Dr Helen Benstead (nee Saddler)


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Senior Lecturer: MA in Education

I am currently Programme Leader of the part-time and full-time MA in Education.

I began my career in education when I undertook a BA (QTS) in Primary Education at the University of Sunderland between 2007-2011 and won the Langham award for outstanding academic contribution with my thesis. I then completed an MPhil with Distinction from the University of Cambridge in 2012 and went on to receive full ESRC funding for my PhD in Education, completed through the University of York in 2015.  

I have also worked in central and local government, as a Youth Policy Advisor at the Cabinet Office, and for the Mayor of London’s Education and Youth Team at Greater London Authority. I am the Founder and Director of Inclusive Classrooms, a social enterprise organisation providing training and professional development opportunities for Teaching Assistants in mainstream primary schools (www.inclusiveclassrooms.co.uk).  

I have published a range of papers on my research into the role of TAs, have been the sole author of the Mayor of London’s London Curriculum programme for primary schools since 2015 and have authored a range of professional development materials for Teaching Assistants through my work with Inclusive Classrooms.

Teaching and supervision

I teach across the MA Education, primarily on modules exploring research methods and policy issues related to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. I also teach on the M-level modules of the PGCE School Direct and PGCE in Primary Education.

I supervise a range of students on the MA Thesis module.


Research interests for potential research students

My research interests include the process of Social Inclusion for children identified with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as the influence of Teaching Assistants on academic and social outcomes of pupils identified with SEND.

Research

My research interests include the process of Social Inclusion for children identified with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), as well as the influence of Teaching Assistants on academic and social outcomes of pupils identified with SEND.

Publications:

Martin-Denham, S. Saddler, H. Donoghue, J. and Ripley, S. (2017). The prevalence of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) identified in young people, aged 3-16, across the City of Sunderland: University of Sunderland, School of Education.

Saddler, H. (2016). Can Teaching Assistants support social inclusion? Every Child Journal, 5(4). 38-46.

Saddler, H. (2015). Management of Teaching Assistants to promote the Social Inclusion of pupils identified with Special Educational Needs in mainstream English primary schools (Doctoral thesis, University of York, UK). Retrieved from http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/13037/.

Saddler, H. (2014). Researching the influence of teaching assistants on the learning of pupils identified with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools: Exploring social inclusion. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 14(3), 145-152.

Conference presentations:

Saddler, H. (May, 2018). Research Rehab: A conference. Paper presented at the University of Sunderland.

Saddler, H. (2017, September). Social Inclusion and the role of Teaching Assistants. Paper presented at the Postgraduate Research Conference for Initial Teacher Education Students, University of Sunderland.

Saddler, H. (2015, November). Focus on Social Inclusion. Paper presented at the Michael Young Centenary Conference, London, UK.

Saddler, H. (2014, September). Researching the influence of teaching assistants on the learning of pupils identified with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools: exploring social inclusion. Paper presented at the British Education Research Association Conference, London, UK.

Saddler, H. (2013, May). The role of Teaching Assistants in mainstream Primary Schools. Paper presented at the Kaleidoscope Annual Graduate Student Research Conference, Cambridge, UK.

Last updated 22 January 2019