools; student teachers' understandings of multilingual classrooms; Linguistic Landscapes as a tool for learning. His interests have also expanded to other global contexts - student teachers in France; early literacy learning in southern Africa and Hong Kong; cultures of learning and pedagogies in Singapore and China. More recently, Andy has returned back to his interest in language learning outside of mainstream schools and conducted a national audit of complementary schools in Scotland. 

Current research interests

Current research focuses on: Community language learning in Scotland during the Covid-19 pandemic. Linguistic Landscapes as a tool for learning.

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

  • Student teachers’ understandings of multilingual primary classrooms.  Collaboration with Christine Hélot and Andrea Young, University of Strasbourg. Refer to Hancock, A. (2011) Empowering student teachers to meet the challenge of multilingual schools in Scotland. In Hélot, C and Majia, A-M. (eds)  Empowering Teachers Across Cultures (pp.45-57). Frankfurt: Peter Lang. 
  • Early Years Writer in Residence Project Evaluation: Follow up evaluation. With Moira Leslie. Report forthcoming.
  • 2012 Research in collaboration with the Institute of Education, Nanyang University, Singapore comparing bilingual and monolingual literacy development in primary schools in Scotland, Singapore and China.
  • 2013 Evaluation of Letterbox Club Scotland. With Moira Leslie. Funder: Booktrust.
  • 2015 Audit of Complementary Schools in Scotland Funder: CHSS Knowledge Exchange and Impact Grant
  • 2020 Community language learning in Scotland during Covid-19 pandemic

View all 25 publications on Research Explorer