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Dr Janet Goepel

Dr Janet Goepel Cert Ed, M Ed, PG cert HE, EdD, FHEA

Senior Lecturer in Early Years and Primary Education


I am the award leader for the PCGE award in Special Educational Needs Coordination. I am also the National Priority Lead for Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) for all Primary and Early Years Teacher Education courses within the university.  I am engaged in supervising students at both Masters and Doctoral Level and have been an internal examiner for Doctoral students.  My work also includes acting an external examiner for another university for their PGCE Special Educational Needs Coordination award.  I teach inclusion and special educational needs on both the undergraduate and postgraduate Initial Teacher Training Courses and am engaged in writing and research concerning teacher professionalism.


I have been a teacher in primary schools for many years.  During my time in school, I worked with many children with special educational needs and became a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).  My interest in special education led me to undertaking additional study and after gaining my Masters I taught at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) for six years.  During that time I developed my interest in inclusion and diversity further, teaching undergraduates on the Joint Honours programme and Initial Teacher training programme about inclusive practices.  I gained my doctorate in 2008. This was concerned with professionalism between doctors and teaching in supporting children with SEND. During my time at NTU, I gained my PGCE cert HE and became a Fellow of the Higher Education. Academy.

I have worked at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) since 2008 and originally set up a course to enable teaching Assistants to become teachers.  This became a highly successful course. 

Along with two colleagues, I wrote a book entitled Inclusive Primary Teaching: a critical approach to equality and special educational needs and disability.  It is now in its second edition and is used as the primary text in our own inclusion course at SHU as well as on other ITT courses in other universities.

I have been a contributor at conferences and meetings both in England and internationally, including the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Sydney and Flinders Medical School, Adelaide.  I have also contributed to the book Getting into Teaching (Owen and Burnett 2014.

Having taught children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, dyslexia, ADHD, ASD as well as many other Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, I am keen to inspire other teachers to make effective provision for such children.  My work involves challenging attitudes and beliefs which influence teachers' actions.


Department of Teacher Education

Social Sciences and Arts

Diversity and inclusion

Special Educational Needs

Teacher professionalism

All of these teaching interests contribute to the teaching on the undergraduate and post graduate Initial Teacher Training courses I work on.  In particular my role as SEND lead for the Primary Teacher Education Department enables me to develop my interests and support trainees in their professional development.

These interests also feed into my teaching on the SENCO award and are strongly based in practice.


I am interested in teacher professionalism and how Teachers' Standards influence how teacher professionalism is expressed.

I am also interested in the development of teacher identity and how this is formed. This also relates to the development of specialist teacher identity such as becoming a SENCO.

I have contributed to a monograph published by Practical Experiences in Professional Education (PEPE) (2011) entitled 'Seeing the face of the other: a professional qualities approach to interprofessional working between doctors and teachers in England

I have published an article Upholding Public trust: an examination of teacher professionalism and the use of teachers' standards in England in Teacher Development (2012)  on this and spoke at the Australian Teacher Education Conference (2014) on the same theme

I have written a book with two colleagues entitled Inclusive Primary Teaching: A critical approach to equality and special educational needs and disability Critical Publishing (2015), now in its second edition


Journal articles

Goepel, J. (2012). Upholding public trust: An examination of teacher professionalism and the use of Teachers' Standards in England. Teacher Development, 16 (4), 489-505.

Goepel, J. (2009). Constructing the individual education plan: Confusion or collaboration? Support for Learning, 24 (3), 126-132.

Goepel, J.M., & Forsyth, K.D. (2002). Are paediatricians failing at school? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 87 (3), 173-174.


Maxwell, B., Willis, B., Culliney, M., Coldwell, M., Demack, S., Goepel, J., & Stevens, A. (2019). Formative evaluation of the South & West Yorkshire teaching assistants scale-up campaign. Education Endowment Foundation.

Other activities

I am an external examiner for the SENCO award at Wolverhampton University

I am a member of the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) and contribute to their course development meetings and forums

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