Professor Tracey Bywater

Professor, Institute for Effective Education


Tracey Bywater's work focuses on the theme of enhancing parental input in supporting children’s success. Her area of interest and expertise lies in the design and implementation of randomised controlled trials of complex interventions, namely parent, child, and school programmes, to assess behavioural and health outcomes for children and their carers/families. In addition to outcomes or clinical effectiveness of these interventions, she is interested in process, and cost, evaluations of intervention delivery.

Prior to coming to the IEE Tracey worked for many years in the Psychology Department at Bangor University, Wales, and was also seconded to The Social Research Unit, Dartington.

Tracey is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School of Psychology, Bangor University, and is also Chair of the Board of Trustees for the charity the Children's Early Intervention Trust.

Tracey moved to Health Sciences in November 2015.


Current project involvement

An independent evaluation of the Plymouth Parent Partnership: Supporting Parents On Kids Education in School (SPOKES) programme. This is a two-group randomised controlled trial (RCT) of Year 1 children, to assess the effects of SPOKES on children’s literacy and behaviour. Funded by the Education Endowment Foundation (2012-2015).

Tailoring interventions to populations: Supporting the provision of evidence-based parenting programmes. A project funded by National Institute for Health Research, as part of Yorkshire and Humber’s CLAHRC portfolio of works (2013-2015).

The development, implementation and evaluation of complex early intervention health and social services for vulnerable families and children in Ireland. Funded by Collaborative Applied Research Grants in Population Health and Health Service Research, HRB, Ireland (2014-2019).

Better Start Bradford Innovation Hub has three themes to support families of children up to age three, 1. Social emotional well-being, 2. Nutrition, 3. Language.  Dr Bywater is leading on the social emotional well-being theme. The Hub was funded as part of the £50m Big Lottery Fulfilling Lives: Better Start programme awarded to Bradford Trident.

The E-SEE trial is a multi-disciplinary evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of Incredible Years (IY) Parent Programmes for 0-2 year-olds.

Selected completed projects

Building Social and Emotional Competence in Young High-Risk School Children: A Pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial of the Incredible Years Therapeutic (Small Group) Dinosaur Curriculum in Gwynedd Primary Schools, Wales. Funded by the Big Lottery (2010–2013).

An Evaluation of the Incredible Years School Readiness Parent Programme delivered in Welsh Schools (2009-2013).

The Parent Programme Implementation Checklist was developed for the independent assessment of implementation fidelity of parent programmes. Funded by the Bowland Trust (2012-2013).

Enhancing school-family engagement for child well-being and positive behaviour. Developing a tool and guidelines for effective engagement. Funded by The Department of Education Pump Priming Fund (2013).

Research papers


Webster-Stratton C, and Bywater T (2015), Incredible Partnerships: Parents and Teachers Working Together to Enhance Outcomes for Children Through a Multi-modal Evidence Based Programme, Journal of Children's Services, 10(3).


Webster-Stratton C, and Bywater T (2014), Parents and Teachers Working Together. Better: Evidence-based Education, 6(2), 16-17. 

Tracey L, Bywater T, Blower S, et al. (2014) Public Involvement in Research: Social Emotional Well-being in Early Years. Institute for Effective Education, University of YorkPublic Involvement in Research Report FINAL (PDF  , 746kb)

McGilloway S, NiMhaille G, Bywater T, Leckey Y, Kelly P, Furlong M, Comiskey C, O’Neill D, and Donnelly M (2014), Reducing Child Conduct Disordered Behaviour and Improving Parent Mental health in Disadvantaged Families: A 12-month Follow-up and Cost Analysis of a Parenting InterventionEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, online first January 2014.


Charles J, Bywater T, Tudor Edwards R, Hutchings J, and Zou L (2013), Parental Depression and Child Conduct Problems: Evaluation of Parental Service Use and Associated Costs After Attending the Incredible Years Basic Parenting Programme.BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13.

Bywater T, and Sharples J (2013), Effective Evidence-based Interventions for Emotional well-being: Lessons for Policy and Practice, in Kathryn Ecclestone (ed) Emotional Well-Being in Educational Policy and Practice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge.

Hutchings J, Griffith N, Bywater T, Williams ME, and Baker-Henningham H (2013), Targeted Versus Universal Provision of Support in High-risk Communities: Comparison of Characteristics in Two Populations Recruited to Parenting Interventions.Journal of Children's Services, 8(3), 169-182.

Hutchings J, and Bywater T (2013), Delivering the Incredible Years Parent Programme to Foster Carers in Wales: Reflections from Group Leader SupervisionAdoption & Fostering, 37(1), 28–42.

Williams M, Hutchings J, Bywater T, Daley D, and Whitaker C (2013), Schedule of Growing Skills II: Pilot Study of an Alternative Scoring MethodPsychology, 4(3), 143–152.

Charles JM, Edwards RT, Bywater T, and Hutchings J (2013), Micro-costing in Public Health Economics: Step Towards a Standardised Framework, Using the Incredible Years Toddler Parenting Programme as a Worked ExamplePrevention Science.


Little M, Berry V, Morpeth L, Blower S, Axford N, Taylor R, Bywater T, Lehtonen M, and Tobin K (2012), The Impact of Three Evidence-based Programmes Delivered in Public Systems in Birmingham, UKInternational Journal of Conflict and Violence 6(2), 260–272.

Hutchings J, Bywater T, Williams M, Lane E, and Whitaker C (2012), Improvements in maternal depression as a mediator of child behaviour changePsychology, 3, 795–801.

Bywater T, (2012) Perspectives on the Incredible Years programme: psychological management of conduct disorderThe British Journal of Psychiatry 201, 85–87.

Hutchings J, Bywater T, Gridley N, Whitaker CJ, Martin-Forbes P and Gruffydd S (2012), The Incredible Years Therapeutic Social and Emotional Skills Programme: A Pilot StudySchool Psychology International. Vol 33 (3), pp. 285–293. First published online on August 15, 2011.

Bywater T and Sharples J (2012), Effective Evidence-based Interventions for Emotional Well-being: Lessons for Policy and PracticeResearch Papers in Education. 27(4), pp. 389–408.

Bywater T (2012), Developing Rigorous Programme Evaluation, in B Kelly and DF Perkins (eds) Handbook of Implementation Science for Psychology in Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bywater T , and Utting D (2012), Support from the Start: Effective Programmes for Nine to 13 year-oldsJournal of Children’s Services, 7(1), pp.41–52. This article was chosen as a Highly Commended Award Winner at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2013.

McGilloway S, Mhaille G, Bywater T, Furlong M, Leckey Y, Kelly P, Comiskey C, and Donnelly M (2012), A Parenting Intervention for Childhood Behavioral Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Disadvantaged Community-based SettingsJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 80(1), pp.116–127.

Furlong M, McGilloway S, Bywater T, Hutchings J, Smith SM, and Donnelly M (2012), Behavioural and Cognitive-behavioural Group-based Parenting Programmes for Early-onset Conduct Problems in Children Aged 3 to 12 Years (Review),The Cochrane Library 2012, Issue 2.

McGilloway S, Ní Mháille G, Furlong M, Hyland L, Leckey Y, Kelly P, Bywater T, Comiskey C, Lodge A, O’Neill D and Donnelly M (2012), The Incredible Years Ireland Study - Parents, Teachers, and Early Childhood Intervention: Long-term Outcomes of the Incredible Years Parent and Teacher Classroom Management Training Programmes (Combined 12-month Report). Dublin: Archways.


Hutchings J, and Bywater T (2011), Developing the Incredible Years Programs in Wales. In Webster-Stratton C, The Incredible Years Parents, Teachers, and Children Training Series: Program Content, Methods, Research and Dissemination. Seattle: Incredible Years Inc.

Bywater T, Hutchings J, Gridley N, and Jones K (2011), Incredible Years Parent Training Support for Nursery Staff Working within a Disadvantaged Flying Start Area in Wales: A Feasibility StudyChild Care in Practice, 17(3), pp. 285-302.

Hutchings J , Bywater T , Gridley N , Whitaker CJ, Martin-Forbes P , and Stella Gruffydd (2011), The Incredible Years Therapeutic Social and Emotional Skills Programme: A Pilot Study. Publlished online by School Psychology International, in August 2011.

O’Neill D, McGilloway S, Donnelly M, Bywater T, and Kelly P (2011), A Cost-effectiveness Analysis of the Incredible Years Parenting Programme in Reducing Childhood Health Inequalities. Publlished online by The European Journal of Health Economics, in August 2011.

Charles J, Bywater T, and Edwards RT (2011), Parenting Interventions: A Systematic Review of the Economic Evidence.Child Care Health and Development, 37(4), pp. 462–474.

Bywater T, Hutchings J, Evans C, Parry L, and Whitaker C (2011), The Incredible Years Therapeutic Dinosaur Programme to Build Social and Emotional Competence in Welsh Primary Schools: Study Protocol for a Randomised Controlled TrialTrials, 12–39, doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-39.

Hutchings J, and Bywater T (2011), Challenges Facing Foster Carers. Agenda: Journal of the Institute of Welsh Affairs,(43) 54-57.

Hutchings J, Bywater T, Williams ME, Whitaker C, Lane E, and Shakespeare K (2011), The Extended School Age Incredible Years Parent Programme. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 16(3), 136-143.


Bywater T, Hutchings J, Linck P, Whitaker CJ, Daley D, Yeo ST, and Edwards RT (2010), Incredible Years Parent Training Support for Foster Carers in Wales: A Multi-Centre Feasibility Study. Child Care Health and Development.doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01155.x

Furlong M, McGilloway S, Bywater T, Hutchings J, Donnelly M, Smith SM and O'Neill C (2010), Behavioural/Cognitive-behavioural Group-based Parenting Interventions for Children Age 3–12 with Early Onset Conduct Problems. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008225.

Gardner F, Hutchings J, Bywater T, and Whitaker C (2010), Who Benefits and How Does It Work? Moderators and Mediators of Outcome in an Effectiveness Trial of a Parenting Intervention. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 39(4), 1–13.

Eames C, Daley D, Hutchings J, Whitaker CJ, Hughes C, Jones K, Hughes K, and Bywater T (2010), The Impact of Group Leaders Behaviour on Parents Acquisition of Key Parenting Skills During Parent Training. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48(12), 1221–1226 doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.07.011


Bywater T, Hutchings J, Daley D, Eames C, Tudor-Edwards R, and Whitaker C (2009), A Pragmatic Randomised Control Trial of a Parenting Intervention in Sure Start Services for Children at Risk of Developing Conduct Disorder; Long Term Follow-up. British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 318–324.

Ford T, Hutchings J, Bywater T, Goodman A, and Goodman R (2009), The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Added Value Score; A Method for Estimating Effectiveness in Child Mental Health Services Tested Using Data from a Randomised Controlled Trial, British Journal of Psychiatry, 194, 552–558.


Hutchings J, Bywater T, Eames C, and Martin P (2008), Implementing Child Mental Health Interventions in Service Settings: Lessons from Three Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trials in Wales. Journal of Children’s Services, Vol 3 (2), 17–27.


Edwards RT, Ó Céilleachair A, Bywater T, Hughes DA, and Hutchings J (2007), Parenting Programme for Parents of Children at Risk of Developing Conduct Disorder: Cost-Effective Analysis. British Medical Journal,doi:10.1136/bmj.39126.699421.55.

Hutchings J, Bywater T, Daley D, Gardner F, Jones K, Eames C, Tudor-Edwards R, and Whitakker C (2007), A Pragmatic Randomised Control Trial of a Parenting Intervention in Sure Start Services for Children at Risk of Developing Conduct Disorder. British Medical Journal, 334, 678–682.


Bywater T (March 2014) Implementation Science and the Importance of Fidelity. Keynote speech at professional development event for educational psychologists organised by Buckinghamshire County Council, Ashton Clinton, UK.

Bywater T and K Whittaker (March 2014), Improving Emotional Health and Well-being of Children and Parents: National and International Evidence-based Interventions. Invited presentation at partner event organised by Lancashire Care NHS Trust, Burnley, UK.

Bywater T (December 2013), Delivering and Evaluating Complex Interventions - Exploring the Impact of Fidelity. Keynote speech at UCL Professional Doctorate in Educational Psychology Event, London, UK.

Furlong M, McGilloway S, Bywater T, Hutchings J, Smith S, and Donnelly M (May 2013), Preventing Antisocial and Criminal Behaviour: A Cochrane Review of the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Group-Based Parenting Programmes for Childhood Conduct Problems. Presentation at Society for Prevention Research 21st Annual Meeting, San Francisco, US.

Bywater T, and Lawrence K (March 2013), Making the Early Years Incredible – How the Home Learning Environment can Build Success. Presentation at the IEE Conference, York, UK.

Bywater T (March 2013), Introducing Evaluation Methods. Workshop preceding Bangor University's Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK.

Bywater T (October 2012), presenting at Workshop 14: Incredible Years in Europe. Think Parents! European conference on parenting support. The Hague, The Netherlands.

Bywater T, (May 2012), Perspectives on the psychological management of conduct problems. The Nurture Group Network conference, Cardiff, UK.

Strother K, Alexander J, Henggeler S, Bywater T, Trupin E (April 2012), Adapting Blueprint Model Programs with Integrity: Accommodation versus Adaptation. Panel presentation at the 2012 Blueprints conference, San Antonio, US.

Furlong M, McGilloway S, Bywater T, Hutchings J, Smith S, and Donnelly M (March 2012), Investigating the Evidence for Behavioural and Cognitive-behavioural Group-based Parenting Programmes for Early-onset Conduct Problems in Children Aged 3 to 12: A Cochrane Review. Poster presented at the 34th Annual Congress of Psychology Students, Queens University Belfast, N. Ireland.

Bywater T (March 2012), Parent, child, and teacher intervention 'evaluation workshops'. Centre for Evidence Based Early Intervention (CEBEI) Annual South Wales Conference, Cardiff, UK.

Furlong M, McGilloway S, Bywater T, Hutchings J, Smith S, and Donnelly M (January 2012), The Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Behavioral Group-based Parenting Interventions in Treating Early-onset Conduct Problems in Children Age 3-12 Years. Poster presented at the Eighth Annual Cochrane in Ireland Conference, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.

Bywater T (January 2012), The Importance of Parent Support: Two Perspectives. Delivering Quality Parenting Services mini-conference, Wrexham (Glyndwr) University, UK.

Bywater T (January 2012), Co-authored several posters presented at the North Wales Incredible Years conference, Bangor, UK. IY Bangor 2012 programme (PDF  , 266kb)

Morpeth L, and Bywater T (September 2011), Finding Out What Works in the Real World: Evaluating a Social-emotional Programme (PATHS) and a Parenting Programme (Incredible Years). IEE Inaugural Conference, York, UK.

Bywater T (July 2011), Supporting Parents with the Incredible Years Programme in England, Wales and Ireland. Invited presentation at the Health Challenge Wales: Evidence for Policy Seminar Series, organised by the Cardiff Institute of Society and Health, Cardiff, UK.

Whitaker CJ, and Bywater T (2011), Interpreting Translational Research Findings. Centre for Evidence based Early Interventions, Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK.

Bywater T, and Axford N (2010), Strategies for Targeting and Recruiting Families to Randomised Controlled Trials of Evidence Based Parent Programmes in Community Settings. Fifth Annual Society for Prevention Research Conference, Denver, USA.

Bywater T (2010), Evidenced Based Interventions for Promoting Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Opening lecture for Public Health and Wellbeing Lecture series organised by collaboration of Welsh Universities and Local Colleges, UK.

Bywater T (2010), Incredible Years: Evidenced Based Interventions for Promoting Social and Emotional Wellbeing. NISCHR’s North Wales Paediatric Conference, UK.

Bywater T, Axford N, Little M, Morpeth L, Blower S, and Perkins D (2009), Getting Programmes into Systems? Three Replication RCTs of Evidence-based Programmes in a Local Authority Setting. Annual RCT Conference, University of York, UK.

Bywater T (2008), Outcomes from Delivering the Incredible Years Parent Programme with foster carers. Children in Wales Annual Conference, Cardiff, UK.

Bywater T (2008), Evaluating the Incredible Years Programmes in Wales: Reducing Conduct Problems. Children and Young People’s Mental Health Conference, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, UK.

Hutchings J, and Bywater T (2008), Developing and Researching the Incredible Years Programmes in Wales. ADHD Conference, University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Bywater T, Hutchings J, Daley D, Edwards RT, Linck P, and Russell I (2008), Looking into Looked After Children (LiLAC):Trialling the Incredible Years Parent Programme with Foster Carers. Archways Incredible Years Conference, Dublin, Ireland.

Bywater T, (2007), Improving Quality of Childcare Provision: The Incredible Years Programme. Every Child Matters Conference, London, UK.

PhD supervision

Establishing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years Toddler Programme in Flying Start areas across Wales.

Evaluation of early parent training on the development of children in their first year of life.

Evaluation of a short school readiness parent programme delivered in schools.

Development of an observation tools to explore:

    • language emergence patterns during parent-child interaction
    • peer interactions in school

The effect of an evidence-based parenting programme, on attachment security in looked after children.

A staff photo of Dr Tracey Bywater

Contact details

Tel: (01904) 328105
Fax: (01904) 328156