Dr Christine Szwed

Dr Christine Szwed

School of Education
Honorary Reader in Education
National Teaching Fellow ( HEA)

Contact details

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

Chris is an Honorary Reader in Education in the School of Education, University of Birmingham. With extensive experience as a teacher and senior manager in schools she joined the University as a lecturer in Primary education, going on to lead and expand that programme for several years. With a particular interest in curriculum design and teaching and learning, she has since held the positions of Director of Studies for ITE, Head of Department, and latterly Strategic Director for Overseas programmes (Dubai).

Her research interests cover the area of special needs and management alongside the area of initial teacher training. Her doctoral thesis evaluated the role of the SENCO in primary schools and she was the designer and initial programme lead for an innovative teacher training programme based within an outstanding special school alliance. Chris also supported the British University in Dubai in setting up their teacher training programme.

This fostered a keen interest in transnational education and the internationalisation of programmes. In her role as Director for Dubai programmes Chris led a team of colleagues in developing the inaugural teacher training programmes for delivery at the University of Birmingham’s newly established Dubai campus in September 2018. This entailed working alongside school leaders and education policy makers in Dubai and has included raising the profile of the high quality teacher education that the University can offer the region. 

In June 2015, in light of her outstanding achievements, she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) , the most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning.

As an NTF Chris has supported colleagues both within and external to the University with their applications for fellowships of the HEA and with teaching and learning projects. She continues her role as a mentor and advisor, and as an external examiner and consultant for a number of Universities.


  • EdD SEN University of Birmingham
  • MA (Education) University of Coventry
  • Diploma – Counselling in Educational Settings
  • BA (Open University ) English / Education; B.Phil Ed. Difficulties in Learning (University of Birmingham )
  • Certificate in Education (QTS)


Before joining the University Chris held senior management positions in both secondary and primary schools in London and Birmingham. Her particular area of expertise was in supporting children with SEN within mainstream schools. Chris also worked for a large Local Authority for five years in a DfES funded project  as a  project manager undertaking research relating to school/community links in an area of social disadvantage. She then moved on to work in the area of CPD, firstly as  a Director of a Teachers’ Centre and then as a Curriculum Adviser for Primary schools.


Christine's research interests are:

  • Leadership and  management of SEN within mainstream school
  • International development
  • The roles and responsibilities of SEN support staff
  • The Teacher as professional/ Teacher Development
  • Gender roles within Teacher Education
  • Primary Education

Current research includes an evaluation of routes into teaching children with SEND. Another project considers the teaching and learning experiences of international students on ITE programmes.

Other activities

Chris is an external examiner for the PGCE (International) at the Universities of Nottingham and UWE. She is also an external examiner for the Primary PGCE course at the University of Leicester.


Szwed, C. ( 2016) Transnational Higher Education- Linguistic negotiations. Official  proceedings - IAFOR International conference in education, Hawaii  ISSN 2180-1036

Szwed C ( 2015)  The Teaching Excellence Framework - an opportunity for development? - Research Intelligence Issue 128 pp 19-21 BERA 

Szwed, C. (2010) Gender balance in ITE - some current perspectives. Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol 36, 3, 303-317

Szwed C. (2007) Remodelling policy and Practice: the challenge for staff working with children with special educational needs, Educational Review, 59, No 2, pp 147-160.

Szwed C. (2007) Reconsidering the role of the primary SENCO- policy, practice and future priorities British Journal of Special Education. 34. No2 pp 96-138

Szwed C (2007) Managing from the Middle: Tensions and Dilemmas in the role of the Primary SENCO  School leadership and management   27. 5 pp 437-451

Szwed C., F Jones, K Jones (2001). The SENCO as Teacher and Manager, London, David Fulton, ISBN: 1853467138.

AC Lance, SG Rayner, and Szwed CA ( 2007) Challenging and changing role boundaries in Modernising schools: people, learning and organisations, London, Continuum.

EA Potts, SG Powers, SG Rayner, RJD Rutherford, ID Selwood, CA Szwed et al (2004.) The Evaluation of the Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder Project, Department for Education and Skills. Research Report 541, London, DfES