Mrs Jane Thistlethwaite

School of Education
Teaching Fellow

Contact details

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

Jane brings experience in primary and tertiary teaching and research, educational consultancy and lived experience with vision impairment. 

She graduated MEd. Special Education Autism (Children) from the University of Birmingham in 2010, researching synergies between learners with vision impairment and autism.  She was a member of the DfE funded research project: Engagement of Learners with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities.  Jane is an endorsed facilitator of Engagement 4Learning programme. 

Her educational consultancy work on special education covers the UK, Australasia and USA, providing training for schools and agencies. She is a regular presenter at international conferences on a variety complex needs including vision / sensory impairment, autism, FASD, mental health and engagement. Within the UK/ Ireland, Jane consults in schools and delivers lectures in her specialisms working hands on with practitioners and students.

Outside work Jane has over 30 years’ voluntary ambulance and ambulance events work with the Order of St John in New Zealand, and  has transferred to St John in Birmingham in a similar role.

Feedback and office hours

Monday - Wednesday


Jane was the first person with a vision impairment to gain entry to a teacher training programme in New Zealand.  A qualified primary teacher, she has taught in mainstream and specialist schools, most recently as a specialist teacher / consultant on engagement in special schools in New Zealand, with a focus on autism, sensory, vision impairment and other complex needs.  Jane has also held lecturer posts in 2 tertiary institutions in New Zealand,  one a degree programme in Primary Teaching at the largest indigenous based university in New Zealand and the other on the Human Services component of a Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences degree for 8 years at a major Polytechnic.

Jane was appointed as Governor General representative to the RNZFB, now Blind Foundation in New Zealand.  She was also a member of the Homai National School for the Blind and Vision Impaired, where she was a pupil in her primary years. During a 4 year term of office, she was appointed as Board Chair, leading its transition to BLENNZ (Blind Low Vision Network New Zealand).


Other activities

On going collaboration with facilitation team for the UK based Engagement for Learning programme.

Advisor / consultant for New Zealand Special Schools.


Carpenter B, Egerton J., Cockbill, B., Bloom, T., Fotheringham, J., Rawson, H. and Thistlethwaite, J. (2015) Education of Learners of Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities, Routeledge

View all publications in research portal