Staff profile

Vanessa Patrick-Wood

Lecturer in Social & Community Studies


Health, Social, and Community Work


College of Health, Psychology and Social Care


School of Allied Health and Social Care


Kedleston Road and Markeaton Street, Derby Campus, St Helena, Chesterfield



I am a Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Authority, Lecturer and Stage One Co-ordinator on the BSC Hons in Child Family Health and Wellbeing course.

I began my career working in learning disabilities and mental health in 1993 and was at the forefront of resettlement projects in the community for people with complex levels of need who had previously resided in long-stay mental health hospital institutions.

In 2002, I qualified as a social worker at postgraduate level at Lancaster University. I practiced as a local authority social worker in a city centre hospital facilitating the assessment and safe discharge of individuals with complex physical and mental health needs within a multidisciplinary team. 

For over 25 years I have worked directly and extensively with both children and adults with special needs within both statutory and voluntary sectors. 

I have facilitated day-care opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs at officer/supervisory level: I taught self -advocacy, and art and crafts to adults with learning disabilities, and have trained the police, and senior social workers to interview vulnerable adults with communication difficulties. I was also MAPPA and MVA trained to support and safeguard individuals with ‘challenging behaviour’.

I have worked with both children with a range of disabilities and their families and carers within a respite setting, in addition to working as a special needs play leader for children under 10.  My experience also encompasses primary education as I have taught children in schools with a cross-section of needs from children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum condition (ASC), emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) and children from migrant communities with English as an additional language (EAL), in addition to working with children with other learning needs and developmental delays.  I have co-ordinated and written Education Health Care Plan (EHCP’s) and  SEND assessments whilst working with colleagues from educational psychology within the local authority.

I managed the undergraduate and postgraduate social work degree programmes for Keele University for five years and re-entered higher education in February 2019 here at the University of Derby as a Lecturer in Social and Community Studies.

I will be starting my PHD in September 2021 and will be researching childhood trauma and its impact on student’s in higher education and I will be examining pedagogy to support students with these needs.

Teaching responsibilities

Professional interests

Research interests

Membership of professional bodies

I am currently preparing to register with the new Social Work regulator Social Work England (SWE), and I will be engaging back into practice to support this.


Recent conferences

Experience in industry

Additional interests and activities