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Prof. Jane Mellanby

Bringing out the best in every child
Bringing out the best in every child

The Oxford Group for Children’s Potential is directed by Dr Jane Mellanby. We are located in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford.

Our team consists of Dr Jane Mellanby, Dr Julia Badger, Dr Elena Svirko and Dr Sarah McElwee

Our group works with schools nationally to identify children aged 7-13 years who are underachieving academically relative to their potential. We have developed two online tests of verbal and spatial reasoning for children (VESPARCH): one suitable for Year 3/4 children (into key stage 2) and one suitable for Year 6/7 children (into key stage 3).  We either go into schools to administer the test ourselves, or give secure access to schools to administer the test themselves. Large groups of children can complete the test at the same time, but every child completes the test on their own computer with their own headphones.

We provide detailed feedback to the school on every child that completed the test – including an age-standardised score – and identify those currently underachieving relative to their potential. We offer to conduct short follow-up tests with those children to determine why they may be underachieving.

We work with children from a range of schools including special educational needs schools, mainstream schools, and highly selective schools. 

Our team

  • Jane Mellanby
    Jane Mellanby

    Emeritus Academic Visitor

Selected publications


Elena Svirko


Related research themes