Inclusion and Special Educational Needs Research Cluster

What we do

Inclusion and social justice for all is an area of central importance to the Institute of Education. As a team we have particular expertise in removing barriers for those described as having special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Through a commitment to cross-college working, we also have a strong interest in including those seeking sanctuary and refuge in the UK.

We pursue research and development work with a wide range of partners, including the Department for Education (DfE), a number of Local Authorities including health professionals, the National Association of Special Educational Needs (nasen), The Careers & Enterprise Company, the SENAD Group, the Supreme Education Council in Qatar, a range of teaching schools and alliances, disability artists, and professionals from local colleges and schools.

This research and development aims to:

  1. Work collaboratively in pursuit of more inclusive and socially just outcomes for children and young people
  2. Design, promote, and deliver professional development events that enhance the confidence, skill, and reflective capacities of practitioners to work in inclusive ways;
  3. Enhance the understanding of others regarding inclusive practice
  4. Offer a critical perspective on policy and practice
  5. Present results in ways that might challenge and inform policy

Research with us

We supervise doctoral students researching topics related to inclusion and special educational needs. We are interested in discussing further proposals in this area.

Contact Dr Geraldene Codina at

Professor Deborah Robinson

View School improvement for SEND and inclusion video transcript


Would you like to study for a PhD Studentship focused on supported internships for young people with disabilities?

Key facts

Successful candidates will:

If you are interested in applying, please  see our advertisement for a study entitled, ‘An ethnographic study of a supported internship programme within a large private sector organisation: understanding the ecologies of social inclusion’  on, or view the listing here.


Professor Deborah Robinson is sharing guest editorship with Dr. Vasilis Strogolis (University of Southampton) of a special edition of the British Journal of Learning Disabilities.

The special edition explores the link between education and social inclusion for people with learning disabilities. They will be joined by Dr. Eleni Dimitrellou and Dr. Geraldene Codina (University of Derby) who are part of the editorial team.

For further information or queries regarding this Special Issue, please contact the Guest Editors: Professor Deborah Robinson,, Dr Vasilis Strogilos,, Dr. Geraldene Codina,, Dr. Eleni Dimitrellou,, or Editor-in-Chief, Professor Melanie Nind,

Meet the team

Dana Abu Omar (PhD student), title: Can we end the dyslexia debate? (Director of Studies: Dr Geraldene Codina, Second Supervisor: Dr Sean Broom)

Konstantina Anastasiou (PhD student), title: Teachers’ lived experience of including children with Autism (Director of Studies: Dr Geraldene Codina, Second Supervisor: Prof. Dawn Forman)

Wendy Conrad (EdD student), title: Supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of learning-disabled learners in the mainstream secondary classroom (Director of Studies: Dr Geraldene Codina, Second Supervisor: Dr Sarah Charles)

Kim Smith (EdD student), title: Using research circles to investigate a multi-sensory physical intervention aimed to develop the manual signing of children who use Makaton (Director of Studies: Dr Geraldene Codina, Second Supervisor: Dr Sarah Charles)

Research-informed teaching

The Institute of Education runs a number of courses which are shaped and informed by the work of this research cluster.

FdA - Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

BA (Hons) - Special Educational Needs and Disability with Foundation Year 

BA (Hons) - Special Educational Needs And Disability

For further details contact: Trevor Cotterill 


BA (Hons) - Education Studies with an optional pathway in SEND or TESOL

BA (Hons) - Education Studies with Foundation Year

For further details contact: Dr Ruth Mieschbuehler


PG Cert - National Award for SEN Co-ordination: Leading Effective, Inclusive Practice in SEN

For further details contact: Dr Geraldene Codina

PGCE - Primary (School Direct) with qualified teacher status (with send pathway)

For further details contact: Jo Baines or Julia Trickey


MA - Inclusion and SEND

For further details contact: Dr Geraldene Codina

MA - Education: Special Educational Needs And Disabilities 

For further details contact: 

Geraldene Codina, Jennifer Marshall or Melody Harrogate