Dr Jane Mckay

Senior Lecturer in Education Studies

Jane is a member of the research team and a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Children’s Services.


BA Sociology (1st Class Honours)


MA Social Research & Social Policy


PhD Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Education


Jane initially joined the University of Chester in 2010 as a Research Fellow, having previously worked in both academic and commercial research settings. She previously spent nine years at Bangor University, where she gained her MA in Social Research and Social Policy and PhD, funded with an ESRC studentship. She has also 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 is a member of the Social Policy Association, and the Society for Educational Studies. She is also a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). 

Jane is currently the Chair of the Faculty Research Ethics Committee. She was recently invited as an advisor to the Journal of the Faculty of Edcation & Humanities, University of Granada, Melilla. 

2014 -  External Examiner, BA Hons Education Studies, Blackburn College University Centre (Lancaster University).


My current teaching commitments are:

Education Studies (undergraduate) module leader for:

Level 4 – ED4001 Introduction to Education Studies

Level 5 – ED5001 Research and Practice

Level 6 – ED6004 Inclusion Matters; ED6005 Youth Education and Society

I also contribute to research methods teaching at Masters Level and the taught Doctorate in Education, focusing on research methodologies and theoretical approaches to education.

I am currently supervising 4 PhD students; Emma Godding, Deborah Riding, Lindsay Shannon and Karen Wilson. For further information please follow the link: http://www.chester.ac.uk/faculties/education/research/pg-students 

I have one doctoral completion: 

Alan Massey – Occupation Health and Regimes of Control 

I would welcome discussions with anyone interested in undertaking postgraduate research or developing research activity in the area mentioned under research.


My research interests have several trajectories: 

  • Inclusion and marginalisation in relation to education and children’s rights. My PhD explored the implementation of the Code of Practice for Special Educational Needs in the context of the developing debate on inclusive education, and I am also interested in exploring how discourses of inclusion evolve in different cultural/political and social contexts. 
  • Theorising participation in decision-making, notably in relation to the tensions between policy and practice, the family and the state. 
  • Applying the theoretical and conceptual ‘toolbox’ of the work of Michel Foucault in relation to education policy and practice. 
  • The development of political ideologies in education and the influence of government reforms on educational policy and practice. 
  • The role and influence of international policy agendas in relation to inclusive education, either in specific national settings or within a comparative framework. 


Grants and Funded Projects:

Youth Federation 2015-16 (£12,000)

Asset mapping youth services in 5 local authority areas in the northwest of England.

Wirral Borough Council 2015 (£10,000)

Evaluation of the HENRY Approach Across Wirral: from parents to HENRY facilitators; 

University of Chester HEIF 5 KT Funding Scheme 2013 (£4282) 

Developing a Model of Partnership – supporting research activity in Teaching School Partnerships – development of existing CPD provision to offer flexible support to cluster schools operating within a Teaching Schools Alliance in Cheshire and Wirral.

International Research Excellence Award x3 2012-13 (£2850) 

Development of research activity with University of Granada, Melilla – ‘inclusion across cultural boundaries’


University of Chester QR Funding Grant 2012-13 (£4896) 

Re-modelling participation amongst excluded communities – project to explore the extent and effectiveness of participatory mechanisms in three community settings, in relation to educational engagement

University of Chester QR Funding Grant 2012 (£2539) 

A discourse analytical exploration of policy narrative in relation to welfare reform


Wirral Borough Council 2011 (£10,000) 

Review of provision for children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties    

Published work

Journal articles:

McKay, J. (2014). Young People’s voices: Disciplining young people’s participation in decision-making in special educational needs. Journal of Education Policy, DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2014.883649

Hulme, R., McKay, J. & Cracknell, D. (2013). From commissar to auctioneer? The changing role of Directors in managing Children’s Services in a period of austerity. Educational Management Administration and Leadership. DOI: 10.1177/1741143213494886

McKay, J. & Garratt, D. (2013). Participation as Governmentality? The effect of disciplinary technologies at the interface of service users and providers, families and the state. Journal of Education Policy. DOI: 10.1080/02680939.2012.752869

McKay, J., & Neal,  J. (2009). Diagnosis and Disengagement: exploring the disjuncture between SEN policy and practice in Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 9 (3),  pp.164-172. 



McKay, J., & Cracknell, D. (2011). Research Report: Consultation on services provided for children and young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties in Wirral. Unpublished Report, University of Chester.

McKay, J., & Thurston, M. (2010). Evaluation of the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Network Continuing Professional Development Programme 2009. Chester, United Kingdom: University of Chester.

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. 


Book Chapters:

McKay J & Atherton, FM (in preparation) On the margins: the last place to rebel? Understanding young people’s resistance to social conformity. In Youth Marginality in Britain: Contemporary Studies of Austerity edited by Ruth Rogers and Shane Blackman, Polity Press