Through our research we have been able to change and improve the practices of charities, companies and NGOs both on a national and international context, as well as informing policy makers in decisions concerning education and special needs. The ultimate beneficiaries of our research are young people and their educators.

Influencing practitioners and institutions beyond academia

The work developed by our researchers has influenced and transformed education methods and practices both in the UK and overseas.

Angela Colvert’s new models of hybrid-literacies, ludic authorship and immersive play have been crucial for the development of the BAFTA-nominated ‘Teach Your Monster to Read’ game series, which has ultimately improved the literacy and reading skills of millions of children and young people across the world.

Adam Ockelford’s research into the musical development of children across the spectrum of neurodiversity and its expression through the Sounds of Intent programme, has been used and adopted by practitioners, charities and other organisations supporting music education across the UK., consequently reaching hundreds of schools and thousands of children with severe and profound learning difficulties.

The Amber Trust - Lucy's Story


Ian Abrahams’ research has informed the work of practitioners in education settings through the Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation project titled ASCENTS 1-2-1 that he led in 2019-20 (£615k), an academically asymmetrical paired mentoring project designed to improve science GCSE attainment amongst disadvantaged Year 11 pupil premium students.

Influencing policy and encouraging social action

Our researchers are dedicated to exploring new educational theories and practices aiming to support the development of new policies, particularly in the field of special needs and education.

Susana Castro-Kemp led a project on the implementation of Education Health and Care Plans for children with disabilities in England, which was reviewed by the Parliamentary Education Select Committee, and has been invited to sit as UK representative to that organisation. She was also one of the UK partners in the European Commission, Erasmus Plus funded ICF-CY-MedUse project which influenced policy in Germany, where the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework which it examined has now been introduced by law as a tool for multi-agency work in all Social Paediatric Centres, across the country.

Peter Elfer’s research on the evaluation and implementation of Work Discussion - a model of critical professional reflection attentive to underlying emotion and its influence on professional practice - resulted in invitations to contribute to Ofsted and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on emotional wellbeing in the early years workforce.

Wolfgang Mann is part of an international steering group on signed language assessment, which recently published the first guidelines for signed language test development, evaluation and use.