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Professor Lynne McKenna MBE

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Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society

I am Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, Professor of Education, and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am a proud alumni of the University of Sunderland, graduating with a BEd (Hons) from the University in 1991, whereupon I commenced my career as a primary teacher.

I studied for my Masters in Education at Newcastle University, graduating in 1998 and successfully achieved my Doctorate of Education in 2009 from Durham University.

I have worked in higher education at three North East Universities since 1998 in a variety of leadership roles. As Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, I am responsible for the strategic direction and development of two large academic Schools; the School of Education and the School of Social Sciences. The Faculty is a professional, vocational, and practice-based faculty with campus provision in Sunderland, Hong Kong and London and partners throughout the world. Our key areas of teaching and research comprise initial and post-qualifying teacher training and social sciences programmes including social work, criminology, professional policing, sociology, community and youth work, childhood studies, health and social care and related disciplines at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

My professional background is teaching and I have been involved in teacher development in HEI’s since 1998. Alongside developing strong regional, national and international partnerships with schools to support school-led provision in SCITTS, School Direct and Teaching Apprenticeships; I am a key proponent of the role universities play in teacher education provision, acknowledging that around 62% of initial teacher training students study at a modern university. I am a member of several organisations including The MillionPlus Deans of Education Network, The All Party Parliamentary Group for the Teaching Profession, The University Council for the Education of Teachers, The Chartered College of Teaching, Schools North East and #WomenEd. The organisations I am involved with, have been influential in increasing the need for quality initial teacher education and training and providing ongoing support for serving teachers. I am a strong advocate for raising the status of the teaching profession.

As a member of the DfE Expert Working Group for the development of International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS), I have been instrumental in contributing to the development of this important provision. As a long-standing provider of International Initial Teacher Training for over 20 years, we were delighted that the University was selected as one of the six iQTS pilot providers. Recognised by the DfE, as equivalent to English Qualified Teacher Status, the new iQTS is a welcome addition to our existing UK initial teacher training and our international initial teacher training provision.

I am a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2020 I was named as a leader in the field of innovation on the list of #NorthInnovationWomen. The aim of the list is to highlight and recognise the excellence of female innovators working right across the North of England, as well as presenting a showcase of role models to women and girls thinking of working in or studying the many sectors where innovation is key.

Teaching and supervision

My teaching focuses on International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS), early years education, qualitative research methods, family learning, parental engagement, engaging with men, social impact assessment, and early intervention.


I have published nationally and internationally in the fields of parental involvement, parental engagement, engaging with fathers and family learning.

My postgraduate dissertation (Newcastle University, 1998) Parental Partnership in Mathematics for Early Years Children: influencing parents’ understanding of how to support children’s mathematical learning and my doctoral thesis (Durham University, 2008) entitled Parental Engagement: A study of the involvement of the parents of early years children in their children’s learning, continued my interest and motivation in supporting parental engagement in their children’s learning and development.


Number of items: 43.


McKenna, Lynne (2008) The Involvement of Men: Changing Notions of Fatherhood. Early Education (56).

McKenna, Lynne (2004) In My View. Practical Pre-School, 43.

McKenna, Lynne (2004) Parental Partnership: the policy and practice of family learning. Early Education, 43.

McKenna, Lynne (1999) Maths made Fun. Nursery World. ISSN 0029-6422

Book Section

McKenna, Lynne (2007) Engaging with Men. In: Supporting Children and Families: Lessons from Sure Start for Evidence Based Practice. Jessica Kingsley, pp. 213-222. ISBN 978-1-84310-506-0

Reports, briefing/ working papers

McKenna, Lynne (2016) Parental Engagement: An Ofsted Priority for Schools. Project Report. UNSPECIFIED, Bunny Hill, Sunderland. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2012) SAFC Foundation Report: Executive Summary. Project Report. SAFC.

McKenna, Lynne (2012) SAFC Foundation Report: Final Report. Project Report. SAFC.

McKenna, Lynne (2012) SAFC Foundation Report (Interim Report). Project Report. SAFC.

McKenna, Lynne (2006) South Tyneside Sure Start Partnership. Project Report. Sure Start.

Conference or Workshop Item

McKenna, Lynne (2020) The Future shape of ITT system- range of providers, regional imbalances and the market’s effectiveness in attracting ITT trainees. In: Westminster Education Forum Policy Conference Reforming Initial Teacher Training provision in England- Implementing the new core content framework, improving NQT retention, and next steps for the teacher training system., 25 Feb 2020, London, UK.

McKenna, Lynne (2019) Parental Engagement - Relationships, Research, Rhetoric and Reality. In: Professorial Inaugural Lecture, 6 Nov 2019, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2018) Initial Teacher Training in the UK: Inbound, Transnational Education, Independent Distance Learning, and Continuing Professional Development and Assessment Only. In: 2018 UK-China Bilingual Teacher Training Conference, 1-6 Dec 2018, Beijing, China. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2018) My Leadership Journey: From Nursery Nurse to Academic Dean. In: Women Leading in Education (DfE) in association with Women Ed NorthEast Network event, 19 Sep 2018, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2018) Teacher Education and Continuous Professional Development. In: University of Sunderland, Post Graduate Education Induction Conference, 19 Sep 2018, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2018) Parental Engagement: A tool for School Improvement. In: University of Sunderland, School of Education Third Annual Post Graduate Research Conference, 13-14 Sep 2018, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2018) Parental Engagement and Perspective Transformation: A Research story. In: 6th Mediterranean Interdisciplinary Forum on Social Sciences and Humanities (MISF) 2018 conference, 24-25 May 2018, Barcelona, Spain.

McKenna, Lynne (2018) A new Model for Teacher Training and Continuous Professional Development. In: Teacher Education Policy in Europe (TEPE) 2018 conference: ‘Recruiting and Educating the Best Teachers: Policy, Professionalism and Pedagogy’, 17-19 May 2018, Braga, Portugal.

McKenna, Lynne, O’Sullivan, Allison and Cronin, Sue (2018) Towards a new model of early career teacher development. In: A response to the DfE consultation on QTS and teacher career progression, 29 Jan 2018, London, UK.

McKenna, Lynne (2017) Methodological choices in Doctoral Study. In: University of Sunderland, School of Education Research Seminar Series, Oct 2017, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2017) Parental Engagement, Research, Relationships and Reality. In: University of Sunderland, School of Education Second Annual Post Graduate Research Conference, 14-15 Sep 2017, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2017) Presentation of Evaluation Report: The prevalence of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) identified in young people, aged 3-16, across the City of Sunderland. In: Sunderland Local Authority Leadership Board, May 2017, Sunderland Civic Centre. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2015) Parental Engagement: A research Story. In: University of Sunderland, School of Education Research Seminar Series.

McKenna, Lynne (2015) Parental Engagement for the Twenty First Century: A Social Impact Assessment. In: British Education Research Association Annual Conference, 15th - 17th September 2015, Belfast.

McKenna, Lynne (2015) Parental Engagement in the United Kingdom: Examining notions of "disadvantaged" communities. In: European Teachers' Education Network Annual Conference, 16th - 18th April 2015, Copenhagen.

McKenna, Lynne (2014) Parental Engagement for Schools and Communities. In: CPD Trinity School, Newcastle.

McKenna, Lynne (2014) Parental Engagement and schools: the impact of engaging parents in partnership. In: Education Showcase Event, Northumbria University.

McKenna, Lynne (2014) Generating Insights into Family Learning. In: Presentation to 12 Local Authority Family Learning Leads, Bunny Hill Centre, Sunderland.

McKenna, Lynne and Goss, Joan (2014) Civic Responsibility, Regional Responsiveness: Engaging children, parents, schools and community partners. In: Presentation to the Board of Governors, Northumbria University.

McKenna, Lynne (2013) "Back of the Net". In: HEIF Engagement Symposium, 14.3.13, Northumbria University.

McKenna, Lynne (2012) Back of the Net: A Social Impact Assessment of Wider Family Learning through football. In: BERA Annual Conference, Manchester University.

McKenna, Lynne and Graham, Pamela (2012) It's a team game: Parents as co-researchers in a social impact study. In: BERA Annual Conference, Manchester University.

McKenna, Lynne and Goss, Joan (2012) The Wider Family Learning-Nexus: It's still all to play for! In: BERA Annual Conference, Manchester University.

McKenna, Lynne (2012) Parental Engagement: the Involvement in Early Years' Children. In: First Global Summit on Childhood Conference, 28-31st March 2012, Washington DC, USA.

McKenna, Lynne (2012) The Wider Family Learning-Nexus: A Social Impact Evaluation Study through Football. In: 3 Rivers Consortium Conference, 29 Mar 2012, Teesside University.

McKenna, Lynne (2010) Using Exemplars to Promote Dialogue about Effective Approaches to Assessment. In: Teaching and Learning Conference 2010, 2010, University of Sunderland.

McKenna, Lynne (2008) Employer Led Training Provision. In: Childrens Workforce Strategy Leads Meeting, Stockton.

McKenna, Lynne (2004) Perspectives on Family Learning. In: Durham Family Learning Service, Barnard Castle.

McKenna, Lynne (2003) Researching with young children and families - some methodological issues: Measuring what's meaningful or measuring what's measurable? In: BERA Annual Conference, 13 Sep 2003, Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

McKenna, Lynne (2002) "Whose job is it then?": The (non) visible participation of fathers in Early Years Area Based Initiatives. In: BERA (British Educational Research Association) Annual Conference, 14 Sep 2002, University of Exeter.


McKenna, Lynne (2020) Book Review: What They Didn’t Teach Me on My PGCE and Other Routes into Teaching. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Leadership Studies.

McKenna, Lynne (2020) #EachforEqual – based around the view ‘an equal world is an enabled world’. UNSPECIFIED, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

McKenna, Lynne (2019) #BalanceForBetter. UNSPECIFIED, Sunderland, UK. (Unpublished)

This list was generated on Sat Apr 20 00:45:38 2024 BST.
  • Teacher education
  • International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS)
  • Early Years education
  • Government education
  • Policy changing role of fathers
  • Women in Leadership
  • Sunderland professor awarded MBE for services to education, The Northern Echo
  • North East education leader warns of teaching recruitment crisis, The Northern Echo
  • How schools are coping with the Covid teacher recruitment boom, Schools Week
  • Watch: University support to parents with isolating children, BBC Radio Newcastle
  • A rush of new teachers will help England’s short-handed schools, The Economist
  • Watch: The clearing process for students, Tyne and Wear TV
  • Listen: The clearing process, BBC Radio Newcastle
  • Watch: Easing the return to the classroom, Tyne and Wear TV
  • Listen: The hard work of teachers and schools during Covid-19, BBC Radio Newcastle
  • Member of the Research Reference Group for the National Inquiry into Family Learning (Sept 2012 - June 2013)
  • Member of the Early Intervention Foundation (June 2013 - ongoing)
  • Metro Radio’s Parenting Expert (April 2013 - ongoing)
  • Watch:'Parental Engagement: Relationships, Research, Rhetoric and Reality' lecture.

    As Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society, I lead and manage the strategic direction of two academic schools. The School of Education has four main areas of provision, three of which are predominantly concerned with training teachers at local, regional, national and international levels; Initial Teacher Training, Independent Distance Learning, and Post Compulsory Education and Training. Our undergraduate Initial Teacher Education courses are rated 2nd in the UK in the Guardian League Tables 2020. Our International Independent Distance Learning provision provides teacher training in over 50 countries worldwide. Our Post Compulsory Education and Training provision provides training for teachers in sixth form colleges, further education colleges, vocational training and adult education. The fourth area of our provision is our post graduate provision Professional Development which provides post qualifying Masters in Education provision, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and English for Academic Purposes (EAP).

    The School of Social Sciences has four main areas of provision united by a life changing ethos. Three of the areas focus on professionally accredited and professionally orientated programmes; Applied Studies – including Social Work and Community and Youth Work Studies, Social Studies – including Sociology, Criminology, Health and Social Care and Policing and Childhood Studies – including Childhood Studies and Childhood and Society. In this academic provision, We work closely with our partners in the statutory, care or voluntary sectors. Our fourth area of provision is the Integrated Foundation Year which enables access to degree programmes across the University for those who may not have the qualifications for direct entry into those programmes. Our postgraduate provision across the School focuses on Social Work, Childhood and Youth Work and Inequality and Society.

    Our research is world-leading and we have two REF Units of Assessment; UoA 20 Education and UoA 23 Social Work and Social Policy. The Faculty research Institute includes two centres; the Centre for Applied Social Studies (CASS) and The Centre for Research in Education (CRE). The Faculty has a strong focus on inclusion, equality and diversity both academically and in the support and opportunities that we offer to our students and staff.

Lynne McKenna MBE in the news

Last updated 28 February 2024