Sarah O'Neill

Sarah O'Neill


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Focus


PhD Research Student in Modern Language Education Policy: Developing CLIL-informed Policy and Practice in Language Education.

Research Statement

PhD Research Student in Modern Language Education Policy: Developing CLIL-informed Policy and Practice in Language Education.
Sarah is a qualified teacher (CELTA, PGCE) currently in her final year of PhD research into Modern Language Education Policy. Her PhD is entitled: Developing CLIL-informed Policy and Practice in Language Education.
Sarah has taught English, French and German to speakers of other languages in Latin America, Europe and China. She has worked with children aged 5 to 18 in International Schools and the charity sector, as well as with adults seeking refugee status and prospective students learning English for Academic Purposes. Through these settings, she has become experienced in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), the teaching of a language through another curricular subject, as a pedagogical approach. She is interested in the policy traction of CLIL within her native Northern Ireland, as well as the wider policy potential of the approach within the UK and Ireland.


Sarah read French and German at Worcester College, Univeristy of Oxford, graduating with a BA Joint Hons First Class in July 2012. During her undergraduate career, Sarah was awarded an Academic and an Instrumental Scholarship, as well as the Claude Massart Prize in French Literature and the Mrs Claude Beddington Prize for German.

Sarah graduated with Distinction in the Colloquial Use of French and German in 2012, and was awarded a Master of Arts by the University of Oxford in 2017. In 2012 she qualified as a community interpreter (OCN) and a teacher of English to speakers of other languages (CELTA). From 2013-2016 she worked as freelance interpreter and translator, and as a teacher of languages, music and social sciences across three continents, before returning to Northern Ireland where she continued to teach ESOL and English for Academic Purposes through International House, INTO Belfast and Southern Regional College, whilst also gaining a year's experience in the administration of European funding through her role in Peace IV and the Rural Development Programme as a Project Officer for the Local Action Group Admin Unit in Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. 

In 2018, Sarah was accepted onto the competitive PGCE course at Queen's University and qualified as a modern languages teacher in July 2019. She also received the Elizabeth M. Fulton Prize as the top-performing PGCE student in her subject area and was a joint recipient of the GTCNI Star Award for the top performing PGCE student. Since October 2019, Sarah has been working as a PhD researcher in Modern Language Education Policy at Queen's University, under the supervision of Professor Janice Carruthers and Dr Sharon Jones. Her research is funded by the Department for the Economy and attached to the AHRC Modern Languages Leadership Fellowship project: 'Foreign, indigenous and community languages in the devolved regions of the UK: policy and practice for growth'.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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