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Personal profile


I'm a Reader in Education at the University of Portsmouth, where I'm also the Director of the Education Research, Innovation and Consultancy (ERIC) Unit. Between 2005 and 2021, I was based at UCL Institute of Education.

Between 2011 and 2017, I led a landmark research study of the everyday educational experiences of pupils with an EHCP/Statement, which included the UK’s largest observational study of pupils with SEND. 

I'm a leading expert on teaching assistants. I was a researcher on the world's largest study of TA deployment and impact: the ground-breaking DISS project. From this work, I created the award-winning Maximising the Impact of Teaching Assistants (MITA) programme. I edited the first collection of international writing on TAs.

I'm a co-investigator on several SEND-related projects, including investigations of the impact of Covid and lockdown on mainstream and special schools, teaching assistants, and children and families with SEND. I'm also on the lead group of the SEN Policy Research Forum.

A passionate advocate for the power of educational research, I write about applying evidence in schools and classrooms. I also helped develop and presented the first seven seasons of the Research for the Real World podcast. 

I have a PhD in Education from the University of Reading, and an MA in Social Policy from Oxford Brookes University. 

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

External positions

Associate Professor, University College London



  • L Education (General)
  • Inclusion
  • Inclusive Education
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Teaching Assistants
  • Paraprofessionals


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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