Jennifer Nias obituary

<span>Photograph: from family/unknown</span>
Photograph: from family/unknown

My former work-colleague Jennifer Nias, who has died aged 90, was a lecturer in education at King Alfred’s College in Winchester, the School of Education at the University of Liverpool and then the Cambridge Institute of Education, before becoming a part-time professor of education at the University of Plymouth in the early years of her retirement.

She was also the author of Primary Teachers Talking: A Study of Teaching as Work (1989), a longitudinal study in which she repeatedly interviewed 50 former teacher training students as they progressed through their careers. It was a study that almost failed to see the light of day, as the only copy of her manuscript was inadvertently sent to the local authority rubbish dump. When she found out what had happened, Jennifer rushed down there and – with the help of a council worker – was able to dig it out of the piles of refuse.

Jennifer was born in Penzance, Cornwall, to Frances (nee Richmond) and her husband, Carl Nias, a manager at Cable & Wireless whose work meant that the family often spent significant periods abroad, including in Malta, from where they had to be evacuated during the second world war.

After leaving Cheltenham Ladies college in Gloucestershire, Jennifer studied modern history at Oxford University, then gained a PGCE from London University and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, before beginning her teaching career in Winchester.

We worked with each other at the Cambridge Institute of Education, and while there we co-authored two books: Staff Relationships in the Primary School: A Study of Organisational Cultures (1989, with Robin Yeomans); and Whole School Curriculum Development in the Primary School (with Penelope Campbell). Jennifer also wrote many journal articles as well as chapters in various books.

In retirement in Cornwall from 1992 onwards her interests included gardening, swimming and conversation with family members. She is survived by her brother Jon.