Jane McKay

Research Fellow

Jane joined the Centre for Public Health Research in February 2010.




Jane joined the University of Chester in 2010 after two years working as a senior research executive for CELLO mruk, the sixth largest research agency in the UK. There she managed a range of projects with a focus on health, education, disability and social deprivation, and has developed a wealth of experience in a range of methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative. Before this, Jane spent nine years studying and working at Bangor University, where she gained her degree in Sociology and her MA in Social Research and Social Policy. She was also engaged in a number of commissioned research projects working with senior staff in the Department of Social Sciences, and taught on a range of modules, on social theory and research methods at undergraduate level. In addition, she spent several years providing advocacy support and advice for the Parent Partnership Service in North Wales on a voluntary basis, and served as a governor of a primary school for four years.

She has recently completed her PhD: ‘Exploring the Implementation of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice: category, power and participation’, which addresses the relationships that are evidenced between service users and service providers in the special educational needs process. She is a member of the Social Policy Association and the Society for Educational Studies.


My primary research interests lie in inclusive education, children’s rights and participation in decision-making, notably in the field of special educational needs and disability, and vulnerable groups, such as children in care or young offenders. More generally I am interested in the nature of relationships between ‘service users’ and the professionals who provide services, with a particular interest in the theoretical underpinning of Michel Foucault.

I am currently working with colleagues in the Faculty of Education & Children’s Services exploring the notion of children’s rights as both travelling and embedded policy.

I am also interested in the development and application of online research methodologies, and have recently worked in collaboration with colleagues in the Informatics Centre to develop an online research tool (www.chesterthirdspace.com) for the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. This project was funded through the University’s Knowledge Transfer fund.

Published work

McKay, J., & Thurston, M. (July 2010). Evaluation of the Cheshire and Merseyside public health network continuing professional development programme 2009. Chester, United Kingdom: Centre for Public Health Research, University of Chester.

Recent publications 

McKay, J. (forthcoming) Young people's voices: An echo or a whisper? Some observations of young people's participation in decision making in special educational needs. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs.

McKay, J., & Neal, J. (2009). Diagnosis and disengagement: Exploring the disjuncture between SEN policy and practice. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs 9, 164-172.

Williams, C.; Hold, M.; Turunen, S., & McKay, J. (2004) Ethnic minorities in North Wales: A mapping exercise. Best Partnership (National Assembly, AWEMA, BVSN and The Princes Trust).

Day, G., & Williams, C., (with McKay, J.) (2004). Motivations and Prompts in Public Appointments. The Welsh Assembly Government Public Appointments Directorate.