Dr Penny Lacey


Senior Lecturer in Education

School of Education

Dr Penny Lacey

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


Penny Lacey had a background in teaching children and young people with severe, profound and complex learning difficulties before she came to the School of Education in 1991. She is programme lead for the postgraduate Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties programme.


  • PhD
  • MEd
  • BEd
  • BA
  • PGCE


She is programme supervisor for ‘Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties  programme'’ which is a campus based, blended learning education programme for anyone working with children or adults who are severely disabled. She is also co-ordinator for ‘Practitioner Inquiry in Education’ (PIE) which is a module for dissertation preparation available in distance education and campus modes.

In addition, Penny runs an undergraduate module called 'Exploring Disability and Inclusion' within which there is an opportunity for students to learn to tell stories with severely disabled children.

Postgraduate supervision

Penny is interested in supervising student whose research interests include education for children and adults with severe and profound learning difficulties and special education management issues.

She currently supervises several students including the following:

Alan Price - Using outdoor education to improve the interpersonal skills of Learners with SEBD. Do programmes of outdoor education affect school attendance?

Leonard Kiarago - Investigating Educational Provision for children with SEBD in Kenya: a comparative case study of Mainstream school and Rehabilitation school

Niamh Rowe - Exploring how the role of the key worker can support families out in the community who have experience of a loved one with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

A group of students investigating special education and inclusion in Saudi Arabia and South Korea


Her research interests include:

  • learning and development of people with severe, profound and complex learning difficulties, particularly in the area of literacy and thinking skills
  • the development of a curriculum for learners with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties
  • management issues in special education and adult learning disability services, particularly interagency work
  • inclusive education

Knowledge exchange and impact

Penny spends much time working and researching in schools around developing a curriculum for learners with severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties.  

Other activities

Penny works for four days a week at the University and one day a week in a special school, where she supports the provision for learners with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties.  She advises and coaches staff and has developed a curriculum which is being trialled at the school.


Selected publications

Lawson, H., Layton, L., Goldbart, J., Lacey, P., & Miller, C. (2012). Conceptualisations of literacy and literacy practices for children with severe learning difficulties.  Literacy 46(2), 101-108. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-4369.2011.00603.x

Strogilos, V., Lacey, P., Xanthacou, Y., & Kaila, M. (2011). Collaboration and integration of services in Greek special schools: two different models of delivering school services.  International Journal of Inclusive Education 15(8), 797-818. DOI: 10.1080/13603110903431550

Lacey, P. (2009) Developing the thinking of learners with PMLD, PMLD Link, 21, 2, 15-19.

Porter, J. And Lacey, P. (2008) Safeguarding the needs of children with a visual impairment in non-VI Special schools British Journal of Visual Impairment, 26, 1, 50-62

Lacey, P. (2007) Multi-agency work to meet complex needs in schools, In Limbrick, P. (ed.) Family-centred Support for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs. Clifford: Interconnections  

Lacey, P., Layton, L., Miller, C., Goldbart, J. and Lawson, H. (2007) Literacy for Children with Severe Learning Difficulties: Exploring Conventional and Inclusive Literacy. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. 7 (3): 149-160  

Porter, J. and Lacey, P. (2005) Researching Learning Difficulties. London: Paul Chapma.

pdficonsmall Publications from 2001 for Dr Penny Lacey (PDF 128KB)

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