Dr Alison Black
Senior Lecturer in Education
+44 (0) 1392 724938
Baring Court BC109
Baring Court, University of Exeter St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK
Office hours: My office hours are are usually Thursday 10-12 in term time. Please do feel free to email me in advance if you want to book a particular date or time slot within or outside of these hours.
My office hours are are usually Thursday 10-12 in term time. Please do feel free to email me in advance if you want to book a particular date or time slot within or outside of these hours.
Alison is a Senior Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education, working on a range of programmes the school offers. She is specialism lead for the MA Education SEN.
Alison gained her PhD here at Exeter in 2012, the title: Future secondary schools for diversity : where are we now and where could we be?' She analysed government statistics to reveal an unexplored phenomenon (over-representation of secondary aged students in special schools in England). In addition she developed, carried out and analysed semi-structured interviews and an on-line survey instrument, involving open-ended questions and rating scales. This led to the creation and development of a scenario describing a school of the future (futures studies methodologies), which were subject to the scrutiny of educational experts in number of focus groups, which were used to evaluate and develop the scenario further.
She graduated from Edge Hill University College with Qualified Teacher Status in 2001,and has taught as a year 4 teacher in primary school (with experience as a Science coordinator). She then took up position as Year 7 teacher (and year 9 science teacher) in a new secondary school, gaining promotion to head of year seven.
She has conducted quantitative research in the area of the placement of pupils with SEN in her doctoral study and subsequently in trends analysis. She analysed government data on pupils with SEN and their trajectories through schools.
She also utilises mixed methods research, with expertise in semi-structured interviews, observations, survey research, thematic analysis, descriptive and inferential statistical analysis.
Doctor of Philosophy, Inclusive Education, University of Exeter, October 2009 – March 2013 (degree awarded May 2013)
Masters in Education, Special Educational Needs, University of Exeter, Sept 2008 - October 2009
BSc (Hons) in Natural and Applied Science and Primary Education with QTS, Edge Hill University College, Sept 1997 - June 2001
Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Exeter (including award of Aspire Fellowship by University of Exeter/Higher Education Academy) 2016
Associate of Higher Education Academy, Learning to Teach in Higher Education (LTHE Stage 1&2), University of Exeter with Higher Education Academy, September 2010-May 2011
Research group links
Proficient in methods that require elements of statistical analysis and measurement/comparison of variables. Developed competence in a range of qualitative techniques, such as thematic analysis. Taken a mixed-method approach to own research, employing a range of qualitative and quantitative data gathering and analysis tools, and triangulating these data sources.
Alison is a researcher on a number of projects at the University of Exeter:
"Inclusion and the academisation of English secondary schools: trends in the placement of pupils with significant SEN and those permanently excluded" ESRC June 2017-current. This ESRC funded project aims to analyse secondary data from the National Pupil Database (NPD) about pupils vulnerable to exclusion from ordinary schools in England, both those with Special Educational Needs (SEN) that enter secondary schools at year 7 and all pupils permanently excluded from secondary schools. This will examine changing proportions of entry and exit since 2003 (when NPD records began) for these pupils in relation to the increasing autonomy of secondary schools from local authorities (LAs). The specific aim is to examine whether greater school autonomy from LAs is related to lower placements in ordinary secondary schools and thus greater separate special school and alternative provision placements.This study will be the first to examine the relationships between changes in the SEN system in its relation to changes in the wider school organisation and policy system using national data trends in England.
"Lesson Planning for Diversity" Society for Educational Studies May - November 2014. This project set out to explore the processes involved in planning and reviewing lessons in relation to teachers' understandings of learner difference and diversity. By examining the practices, thoughts and beliefs of teachers whose lesson planning is judged to be of a high quality, the research project will reveal ways in which policy standards of catering for diversity (as seen in the Teachers' Standards) can be met.
'Empowering Partnerships: Enabling Engagement' EPSRC January 2013 - December 2017. Work with subject experts, education experts, schools and Early Career Researchers to communicate research to enhance the school curriculum and to raise aspirations of young people from diverse backgrounds. Manage and facilitate project and project themes/ strands, develop project evaluation strategy.
- 2017 ESRC
Inclusion and the academisation of English secondary schools:trends in the placement of pupils with significant SEN and those permanently excluded
- 2014 Society for Educational Studies
An examination of how teachers plan for and manage diversity in their lesson plans.
Publications by category
Publications by year
Senior lecturer, University of Exeter, (Sep 2012-current). MA Education (Special Educational Needs)
Responsible for the SEN element of Primary and Secondary PGCE courses.
Associate Lecturer, Plymouth University, (Oct 2013-July 2014). BA Education Studies ‘Introduction to Perspectives on Disability and Inclusive Education’.
- EFPM010Z1 - Critical International Perspectives on Special and Inclusive Education
- EFPM271 - SEN: Provision and Practice
- EFPM273 - Critical Perspectives in Inclusive and Special Education