IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


UCL Centre for Inclusive Education

Leading inclusive practice in education and society, to improve educational outcomes for all.

Supporting schools, changing lives

We have over 30 years’ experience in working with practitioners and leaders to improve educational outcomes for vulnerable children and young people. 

Our work is diverse. We work collaboratively with researchers, educational practitioners, schools, local authorities, governments, charities and other organisations to improve inclusive practice across a variety of settings. We support individual reflective practice, conduct whole school development and offer a range of courses, including our online courses to develop quality inclusive practice. We work locally, nationally and internationally. 

Our research, teaching and consultancy focuses on psychology and inclusive education, which have emerged as important, multi- and interdisciplinary fields of inquiry addressing such themes as: 

  • Improving participation and learning, for children and young people at risk and/or with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) 
  • Enhancing Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) in schools and the wider education community
  • Supporting the implementation of evidence-informed inclusive practices throughout the developmental stages (0-25 years)

About us


We have a wealth of expertise in inclusion in all its forms. 

Our team conducts research and provides teaching around high-quality universal provision and the graduated response to need, with a focus on supporting individuals with SEND and SEMH needs.

We have extensive expertise in building relationships with external stakeholders and facilitating the delivery of best practice in inclusive education, in particular through our cutting-edge Knowledge Exchange (KE) approach, in which practitioners and researchers work collaboratively to co-design, implement, and evaluate research projects. 

We engage in consultancy and bespoke training, lead professional learning networks for practitioners, evaluate and consult on schools’ and organisations’ provision, and contribute to educational policy. We run short courses and accredited programmes for practitioners wishing to develop quality inclusive practice.


We are committed to leading inclusive practice in education and society through our accredited courses, online programmes and modules, and our direct work in partnership with schools, colleges, local authorities and third sector organisations.

Our main aims include:

  • To improve practice and provision for children and young people with SEND, including Cognition and Learning, Communication and Interaction, Social Emotional and Mental Health, and Sensory and Physical Needs and other potentially at risk groups, through our Knowledge Exchange approach, short courses, research, consultancy and partnerships.
  • To promote evidence-informed practice and support engagement with teachers, schools, local councils, third sector organisations and policymakers at all levels, both nationally and internationally.
  • To facilitate knowledge exchange between researchers and educational practitioners that will inform future research and practice within the wider education community.
Our people

Core staff

•    Director: Susana Castro-Kemp
•    Deputy Director: Dr Amelia Roberts
•    Research Liaison: Dr Miriam McBreen
•    Programme Leader - National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination: Rosanne Esposito
•    Programme Leader – Masters in Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia): Liz Herbert
•    Programme Tutors: Dr Paula Bosanquet, Donna-Lynn Shepherd, Dr Emma Sumner, Sarah Muzzelle
•    Project Manager: Dean Crow


•    Dr Ed Baines – Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Education
•    Dr Laura Crane – Associate Professor
•    Professor Julie Dockrell – Chair in Psychology and Special Needs
•    Keeley Dobinson
•    Dr Roberto Filippi – Associate Professor
•    Dr Claire Forrest – Research Fellow
•    Dr Jess Hayton – Lecturer in Psychology
•    Professor Jane Hurry – Emeritus Professor
•    Dr Leda Kamenopoulou – Associate Professor
•    Professor Chloe Marshall – Professor of Psychology, Language and Education
•    Dr Georgia Pavlopoulou – Lecturer in Educational Psychology and Counselling
•    Dr Jo Van Herwegen – Associate Professor
•    Dr Zachary Walker – Head of Department, Psychology and Human Development
•    Dr Keri Wong – Lecturer in Psychology


•    Dr Catherine Carroll – Senior Researcher
•    Sally Franklin – Educational Consultant
•    Matthew Parker – Educational Consultant
•    Samantha Rothwell – Educational Consultant 
•    Simon Kerr-Edwards – Play Therapist and Clinical Supervisor
•    Mike Bryant – Clinical Supervisor
•    Liz Kennedy - Psychoanalyst
•    Beverley Clarke - Psychologist
•    Panayiota Christodoulidou – Associate Teaching Fellow
•    Afaf Manzoor – Assistant Professor of Special Education

Student volunteers

•    Michelle Sargeant
•    Kirtana Krishnakumar
•    Andrea Vilasmil


Our fellows make up a distinguished group of experts in the field of special educational needs and disability. They contribute to the centre with time and expertise on a pro bono basis.


•    Dr Rona Tutt OBE
•    Lorraine Peterson OBE
•    Professor Brahm Norwich 
•    Nicholas Peacey
•    Dr Adam Boddison

Courses and Continuing Professional Development

Our programmes are designed to react and respond to the needs of educational professionals at every stage of their career - whether that's a formal qualification to become a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO), a specialist in the field of dyslexia, or to help stay apace with the latest developments in educational research. 

Postgraduate programmes

What people say

“Thank you for your excellent teaching which has given me the confidence to progress my career, empowered me to rise to this new challenge and to fight for those children with learning difficulties. The course has made this job possible, manageable and I believe it will be deeply satisfying.” - Rachel Morrison, SpLD student.
“Looking through Ofsted’s English Curriculum Research Review, I was reassured by its consistency with the MA SpLD coverage. As a result of my work on the Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia) MA programme I consider that my school - William Tyndale Primary in Islington - is in a good place to meet (or be on the road to meeting) the Ofsted criteria for successful inspection in this area. Another way in which the MA content is having an impact beyond pupils with dyslexia - thank you.” – Claire Oliver, SpLD student. 
Knowledge exchange

Through our Knowledge Exchange (KE) approach, we have developed a series of programmes in which researchers, practitioners and policy makers work together to exchange expertise and co-construct new knowledge as part of long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. 

This way of working has a direct and lasting impact on the lives of children and young people, through creating a mutual dialogue between researchers and practitioners that ensures a bi-directional flow of information. Our innovative KE models have brought significant advances in knowledge and practice for both practitioners and researchers.

The programmes can be commissioned as part of a Teaching School, Multi-academy or local authority offer for school-to-school support embedded within the KE ethos.

Some examples of our KE programmes include:

We can also design and coordinate the development of new bespoke KE programmes with practitioners and research schools.

For more information or to discuss our KE offer, email us at inclusive.education@ucl.ac.uk

Short courses

Our cost-effective online short courses programme ensures that practitioners have access to courses created from the latest evidence-informed research, delivering practical strategies and solutions, and meeting the needs of pupils and professionals. Participants can choose courses from a range of topics, including cognition and learning, mental health, and communication and interaction.

These courses are designed by teachers and researchers and are relevant to a range of professionals working with individuals with SEND and SEMH needs, including teachers, SENCOs, TAs, third sector organisations and businesses. All attendees receive a certificate of attendance to add to their CPD portfolio.

What people say

Fantastic! So insightful but also with really useful suggestions to help support and make impact. Absolutely jam packed with information." - course delegate
Many thanks for responding to our needs and your hard work and good humour" - short course participant

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): Developing Quality Inclusive Practice

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND): Developing Quality Inclusive Practice is an online, non-accredited short course offered to SENCOs and aspiring SENCOs, teachers and support staff who seek to improve provision in school for pupils with SEND.

Participants can enrol and do the course at any time as it is an asynchronous online course.

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More information

Professional Learning Networks (PLN)

What is a Professional Learning Network (PLN)? 

A PLN is a group of participants that meets on a regular basis to enhance their learning and knowledge, to network with like-minded professionals and build relationships in a two-way exchange between researchers and practitioners.

There is an emerging evidence base for the contribution of PLN as an effective method of professional learning and for improved pupil outcomes (Stoll et al., 2006). Moreover, for those professionals working in isolation it offers a unique opportunity for professionals to meet regularly with colleagues. 

Characteristics of PLN

Although PLNs are not all the same, research has shown that they share the following characteristics (Stoll et al. 2006):
•    Shared values and vision
•    Collective responsibility for pupils’ learning
•    Reflective professional enquiry
•    Collaboration focused on learning
•    Group as well as individual professional learning
•    Openness, networks and partnerships
•    Inclusive membership
•    Mutual trust, respect and support

How is a PLN run? 

The ultimate aim of a PLN is to promote pupil learning and social development. This is achieved through the PLN by:
•    facilitating opportunities for professional learning and the application of this learning to practice
•    allowing for the co-creation of new knowledge and understanding concerning relevant education issues between practitioners and researchers.  

What PLNs are currently operated by CIE?

The PLNs which will take place during the next academic year will cover Dyslexia, Autism and Supervision. CIE can facilitate PLNs to cover any of the programmes or subject areas within its remit, provided the demand can be demonstrated.

To find out more about our programme of PLNs, email: inclusive.education@ucl.ac.uk


Our activities


Our team of experienced and award-winning practitioners, experts and policy specialists offer bespoke consultancy and advice in a wide range of topics related to inclusive education, including but not limited to:

  • Leadership for inclusion
  • Strategies for inclusive education
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Communication and interaction
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Care experienced children and young people
  • Teaching assistants / Support staff
  • Sensory and physical needs
  • Supervision skills for leaders
  • Supporting oral language in the classroom.

Depending on your needs, we will advise on and evaluate policy and practice, write literature reviews, develop teacher training materials and deliver school development programmes or customised training.

For more information and enquiries please contact Amelia Roberts on inclusive.education@ucl.ac.uk

See also:

Bespoke courses: Schools and local authorities

Our centre offers bespoke courses to a variety of organisations, including schools, Teaching School Alliances, Multi-Academy Trusts, local authorities, community organisations, and private or public institutions. 

Our bespoke courses cover a wide range of topics, including:
•    High quality teaching, including assessment, differentiation, and growth mindset.
•    The four categories of need: 

  1. Cognition and Learning (e.g., Dyslexia and Dyscalculia); 
  2. Communication and Interaction (e.g., Autism); 
  3. Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (including resilience, behaviour for learning, etc.); 
  4. Physical and Sensory Needs (e.g., Dyspraxia).

•    Maximising the Practice of Teaching Assistants.
•    Leadership in Special Educational Needs, SEMH and other vulnerable groups. 
•    Supervision skills for leaders.
•    Relationships and Sex Education for YP with SEN

We can advise on, design and coordinate the development of new courses with participants, as well as provide conference speakers with expertise in SEND, SEMH, educational psychology and inclusion.

For more information, email us: inclusive.education@ucl.ac.uk 

What people say

Very useful. I now have a long to-do list. - SENCO, Hounslow
Can I take this opportunity to heartily thank you for suggesting Amelia as a facilitator for our group. Her calm, insightful facilitation was truly breathtaking. Her input made such a difference to the group and most importantly she made it feel safe. What an achievement given the vagueness of the brief she was given. - Anne-Marie Buchanan, Senior Specialist Educational Psychologist, Lambeth Educational Psychology Service

We are involved in a variety of research projects at an international, national, regional and local level. Our research develops new knowledge that is immediately relevant and impactful for practitioners in schools.



Research features

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Research briefs

International activities

Our team at CIE works with policy makers, governments, charities, schools and private organisations around the world to design and deliver programmes which meet the challenges in the education of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Our team include experts in research methodologies, experienced and award-winning practitioners, and policy specialists.

We provide a range of services from targeted training to significantly increase the effectiveness of classroom-based staff, to large-scale professional audits and evaluations of your organisation’s structures, systems and culture. 

Our offer for international clients includes: 

  • customised consultancy for policymakers or practitioners
  • applicable research for evaluation, decision-making, and future planning
  • quality training on evidence-based practices
  • strategic collaborations with partners at IOE and around the world.

Our work, both domestic and international, has taken us to many places, including: 


Expert training provided for teachers, teaching assistants and parents at the British School in Tokyo. 


Training teachers to masters level in Special and Inclusive Education for the Learning Resource Centre, Cairo. 


Strategic evaluation for JK Rowling’s charity, the Lumos Foundation, carrying out a midterm evaluation of their Inclusive Education Unit.

Report: An evaluation of the Inclusive Education model for children with profound disabilities and complex needs. 


Training development and strategic planning with UNICEF and the Omani Minister of Education to write a teacher training guide to support the roll-out of an inclusive classrooms initiative in Primary Schools. 

Falkland Islands

Consultancy supporting the teaching of children with special educational needs and advising the Director of Education on policy development. 


Comprehensive consultancy – assessing special needs and inclusive teaching elements in national Initial Teacher Training programme for the Department for Education.

Inclusive and Supportive Education Conference (ISEC) 2021 – in collaboration with the National Association for Special Educational Needs (nasen), CIE hosted the ISEC 2021 on the theme of Closing the Research to Practice Gap.

For more information and enquiries please contact Gill Brackenbury at inclusive.education@ucl.ac.uk

Governmental support

Summary of work with Department for Education

  • Member of DfE Analytical Associate Pool (rapid evidence reviews/evaluations)
  • Inclusion Expert – Behavioural (Standards and Testing Agency)
  • DfE Advisory Panel - ‘Effective SEN support: research evidence on effective approaches and examples of current practice in good and outstanding schools and colleges’
  • Advisor on DfE commissioned ‘Deployment of Teaching Assistants in Schools’
  • Co-authors of ‘Drivers, Demand and Supply of SEND CPD in schools

Other activities

International policy activities

  • Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Education 'Inclusive Classrooms' project
  • Moldova Ministry of Education presentation of mid-term evaluation of Inclusive Education Unit
  • Department for International Trade consortium for SEND (Saudi Arabia)

Resources for parents and caregivers of children with SEND

This series of information and resources has been put together to help parents, carers and families of pupils with SEND manage the attainment gap that has resulted from the impact of Covid 19.

See also:

Latest news

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Forthcoming events

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