About Me

Having initially been a primary school teacher, I then became a Senior Lecturer in education and childhood studies with responsibility for research throughout the School of Education at Edge Hill University before becoming a senior manager for research in one of the UK’s largest charities working with children and families. Since 2006 I have been an independent research and policy consultant based in Northern Ireland. My main areas of research and publication include:
  • social constructions of ‘childhood’ and ‘youth’
  • implementation of children’s rights
  • sex and sexuality education
  • parenting and family support
  • early intervention
  • youth justice
  • secure care and custody.
Since 2006, I have worked with:
  • Government departments
  • Health and Social Care services
  • Local Authorities
  • Voluntary and community organisations working with children and families
  • Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • Independent monitoring and inspection bodies
  • University academics and researchers
Spanning three decades, my work has included an extensive range of experience:
  • Teaching children aged 4-11 and University students on under- and post-graduate courses
  • Developing research proposals and tenders for funding
  • Managing and conducting research, consultations and evaluations
  • Analysing data, summarising research findings and their implications
  • Analysing legislation, policies and strategies to inform research, publications, consultation responses and submissions to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • Writing books, journal articles, book chapters, reports, briefings, resources for children and practitioners
  • Contributing to knowledge exchange through publications and presentations for academic, professional and public audiences in the UK, Ireland, Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand
  • Providing training, support, and guidance
  • Influencing public policy and organisational practice across a range of professions
  • Participating in ‘public engagement’ and community based activism
  • BEd (Hons) Primary Education, University of Lancaster, 1987
  • MA Crime, Deviance and Social Policy (Distinction), University of Lancaster, 1990 [Thesis: New Women, Old Myths: The Illusions of ‘Post-Feminism’]
  • PhD, Queen’s University Belfast, 2014 [Thesis: Critical Analysis of Rights-Based Approaches to Children ‘At Risk of Offending’ in Northern Ireland]
  • Primary School Teacher, Lancashire, England (1987-1993)
  • Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer in Education, Edge Hill University, Lancashire, England (1993-2000): under- and post-graduate teaching; Head of Research co-ordinating the School of Education ‘Research Assessment Exercise’ submission to higher education funding councils
  • Principal Officer for Research and Development, Barnardo’s, NW England and Northern Ireland (2000-2006)
  • Independent Research and Policy Consultant, Northern Ireland (2006-present): research and consultations; publications and presentations
Cross-disciplinary teaching on under- and post-graduate courses has included:
  • Visiting Lecturer on DChild and Masters Programme in Criminology/ Criminal Justice, QUB (2010-2016)
  • Part-time Tutor on MSc Youth Justice in School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, QUB (2015, 2016) and on Masters Programme in Criminology/ Criminal Justice in School of Law, QUB (2017)