Primary to secondary school transition for children with ASC

In September 2013 I took up a three year research post exploring the impact and experience of primary to secondary school transition for children with ASC. This is jointly funded by the Simon Fellowship at the University of Manchester and the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.


The project has just completed. Please click on the Transition Project tab for information about the project, as well as links to feedback reports, findings and other relevant research.

My research interests include:

  • Autism
  • Mental health of children and young people
  • Special educational needs
  • Inclusion
  • Peer relationships
  • Bullying and victimisation
  • Educational transitions
  • Autism in women and girls

Educating persons with autistic spectrum disorder - A systematic literature review

I worked on this review as co-investigator with Caroline Bond, Wendy Symes, Neil Humphrey, and Gareth Morewood from 2013-2015. The research was commissioned by the National Council for Special Needs Education in Ireland with the aim of reviewing the research evidence on educational interventions for individuals with autism. This review builds on the previous one done by Parsons et al. (2009) and focuses on studies published 2008-2013. While there remain many limitations in the evidence available, 85 studies were included, with an analysis of their strengths and weaknesses given in the report.

A copy of the report is available from the NCSE website.

The development of resource provision for children with specific language impairment or autistic spectrum disorder in Manchester Local Authority

I worked on this project as co-investigator with Dr Caroline Bond from 2010-2015. This was an evaluation of the setting up of resource provisions (RPs) in nine schools in one urban local authority in England. The RPs focused on promoting the inclusion, achievement and independence of pupils with autism spectrum conditions and speech and language impairment in a mainstream setting. The evaluation encompassed the initial set up of the RPs and the first cohort of students, as well as staff training. It involved pupils, parents, school staff and speech and language therapists. Findings were broadly positive, with staff becoming more confident in their ability to educate and include young people with ASC, while parents and pupils were overwhelmingly positive regarding the inclusive nature of the RPs and the social and academic benefits of attending a mainstream school.

Two reports were written as a result of this evaluation: an initial evaluation report and a follow-up report a year later. Please contact me to request a copy of the reports.

Achievement for All (AFA) national evaluation

I worked on this evaluation as research assistant while completing my PhD. The AfA pilot project involved 454 primary and secondary schools across 10 local authorities in England and ran from 2009-2011. AfA was devised to support schools and local authorities in enhancing provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). There were three main strands to the pilot, consisting of: assessment, tracking and intervention; structured conversations with parents/carers; developing wider outcomes. Key findings relate to improvements in English, Mathematics and positive relationships, as well as reductions in bullying behaviour. An increased focus on SEND developed, with this driven by senior management in the schools. Structured conversations with parents were very successful, permitting closer links between home and school. However, both school and pupil characteristics were also important factors in overall outcomes.

The final report is available from the Department for Education website.