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Professor Lynne McKenna

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Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society

I am Dean of the Faculty of Education and Society. I joined the University of Sunderland in 2015 as Head of the School of Education. Prior to this, I was Director of Initial Teacher Education in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University.

My experience in education is wide and varied. I am proud to say that I am an 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. My work as a family numeracy co-ordinator and an advisory teacher involved the design and delivery of one of the fourteen national pilot Family Numeracy programmes. I was involved in the evaluation of the pilot project and contributed to the Basic Skills Agency/NFER (1999) final report Family Numeracy Adds Up. As family numeracy co-ordinator for South Tyneside local authority, I was responsible for the design and subsequent roll out of this programme across the borough.

Teaching and supervision

My teaching focuses on early years education, qualitative research methods, family learning, parental engagement, engaging with men, social impact assessment, early intervention.


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

My post graduate 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: 26.


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


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 (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.

This list was generated on Thu Jun 4 00:21:17 2020 BST.
  • Teacher education
  • Early Years education
  • Government education
  • Policy changing role of fathers

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)

 'Parental Engagement: Relationships, Research, Rhetoric and Reality' lecture.

I have conducted a number of evaluations of Sure Start
programmes and have published my work in practitioner publications, journals and book chapters.

Alongside the roles of Head of School and Head of Faculty Research, I am also an active researcher and prior to joining the University in 2015, I conducted a social impact assessment which examined the impact of Sunderland Association Football Club’s (SAFC) Foundation of Light’s Wider Family Learning programmes (2012).

Most recently, I have been part of a research team commissioned by Sunderland City Council to conduct research into the prevalence of Special Educational Needs and Disability across the city (2017).

I served as a member of the research reference group for the National Inquiry into Family Learning which published its final report in October 2013 and I'm also an invited member of the Early Intervention Foundation Evidence Panel.

I am a member of the MillionPlus Deans of Education Network, the UCET Management Forum and a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Teaching Profession. I lead and manage a school which comprises initial Teacher Education programmes in Primary, Secondary and Post Compulsory Education and Training; Masters Provision which consists of full-time, part-time, international and distance learning provision; overseas PGCE provision and an undergraduate BA (Hons) Education Studies programme and a short course and CPD portfolio.

Our teacher training partnership is expansive and ever developing. We work with 145 primary schools covering 14 and 89 secondary schools in 14 local authority areas. The partnership for schools stretches from Berwick, down to North Yorkshire, across to the East Coast and West into Cumbria and covers all the major urban conurbations in Tyne and Wear and the Tees Valley. We also have a number of rural schools who support students who can travel to the University on a daily basis, but whose placements are sourced closer to their home, this includes North and South West Durham, North Yorkshire, Northumberland and East Cumbria. My external consultancy work includes Family Learning, Parental Engagement, Early Years Education and Teacher Training.

Last updated 21 April 2020