Kelly obtained a 1st class Honours degree in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire in 2003. Kelly stayed at the University of Central Lancashire to undertake her postdoctoral research which focused on the reading comprehension skills of children learning English as an additional language, completing this work in 2007. Since her PhD research, Kelly has held four post-doctoral research positions in the UK (Down Syndrome Education International (DSEI) and University College London) and in Australia (Australian Catholic University). Her work includes large scale longitudinal studies of children’s development, and Randomized Controlled Trials of educational interventions. Kelly joined the University of Manchester in 2017 as a lecturer in the Department of Human Communication, Development and Hearing.