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School of Education

Dr Will Shield

Dr Will Shield

DEdPsych Joint Programme Director / Senior Lecturer in Child and Educational Psychology

 North Cloisters NC110


North Cloisters, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


I am a Child and Educational Psychologist, senior lecturer, and the joint programme director for the Doctorate in Educational, Child and Community Psychology programme.

I joined the DEdPsych programme as an Academic and Professional Tutor in 2017 and became Joint Programme Director in 2022. My specific areas of interest/specialism are linked to how we support the wellbeing and mental health needs of children and young people, particularly those who have experienced adversity and those at risk of exclusion from school. 


  • Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (FHEA), University of Exeter, 2022.
  • Doctorate in Educational, Child and Community Psychology, University of Exeter, 2013.
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Education, 2010.
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, 2008.

I am a Chartered Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. I am registered with the HCPC as a Practitioner Psychologist (PYL29808).

I have completed professional training in Dyadic Developmental Practice and Psychotherapy (DDPI Approved Level 2) and I am an accredited Story Stem Assessment Profile (SSAP) administrator (Anna Freud Centre). I am also a recognised Prosocial Group Facilitator. Prosocial is an approach which uses principles of Contextual Behavioural Science and Acceptance and Committment Therapy (ACT) to build effective, collaborative and socially equitable groups.


After training as an Educational Psychologist (EP) at the University of Exeter, I worked as a maingrade EP for Devon County Council and then North Somerset Council. In both roles I had dedicated time to work with children who had been excluded from school, children at risk of exclusion, and children in the care system. In 2018 I became a Specialist Senior EP with oversight of developing a traded EP service across North Somerset and Somerset local authorities whilst also working with a patch of schools. I moved to Bristol City Council in April 2020 to work as a Senior EP where I was responsible for supporting local authority strategic developments related to SEND inluding the embedding of person-centred processes and parental engagement. I also led the DfE accreditation to establish Senior Mental Health Lead training in Bristol and took a shared role in establishing clear processes for how the Bristol EP service could respond to critical incidents in schools and in the community.


Research group links

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Research interests

My research and teaching areas of interest include: children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs; alternative provision and inclusion; trauma and attachment; challenging behaviour linked to childhood adversity; critical incident stress management; dynamic assessment and mediated learning environments; group dynamics; widening participation in education; personal construct psychology and learner self-efficacy.

I only supervise doctoral research projects for students registered on the Doctorate in Educational, Child and Community Psychology.

Research projects

I was involved in a rapid response research project with the University of Exeter Social Mobility Centre in April-July 2020 which resulted in a research report and written evdience to the select committee education enquiry focused on the impact of COVID-19 on education and children's services: The Educational Impact of School Closure.

I have worked with researchers from Plymouth and Wolverhampton universities on a project exploring educational psychologists' perceptions of illegal exclusions and off-rolling.

I was a member of the specialist advisory board of experts supporting the VIP-Clear (Voices in a Pandemic: Children's Lockdown Experiences Applied to Recovery) project at UWE Bristol.

I am currently working with colleagues at UWE Bristol on an ESRC New Investigator application exploring the ways that children's personality traits can influence group learning in the classroom.

Research networks

I am on the Children and Young People's Wellbeing @ Exeter Network Steering Committee.

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Journal articles

Done E, Knowler H, Shield W, Baynton H (2022). Rocks and Hard Places: Exploring Educational Psychologists’ Perspectives on “Off-Rolling” or Illegal Exclusionary Practices in Mainstream Secondary Schools in England. Educational Psychology Research and Practice, 7 Abstract.
Shield W (2022). The role of academic and professional tutors in supporting trainee educational psychologist wellbeing. Educational Psychology in Practice Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact

Editorial responsibilities

Editorial board member for Educational Psychology in Practice Journal

External Examiner Positions

MSc Educational Psychology - Dundee University (External Examiner, 2021- )

Doctorate in Educational Psychology - Bristol University (External Examiner, 2022- )

External positions

Deputy Chair of the British Psychological Society's Division of Educational and Child Psychology Training Committee

Media Coverage

Regular contributions to the media on subjects related to children's mental health including: CBBC Newsround, BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat, BBC Scotland, BBC World, BBC Local Radio, BBC Spotlight, LBC, Sky News, The Guardian, and The Times.

Example Coverage:

"TikTok shouldn’t be used to diagnose ADHD or dyslexia, say psychologists" (May 2023):

"Mental Health: How to cope when things are uncertain" (July 2021):

"Pop Its: Why are they so popular?" (May 2021):

"Life After Lockdown: Your Questions Answered" (July 2020):

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My research and teaching areas of interest include: children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs; alternative provision and inclusion; trauma and attachment; challenging behaviour linked to childhood adversity; critical incident stress management; dynamic assessment and mediated learning environments; group dynamics; personal construct psychology, and learner self-efficacy.



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Joe Carswell - DEdPsych
  • Abi Cole - DEdPsych
  • Katie Jackson - DEdPsych
  • Kayleigh Rickard - DEdPsych
  • Milly Sidaway - DEdPsych


  • Sarah Salem S. Alqahtani - EdD
  • Ruth Arnell - DEdPsych
  • Samuel Bougourd - DEdPsych
  • Giulia Carriero - DEdPsych
  • Kate Gribble - DEdPsych
  • Pippa Harris - DEdPsych
  • Hattie Kimber - DEdPsych
  • Amelia King - DEdPsych
  • Georgia Lovell - DEdPsych
  • Adam McCartney - DEdPsych
  • Amy Mumford - DEdPsych
  • Owayne Ovenstone - DEdPsych
  • Lily Payne - DEdPsych

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Office Hours:

I work part-time at the university and office hours are flexible across the week.

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