Staff profile

Professor Deborah Robinson

Professor of Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion

Deborah Robinson giving the 'vote of thanks' at an Inuagural Lecture


Education, Childhood and SEND


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


Institute of Education

Research centre

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation




Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a Professor of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Inclusion in the Institute of Education. My current research explores inclusive school improvement and related theories of leadership. I am also directing a commissioned investigation into a flagship inclusion policy for the Irish government and have also worked on research for the Department for Education in England.  More broadly, my research has explored policy and practice for SEND and inclusion in the areas of teacher education, service provision, assessment, and literacy.

I began my career as a primary teacher working for the Inner London Education Authority which was a pioneer in supporting the transition of pupils with SENDs into mainstream schools. 

I can offer PhD supervision in the following areas:

Teaching responsibilities

 International work


Research interests

Special and Inclusive Education, national policy for educational inclusion, leadership, inclusive pedagogy and teacher education.

Membership of professional bodies

Reviewer roles and editorships


Recent conferences

Conferences and Symposia

Experience in industry

I have worked in the education sector for over thirty years, beginning my career as a primary school teacher working in London, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. In these roles I was a leader in the areas of Inclusion and SEND, being a Special Needs Co-ordinator in three of the schools and a Deputy Head and SENCo in one. I moved into Higher Education and Teacher Education for SEND and Inclusion, leading modules and partnership strategy. My experience in this area is broad and includes working for Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and the University of Derby. I have also worked as the regional Professional Studies lead for Teach First.

I have been an external examiner in five universities and am currently active at Liverpool John Moores and St Mary's University.

More recently I have worked as a Head of Research in the Institute of Education moving to a Professorship in SEND and Inclusion.

In the media

Appearance on East Midlands Today, discussing the Opportunities Funding given by the government to the City of Derby

Article in SecEd: The evidence is against selection

Recent publications

Research Monographs


Academic Journals and Peer-Reviewed papers

Commercial & Policy Research Projects and Publications