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School of Education

Emeritus Professor Brahm Norwich

Emeritus Professor Brahm Norwich

Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs



Brahm Norwich is Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Educational Needs at the School of Education, University of Exeter . He was previously Professor of Special Needs Education, Institute of Education, London University. He has worked as a school teacher, professional educational psychologist and university teacher and researcher.

Research group links

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Research interests

My broad areas of interest are special needs and inclusive education: for example, policy and practice issues, concepts and values, emotional and behaviour difficulties, moderate learning difficulties,  inclusive targetted interventions, pedagogic issues and professional learning. My research interests include applying psychology to education, including psychology applied to special needs and inclusive education.

Research projects

Over the recent years I have been involved in funded projects about:
1. professional learning about SEN and inclusion for initial teacher education

2. using Lesson Study to develop teaching approaches for pupils with special educational needs / disabilitie and as a strategy for assessment by response to teaching.

3. Inclusive targetted early literacy interventions

4. experiencing special educational needs; parent, child and teacher perspectives

5. policy and theoretical analyses about tensions and dilemmas in the special needs and inclusive education field.

6. School mental health 

7. Silver Stories, a programme of intergenerational communication between young children and older people to improve wellbeing for both groups

8. Deliberative public dialogue in policy making in the special needs and incluisve education field.

Research networks

Lesson Study network

Education Theory network

SEN Policy Research Forum:    web link:

Research grants

  • 2022 UKRI (ESRC)
    This is UKRI-RSA project on using deliberative dialogue methods to set up a citizen panel to consider how to make schools more inclusive for children and young people with SEN/disabilities.
  • 2021 ESRC IAA Project
    The study aimed to 1. evaluate the Silver Stories programme with regards to its potential outcomes for social wellbeing and literacy. and 2. to explore participants’ experiences, and understand the processes underpinning the programme.
  • 2016 ESRC
    This ESRC funded project analysed 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. It examined 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.
  • 2015 Nuffield
    The project aims to evaluate a novel early literacy intervention for pupils in Years 2 and 3 who are struggling to learn early literacy skills (�291,000, starting from September 2015 for two years). The evaluation will take place in four local areas nationally. The IGR programme was designed and piloted by Jan Stebbing, a member of the research team, to meet the needs of the 7-18% of children nationally who are either non-starters or delayed in reading as they move from Key Stage (KS) 1 to 2. This early intervention is novel in its research informed programme design and its use in a general class context where all children learn in small groups.
  • 2014 ESRC
    Using Lesson Study to bridge between neuro-psychology and mathematics education: trialling a novel approach.
  • 2010 Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
    The general aim is to examine how and what PGCE trainee teachers learn about teaching pupils with special educational needs in their placement schools. The findings will be used to identify practical principles and procedures about how to design and support planned school based activities relevant to learning to teach pupils with SEN. Specifically it will examine the school based learning and outcomes of PGCE trainees in primary and secondary programmes that use different approaches to preparing teachers for the special needs aspects of their future teaching.
  • 2010 Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
    A team from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter are embarking on exciting and innovative development and research in ways of raising the levels of achievement of pupils with moderate learning difficulties (MLD). While pupils with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) represent the largest proportion of those identified as having special educational needs, they have been neglected as a focus for educational initiatives. This project aims to improve the learning experiences and opportunities of pupils with MLD to enhance their educational achievements. This will be done through a programme of professional development using Lesson Study methodology (see reverse side for more details), a high profile international method of in-school professional development. The project will have two wings: a Development and an Evaluation wing

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External Engagement and Impact

Advice to Government, Parliament, devolved and English regional administrations, other national, international, regional or local agencies; advice to non-government organisations and to private practice

Contributed recently to Department for Education consultation groups; working group for Welsh Government on assessment programme, consultative meetings about SEN and disability education policy. Previously been on Government research steering committees member, witness to House of Commons Select Committee on Special Educational Needs, member of reference group for Government Inquiry into SEN and represented England on European Agency for Special Needs education development projects.

External doctoral examining nationally and internationally

previously been external examiner for Masters and PhDs nationally: Universities of Cardiff, Cambridge, Manchester, Warwick, Bradford, Hull, Institute of Education, Leicester, Dundee and London University

Keynote addresses or prestigious public lectures given in international forums

Invited speaker at academic and professional conferences (e.g European Conference of Educational Research and UK specialist professional conferences).

Major awards, Prizes and Honorary degrees, including election to national and international learned societies

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