E4L Team

The E4L team are made up of researchers involved in the original DfE-funded Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project (2009-2011). Since 2011, schools have continued to use the CLDD resources (see case studies in Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities), and the E4L team have continued to develop their thinking.

Barry Carpenter CBE

Recently appointed to the UK’s first Professorship in Mental Health in Education, at Oxford Brookes University. He is an Honorary Professor at universities in Ireland, Germany, and Australia. He has been a Fellow of the University of Oxford.

He has been awarded an OBE and CBE by the Queen for services to children with Special Needs. In 2017 he was entered into “Who’s Who” in acknowledgment of his national and international contribution to the field of Special Education.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Barry has held the leadership positions of Headteacher, Principal, Academic Director, Chief Executive, Inspector of Schools and Director of the Centre for Special Education at Westminster College, Oxford. In 2009, he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education as Director of the Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project. Since completing that research, Barry has overseen the development of a national project developing online ‘Training materials for teachers of children with severe, profound and complex learning disabilities” (www.complexneeds.org.uk)

He is the author of over 150 articles and many texts on a range of learning disability/special needs topics. In the last 12 months, his work has been translated into German, French, Dutch and Russian. His most recent book publications (with Carolyn Blackburn and Jo Egerton) focus upon Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Most recently he co-authored “Engaging Learners with Complex Needs” (Routledge).

Barry lectures nationally and internationally. In recent years this has included China, Japan, Abu Dhabi, USA, and Germany. In 2018 he will be giving lectures in Australia and New Zealand. He is the co-founder of the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education. For the Mental Health Foundation, he Chaired the National Inquiry into the Mental Health of Young People with Learning Disabilities. He is currently Chairing a working group looking at the needs of Girls on the Autism Spectrum, which will be the focus of his next book.

Barry has 3 children – one a School Principal, one a Senior Occupational Therapist and a daughter with Down’s Syndrome, who now has a home of her own, published her first book in 2017, and is on an Apprenticeship as a Teaching Assistant.

Beverley Cockbill

Training Co-ordinator in complex learning needs for Chadsgrove Teaching School, Bromsgrove, and has worked in the field of special educational needs for 14 years.

In addition to school-to-school support, Bev is currently supporting care homes for adults with learning disabilities using the Engagement for Living Framework tools and structured teaching approaches. Previously, she worked for SSAT (The Schools Network) Ltd as Training Co-ordinator for complex learning needs and as a Researcher on the Department for Education funded Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (CLDD) Research Project.

In addition, Bev has been an Assistant Teacher and Structured Teaching Advisor/Trainer within a residential school offering 38/42-week education and 52-week care to children aged 6–19 years with severe and complex learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorder. Bev lectures and delivers training for children with CLDD in schools across the UK and internationally, most recently in Australia and New Zealand.

She is involved in school-based research, including a European teaching resource project. She is co-author of Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (Routledge, 2016), has published various articles, and contributed to the Teaching Agency’s ‘Engaging in Learning’ module for their ‘Training Materials for Teachers of Learners with Severe, Profound and Complex Learning Difficulties’.

Jo Egerton

A schools’ research consultant, trainer and writer. She is also an Erasmus Plus Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University and works on Research and Development for Chadsgrove Teaching School, Bromsgrove.

Previously she has worked as Lead Researcher on the Department for Education’s ‘Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities’ and as a research consultant on the Teaching Agency’s ‘Educating Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders’.

She was also lead research coach on the Research Charter Mark Award for schools at SSAT (the Schools Network) Ltd. She was a contributor and editorial team member for the Teaching Agency’s online Training Materials for Teachers of Pupils with Severe, Profound and Complex Learning Difficulties (2011-2012). She has co-authored and co-edited a number of books, most recently Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (Routledge, 2015), two books on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (Routledge, 2012, 2013) and Creating Meaningful Inquiry in Inclusive Classrooms (Routledge, 2012). Jo worked in special education and residential care settings for 12 years as a researcher, teacher, and key worker.

She has a PGCE and a Masters in Learning Disability Studies.

Our Resource Book

Engaging Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities.

By Barry Carpenter, Jo Egerton, Beverley Cockbill, Tamara Bloom, Jodie Fotheringham, Hollie Rawson, Jane Thistlethwaite

Our resource book for teachers and teaching assistants, the book provides school practitioners and leaders with an approach and resources to engage this often disenfranchized group of children in learning. The Engagement for Learning Framework has been developed and trialled by over 100 educational settings (both special and mainstream) with learners from early years to post-16. It gives practitioners from a range of disciplines a shared means of assessing, recording and developing personalized learning pathways and demonstrating progression for these children. The focus on inquiry means that however complex a young person’s needs, educators will be able to apply the approach.

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