Professor Lyn Tett

Professor Emerita


I studied psychology at the Open University part time whilst my children were young and then worked as an adult education development officer for Argyll and Bute Council's community education service for ten years. After that I moved to Edinburgh to become the deputy director of the Scottish Community Education Council responsible for training and adult education for 5 years and then joined Moray House Institute of Education as the Director of Community Education in 1992. During this time I also studied part-time for my MSc in Community Education. I became Professor of Community Education and Lifelong Learning in 2002.  I am still active in the profession of Community Education and  I am currently Chair of the Adult Literacies 2020 working group on professional development.


  • 1971-77: BA (Hons) Social & Cognitive Psychology (Upper Second), Open University
  • 1981-84: Post-Graduate Diploma in Post Compulsory Education, Open University
  • 1993-95: MEd Community Education, Heriot Watt University

Areas of interest for supervision

I am happy to supervise research in the areas described in the research tab. I have recently supervised doctoral students in the following areas:

  • School Choice of Northern Areas' (NAs) newly migrant Ismailis in Karachi
  • Inter-relationships between the developmental needs of children, the service response to meeting these needs and the potential for change in staff roles and relationships in early years services in Scotland
  • The role of literacies and physical activities provision (post-16) in reducing exclusion in Scotland 
  • Women postgraduate's employment in China

Current PhD students supervised

  • Melissa Moncreiffe- Non-Formal Education for Youths: Comparing 21st century policy within US and Scottish contexts and its implications within communities
  • Lorele Mackie- Perceptions of Mentoring and Formative Assessment within Student Teacher ITE Placements.


Past PhD students supervised

  • Jian Zhu- Gender differences in the employment expectations of final year undergraduates in a university in Central China
  • Carolyn Martin- Ideas of early childhood and their interface with policy and practice in early years work in Scotland


Research summary

My interests lie within the broad area of community education and lifelong learning. My research has involved an investigation of the factors such as class, gender, disability that lead to the exclusion of adults from post-compulsory education and of the action that might be taken to promote social inclusion. It has focussed on three main areas. These are:

  • The cultural, class and identity factors that contribute to literacy and numeracy difficulties experienced by adults and the forms of education and learning that are most effective in empowering individuals and communities experiencing educational disadvantage;
  • An investigation of the factors that encourage or prevent access to higher education for, and retention of, educationally disadvantaged adults with a particular focus on class and gender; 
  • Inter-professional partnerships especially in the relationship between schools and community education and the role of parents as partners in their children's education.

Project activity

I am currently involved in three main areas of academic research: I am researching a range of provision and practice for adult literacy and numeracy learners with a particular focus on the factors that encourage participation and persistence including a recent project in Scottish Prisons. I am investigating the experiences of students with HN qualifications who entered the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with HN qualifications in 2004 & 5 in a project called 'From Further Education to Higher Education Project - 10 years on' - this research is being done with Prof Viv Cree (Social & Political Science), and Dr Hazel Christie (IAMS). The professional development of adult literacies staff and the impact of the policy context on this.

Recent publications

Authored books

  • Riddell, S. and Tett, L., 2006The Gender Balance of School Teachers in Scotland: Where have all the men gone?Edinburgh: Dunedin Academic Press.
  • Tett, L (2010) Community education, learning and development, Edinburgh: Dunedin Press, 128 pages


Chapters in books

  • Crowther, J. and Tett, L., 2012Learning literacy for citizenship and democracyin More Powerful Literacies, Eds. Tett, L., Hamilton, M. and Crowther, J., Leicester: NIACE, pp. 117-128.
  • Hamilton, M. and Tett, L., 2012More Powerful Literacies: the policy contextin More Powerful Literacies, Eds. Tett, L., Hamilton, M. and Crowther, J., Leicester: NIACE, pp. 31-57.
  • Hamilton, M., Tett, L. and Crowther, J., 2012More Powerful Literacies: an introductionin More Powerful Literacies, Eds. Tett, L., Hamilton, M. and Crowther, J., Leicester: NIACE, pp. 31-57.
  • Tett, L., 2012Learner Identityin Routledge International Handbook of Learning, Eds. Jarvis, P. and Watts, M., London: Routledge, pp. 75-83.
  • Tett, L. and St Clair, R., 2012Adult Literacy Educationin Adult Learning and Education, Ed. Rubenson, K., Oxford: Elsevier, pp. 100-106.
  • McCulloch, K. and Tett, L., 2010Ethics, collaboration and the organisational context of youth workin Ethical Issues in youth work - 2nd edition, Ed. Banks, S., Routledge.
  • Tett, L. (2012) ‘Learner Identity’, in P. Jarvis with M. Watts (ed.) Routledge International Handbook of Learning, London: Routledge, pp. 75-83
  • Maclachlan, K., Hall, S., Tett, L., Crowther, J. and Edwards, V., 2010Adult literacies, learning lives and learner identitiesin Access, Learning Careers and Identities, Ed. Bron. et al., European Society for Research on the Education of Adults.
  • Maclachlan, K., Tett, L. and Hall, S., 2009"The more you learn the better you feel" - research into adult literacies, learning and identity in Scotlandin Tracking Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills: findings from longitudinal research, Ed. Reder, S. & Bynner, J., pp. 329-348, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Sliwka, A. and Tett, L., 2008Case Study: Scotlandin Teaching, learning and assessment for adults: improving foundation skills, Paris: OECD Publishing,
  • McCulloch, K. and Tett, L., 2008Integrating Community Schools and Social Inclusion (Scotland)in Safeguarding children and schools, Ed. Baginsky, M., pp. 42-53, London: Jessica Kingsley.
  • Tett, L., 2007'Multi-agency working in Urban Education and Social Inclusion'in International Handbook of Urban Education, Ed. Pink, W. & Noblit, G., pp. 1139-1156, Springer.
  • Tett, L., 2007Working in and with Civil Societyin Radical Learning for Liberation 2, Ed. Connolly, B., Fleming, T., McCormack, D. & Ryan, A., pp. 67-77, Maynooth: NUI Maynooth.
  • Tett, L., 2007Community Education in Scotlandin Community Education and its contribution to a Social Europe: concepts; perspectives, implementation, Ed. Friesenhahn, G., Lorenz, W. & Seibel, F., pp. 45-68, Brno, Czech Republic: Ostrava.
  • Tett, L., 2006'Community education: participation, risk and desire'in Gender and Lifelong Learning: Critical Feminist Engagements, Ed. Leathwood, C. & Francis, B., RoutledgeFalmer.
  • Ducklin, A., Riddell, S., Stafford, A. and Tett, L., 2006Addressing the gender imbalance in teaching; the views of practising teachersin The Gender Balance of School Teachers in Scotland: Where have all the men gone?, Ed. Riddell, S. & Tett, L., Dunedin.
  • Tett, L., 2005'Community Development'in International Encyclopaedia of Adult Education, Ed. English, L., pp. 126-130, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Tett, L., 2005Literacy, learning and identityin Class Concerns: Adult Education & Social Class, Ed. Nesbit, T., pp. 27-36, San Francisco: New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education No 106.
  • Tett, L., 2005'Literacy, learning and social inclusion'in 'Old' and 'New' Worlds of Adult Learning, pp. 458-470, Wroclaw: University of Lower Silesia Press.
  • Tett, L. and McCulloch, K., 2005'Inter-agency partnerships and school-family-community links to prevent social exclusion'in Service Integration in Scottish Schools: Values, Vision and Vital Voices, University of Aberdeen, School of Education Research Papers, Aberdeen: University of Aberdeen.
  • Tett, L., 2005'Learning literacies: participation, risk and desire'in What a difference a pedagogy makes' researching lifelong learning and teaching, Ed. Caldwell et al., pp. 580-586, Centre for Research into Lifelong Learning.
  • Tett, L., 2005'Community Education'in International Encyclopaedia of Education, Ed. McCulloch, G., New York: Routledge.
  • Tett, L., 2005'Activism'in International Encyclopaedia of Adult Education, Ed. English, L., pp. 21-25, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Tett, L., 2003Education and community health: identity, social justice and lifestyle issues in communitiesin Social Justice, Education and Identity, Ed. Vincent, C., pp. 83-96, London: Falmer Routledge.
  • Tett, L., 2002Gender, education and health issues in the communityin The Politics of Gender and Education, Ed. Leonard, D., pp. 75-81, Centre for Research and Education on Gender, Institute of Education, University of London.
  • Tett, L., 2002Lifelong learning policies: four fallacies and an interrogationin Cultures, communities and citizens: the altered states of adult education, Ed. R Edwards, P Gray, B Morgan-Klein, M Murphy, L Tett, pp. 269-274, Stirling: University of Stirling and SCUTREA.
  • Tett, L., Munn, P., Kay, H., Martin, I., Martin, J. and Ranson, S., 2001Schools, community education and collaborative practice in Scotlandin Education, Social Justice and Inter-agency Working: Joined up or Fractured Policy?, Ed. Riddell, S. and Tett, L., pp. 105-123, London: Routledge.
  • Tett, L., 2001Involving parents as partners in their children's education in Japan and Scotland. Contrasts in policy and practicein Education, Social Justice and Inter-agency Working: Joined up or Fractured Policy, Ed. Riddell, S. and Tett, L., pp. 215-233, London: Routledge.
  • Tett, L., 2001Gendered journeys: experiences of participation in higher education by working class adultsin Travellers Tales: from adult education to lifelong learning and beyond, Ed. L West, N Miller, D O'Reilly, R Allen, pp. 391-394, Nottingham: Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults.
  • Crowther, J., Hamilton, M. and Tett, L., 2001'Introduction: powerful literacies'in Powerful Literacies, Ed. Crowther, Jim, Hamilton, Mary & Tett, Lyn, pp. 1-12, Leicester: NIACE, 1-86201-094-3.
  • Crowther, J. and Tett, L., 2001Democracy as a way of life: literacy for citizenshipin Powerful Literacies, Ed. Crowther, Jim, Hamilton, Mary & Tett, Lyn, pp. 108-120, Leicester: NIACE.
  • Tett, L., Hamilton, M. and Macrae, C., 2001Literacy and the Policy Discourse in the UK and Irelandin Powerful Literacies, Ed. J Crowther, M Hamilton and L Tett, pp. 23-42, Leicester: NIACE.


Edited books

  • Eds. Tett, L., Hamilton M. and Crowther J., 2012More Powerful LiteraciesLeicester: NIACE.
  • Eds. Tett, L., Hamilton, M. and Hillier, Y., 2006Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Language: Policy, Practice and ResearchOpen University Press.
  • Eds. Edwards, R., Gray, P., Morgan-Klein, B. and Tett, L., 2002Cultures, communities and citizens: the altered states of adult educationStirling: University of Stirling and SCUTREA.
  • Eds. Riddell, S. and Tett, L., 2001Education, Social Justice and Inter-agency Working: Joined up or Fractured Policy?London: Routledge.
  • Eds. Crowther, J., Hamilton, M. and Tett, L., 2001Powerful LiteraciesNIACE.


Journal articles

  • Weedon, E. and Tett, L., 2013 (forthcoming)Union learning representatives: micro, meso and macro level workplace learning opportunitiesInternational Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning.
  • Tett, L., Hounsell, J., Cree, V., Christie, H. and McCune, V., 2012Learning from feedback? Mature students’ experiences of assessment in higher educationResearch in Post Compulsory Education, Vol. 17(2), pp. 247-260.
  • Tett, L., Anderson K., McNeill F., Overy K. and Sparks R., 2012Literacy and the arts in prisons: a Scottish case studyStudies in the Education of Adults, Vol. 44(2), pp. 171-185.
  • Anderson K., Colvin S., McNeill F., Overy K., Sparks R. and Tett, L., 2011Young Offenders and the Arts: A review of three Inspiring Change arts projects at HM YOI Polmont, ScotlandPrison Service Journal, issue 197, pp. 47-52.
  • Crowther, J. and Tett, L., 2011Critical and social literacy practices from the Scottish adult literacy experience: resisting deficit approaches to learning,Literacy, pp. 126-131.
  • McCulloch, K., McLaughlin, P., Allison, P., Edwards, V. and Tett, L., 2010More than mere adventure: sail training as educationOxford Review of Education, Vol. 36(6).
  • Crowther, J, Maclachlan, K. and Tett, L., 2010Adult literacy, learning identities and pedagogic practiceInternational Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol. 29(6), pp. 651-664.
  • Riddell S and Tett, L., 2010The gender balance in teaching debate: tensions between gender theory and equality policyInternational Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 14(5), pp. 463-477.
  • Ahlgren, L. and Tett, L., 2010Work-based learning, identity and the skills agendaStudies in Continuing Education, Vol. 32(1), pp. 17-27.
  • Cree, V. E., Hounsell, J., Christie, H., McCune, V. and Tett, L., 2009From Further Education to Higher Education: Social Work Students' Experiences of Transition to an Ancient, Research-Led UniversitySocial Work Education, Vol. 30th March 2009.
  • Tett, L. and Riddell, S., 2009Educators' responses to policy concerns about the gender balance of the teaching profession in ScotlandJournal of Education Policy, Vol. 24(4), pp. 477-493.
  • Hounsell, J., Christie, H., Cree, V. E., McCune, V. and Tett, L., 2008Talking and sharing: the role of peer support and retention in Higher EducationJournal of Access, Policy and Practice, Vol. 6(1), pp. 35-51.
  • Christie, H., Tett, L., Cree, V., Hounsell, J. and McCune, V., 2008A real rollercoaster of confidence and emotions: learning to be university studentStudies in Higher Education, Vol. 33(5), pp. 567-581.
  • Tett, L. and Maclachlan, K., 2008Learners, tutors and power in adult literacies research in ScotlandInternational Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol. 27(6), pp. 659-672.
  • Crowther, J., Tett, L. and Edwards, V., 2007Better together?Adults Learning, Vol. 19(1), pp. 24-26.
  • Tett, L. and Maclachlan, K., 2007Adult literacy and numeracy, social capital, learner identities and self-confidenceStudies in the Education of Adults, Vol. 39(2), pp. 150-167.
  • Christie, H., Cree, V., Hounsell, J., McCune, V. and Tett, L., 2006From College to University: looking backwards, looking forwardsResearch in Post-Compulsory Education (1359-6748), Vol. 11, pp. 351-365.
  • Bamber, J., Tett, L. and Galloway, V., 2006Widening Participation and Meta-learning: risking less in HEJournal of Adult and Continuing Education, Vol. 12(1), pp. 20-23.
  • Riddell, S., Tett, L., Ducklin, A., Winterton, M., Burns, C. and Ferrie, J., 2006'The Gender Balance of the Teaching Workforce in Scotland, What's the Problem?'Scottish Educational Review, Vol. 38(5) May 2006, pp. 73-91.
  • Maclachlan, K. and Tett, L., 2006Learning to Change or Changing the Learning: Adult Literacy and Numeracy in ScotlandJournal of Adult and Continuing Education, pp. 195-206.