Julia Barnes

Doctoral Researcher (Ed.D)

Contact details: KJR973@student.bham.ac.uk

Julia BarnesCurrent status

First Year

Research topic

Exploring Nurturing Touch for Teenagers with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties in Education Settings in England

Research summary

People with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) receive high levels of touch to meet their care needs but may also need to use touch as their primary modality for accessing the world.  A census of policies relating to touch in English special schools which provide placements for teenagers with PMLD is proposed.  The policies will be qualitatively analysed to identify their theoretical underpinning, common practice and identify potential barriers to teenagers with PMLD receiving nurturing touch.  The research will culminate in the development of best practice guidelines for offering nurturing touch to teenagers with PMLD whilst in education. 


  • MEd Severe, Profound and Complex learning Difficulties, University of Birmingham, 2012

  • QTS Huddersfield University, 2006

  • BA Embroidery, The Manchester Metropolitan University, 2003 

Research interests

  • Nurturing Touch

  • Intensive Interaction

  • Alternative and Augmentative Communication

  • Multi-Sensory Environments 

Research projects

My Masters Dissertation: An Investigation of the Human-Touch Experience of Students with Profound and Multiple Difficulties and Visual Impairments at Crowshill School (a pseudonym): A Site Study.

Research Supervisor

Dr Lila Kossyvaki


Ravenscliffe High School, Halifax where I work as a senior teacher and Sensory Manager. 

Membership of research and professional organisations

National Education Union


Pupils’ Physical Contact Experiences within the SLD Curriculum, 2015, In Collaboration with Dr Dave Hewett, a Chapter in The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties edited by Dr Penny Lacey. 

Ups and Downs: How Learners with Severe and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties View Their School Experience, 2015, In collaboration with Elizabeth Henderson and Nicola Grove, a Chapter in The Routledge Companion to Severe, Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties textbook edited by Dr Penny Lacey.

My Doo-zy, My Friend, Our Journey: A book full of practical activities for using a Doo-zy to support communication and learning, 2014, Written jointly with Heather Clarke, SaLT.  Printed by Switch-ed

Special Rugs, Special Kids – Rag-Rug Making with Students with Complex Learning Difficulties. Rug Hooking, June, July, August, 2016, pp20-23. 

Physical Contact, ‘age-appropriateness’, the SLD Curriculum and the courage and conviction of Penny Lacey. In collaboration with Dr Dave Hewett. PMLD Link, Summer 2015: Penny Lacey, a Celebration, Vol.27, No.2, Issue 81, pp11-13.

Communicating Through Dance in a Special Educational Needs Secondary School.  In collaboration with Sue Coe for the English Dance and Song (EDS) online magazine of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).    Reprinted in the SLD Experience Autumn 2014, pp3-9