Rachel Hewett

Rachel Hewett

School of Education
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

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

Rachel Hewett is a Birmingham Fellow based in Vision Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) based in Department of Disability Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) in the School of Education.

She joined VICTAR as a Research Associate in 2010, before progressing to a Research Fellow in October 2012 and was appointed as a Birmingham Fellow in September 2017. Previously she worked in Clinical Trials, and managed a series of large phase-three trials at Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit at University of Birmingham.

Rachel’s primary research interests are in the post-16 transition experience of young people with special educational needs and disabilities. She acts as the primary researcher on the ongoing ‘Longitudinal Transitions Study’ which has been following the post-16 transition experience of a group of young people with vision impairment since 2010. Through her doctoral study she has focused particularly on the experiences of young people with vision impairment in making the transition into Higher Education.

Rachel has been PI and Co-I on research projects funded by various funding bodies, including Nuffield Foundation, RNIB, Thomas Pocklington Trust, and NatSIP.

Qualifications

  • MSc in Applied Statistics, Sheffield Hallam University, 2011
  • MA in Social Research, University of Birmingham, 2004
  • BSc (Hons) in Economics, University of Birmingham, 2003

Teaching

Rachel contributes to teaching on research methods and also to the development of professional development courses in vision impairment. She is also a member of the University of Birmingham Inclusive Curriculum Committee.

Research

Rachel’s research to date has focused primarily on post-16 transitions and employment outcomes for young people with vision impairment. Her doctoral study has been on the experiences of young people with vision impairment making the transition into higher education.

A particular focus of her work centres on the dissemination of research findings and maximising the impact of the ongoing research in VICTAR.

Longitudinal Transition Study

ENABLER project

Secondary data analysis of the UK Labour Force Survey to investigate the economic activity of people with vision impairment

An investigation into the accessibility of the Apple iPad for users with vision impairment through an N-of-1 RCT design

Impact activities

NatSIP Higher Education Resources

Rachel has been contracted by NatSIP to develop guidance materials to help improve the transition outcomes of young people with vision impairment into Higher Education. Resources for young people are available on the Royal National Institute of Blind People website (http://www.rnib.org.uk/young-people/starting-university) and resources for professionals are available on the NatSIP website (https://www.natsip.org.uk/doc-library-login/16-25-years/1424-suppporting-the-achievement-of-learners-with-vision-impairment-in-higher-education). 

ESRC-Impact Accelerator Award

Rachel has been awarded funding to pilot and evaluate a series of HE resources aimed at improving the transition experience of young people with vision impairment into HE with students, specialist teachers and HE professionals.

She was previously funded by an ESRC-IAA award for a secondment at Royal National Institute of Blind People. The purpose of this award was to work with RNIB to develop resources to help professional support young people with visual impairment through various post-16 transitions and to improve their outcomes.

Publications

Recent publications

Article

Hewett, R, Douglas, G & McLinden, M 2021, '“They were questioning whether I would even bother coming back”. Exploring evidence of inequality in “access”, “success” and “progression” in higher education for students with vision impairment', Educational Review.

McLinden, M, Ravenscroft, J, Douglas, G, Hewett, R, McCann, E & Roe, J 2020, 'Promoting a balanced early years curriculum for young children with vision impairment: developing and sustaining personal agency through a bioecological systems perspective', British Journal of Visual Impairment, pp. 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1177/0264619619901036

Hewett, R, Douglas, G, McLinden, M & Keil, S 2018, 'Balancing inclusive design, adjustments and personal agency: progressive mutual accommodations and the experiences of university students with vision impairment in the United Kingdom', International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2018.1492637

Hewett, R, Douglas, G, McLinden, M & Keil, S 2017, 'Developing an inclusive learning environment for students with visual impairment in higher education: progressive mutual accommodation and learner experiences in the United Kingdom', European Journal of Special Needs Education, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 89-109. https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2016.1254971

McLinden, M, Douglas, G, Hewett, R, Cobb, R & Lynch, P 2017, 'Facilitating participation in education: The distinctive role of the specialist teacher in supporting learners with vision impairment in combination with severe and profound learning difficulties', Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, vol. 7, no. 2. <https://nfb.org/images/nfb/publications/jbir/jbir17/jbir070203.html>

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

McLinden, M, Douglas, G, Hewett, R, Thistlethwaite, J & Lynch, P 2019, Evidence-based practices for teaching learners with vision impairment. in Oxford Encyclopedia of Inclusive and Special Education. Oxford Research Encyclopedias: Education, Oxford University Press.

Chapter

Douglas, G, Hewett, R & McLinden, M 2018, Transition from school to Higher Education: Research evidence and best practice. in J Ravenscroft (ed.), Handbook of Visual Impairment: Social and Cultural Research. Routledge.

Commissioned report

Terlektsi, E, Wootten, A, Douglas, G, Ellis, L, Hewett, R, Hodges, E, McLinden, M, Ware, J & Williams, L 2019, A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the effectiveness of educational interventions to support children and young people with hearing impairment. Welsh Assembly Government. <https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/statistics-and-research/2019-09/effectiveness-educational-interventions-support-children-young-people-hearing-impairment_1.pdf>

Hodges, E, Ellis, L, Douglas, G, Hewett, R, McLinden, M, Terlektsi, E, Wootten, A, Ware, J & Williams, L 2019, A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the effectiveness of educational interventions to support children and young people with multi-sensory impairment. Welsh Assembly Government. <https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/statistics-and-research/2019-11/effectiveness-educational-interventions-support-children-young-people-multi-sensory-impairment.pdf>

Douglas, G, McLinden, M, Ellis, L, Hewett, R, Hodges, E, Terlektsi, E, Wootten, A, Ware, J & Williams, L 2019, A Rapid Evidence Assessment of the effectiveness of educational interventions to support children and young people with vision impairment. Welsh Assembly Government. <https://gov.wales/effectiveness-educational-interventions-support-children-and-young-people-visual-impairment?_ga=2.38901859.1959838397.1574254763-739426866.1515487846>

Hewett, R 2018, Supporting the achievement of learners with vision impairment in higher education. National Sensory Impairment Partnership/Department for Education. <https://www.natsip.org.uk/doc-library-login/16-25-years/1424-suppporting-the-achievement-of-learners-with-vision-impairment-in-higher-education/file>

Other contribution

Chattaway, T & Hewett, R 2020, Response to call for evidence from Higher Education Commission..

Hewett, R & Chattaway, T 2019, Review of current DSA Guidance in relation to students with vision impairment. Thomas Pocklington Trust. <https://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/cyp/review-of-dsa-guidance-in-relation-to-students-with-vision-impairment_final/>

Hewett, R 2019, Your Future, Your Choice: Bridging the Gap: Supporting your transition from school to college, university and work. RNIB. <https://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Bridging%20the%20Gap%20reportbrochure_0.pdf>

Web publication/site

Hewett, R, Douglas, G & McLinden, M, Disabled Students' Allowance: Barriers experienced by students with Vision Impairment, 2019, Web publication/site, University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/thebirminghambrief/items/2019/02/disabled-students'-allowance-barriers-experienced-by-students-with-vision-impairment.aspx>

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Rachel’s research to date has focused primarily on post-16 transitions and employment outcomes for young people with vision impairment.