School:Education and Social Care
Areas of Expertise: Education and teaching
For twenty years, Sarah worked in a variety of educational settings, including mainstream and special provision, from nursery to post-16.
Sarah’s career began as a Year 5 primary school teacher in Suffolk. She later became a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) and Senior Teacher. As a SENCo, she developed an interest in children and young people with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) difficulties. Consequently, in Cumbria, she worked as a Specialist Teacher for social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) and, latterly, autism spectrum conditions (ASC). In these roles, Sarah supported individual children, young people and their families, but also with a variety of settings delivering continuing professional development for school and local authority staff.
Most recently, Sarah has lectured at the University of Northampton - mostly in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion (SENI) - and at the University of Birmingham on their Distance Learning SEBD and Autism (Children’s) courses. Whilst lecturing, she has worked with professionals from a variety of settings including: mainstream schools; special schools; pupil referral units; secure units; alternative provision and residential schools both here in the UK and Worldwide.
Sarah’s research interests lie in the areas of Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion, specifically attachment and relationships. Her PhD is entitled ‘The Attuned School’: the effects, and effectiveness, of developing relationships between pupils with attachment difficulties and significant adults. Sarah’s research explored whole school approaches to supporting individuals with attachment needs. She is also particularly interested in the cross-over in presenting behaviours between autism, pathological demand avoidance and attachment. With the latter, she has conducted small-scale research working with teachers on the Coventry-Grid (Moran, 2010) assessment tool.
Fellow of the Higher Education Authority
Wall, S., 2017. The Attuned School: the effects, and effectiveness, of developing relationships between pupils with attachment difficulties and significant adults. The University of Birmingham.
Wall, S., 2018. The Attuned School: How Developing Relationships Between Pupils with Attachment Difficulties and Significant Adults Can Support Inclusion and Reduce Exclusion. In: ECER (European Conference on Educational Research), Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research? Bolzano, Italy, 3-7 September 2018. Berlin: ECER.